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

Forgotten 80s List Part 3

Here is the playlist.

Forgotten songs from the Eighties are still on my mind. Here is another list of songs that should end up on your playlist one way or another.

The problem with the below songs is they were dwarfed by other “MTV” single songs or just bad promotion from the record label.

Out On The Streets
King Of The Fools

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister knew which road they needed to take to make it. Now that they made it, what was next? Which road should they take? Bob Ezrin was approached to produce the album and after hearing the demos he didn’t hear a hit, so he passed. Hindsight and the passage of time points to Dee losing his way and anger at the world, but to me, the songs on “Come Out and Play” (except for “Leader” and “Be Cruel”) are as strong as the songs on “Stay Hungry”.

I believe it was poor record label decisions to release “Leader of the Pack” as the opening single. And to be honest “Be Cruel to Your School” is one of the weaker tracks on the album for me and never should have been a single.

“Come Out And Play”, “The Fire Still Burns” and “I Believe In Rock’N’Roll” are favourites of mine from the album and they got played live. “Out On The Streets” and the bonus track “King Of The Fools” do not get any love, hence they are on this list.

I’ve always dug a song that starts off with bass and drums. Then the vocal melody kicks in and then the guitars. “Lost Behind A Wall” from Dokken also comes to mind.

Searching for something in this human zoo
Kaleidoscope of faces, maybe, it might be you

I had to look up “kaleidoscope” in the dictionary. I had no idea what it meant. After I digested the meaning, it made the lyric even better.

Someone listen to my prayers
Can’t help feeling no one cares

The biggest fear is loneliness. We want someone to care for us, even more so for people who reached the top in their chosen field.

You’re out on the streets, living on your own

I’ve always taken this lyric to mean; away from home and the comforts of our loved ones. Look at any lyric from a rocker who spends a lot of time on the road touring and you will see how much it pains them. They turn to drugs as a supplement and sometimes when they are alone in their hotel room, away from everyone, their thoughts get the better of them.

My cousin Mega is a huge Twisted fan. He even tattooed the logo on his shoulder. So Mega had the album upon release, plus the VHS video. So I dubbed the LP on cassette and I also dubbed the VHS video onto a blank video tape until I had enough funds to purchase the original. So a few months after release, I purchased the LP. Many years later, well into the 90’s I came across a CD version of “Come Out And Play” via the second hand record shops. The almost faded sticker of “Bonus Track” was enough incentive. And “King Of the Fools” is that bonus track and man what a track it is.

The harmony guitars to kick it off, remind me of “Bringin On The Heartbreak” by Def Leppard. They sound epic, grand and they set the tone for a monster of a song that for some reason, the guys in the band nor the record label didn’t see fit to put on the normal album release. Sort of like how Bon Jovi left “Edge Of A Broken Heart” off the “Slippery When Wet” album and left “Social Disease” on it.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

We strive to make it, to be successful. And when we get there, we suddenly have people waiting to see what our next word will be, our next song and so forth. Suddenly doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. We turn to addictions to numb the pain. We want to be on the road, we want to be adored, we want to play shows, yet we don’t want to be away from our families.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (the institutions, the government, the mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the institutions. If the institutions see us as fools, then our idols are our Kings’.

Fight For Your Rights
Motley Crue

Sometimes it makes you wonder how a band with so many addictive personalities can get it together to churn out an album. “Theater of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” have a certain reputation as the “more filler” albums in Motley Crue’s 80’s output. It comes as no surprise that these “more filler” albums occurred at the height of the bands addictions.

But putting aside people’s viewpoints, each album has a few cult like gems. On a previous “Forgotten” post, I sang the praises of “Dancin On Glass” from the “Girls” album. On this post, “Fight For Your Rights” from the “Theater” album gets some love.

How good is the intro/verse riff?

Who wrote the Bible?
Who set the laws?
Are we left to history’s flaws?

We live in a world created by the religion institutions’ and the ones who control the wealth. And throughout the ages of times, documents got produced on how people should live. Eventually those documents became important to the detriment of any other document that challenged it.

Fight (fight) for your rights

Dee Snider turned up to the hearings against censorship, others wrote songs about it.

Martin Luther
Brought the truth
The color of our blood’s the same

So true. We all bleed red.

