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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 2 to May 8

2018 (4 Years Ago)

MUSICAL CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN DAVID COVERDALE AND JOHN SYKES

Sykes first official band was an outfit called “Streetfighter”. They played mainly cover songs and an original song called “She’s No Angel” appeared on a compilation album called “New Electric Warrior”. There was also an EP released which can be found on YouTube with Sykes playing guitar and doing vocals.

In 1980, Sykes saw an ad for a lead guitar position. He auditioned and ended up joining Tygers Of Pan Tang for two albums, “Spellbound” and “Crazy Nights”. Although good albums, they didn’t sell like the record label wanted them to sell.

Meanwhile, Sykes was getting some recognition and was even asked to audition for Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

In the book “Thin Lizzy” by Alan Byrne, its mentioned how Sykes was brought into Thin Lizzy on the suggestion of producer Chris Tsangarides who had worked with Sykes in Tygers Of Pan Tang, and also secured a deal for Sykes with MCA to release a song that Sykes had written.

“Thunder and Lightning” started to re-establish Thin Lizzy in the 80’s as they album had a metal heavy rock edge. At the same time, David Coverdale tried to hire Adrian Vandenberg and Mama’s Boys Pat McManus on guitar however they both rejected the offer. John Sykes was then offered a million dollars advance payment to join Whitesnake.

Mel Galley eventually left the band during the tour and Sykes went on to handle the guitar parts himself. Jon Lord also left to reunite with Deep Purple, thus making Whitesnake a four-piece of Coverdale, Sykes, Murray and Powell.

Money plays a part in every band and Whitesnake was no different. Cozy Powell didn’t like what he was offered to continue with the band and left. Aynsley Dunbar got his chance and ended up being the drummer for Whitesnake’s most successful album.

The 1987 Whitesnake sessions had delays, illnesses and personality issues. Murray didn’t know if he was in the band or out of the band, however he kept on turning up to the studio and completing his bass parts. Coverdale told them all to explore other projects if they got a chance as the money from Geffen was running out and Coverdale couldn’t keep them on the payroll.

The 87 album was rumoured to have cost $3M dollars to write and record. This financial pressure destroyed the song writing partnership known as Coverdale/Sykes. It could have been one of the best song writing partnerships in hard rock music for many years after, but we’ll never know. David Coverdale called the writing process a “musical conversation” between Sykes and himself. And we got to hear the results of the musical conversation.

FREE WILL

Remember in “The Social Network”, the final scene, Zuckerberg is alone in his house, surrounded by darkness except from the light coming from his computer and he is still sending friend requests to his ex-girlfriend who told him she doesn’t want to see him or hear from him again because he is a sociopath. It sure seems a very social way to communicate with someone.

But he was a misfit in his circle and a lot of people identify with misfits. It’s a big reason why rock music became a commercial force. Today, those metal and rock T-shirts are available everywhere as designer clothing, but once upon a time, they were patches earned from a lifestyle lived. Because it was all about the music. Divided we lived, but united we stood.

Then we grew up, started to earn money, started to borrow money and suddenly we became part of the rat race. And no one forced us to enter the rat race. We tried to climb a greasy pole, believing if we worked hard enough, we would get to the top.

We might live in a country that is a democracy, however as long as you are living to please others and to build other people’s dreams then you are not free. Without realising it, your whole life is tied to a job.

Everyone has a story and the less you have in possessions and dollars, the more you have struggled, the better the story is. So the story of this generation should be about standing up against injustice. When pushed to the wall, how do you react?

Life is a process, with ups and downs. We fall in and out of love. We make money, lose money. We have children, watch them grow up and then we are alone. And somehow through it all we survive almost anything thrown at us and come out of it for the better. As long as we made a choice.

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose free will

Free Will by Rush

So many people have grown up in countries where free speech is respected. But today, people are scared to speak freely, scared to be attacked by the bots, the trolls, the politically correct hipsters, the angry left, the angry right and whatever else the internet social media predators can throw at you.

