Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Pirate Vault #3

Motley Crue – Raw Tracks/Painkillers

“Raw Tracks” is a Japanese release and “Painkillers” is a bootleg of a live recording and studio outtakes from the “Too Fast For Love” sessions.

It was the first time I heard “Stick To Your Guns”. I wasn’t a fan of the song overall, but the lyrics resonated, about sticking to your guns because what is right for you, ain’t right for everyone.

On the “Raw Tracks” tape side, I added the tracks from the 12 inch “Without You” single as well. No point in wasting the precious blank tape reel.

And it’s the first time I heard the term “Original Leathur Mix”, which meant I was on a quest to acquire this legendary self funded independent album.

King Diamond – The Eye/Conspiracy

I had a King Diamond spell because of guitarist Andy LaRocque.

When I heard his riffs and solos, it was at a time in my life circa 1990, which had a lot of the hard rock bands delivering stock standard bubblegum music, like Brinty Fox, Roxx Gang and Skin N Bones and LaRocque was very different.

He combined hard rock influences with this feel that I call Euro Rock. And King Diamond has a unique voice between Rob Halford/Pavarotti like falsetto highs and a low gravelly tone like Lenny.

And both albums are concept records.

Listen to “Eye Of The Witch” for it’s groove or “Sleepless Nights” for its technical riffs.

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade and King Diamond – Them

I needed some music for my Walkman and I remember dubbing these from my cousin Mega.

This is the Secret Records release of “Under The Blade” which has a mix I prefer over the Atlantic re-issue.

Kiss – Alive III

It’s my favourite Kiss live album. A casual pop friend picked it up on CD, told me about it and I was over there in a flash with a blank cassette to copy it.

And somehow I had room on side A, so I included a Jovi cut, so I don’t waste the tape reel.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Dirt

I grew up on a diet of Motley Crue music. And I never abandoned them, even when they changed singers and even when everyone wrote them off as has beens after “New Tattoo”.

Still to this day, Crue tunes get a listen and my kids even learned to play guitar to “Kick Start My Heart”.

I couldn’t switch off the movie, even if I wanted to and the script, the direction of Jeff Tramaine, the filming and editing was excellent, funny and at a good pace.

Maybe they missed a great opportunity here to make a series. Telling the story in ten, 60 minute episodes would have done me fine. So many things could have gotten screen time, but didn’t.

Nikki OD’d before, their manager Doc was drug trafficking during this period, and the fallout with him happened because of the Moscow Peace Festival concert.

Robin Crosby was with Nikki and had the same addictions but he got no mention, but they mentioned the Corabi period briefly like it was the worst period ever however it should have been fleshed out more. We got nothing about the Randy Castillo/Samantha Maloney “New Tattoo” period, the Tommy and Vince leaked sex tapes and punch ups, the solo albums and …

Nikki Sixx posted on Twitter that the critics hate it. And so they should, because even in their wildest dreams, these critics wouldn’t even be allowed to participate in the decadent 80s era to even report or write on anything musical. But hey, the internet and the social media platforms give people a voice. Hell I’m part of those voices via the blog.

And people don’t like to admit it, but we are out of touch with what’s happening in the zeitgeist. The young ones, those kids born at the start of the two thousands will watch it, to check out the era of their parents. And they will see how Hard Rock was all about the party, the highs and getting laid and with smartphones these days, rock and roll decadence will never return.

“She Goes Down” is one of my favorite Crue songs. Guess we cant have those kind of songs any more as they are politically incorrect. Or “Lick It Up” by Kiss.

And in the years to come, people will be talking about the movie as a cultural influence.

Nikki Sixx might have been the most fucked up and strung out of all of them, but he ended up being the smartest.

The negotiation to get his copyrights back is the smartest business move ever and it basically made the Crue comeback in the 2000’s possible.

Because when you have control of your music and it’s making money, the sky is the limit. Ask Joey Tempest and Europe, ask Def Leppard and David Coverdale, even Metallica.

