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

Thrash Musics Three M’s. Metal, Metallica, Mustaine!!

According to “The Guardian”, Metallica is seen as a band that revolutionized the metal genre. According to “The Rolling Stone”, Metallica are kings at everything they do.

Metallica for me was an extreme act when I got into them by the mid Eighties. Extreme in the sense that their style was so departed from the “metal” music I knew, which at that time consisted off bands like Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot. When i first heard the opening riff of “Fight Fire with Fire” I felt like me head got chopped off with a chainsaw. It was brutal. By the time “Ride The Lightning” started with its harmony guitars I was ready to snap my desk in half.

So based on the bands I was listening too, Metallica was pretty extreme. Megadeth even more so. Slayer even more and more so. After that, my tastes became elective and depending on my moods, certain styles would win over the other. In the end, as long as it had distorted guitars, I was into it.

Anyway, there was a story doing the rounds a few weeks ago about how Scott Ian believes that Dave Mustaine is the godfather of thrash music or something along those lines.

And to be honest, I don’t agree with anything Mr Ian says about the internet and piracy, but for this, he is not far off the mark.

All you need to do is hear the songs written on the debut “Kill Em All” album and you will hear that the Dave Mustaine led compositions (“Mechanix/The Four Horseman”, “Jump In The Fire”, “Phantom Lord” and “Metal Militia”) had a certain technical and progressive edge to them.  Especially “Metal Militia” which for a young band full of energy, booze and in Mustaine’s case “drugs” it was a surprise to hear a young act attempt a song with time and tempo changes.

And “Metal Militia” is the style that Metallica went with, up until the Justice album. Technical, progressive thrash metal.

Actually going back even further, you need to look at the songs Hetfield and Ulrich had written prior to Mustaine joining Metallica. “Hit The Lights” was not really thrash metal and more a take on the NWOBHM and a chugging riff that was ripped off from “Detroit Rock City”.

But what about Jeff Hanneman (RIP). To me, the songs he wrote for Slayer are songs that pushed the boundaries of the genre. Thrash metal also had socially relevant lyrics over a bed of chainsaw of guitars and fast drumming. The disenfranchised youth of the blue-collar workers understood this message and suburbia was awash with rebellion and revolutionary ideals.

So even though Metallica (the band) are seen as the leaders of the movement, I think it’s a safe bet to say that Mustaine played a pivotal role in shaping the Metallica style. In turn, they took a lot of the noise happening around them and turned it into a career.

But the term thrash proved to be a barrier to commercial success and by the mid 90’s, the Eighties fans of the thrash bands screamed sell outs as they believed their heroes had abandoned the movement. But as Dylan sings in his songs, you need to keep on rolling, keep on changing and keep on exploring.

We all know what the “Black” album did, however Testament followed suit with “The Ritual”, Megadeth with “Countdown To Extinction”, Anthrax were already experimenting with their sound, moving to a more traditional sound with “Persistence Of Time” and a more modern groove sound with “Sound Of White Noise”. Meanwhile, Slayer delivered a typical Slayer album with “Divine Intervention”. Thrash had re-invented itself as a commercial force.

To say that one band revolutionized a genre is like saying one man invented all of Apple’s products, which we all know is not true. All cultural movements are products of many events coming together but in metal and thrash metal circles, it’s one band that is getting all of the accolades because of their commercial success. And history is written by the winners.

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

Rich And Famous

“Don’t expect to be rich and famous in this day and age, that is a very narcissistic attitude. You get into it because you love artistic expression, actually making music.”
Phil Collen in 2015

It’s a bit misleading when artists that have made money from the music business, state “don’t expect to be rich in this day and age”.

Artists never expected to get rich from creating. The classic rockers from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties had no idea there was that much money in music. No one thought being a rock musician was a role they could keep till death.

The stardom always came after, but when MTV put the rock stars into our lounge rooms, a hive mindset was created who wanted to be rich and famous without being musicians first. You know the kind of musician I am talking about, the one who practiced alone instead of Facebooking how great their practice is and how a possible song might come out of it. You know, the type of musician who is oftentimes ignored. Sometimes for their entire career.

“Rock ‘n’ roll should never have any limitations. That’s why Elvis took the guitar and not only did he play it, but he swayed his hips with it and he sang cool songs and he did choreography. When you start holding yourself back, then you lose the meaning of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Bret Michaels in 1987

Let me tell you a story about Vincent Van Gogh.

He never sold a painting in his life even though he had family members as art dealers.

He died broke.

100 years after his death, one of his paintings sold for over $100 million.

Did Van Gogh create art expecting to be rich and famous ?

There is a lot of discussion about the state of music today.

  • There are people who are asking where are the Lennon/McCartney’s, the Todd Rundgren’s, the Paul Simon’s, the Tyler/Perry’s, etc. of today.
  • Then there are people who believe that music is in a good place today and because there is so much music out there, it is ignored.
  • Then there are people who believe that artists these days write songs with an ulterior motive, replacing the art of music with the art of a product/service.
  • There are people who believe that there is still good quality music out there but it’s all underground and on the fringes.
  • There are people who reckon that the major labels ruined it all, by chasing what will make them the most money today, instead of years down the track.
  • Finally, there are people born way after the 60’s and 70’s finished who listen solely to artists from that era because they don’t see anything worthwhile/creative these days.

You see, in 2015 fans of music have a problem. Depending on your point of view it could be a good problem or a bad problem. As Steve Albini stated in a recent lecture;

“Now there is so much music it’s hard to be noticed. But that means there’s so much music available because it’s so easy for music to become available. If your music is not special, it’s no longer possible for hype and promotion to do all of the work. There are always going be a few mainstream pop stars, but that is no longer the main focus of music scene. The main focus is going to be people finding music on their own and discovering stuff that they like specifically for themselves.”

There is no doubt we live in a pop-dominated world so who can we can trust to give us the truth when it comes to metal and hard rock music news.

  • If you go to Loudwire or Ultimate Classic Rock or Diffuser, you will see that it is paid advertising from the bands PR companies.
  • Go to Blabbermouth and what you get is a carbon copy of a post that happened somewhere else on the internet. Why give the view to Blabbermouth?
  • Metal Injection and Metal Insider are two cool sites, but they also border on promoting one style of music over another because it suits their ideal.

The speed of change is increasing and the ones that are most adaptable will survive. And that means in the way the artists connect with the fans or market their music.

“They called it ‘nu metal’ is because it damn well was. When we came out of Hollywood, the ‘hair metal’ bands totally killed the scene. The Roxy, the Whisky… nobody was drawing anybody. And here comes COAL CHAMBER, here comes the DEFTONES, selling out shows. The Roxy, the Whisky… Here you’ve got this new scene — ‘nu metal,’ cause it was heavy. But I think the term ‘nu metal ‘is almost, like, pretty badass. Because you’re doing something new within a genre that existed forever and is heavy as hell, but it sounds newer and [with] newer influences.”
Dez Fafara – Coal Chamber

No one saw it coming. Great art comes from a hard life.

Like the British Invasion between ‘66 and ‘72. Like the NWOBHM and Punk movements between ’78 and ’81. Like the Sunset Strip from ’81 to ’87. Like Seattle in ’91.

And the story is still the same.

No one started to create for riches and fame in this “day and age” or in old “day and age”.

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