Maybe it’s time to say we’re not gonna take it anymore.

THE LABELS

There was a saying that if you followed enough of the rules, you would get a recording contact, millions of dollars and the red carpet. Perhaps one in a 1,000,000 acts pull this off. Actually you have a higher probability of being hit by a comet than making a lot of money in music.

So, the record labels wanted to maintain the sales model but they got dragged kicking and screaming to downloads. Credit Apple for pushing it and credit Warner Music for being the first major to sign. Suddenly their revenues went up. But they still complained. They screamed to their friends in politics for laws to be passed. Then streaming came out and they got dragged kicking and screaming to streaming. They even got a percentage of the streaming company and surprise, surprise, the revenues went up again.

Times are changing. Nothing will look the same in relation to labels and streaming companies in the next ten years.

As for the labels, they are not going away. Morphing more into marketing companies, who could help with your world domination ideals, but do you need them.

But for over a century the record label has built up a history of owning songs it shouldn’t be owning. It’s ridiculous. An artist signs a deal, pays off all the costs associated with the album and somehow, the label still owns the copyright. The battle for artists to regain their rights is happening.

According to Nielsen Music, almost 70% of the monies received by the labels is because of older catalogue items. So giving back the artist their copyrights as dictated by law is bad business for the labels. As the article states, around 20 artists have reclaimed their rights from the thousands who are entitled to.

And the labels pull out all the tricks, like telling the artist they will pay them a higher royalty rate (which is useless if the label does nothing to re-promote the tunes) or paying the artist a large advance to hold on to profitable masters.

Then came hedge funds and investment houses, purchasing older catalogues for a lot of money.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

CRISS OLIVA

It seems that the ones who passed away before the internet age are more or less forgotten by the masses unless they were part of a superstar act or where the superstar act themselves.

Criss Oliva who tragically passed away on October 17, 1993 when a drunk driver crossed the road and hit Criss Oliva and his wife head on in a motor vehicle accident.

The “Gutter Ballet” LP was my first introduction to Savatage. Without knowing how the band sounded, the excellent album cover by Gary Smith was the decisive factor.

This album was a true turning point for the band.

It didn’t sell in the millions, but a classic album it is none the less. As a by-product it also became a leader for a new genre that incorporated power metal with orchestral/symphonic flourishes.

“Of Rage And War” kicks off proceedings with helicopters and other sounds from the various war machines. The whole intro reminds me of Megadeth. The song is about transforming powerlessness into anger.

“Gutter Ballet” is the epic six-minute anthem. It starts off with that melancholic piano intro in the key of D minor and then when the guitars come in along with the head stomping drums, the song transitions into a unique groove of “hard rock” clashing with “classical” and “classical” clashing with “symphonic” elements. It leaves an everlasting memory.

In the end it is the guitar the drives the song along. Check out the whole section before the lead break, then the lead break itself and then the syncopated parts coming out of the lead break. It’s perfect and the legato phrasing is liquid like melodic.

The title “Gutter Ballet” actually came from a play that producer Paul O’Neill had written in the early seventies, which of course went on to become the basis for the “Streets” concept album that followed “Gutter Ballet”.

“Temptation Revelation” follows and it is an instrumental. At one stage it was the original title for the LP. The guitar work from Criss Oliva again makes it. It has this Euro-Vibe style of guitar playing.

“When The Crowds Are Gone” is one of the best ballads, ever. Jon’s melancholic voice carries the song as it is filled with genuine emotion.

“Silk And Steel” is another instrumental and it reminds me of “Air” from Jason Becker. Another guitarist that in this case was tragically struck down with a terminal illness. “Silk And Steel” is a highlight as it features Criss Oliva’s at his “Segovia” best. A virtuosic, lively and carefree performance.