So break the chains
And solve the pains
And we all become one race

It’s easier said than done. These days it’s everybody against everybody. People of the same colour are against people of their own colour as well as people of different races. Then you have people against people because of religious beliefs or relationship preference. Then you have people against people because of social status. In my view, money is a bigger evil today.

Waiting For Darkness
Ozzy Osbourne

Even though Ozzy Osbourne is listed as the only songwriter, it’s well known that Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and Jake E. Lee along with Daisley wrote the music. The guitar playing is what hooked me onto this song. The palm muted staccato lines in the verses from Jake over a syncopated bass/drum groove is just brilliant. So once I unpacked the riffage, I started listening to the lyrics and the vocal melodies.

Waiting for darkness
Why doesn’t anybody see now?
Deafened by silence
Why doesn’t anybody hear?

It’s easy to place this lyric with the lifestyle of Ozzy. Due to his addictions and constant toxic state, you can imagine many days and nights spent in a drug induced darkness. Deafening silence means a lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm from those who surround you or love you. So you have Daisley writing about a darkness to come, and everybody is too busy to care. Sort of like how people don’t care how their private data is gathered and sold by the large internet corporations. Sort of like how people don’t care about net neutrality. Until it’s too late.

We’re hardwired to believe and understand the things we experience, so we experience the internet and we like it. But there is a battle happening over the control of the internet and people just don’t care.

I know what they’ll find
It’s in their mind
It’s what they want to see
Spare me from the light
Here comes the night
And here I’ll stay waiting for darkness

This is all about people who don’t care to see the truth. What they’ve been told from birth and from their tribe is what will remain with them forever.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how free I’m not. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”, “New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”.

That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll
AC/DC

From 1988’s “Blow Up Your Video” album. It was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Party gonna happen at the union hall
Shaking to the rhythm ’til everybody fall
Picking up my woman in my Chevrolet
Glory hallelujah, gonna rock the night away

The scene is set. We have Brian picking up his woman, to take her to a party at Union Hall and rock the night away until they fall.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again. The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” call to arms. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us.

Young Lust
Aerosmith

Like “Permanent Vacation” before it, “Pump” had some monster songs that stole all the glory like “Love In The Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “The Other Side” and “What It Takes”. And when that happens, it’s easy for songs to get lost or become forgotten. But “Young Lust” is the opener. In the minds of Tyler and Perry, it was good enough back then to open the god damn “Pump” album and today it gets no listens. To me, it’s just a pure party rock and roll anthem and Joey Kramer again goes to town on the drums, with his double kick underpinning the groove and tempo of the song.

A little bit o’ nasty
You look a little sleazy
But don’t get any on you

Is that what Bill said to Monica?

Young lust
Once you had it you can never go back

It’s totally wrong this lyric.

Checkin’ out the ladies
Who didn’t bring their boyfriends
Who love to get in trouble
I got to say I’ll see you later, meet me in the elevator

Tyler’s elevator fetish gets a prequel.

Young lust
I’m a-pushin’ and a-shovin’ it

Only Tyler can get away with lyrics like these.

One In A Million
Guns N Roses

This one is from the “Lies” EP released I think in 1989. I can Wikipedia it, but screw it, I’m running on fumes at the moment. I remember reading the stories about the “controversial” lyrics, especially the lines around “Immigrants and faggots” and “police and niggers”. But really, are the lyrics that controversial. There is always someone who gets upset at something. Basically, there is just no way one person/artist can make every single person in the world love them. It’s impossible.

Police and Niggers, that’s right
Get out of my way
Don’t need to buy none of your
Gold chains today

Is Axl a racist?

Maybe.

Is he trying to address some social ills with the verse above about a class divide?

Maybe.

You need to remember, this song came out in 1989 and there is a good chance the lyrics were written sometime in the 80’s. The L.A police during this period made a name for themselves as being pretty heavy when it came to dealing with citizens. And from the stories we kept seeing on the news, the police in L.A didn’t do themselves any favours. NWA wrote a cult classic about doing something with the police in LA. All of this bubbled to the surface when a video was released of the police beating Rodney King with clubs. What happened after that? Riots in L.A. A “Hooligan’s Holiday”. The nigger part is playing to a stereotype and a better word could have been used, but Axl was never about conforming.