But not all art holds any worth or economic value. Usually it’s zero or thereabouts, except for the ones who break through and still have their rights. Motley Crue did it and they lived to tell the dirt.

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

Logos

In the “No Sleep Til Sudbury” book there is a chapter on Motley Crue. You need to read the book to find out what is said as I don’t want to give away spoilers.

Anyway the chapter got me thinking about Motley Crue, because the band was huge in my life growing up and still to this day I fork out dollars to buy stuff from em and I’m sure I’ll be forking our dollars for “The Dirt” soundtrack as well.

I know it’s insane, especially since the band was average at best with Tommy Lee being the most talented in all areas, musical and home video making. And I’ve watched em live every time they came to Australia, only to walk away saying how shit is Vince and why didn’t someone unplug Mick Mars. But I’ve gone back time and time again.

The one thing that always hooked me in with the Crue is the marketing. Each album has its unique band logo. It’s never the same logo, like Acca Dacca’s, Maiden, Judas Priest and many others. I can see a logo and I’ll know which album it’s connected with. And as soon as I got good drawing one logo, I had to learn to draw a new one. I think its a marvelous move.

A friend of mine called Herman who I don’t really see anymore had a denim jacket with logos sewn on and by 1989, that jacket had five Crue logo patches on it and two Whitesnake/GNR logo patches compared to one Metallica, Megadeth, Dio, Van Halen, Maiden, Acca, Slayer, Poison, Jovi and Kiss. Again, genius marketing move from the Crue and also by Coverdale in reinventing the Whitesnake brand and Guns N Roses who had the two guns facing each other logo which was generic and the “Appetite For Destruction” logo.

If I owed a generic AC/DC top with only the logo on it, I would be known as having an AC/DC top regardless of when I purchased it and I would have no need to purchase a new AC/DC top unless it faded to grey or ripped completely.

But if I owed a Crue top with the Girls logo in 1992, I would be known as owning an old Crue top. It was a symptom of my generation. And because it was a genius marketing move from Crue/Sixx, I always felt the need to get a new top.

Ka Ching. Ka Ching.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

11 Crue Years

It was pointed out to me recently how “Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles” both came out on June 24, 11 years apart.

How fortunes can 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.

And 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 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.

By 1996, Metallica had gone all glammed up artsy gothic, Megadeth put on flannelettes, Bon Jovi became a balladeer, NIN was becoming a force to be reckoned with, Pearl Jam was at the height of their powers and a band called Smashing Pumpkins was starting to smash the charts around them.

So where did Motley Crue fit into this?

I think even the guys in the band were not sure as well, because when “Generation Swine” came out, you heard it was a confused album.

A few streets away from where I lived, we had this mad super Crue fan called Tony G and when this album came out, we all purchased it on the same day, went home to listen and then met at a park down the road. No one said if they liked it or didn’t. Then Tony G turns up. I asked him what he thought of the album.

“It’s a load of crap”, he screamed. And that was that, we never spoke about “Generation Swine” again because everyone was scared of Tony G. He was older and 6ft 2. No one was going to disagree with him.

Anyway “Generation Swine” did not re-capture their “Dr Feelgood” glory. 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 he terminates the contract and somehow gets the copyright 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.

So a new album was the next logical choice. “Saints Of Los Angeles”, is the album and it’s written by the “Sixx AM” members for Motley Crue. Tommy Lee has no song writing credits whatsoever on this one and to me, it’s a huge loss to the sound and feel. I know people don’t like it, but the album was the right fit for the Crue at that point in time.

If any new fans came across “Saints Of Los Angeles” how could they not like it. It tells the bands story. “Down At The Whiskey” tells the true story of paying your dues and playing for free. “Welcome To The Machine” highlights how record labels rip you off and the album ends the way the band started, “swinging”.

But the thing that blows me away is the rollercoaster ride between “Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles”.

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. And signed off the way they wanted to, on their own terms.

For a band who were just average musicians at best, they built a career 30 plus years long. And that period between 1997 and 2008 could have been the end, but it wasn’t.