Side one ended and I needed to replay it before I moved onto side two. That is how music should be. Replayable over and over again.

“She’s In Love” kicks off side 2. The only song with weak lyrics, however it is important to note its place in the Savatage canon and an ode to the Accept style of Hard Rock/Metal that Savatage also dabbled in.

“Hounds” was an inspiration to me as a guitarist. I used the songs structure as a template for songs that I would write back then. I loved it’s epic feel and under it all there is this doomy technical atmosphere.

“The Unholy” could be from any classic metal album. The whole intro at first reminds me of “Lucretia” from Megadeth.

“Mentally Yours” sounds like an Alice Cooper song. Even the lyrical themes are very shock-rock Cooperish.

“Summer’s Rain” is another great ballad.

Criss Oliva is one of the most emotive and eclectic metal guitarists. The album is littered with so many different guitar techniques.

All in all, if metal is your taste then you need to hear this album. If you are a genre hopping musical fan, then this album is a must for the metal genre.

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS BAND HARMONY?

Who remembers watching interviews or reading interviews from their favourite bands about how much the band members loved each other, how they are brothers and so forth.

The cold hard truth is this. Bands/artists want to show a solidarity, a unity. They don’t want people and fans of the band to see weaknesses, so they try their best to make it look like everything appears fine on the surface.

However underneath it is a different story.

Every biography I have read, from “The Dirt” about Motley Crue, to “Enter Night” about Metallica, to “Lifting Shadows” about Dream Theater, to “Face The Music” about Kiss or to Dave Mustaine’s bio about his career. The same theme is prevalent throughout. The band members didn’t like each other.

No one really speaks their mind as it would cause problems in the band. And when dollars are at stake, management is doing their best to suppress what people think.

Song writing is the main reason. When you see artists leaving an act due to musical differences, its because they wanted to have their songs included on an album, however the other members kept on rejecting the songs or changing the song loses it’s soul.

Look at a few bands that are doing the circuit today and they have their own issues with members.

Volbeat – holding on to lead guitarists is problematic.

Five Finger Death Punch – holding on to bass players and lead guitar players is problematic. And recently they changed drummers.

In This Moment – holding on to bass players, guitar players and drummers is proving problematic.

Shinedown – holding on to bass players and lead guitar players is problematic.

Dream Theater – vocalist change after one album, three different keyboardists and a drummer change.

Trivium – changing drummers on a regular basis, however over the last few years it looks they have settled on that issue.

Evergrey – only Tom Englund is the original member.

Machine Head – only Robb Flynn is the original member.

WE ARE ARE ALL COPYISTS

The way we improve as humans is by finding a better way of doing things. In other words we copy what we see and we improve upon it. We do that from the day we are born.

The whole English rock movement in the sixties was born from copying the blues and folk movements and improving on them.

Keith Richards even went on to say that you can’t copyright the blues as all of the blues standards were copied over and over again so that thousands of derivative works existed.

Deep Purple built a career on taking certain sections from jazz standards that Jon Lord knew and turning them into rock songs.

Led Zeppelin built a career on taking certain sections from obscure folk songs, unsigned aritsts they toured with, blues standards and blending them into definitive masterpieces.

Black Sabbath had their roots in blues, classical and jazz. They borrowed from those genres. Listen to Bill Ward’s drumming on the early records. It’s almost got a swing, jazz feel to it.

Metallica initially built a career on taking certain sections from obscure New Wave Of British Metal acts and turning them into thrash metal masterpieces. For the self-titled BLACK album, the lead off track “Enter Sandman” has an intro that is copied and improved on from a local Californian band.

It is human nature that we are always looking at ways to improve. And copying something that came before, and then adding incremental improvements to it is how we do it.

One thing I do know is that copying is a key ingredient in the process of creating new works and it is a shame that the corporations that owe the majority of the copyrights are destroying this culture so that they can protect their bottom lines.