You’re one in a million
Yeah, that’s what you are
You’re one in a million, babe
You’re a shooting star
Maybe someday we’ll see you
Before you make us cry
You know we tried to reach you
But you were much too high

The Chorus didn’t make much sense due to the extreme nature of the verses, but many years later it does. It’s basically saying, if you want to be a star, you are one of many in this world. And if you want your 15 minutes of fame, you are in competition with all of the problems of the world for people’s attention.

Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they’ll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran,
Or spread some disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It’s all Greek to me

What a verse?

Talk about moving a conversation forward. I remember reading how ignorant Axl is and what not because of this verse, but in the end he was speaking a truth that he saw.

Isn’t that the artists credo, to knock down doors and be yourself.

I am sure millions will agree with what Axl meant about “starting a mini Iran”. Each race has a small faction of people who are so far removed from the conversation, their ideology is the only way. The problem is when that race has 100 million people worldwide, 10% is a small faction as a percentage, but in people numbers it’s large. And I always wonder. People come to democratic countries to escape the horrors of their own home and then they try their best to turn the streets of the democratic country that took them in, into the war torn streets of their homeland.

Radicals and Racists
Don’t point your finger at me
I’m a small town white boy
Just tryin’ to make ends meet
Don’t need your religion
Don’t watch that much TV
Just makin’ my livin’, baby
Well that’s enough for me

If we want a better future, it helps to be able to see the world as it is. Watching a news program is seeing the world as the news program wants you to see it. Reading a news article is seeing the world as the writer of the news article wants you to see it. Seeing a Travel video is seeing the world as the people who made the travel video want you to see it. You need to get out and see with your own eyes the world. Just don’t get run over by a mad man in a van.

Mine All Mine
Van Halen

I know it was a single, but in all seriousness, a lot of the singles from “5150” were still on the airwaves along with “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” from “OU812”. “Jump” and “Panama” also had traction. So “Mine All Mine” just percolated outside the Van Hagar Halen hit factory.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

The problem with the world summed up in three lines. And it all boils down to a belief system.

Stop lookin’ out, start lookin’ in
Be your own best friend
Stand up and say, “Hey! This is mine!”

There it is in a nutshell. Stop looking out and start looking in. Don’t worry about what the person next door does or what they have. Focus on what you have and focus on what you can control. In the end, if you don’t like the state of the world, with the whole world at your fingertips, you will be able to find other voices to stand up with you when the time comes to raise your voice.

How good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Sometimes he goes all crazy and plays leads with reckless abandonment and sometimes he delivers melodic gems within his own theatrical style.

Standing In The Shadow
Guilty Of Love
Kittens Got Claws
Wings Of The Storm

Whitesnake

Is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

“Standing In The Shadow” is from 1984’s “Slide It In” album and it’s written by Coverdale.

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Too many people
Standing in the shadow
Standing in the shadow of love

It’s like sitting on the sidelines and assessing the situation for the right time to re-join the game.

“Guilty Of Love” is from the same album and how cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by Coverdale.

I believe my love for you
Is a love that will last forever?
And I’m here to testify
I’m a prisoner of your heart

When you fall in love, your heart becomes a captive to the other half. And when the relationship ends, it hurts.

Baby, don’t you believe when I tell you I love you
That I really mean it
Don’t you walk away?
Don’t you turn your back on me?

I guess we don’t really know what we got until it’s gone.

“Kittens Got Claws” is from “Slip Of The Tongue”, the follow-up to the mega 1987 self-titled album. Coverdale selected Adrian Vandenberg as his co-writer for this album. It would have been interesting to see how the songs would have sounded if Coverdale used Vivian Campbell as well, but it was not to be. Regardless, Vandenberg as co-writer is involved in some epic songs. Let’s not forget the title track “Slip Of The Tongue”, “Judgement Day”, “Sailing Ships”, “Now You’re Gone” and “The Deeper The Love”. But to me “Kittens Got Claws” is just a fun track to listen to and tap your foot to.

Walking down the street
You’re the center of my universe
You got the world in your pocket,
My manhood in your purse
You ain’t a bad girl, honey,
No matter what the neighbours say,
It’s just that you were those skin-tight dresses
With your G-string tuned to “A”

How good is the “G-string tuned to A” line?