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

Dr Feelgood

“Dr Feelgood” came out on the first of September, 1989. 29 years ago. God damn, where did the time go.

I remember walking down to the local shopping centre as it had a Brashs store and Rings Music World for purchasing music. Normally I purchased most of my music from Rings, but in 89, I started to use Brashs. To be honest, I was scared to enter the Brashs store as it looked too slick and modern for a metal head to be in. Plus Rings was an independent record shop, while Brashs was a large retail empire, that eventually went bust in the mid 90’s.

The album cost me $19.99. I pay that much a month now for my whole family to listen to music via Spotify.

The stories around the band, was on the scale of what “Game Of Thrones” is today. 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.

From the start of the Dr Davis call in “Terror N Tinseltown” which segues into the thundering rolling E note that kicks off “Dr Feelgood”, you knew this album was an assault on the eardrums. Even Lars Ulrich heard the sonic power of this album and he knew he wanted to work with the producer for the next Metallica album.

Any fan of music could relate to “Kick Start My Heart”. The lyrics are generic enough to be about any life situation that gives you a high. And the iconic whammy bar dives in the intro outlining a high speed bike changing gears is brilliant studio work.

Nikki Sixx also has a great knack for doing tongue in cheek break up songs. “Same Ol Situation” is about losing your girl to another girl and “Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away” doesn’t need any more explaining.

“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.

“Without You” was written from the point of view that Tommy Lee could not live without Heather. Well, he did live without Heather and still does to this day and became even more famous because of his leaked relationship videos with Pamela Anderson.

“Time For Change” sees the Crue addressing social issues, something they would explore a bit more on the Corabi 94 album with “Droppin Like Flies”, “Misunderstood”, “Hooligans Holiday” and “Uncle Jack”, but the piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”.

Sonically, its heavy and pleasing on the ear drums. It has a lot of groove. And lyrics that deal with a drug boss called “Dr Feelgood”. You can create a comic book character based on the lyrics of the song. Descriptive all the way down to the type of car with primed flames.

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

Girls, Girls, Girls

There is a scene in the “Uncensored” video with Vince Neil cruising down Sunset 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 “Girls” clip and the “Uncensored” one. MTV has a ball with it.

While it looks like the guys are having a ball, 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 he got married, while Vince Neil was still on probation and pretending to be sober. In other words, it’s chaos with a capital MC and they still managed to get together and crack out a decent album.

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

Greed has become the new king. Not just in the streets, but in all walks of life. There is so much betrayal and broken dreams in our quest for millions.

Take a ride on the wild side

Only if you dare. You might not come out of it alive. For some it’s the thrill. It’s the metal lifestyle. All aboard. Hahahaha…

I carry my crucifix under my death list

Every single dealer believes in God, wears crucifixes and then breaks God’s rules in killing someone. Every single wronged person, while a good citizen with family values, carries a revenge list of people who wronged them. Humans are born aggressive.

Papa won’t be home tonight
Found dead with his best friends wife

There was a time when crimes of passion dominated. Now, crimes of insanity dominate.

A baby cries, a cop dies
A day’s pay on the wild side

Doing the beat, could mean a gun fight and death. I guess, it is really all in a day’s pay on the wild side.

The sounds of a Harley, a G5 power chord and one of the grooviest riffs ever. That my friends is “Girls, Girls, Girls”. And it’s part of MTV lore with its two video clips.

“Dancing On Glass” has a riff from Mick Mars, which is sleazy and dangerous and Nikki fires out some of the best lines about being an addict.  “Valentines in London, found me in the trash” covers his first overdose. “One extra push, last trip to the top” covers the addict need to get high. “Silver Spoon and needle, witchy tombstone smile” covers the process and when you are user, “I’m no puppet, I engrave my veins in style” sums up the toll on the body.

As far as I’m concerned the first three tracks are a triple knockout, but “Wild Side” and “Girls” survive to this day.

“Bad Boy Boogie” is exactly that, a 12 bar blues boogie that compared to some of the other tracks on the album is considered a decent cut, plus it’s got the iconic line, “you better lock up your daughter when the Motley’s hit the road.”