LIFERS

Look at any artist or band you like and you will notice one important element. They are lifers in the music business.

Dee Snider went through a long and drawn-out bankruptcy after Twisted Sister imploded. This is his big low from the platinum highs of “Stay Hungry” three years earlier. After bankruptcy he was free to make a new record and re-negotiate publishing deals.

The next high came when he signed a high pay deal with Elektra Records for the project that would become “Desperado”.

The next low started when Dee got that call that Elektra Records had dropped “Desperado” and shelved the album. That kicked off a process of more lows. Elektra didn’t just drop Desperado, they also prevented Dee from recording for any other label. Basically a record label that claims they are here to protect artists was destroying the career and personal finances of an artist.

Dee Snider just kept on going, trying to get the rights to his songs returned to him. He kept on going trying to get the right to license the Desperado record to another label for a fair price. In the end, the only thing that Elektra Records would accept was full reimbursement of the money they’d laid out for the deal—$500,000 or $50,000 per song.

But, but, the record labels are here to protect their artists.

The truth is, the record labels are there to make money from the lifers in the music business. It’s that simple.

THE MISFITS

It is those outliers, those misfits that end up changing the world.

Metallica got traction when they first came out because they didn’t fit in. And then when the “thrash scene” started to become saturated, Metallica delivered an album that didn’t fit into that scene and sold 25+ million in the U.S alone. Suddenly, elitists of that movement labelled them as sell outs.

Same goes for Motley Crue. Love em or hate em, when all the labels were looking for Devo style post rock acts in the early Eighties, along comes Motley Crue. Merging punk attitude with classic rock they paved the way for another band with a bigger appetite for destruction.

Guns N Roses came in an era when every label wanted a band like Bon Jovi. They came in an era when every label wanted their current roster of bands to deliver an album like “Slippery When Wet”. How anti-Bon Jovi was the classic Guns N Roses line-up? And guess what, they sold millions upon millions of albums. And they did it by not fitting in.

Dream Theater got traction in the era of Grunge. Even the analysts are still scratching their heads at that one. How could a progressive rock band break through when the record labels along with the media perpetuated the myth that knowing how to play your instrument was uncool.

The thing is most of the artists that we like never really fit into any circle/genre when they came out.

FOXY SHAZAM

Foxy Shazam and “Welcome To The Church Of Rock And Roll”.

Who’s that guy singing?

That was my first impression. I was hearing Geddy Lee from Rush. I was hearing Freddie Mercury from Queen. I was hearing Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin.

“Your music sucks including us
It’s time we cleared our name”

Rock N Roll is a virus that never leaves the body. We all always return to it over and over again.

“All you suckers are a flock of sheep
I’ll be your shepherd, follow me”

Hallelujah is what I say.

And then as soon as I got into the song it was over after 2 minutes. It was like a freight train going off the rails and screaming the message for the “Church Of Rock N Roll”. I couldn’t get it out of my head so I replayed it over and over again. And the magic went through me one more time.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS!

It is that kind of album. It had me interested to find out more. When I heard it in 2012, I had no idea who was in the band, who produced it or how long the band had been together. It’s always cool to hear a fresh sounding retro album while most of the other acts chase modern rock hits that they still don’t have. The first eight tracks are special.

The album is produced by Justin Hawkins from “The Darkness” fame and you can hear the vocal influence on Eric Sean Nally.

And “Welcome To The Church of Rock ‘N’ Roll” is a classic because it hops genre’s so effortlessly and Foxy Shazam get away with doing a good job at it. It doesn’t sound like pop music but it does sound like the classics on radio. And back in 2012, it had me spreading the gospel of Foxy Shazam.

HOW DO YOU JUDGE SUCCESS?

You are an artist performing solo or within a band.

You decide to record an album.

You spend time and effort writing, recording, producing, mixing and mastering your latest opus.

You do some promo and release it.

Then what.