Brilliant.

“Wings Of The Storm” is another little gem largely forgotten. It’s heavier and speedier and far removed from the blues based Whitesnake but man it’s a pretty good listen. It’s pedal point heaven for a guitarist.

On an’ on, the road goes on,
An’ it’ll go on forever,
Time will show if you and I
Will walk that road together

Almost 6 years later, Coverdale is still in a spot of bother when it comes to his love life.

It’s unfortunate that Geffen Records became a label that focused more on the results, totally ignoring the community and what customers of their artists could like. David Coverdale built a community around Whitesnake and a trust with the fans. And the labels just abandoned the artists at will. To me community and trust is more important than results, hence the reason why Whitesnake still rolls today.

Rock Me To The Top
Before My Eyes

Tesla

“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 the original meaning of rock and roll and not the musical form.

“Before My Eyes” is written by guitarist Frank Hannon, along with Jeff Keith, Tommy Skeoch and drummer Troy Luccketta. To me, it’s the feel of the song that captures my attention more so than the lyrics. It reminds me of Y&T and it feels sad and spacey. Lyrically I’m not a fan, but musically I am all in.

Tomorrow
Naked City
Exciter
I’ve Had Enough
King Of The Mountain
My Way
Silver Spoon

Kiss

Kiss didn’t sell a lot of recorded music product compared to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other large 70’s acts. But they are still seen as one of rocks biggest groups in the 70’s and maybe the entertainers of that decade. But by the end of 70’s and the start of the 80’s they got eclipsed by Disco, New Wave Pop, the NWOBHM and the L.A scene. Suddenly it looked like the band was in the rear view mirror. Original band members “officially left” even though they really left recording new music with the band a long time again. But with each album they dropped in the 80’s, they continued their evolution. “Lick It Up”, “Creatures Of The Night”, “I Still Love You”, “I Love It Loud”, “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “War Machine” are concert staples.

Here are a few gems a bit outside of Kiss’s comfort zone which had enough rock in em to keep me satisfied.

“Tomorrow” and “Naked City” come from the “Unmasked” album released in 1980. Both tracks merge the current pop trend with the distorted rock they are known for. I was late to the party on this album, hearing it in its entirety in the early 90’s.

“Tomorrow” is written by Paul Stanley and Vince Poncia and Stanley even plays bass guitar. You need any more evidence of dysfunction, here you have it.

I didn’t know just what to say
When you turned and you looked my way
It doesn’t happen to me every day
Can we talk a while?

I used to think that all of the rock stars had all the lines and moves covered when it came to love. In the end, they are all tongue-tied and error prone like all of us when it comes to love.

You didn’t have to say a word
I tried to tell you, but I lost my nerve
You know I wanted just to slip away
For a little while

An opportunity missed. Who hasn’t been there?

“Naked City” is written by a song writing committee of Gene Simmons, Vince Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro. This one is an interesting track. It’s got a super heavy bass riff and that riff continues throughout the song. However the guitars set the vibe. In the Chorus its all “Arena Rock” and in the intro/verses it’s a “reggae shuffle”. And when it comes together it all works.

In the naked city (in the city)
There are ten million stories (naked city)

Once upon a time, stories travelled by word of mouth and the press. Now stories travel via a cable all around the world in a matter of seconds. It each city, millions of people live their lives and a new story is created every second.

Lonely people looking’ for someone
Lonely people going’ their way

It sums up life to a tee. We are all lonely people looking for someone to be with us to the end. We are all lonely people trying to find our way in life. Hopefully with someone.

“Exciter” is the opening track to the “Lick It Up” album in 1983. It’s a speed metal song and Vinnie Vincent brings out the metal and the shred and the delay. Actually what a waste of a great talent the Vinnie Vincent story is. His ego burned so many bridges; eventually people just turned away and refused to work with him. Even his record label turned him down and dropped him.

Passion and fire, lust and desire
Exciter
Pleasure and pain, this is my name
Exciter

Enough said. The lyrics are a waste and fail to deliver justice to the riffage.