“Five Years Dead” has some wicked riffs and a lyrical theme from a book Nikki picked up in a second hand shop.  “All In the Name Of ….” is another song with killer riffs and a lyrical theme about “legal never being their scene”.

“Your All I Need” was more popular for its controversial film clip, but then again, whoever said the six o-clock news was pretty.

“Rodeo” was a bonus track on the re-released edition of the album. I guess they already had the ultimate road song in “Home Sweet Home”. Regardless, “Rodeo” is one hell of a song and you can hear that Mick Mars is all over this one.

Laughing like gypsies, from show to show, living my life like a rolling stone
Travelling man, never at home, can’t find love so I sleep alone, this whisky river has a long way to flow

It sure sums up the excess of the 80’s.

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.

If you end up alive, there is always a change. “Dr Feelgood” would be the result of the change, and the pinnacle for a briefly sober band. Of course with sobriety, an artist gets clarity and with clarity people start to realise the dysfunction within. And with more years under their belt, their life choices start to become different. And Motley was different.

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

Daily Mix

My Spotify daily mix was full of niceties today. It started me off in 1994 (Motley Crue), went back to 1986 (Van Halen), then to 1987 (Whitesnake), then back to 1986 (Tesla), then back to 1988 (Europe), then back to 1987 (Dio and Twisted Sister), 1991 (Skid Row) and back to 1987 (Great White)

Power To The Music

The Motley Corabi line up kicks off my day. Tommy Lee kills it behind the kit as he grooves this song to perfection. The self-titled album is the forgotten album in the Motley Crue revisionist history. It’s like 1993 to 1996 never happened.

Power To The Music
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
They gotta put a bullet in my head if they want to keep me down

When I first heard this song, the message was load and clear. The record labels might have put their support behind new musical movements, but rock music was far from dead.

Good Enough

“Hello baby”, screams Sammy, before the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony thunder in and Sammy starts singing about how a fine woman is like U.S prime grade beef. Totally 80’s and totally male.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

Don’t Turn Away

It’s a forgotten song from the mega selling 1987 album. I love it because of the up tempo ending. It reminds me of the ending of “Still Of The Night” and you don’t want it to end.

Rock Me To The Top

Tesla’s music to me is timeless. It doesn’t sound dated or tied to a particular era. Yeah, I know they got lumped in with the Sunset Strip bands, but Tesla was so much more. And they proved it in the 90’s, when all of the Sunset Strip bands got dropped, Tesla continued to make records and tour to great success. They took risks and backed themselves to deliver acoustically. Not a lot of bands could have done that to the quality Tesla did.

“Rock Me To The Top” is written by vocalist Jeff Keith and estranged guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The riff is foot stomping hard rock to a tee.

I’ll take command, take control
Now I see you comin’ back for more
I see you like it, but you don’t need it
Ooh you wanna feel it

Yep, I’m pretty sure Jeff Keith is singing about driving a car.

Sign Of The Times

That keyboard riff is as iconic as “The Final Countdown” riff. It’s a tragedy the song is not well known.

All The Fools Sailed Away

What a voice? Rest in peace Ronnie James Dio, you’ll be forever missed.

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals; it’s time to sing along.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the have and the have nots.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)

It’s another anthem for the SMF’s, the black sheep and the down trodden to wake up and stand together against corruption and oppression.

Who the hell are they to say?
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

It’s the war cry against censorship. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Slave To The Grind

It’s the thrash metal title track from album number 2, which went straight to number 1 on release. Skid Row could do no wrong musically, even though the internal politics and bickering between Bach and Bolan/Sabo had reached Don Dokken/George Lynch volume levels.

Rock Me

After a few verses, I was thinking what’s next and then the Chorus kicked in. I became a fan instantly.

Rock me, rock me, roll me through the night

Today two versions exist, Jack Russell’s Great White and Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. And unfortunately, they are more remembered recently for the Station nightclub fire in 2003 that killed a lot of their fans when pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

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