It doesn’t sell what you expected. Once upon a time, the definition of a successful act was based on how many records they sold.

And the streams are growing slowly but not enough in the first week. But after a year or two, the streams start growing and growing and growing.

Five Finger Death Punch came out in the piracy/streaming era, and that hasn’t stopped the band from racking up Platinum and Gold certifications. But it took time. It wasn’t an overnight, first week sales success.

And fans consume music differently. They will buy music. They will stream music. Some will do both, buy and stream. They will download music without paying for it. They will download and pay for it. They will buy a concert ticket or a T-shirt or a book from the artist. They might miss the first few albums and then invest a lot of dollars in a limited/deluxe edition release.

WASP released “The Crimson Idol” in the early nineties. Commercially it didn’t do anything to get a certification. But it is seen as Blackie Lawless’s finest achievement.

Machine Head released “The Blackening” in 2007. It didn’t sell to get a certification, however it allowed Machine Head to go on a three-year victory lap on the back of it, touring the world over and over and over again. It was hailed by Metal Hammer as the album of the decade. It is also seen as Machine Head’s definitive masterpiece.

And that’s a wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – April 24 to May 1

2018 (4 Years Ago)

THE DIY ROUTE

Vice News at the time had a great 5 minute segment on an artist who built his career off streaming.

He was offered a major record deal and turned it down. The highest offer was a $250K advance and a $300K recording budget. A lot of people would have taken the offer and become slaves to a system designed to favour the record label. But he turned them down, because the terms bothered him.

He looks at the money from a 100% pot. So when the label is offering him an 18% royalty rate, what is happening to the other 82% of monies earned?

So the artist and his manager invested $30K of their own monies to record the debut album.

They then went on a 3 month tour using streaming data to lead the way. In one month, the artist made $25K from music streaming services like Spotify and Apple music. His team mines the data from those streams to find out exactly where and when a show will sell out, spending $18 a day on ads to target those cities.

Super fans are fans of the artist who have streamed the music for 45 days in a row. For example in Philadelphia, the artist had 13,600 listeners and 3,186 super fans. They used this data to target ads in Philadelphia and sold out the venue.

STILL ON SYKES

By 2018, it was over 2 years since Sykes announced a new solo album was in the works. And 18 years since his last studio album.

The new music paradigm is to release music and to keep on releasing music. The listener decides what to listen to.

It’s a scary thought for the artist, especially legacy artists who are used to the comfort metrics of the past, like a large advanced payment.

Funny thing is, Europe and Bon Jovi had bigger recording and marketing budgets for the follow up albums “Out Of This World” and “New Jersey” and they didn’t even get close to the traction and numbers of their breakthrough albums. It doesn’t mean the albums are crap, however it shows a scorched earth marketing policy is not a guarantee of global reach. Both acts had more money thrown at them for “Prisoners In Paradise” and “Keep The Faith” and again, they failed to get the public acceptance that “The Final Countdown” and “Slippery When Wet” got.

8 Years Ago (2014)

CHILL OUT

One thing about the world of heavy metal and hard rock is that we never took ourselves too seriously. It was always a camaraderie, a culture to have “Nothin But A Good Time”.

When Zakk Wylde was playing “In This River” at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards in 2014 as a tribute for the fallen rockers and a picture of Jani Lane from Warrant came up, and it stated, “Jani Lane, Motorhead, 1964-2011”, it was just one of those things we had to laugh about.

QUEENSRYCHE vs THE VOICE OF QUEENSRYCHE

It was the gift that kept on giving. Geoff Tate was known as “The Voice Of Queensryche” after the split before he became “Operation Mindcrime” or whatever else he was known as. And Queensryche hired Todd LaTorre who decided to accumulate stuff from the other guys in the band and sell it on eBay.

LIZZARD

A band from France formed in 20016, which is a mixture of alternative rock and metal music on a background of progressive and experimental grooves.