“I’ve Had Enough” is also the opening track from “Animalise” released in 1984. It’s written by Desmond Child and Paul Stanley. Stanley was always an underrated guitarist who actually churned out some killer riffage in his 40 plus years creating music. Mark St John (RIP) just copied what Stanley wrote and played it on the album. Or maybe Mark just did the leads, while Paul did all the rhythm, sort of like how James Hetfield does all the harmonies and rhythms, while Kirk does all the solos.

How many times have they lied with the truth in their eyes?
Treat you like dirt, wasting the days of our lives
They try and deny it, ain’t gonna buy it, just look around
Before it’s all over, it’s gonna get rough
I’ve had enough

I always assumed the “they” in the song are people who abuse their power, people who put you down, people who make your life hell, people who you trust the most talking crap about you behind your back and so forth.

(Out of the cold, into the fire)
Nothing and no one is stopping me now

Attitude is the most important choice we have to make every single day. We have the choice to be optimistic, the choice to participate, and the choice to challenge the powers that be and find hope when fear and uncertainty is rampant. We select these attitudes. It’s our choice and when we do, nothing can stop us.

Wishing’ and hoping’ won’t get you nothing’
Praying’ and scheming’, no time for dreaming’
I’ve got the power, this is the hour now

You need to take action. If you don’t take action, nothing will transpire. A small change today leads to a large change in the future. Are you ready to make the change?

“King Of The Mountain” is the opening track from “Asylum” released in 1985 and the first album to feature Bruce Kulick. Kulick actually co-wrote the song with Desmond Child and Paul Stanley and the music is very close to “Creatures Of The Night”. It’s funny how a simple guitar riff sounds so heavy because of the drum groove laid down by Eric Carr.

I’m gonna climb the mountain
I’m gonna hit the top
I wanna go where nobody’s ever been
I’m never gonna stop

Isn’t that the spirit of human adventure? Reach the top, go where nobody’s ever been.

I’m the king of the mountain
And the winner takes it all

The bane of any existence is laziness and fear, the belief that we can’t make it so were better off not trying. We can make excuses because we are surrounded winners doing everything. In reality, nothing in our daily lives is a winner takes all competition. Yeah, there always be someone smarter, faster and more popular than you. And you will be smarter, faster and more popular than others. And those others you are far ahead are far ahead of others and so forth. The difference is how high is each individual mountain?

How good is the lead break from Kulick?

Man he shreds tastefully. Still his moment of guitar hero glory came on the much hated, or tolerated or loved album (depending on which side of the fence you sit) “Crazy Nights” which came two years after “Asylum”.

“My Way” is written by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley and Bruce Turgon (he played bass in Warrior, played bass and co-write most of the songs on Lou Gramm’s solo releases plus Shadow King’s 1991 release and Foreigner’s 1994 album) and it comes from the keyboard heavy “Crazy Nights” released in 1987. Depending on your point of view, this album is hated, tolerated or loved. And this song is also hated, tolerated or loved.

Oh the heat is on
And my back’s against the wall
You know it’s tough to be strong
In a world that makes you crawl

Clichéd. Yes. Original. No. Commercial. Yes. Sounds like Kiss. Umm, it sounds like Kiss in the 80’s. The lyrical message has been done to death about being strong and being yourself in a world that’s controlled by institutions who want you to be something else.

I’m gonna talk like I talk
Walk like I walk my way
I’m gonna go where I go
Ain’t takin’ no, my way

It’s easy to silence your voice. We’ve been battered by all the noise, problems and hassle that come with raising our voice. So sometimes we just sit back because it’s easier. Eventually, we find our voice again and as the Chorus goes, we will talk like we talk and walk like we walk and we will do it on our terms and our way.

What about Stanley’s highs in this one. Do you reckon he had someone in the studio squeezing his balls to hit those highs?

“Silver Spoon” comes from 1989’s “Hot In The Shade” and Paul Stanley had come full circle writing with Vince Poncia again. Like “Crazy Nights” this album is hated, tolerated or loved.

In a city where the buildings rise
I was just another face
But mama told me when somebody dies
No one else can take your place

It’s a really cool verse. I don’t know who came up with those lines but they are pretty solid and full of truth. In cities that have millions of people, we are all just bodies and faces in a sea of faces. But each person is unique and they bring their own light to this world. Our thoughts are all different and when we pass, our light goes out and no one can replicate it.