The Tool influence is very prominent but there are overtones of at least four other bands like Chevelle, Earshot, 10 Years and Karnivool.

“Out Of Reach” was released in 2012 and that was the album I was cranking in 2014. Many years later when I became a heavy Spotify user, I reconnected with the bands music and saw that they had a 2014 album called “Majestic”, an album called “Shift” released in 2018 and an album called “Eroded” released in 2021.

Check em out.

NEW MUSIC (circa 2014)

Chevelle – La Gargola

Chevelle blew my mind when they came out with their Tool infused pop stylings.

It was perfect back in 2002 and 2004. Now it is getting old. Still good, but old like AC/DC.

Sebastian Bach – Give Em Hell

Sabo and Bolan couldn’t get signed with all of the previous vocalists and then Sebastian comes on the scene and suddenly the band is hot and dangerous.

With this solo album, Bach is in top form. It is a solid album from start to finish with each song written by a who’s who list of musicians and producers.

James Durbin – Celebrate

The memories of Durbin doing “You Got Another Thing Coming” from Judas Priest on American Idol still live on. And the debut album comes out and the opening track “Higher Than Heaven” blows me away with its heaviness and popiness.

And here we are in 2014. If you want to hear James Durbin try to be like Kate Perry or One Direction then press play on this. Noteworthy tracks are “Louder Than A Loaded Gun”, “Real Love” and “Children Of The Sun”. The rest not so much.

Black Label Society – Catacombs of the Black Vatican

Zakk was just a skinny little blonde kid when he joined Ozzy and now he is a Viking marauder, ready to take over this town. I like Black Label Society for the same reason I like AC/DC. You know what you are gonna get and it is a good thing. It’s groovy hard rock and metal, with Zakk’s Ozzy meets Layne Staley style vocal phrasing.

“My Dying Day” is a full strength brewski. “Angel Of Mercy” for a ballad is also a full strength brewski with an unbelievable guitar solo. “Damn The Flood” has a Goddam wah-drenched solo section. So another brewski for that. “Empty Promises” is a double full strength brewski.

The Used – Imaginary Enemy

My first exposure to The Used was in the first “Transformers” movie and that car chase scene between Bumblebee and the Decepticon Police Car. I loved the riff, so I tracked down the soundtrack and found out that the song was called “Pretty Handsome Awkward” from a band called The Used.

But I have no idea what The Used is trying to achieve with this album. I’m hearing it and I am thinking about the latest Daughtry album which alienated the hard core fans in its quest for the One Direction and Train pop dollars.

In music, your only as good as the last song you released or the last album you put out or the last show you played.

WORK ETHICS

Music is forever.

Paul Kossoff’s career was short at 25 years of age. As a guitarist he was always looking to “have a jam”.

Randy Rhoads just wanted to play guitar, as he even took classical lessons while on tour with Ozzy and then copping a punch in the face from Ozzy when he told him that he wanted out.

Jimi Hendrix was always booking studio time and running his different bands through jam sessions over and over again.

Chuck Schuldiner was a technical death metaller who just wanted to be a guitarist in a band and he finally achieved that dream with “Voodoocult” and the progressive “Control Denied”.

They all wanted to create.

Paul Kossoff was involved in 10 studio albums and 2 live albums between 1969 to 1976. Talk about jamming up a storm.

Jimi Hendrix was prolific. Apart from the official releases (three within a year), Hendrix created a musical vault so deep, his family members are still making money from his legacy.

Dimebag Darrell had 4 independent releases and close to 10 years of experience under his belt before “Cowboys From Hell” opened the door for a bigger stage to play on.

Chuck Schuldiner was involved in 9 albums between 1987 and 1999.

It’s always been tough for new bands or artists to make it. From the sixties to now, that toughness hasn’t changed.

THE COVER SONG

My first introduction into Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine was from the Kerrang “Master of Puppets” 20 Year Anniversary album.

My initial interest to hear the album was because Machine Head was covering “Battery”. So after they blew me away with their downtuned cover, along came Trivium with their cover of the title track. Bullet For My Valentine didn’t set the world on fire with their cover of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium) however they did enough to get me interested in it.

So I started to seek out the original music of Trivium and BFMV. All because of a cover song.

“Hey Joe” didn’t do much for “The Leaves” in 1965, however it was The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first hit single in 1966. “All Along the Watchtower” these days is well-known as a Hendrix psychedelic groove rock song instead of a Dylan folk song.

As good as the VH debut album is/was, they still needed something familiar for the audience and “You Really Got Me” was the song. “Hard To Handle” was the breakthrough hit single for “The Black Crowes” in 1990 and it is a cover song from 1968, originally written by Otis Redding.

Quiet Riot went platinum in 1983, with “Cum On Feel The Noize” and it was a cover song from 1973.

“Black Magic Woman” is known as Carlos Santana’s flagship song, however it is a cover from the Peter Green version of Fleetwood Mac.

Cover songs are the doorway to the other treasures that lay in waiting for artists. Find a great tune and get cranking on a kick-ass remake/re-imagining of it. You never know how it could connect as music has a way of making peculiar connections.

RECORD LABEL GREED

The major Record Labels own the majority of copyrights and don’t they love to overvalue their content.

The RIAA has never stopped lobbying the Government to pass laws that will protect their business models. Even Irving Azoff still blames technology for diminishing the music business profits instead of blaming the real devil, which is the GREED of the POWER PLAYERS. Someone like Azoff built a career on the backs of the songs that artists created.

Very few artists ever “recouped” even after the labels made back many times what they actually gave the artists.

RATT sold 7.5 million albums in the U.S alone which meant total gross sales of $75 million. Even if the label gave them $1 million dollar advances for each album, that is $5 million the label would have spent on the band and in the process the Label made $70 million. If the financials are ever made available, it would show Ratt as a band that still hasn’t recouped.

In the end, the real copyright abusers are the actual Record Labels.

And that’s a wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – April 11 to April 23

It’s been a crazy two weeks with some limited posting on the site due to one of my boys tearing his ACL and then having the surgery.

So here is a fortnights worth of DOH history.

4 Years Ago (2018)

STAND YOUR GROUND

From birth we are taught to follow instructions, comply, obey and to avoid taking risks. The majority likes it this way, like the parental system, the schooling system, the corporate system, the law and enforcement system and overall, the Government. But sometimes, a change happens.

The youth of the world have decided they will not wait anymore for adults to solve problems, so they have taken to the streets to demonstrate against guns and climate change.

Imagine when these kids get a chance to vote and a chance to enter politics.

“We’ve got the right to choose it, there’s no way we’ll lose it” is from “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. It’s Dee’s take on society and it comes with an action. Critics blasted the song because it doesn’t define who the “it” is. But that’s the beautiful part of the song. The “It” can be anyone who seeks to control you and take away your freedom.

But to take a stand isn’t easy. Artists are too afraid to stand up for something.

But hang on a second, that’s what being an artist is all about. However the pushback is so ferocious, especially in a social media world, artists just don’t go there. Some do. Stand your ground.

RELEASE DAY

There is a lot of music out there to digest. The enemy to global stardom is not illegal downloading, it’s obscurity.

Artists are not just battling for listeners attention from the artists who have new music, they are battling for listeners attention from the history of music. And even though the odds are really stacked against artists from making a living from music, people are still out there creating and releasing. Creativity is at an all-time high.

Which is a good thing, because the recording industry and the copyright monopoly tried their best to convince everyone that creativity would die due to illegal downloading all in their push for government intervention to protect their profits.

TO THE TOP

Seriously, what kind of life is it, when a person has power to make or break a career. That’s exactly what the recording business came to be. A business with gatekeepers who could crush dreams or make dreams. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”. Or like “Mr Recordman”.