It’s a shame the rest of the song didn’t follow a similar lyrical thread. Instead it went to a girl, with an attitude because she was born with a silver spoon.

Had Enough
Mr Big

It’s the feel of the song. It’s like a ballad but it’s not a ballad. Having super shredders like Gilbert and Sheehan colouring the song with some great rhythms is great to hear.

Ain’t like any other day
Finally comes a time to decide
I won’t spend another day
Stuck here in the same old bind

The first two verses could be about any life situation and then the song devolves into a relationship situation. Missed opportunity to connect much wider.

What’s It Gonna Be
Ratt

It’s from 1988’s “Reach For The Sky” album and it’s written by Robbin Crosby, Juan Croucier, Warren DeMartini, Beau Hill and Stephen Pearcy.

The promises were empty and your blood runs cold
So tell me
What’s it gonna be, sweet Elena
Just give it to me straight, is it him or me?

I can’t remember if Elena was Peacy’s wife, but the question is simple, what’s it gonna be?

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World
Y&T

Y&T is one of those bands that just hook me with their sense of melody and feel. “Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save The World” is from their 1984 album called “In Rock We Trust”.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Gutter Ballet
When The Crowds Are Gone
Hounds
Summer’s Rain

Savatage

All the songs are written by the holy trinity of Criss Oliva (RIP), Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill (RIP).

Another sleepless night
A concrete paradise
Sirens screaming in the heat
Neon cuts the eye
As the jester sighs
At the world beneath his feet

It’s that click track piano that makes it unique as Jon sings about the way of the streets in a circus setting.

Another death to mourn
Another child is born
Another chapter in the play

The cycle of life, a death, a birth and a new story to tell.

How good is the instrumental lead break section in the song?

“When The Crowds Are Gone” is the song that sealed the deal, the song that made me love the album. It’s the vocal outro, the lyrics and Jon Olvia’s vocal delivery. The outro is that good, Savatage used it for other songs on future albums. It’s easy to get caught up in it.

I don’t know where the years have gone
Memories can only last so long
Like faded photographs, forgotten songs

Artists who have been on the road for a long time, miss out on so much from their personal lives. It’s a sacrifice.

Where’s the light, turn then on again
One more night to believe and then
Another note for my requiem
A memory to carry on
The story’s over when the crowds are gone

When the crowds are gone, the career of an artist is over. When the show is over and the crowds are gone, the night is over and the journey begins to a new city and a new show.

All my friends have been crucified
They made life a long suicide true
Guess we never figured out the rules
But I’m still alive and my fingers feel
I’m gonna play on till the final reel’s through
And read the credits from a different view

It’s about a clarinet player who chooses to retire from playing on his own terms. But in the song, his own terms are too late, because as the song goes, the crowds are no longer there.

I never wanted to know
Never wanted to see
I wasted my time till time wasted me
Never wanted to go
Always wanted to stay
Cause the person I am are the parts that I play
So I play and I plan
And hope and I scheme
To the lure of a night
Filled with unfinished dreams
And I’m holding on tight
To a world gone astray

The big ending and it works so well with the music, the vocal melody and the pain in Jon Oliva’s voice as the clarinet player finally understands it’s all over.

In “Hounds”, Criss Oliva becomes a guitar hero with some wicked riffage and wicked shredding.

Do you hear the hounds they call
Scan the dark eyes aglow
Through the bitter rain and cold
They hunt you down
Hunt you down

The word “hounds” is just another word for the predatory people in our lives. And if we are not too careful, eventually they will hunt us down. Of course the song is about hounds, but it’s very easy to interchange the two.

How good is that melody lead under the chorus vocal melody in “Summers Rain”?

Standing alone in a dream
Where nothing is real
But oh how real it feels
There were times I lost my way
I was alone, lost in a haze
Where are you now
I’ll find you somehow

A song about a relationship that doesn’t sound clichéd and lazy.

And do I stand alone
Like a fool out in the rain
Hanging on somehow
To an ancient vow
Where there’s nothing left to gain
And do you know
How it feels inside
To be all alone
A fool and his pride

When you don’t want to let go, even though the other half has already moved on. But life is more about doors closing, not opening. And when doors close and new opens open we are forced to go in a certain direction.

Metal Heart
Accept

It is 1999
The human race has to face it
They are confronted with the truth
It’s secret — mysterious

For Accept the truth is and always will be heavy metal. But in all seriousness, the human race needs to confront the truth and make some changes. Our planet is warming. There is no way people can deny it. The normal winds we get are more destructive and last longer than ever before. The rain that falls is a lot more destructive than ever before.

Downhearted
Reckless – Don’t Be So
The Boys Light Up

Australian Crawl

I left my heart back in the Orient
Down on Bali bays
It’s not the way that I should feel
But it’s the way I’m gonna stay
Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started

Holiday romances and the feeling of loneliness when you get back home. Back in the 80’s once you left, the connection was lost. Not like in today’s connected world. And Australian’s always go to Bali for a holiday. It’s seen as a cheap overseas holiday.

In “Reckless”, the band maps out the journey into Sydney from Manly via the ferry via the first verse.

Meet me down by the jetty landing
Where the pontoons bump and sway
I see the others reading, standing
As the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay

Anyone who has done the ferry journey can relate to the above.

So, throw down your guns
Don’t be so reckless

The iconic chorus lines. Don’t be so reckless to destroy a relationship that took years to build.

Finally, we have the pub rock classic. In steel city Wollongong, we always assumed “The Boys Light Up” meant lighting up a reefer. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I really unpacked the lyrics and found some brilliant lines.

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before the midday show
Her back is arched; those lips are parched, repeated blow by blow

Mmm, I wonder what mothers little helper is. Zzzzzzzzz…

Later at the party
All the MPs rave
About the hummers she’s been givin’
And the money that they save
To her it is skin lotion
Him promotion to
That flat in Surfers’ Paradise with the ocean view

For all of the political scandals that made headline news from the late Nineties onwards, the above verse seemed prophetic to say the least. Seriously, what a creative, tongue in cheek verse. And all Australians know Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The boys light up

I guess the boys lighting up is all about getting hard and coming alive.

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

Dues To Pay

Don Brautigam didn’t get the Metallica “Master Of Puppets” or the Motley Crue “Dr Feelgood” cover design gig because he just graduated from drawing school or he had the digital tools at home to create art. Brautigam had spent 15 years doing book covers, sci-fi art and album covers for over artists. He got recognition for his Stephen King book cover design in 1980. He was paying his dues every single day.

Twisted Sister didn’t just write a multi-platinum album out of the blue. It was a long hard road, with some great live moments and record label rejection. While they had the US Tri-State scene covered, to the rest of the world they were unknown. As far as the person in Australia was concerned, they laboured in obscurity. But they kept on doing the great work for a lot of years before most people heard them.

Dream Theater’s “Images And Words” was seven years in the making from when the band got together in 85. All of those choices made in the past led to this album. And once you add the years of individual practice and listening before Dream Theater formed, you can see that “Images and Words” didn’t just write itself.

John Sykes didn’t just come out of the blue and join Whitesnake and then go on to co-write one of the best albums from 1987. His journey involved local bands in the UK, then Tygers of Pang Tang, Thin Lizzy and finally Whitesnake. David Coverdale started off with local bands in the UK, then Deep Purple and finally Whitesnake. The accumulation of years paying their dues led to a perfect synergy/chemistry which resulted in the 1987 album.

Recently I got into the instrumental music of Andy James. A great melodic guitarist and what a shredder. When you look at his past, you can see a high work ethic, writing, recording, touring, doing transcriptions, magazine work, sessions and what not. I am sure, many nights/months passed labouring in obscurity, but he kept on doing great work, years before most people realised and recognised his work.

Hate em or love em, but Five Finger Death Punch is no accident. They are a good example that it takes years, over a decade to find the right formula that works, to keep on working on the music, the message in the lyrics and taking chances. The band members themselves have roots that go back to the early 90’s.

The past is the forerunner to the future and any success that might follow. That rocket ship to success that MTV sold everyone, no longer exists. No one will ever be as big as they’d dreamed they’d be. If an artist is lucky, they will have established a following that pays their bills.

And today, the past is even more important. We live in an era where people don’t realize how hard it is to rise above the noise and connect with people. We do it socially, but artistically it’s difficult. And our past stories and experiences are there to build connections. The right or wrong choices we made in the past, shape who we are today.

But the world moves so fast.

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