White Lion were given a million dollars to record “Mane Attraction”. It came out and it didn’t set the world on fire. Vito and Mike couldn’t even get in touch with their A&R rep.

When the band broke up, no one from the label called them or even tried to make contact with them. It’s like they never existed.

MTV took the artists from the pages of the magazines and brought them into our lounge rooms. And it was free. The reason why blank VHS cassettes sold like crazy was due to music and movies. People dubbed/taped their favourite clips from TV or via VHS to VHS.

If you are working for a corporation, you are building someone else’s dream. The corporation is benefiting from your hard work and the hard work of the rest. Artists have made the record labels into monoliths because they signed away their copyrights for a record deal.

And the internet was meant to level the playing field. Instead it’s made the labels even more powerful as they use the works of artists to negotiate large licensing deals.

What kind of journey do you want to the top?

8 Years Ago (2014)

YOUTUBE

The labels and the movie studios tried to kill it via the courts, but YouTube survived. And it’s got everything.

I wanted to listen to Badlands “Voodoo Highway” album recently. It’s not on Spotify, however YouTube has it. Unlicensed.

I wanted to listen to Don Dokken’s “Up From The Ashes” album recently. Spotify didn’t have it, but YouTube did have it. Again unlicensed.

YouTube was seen as the enemy to TV stations and to the Music Industry. Now it is their greatest ally, only if they know how to use its potential. Expect to see the various YouTube networks become bigger than the movie studios in the future. Because they realise that it’s not all about the blockbuster effect. Releasing content more frequently is king.

THE MOST BROKEN HEARTED SINGER

To create you need to have lived, loved and experienced highs and lows.

David Coverdale is all about the love. He built a career spanning 40+ years because he wrote his experiences into his songs. People always connect with that.

And at the height of his MTV fame, he disbanded Whitesnake.

Then when his contemporaries delivered grungier sounding albums, Coverdale came back and delivered two blues rock albums with “Restless Heart” and “Into The Light”.

He ignored every passing fad and fancy and still managed to assemble a cast of musicians to produce some of the most enduring hit records/songs of the Eighties era. Some might say that he glammed it up in the mid-Eighties. I say he adapted or else he would be dead.

GUN

It’s 1992 and the only words on people’s lips are Metallica, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Grunge, Seattle, Vince Neil leaving/fired from Motley Crue and Mr Big.

And then you have this rock band from Scotland called GUN releasing a straight-ahead hard rock album that had roots in the Seventies era than the dying Eighties era.

“Gallus” was a defiant record. Serving as Gun’s second album, they let the music do the talking. But when Rock ‘N’ Roll history is written by the commercial winners, Gun will be relegated to a mere footnote. But their presence at a time when everyone was selling out to become mainstream darlings was a welcomed relief.

“Steal Your Fire”

It’s got this “AC/DC” meets “The Cult” attitude in the verse and chorus, while the Pre-Chorus has this INXS vibe. It’s a blend of rock’n’roll that is so distant from the LA Glam Rock scene however I love that Dokken “It’s Not Love” vibe after the solo section.

“Money To Burn”

Check out the “When The Levee Breaks” groove in this song. Progress is derivative is the catch cry.

“Long Road”

The tone of the vocals just resonate. It’s got that powerful “Jeff Martin/Tea Party” kind of tone vocally and the music is very melodic, like Def Leppard.

THE PIRACY DEBATE

Bit Torrent is a tool. How people decide to use the tool depends on them. The Bit Torrent protocol was designed to move large amounts of data. So, companies like Facebook and Twitter use Bit Torrent to send updates to its employees. Then you have other people who use it to download torrents.

And illegal downloading is a pretty big reason why bands are going to South America, even when the number of albums sold in the continent don’t equate to the fans who attend the shows.

Who would have thought that a bill of “Bring Me The Horizon” and “Of Mice & Men” would gross about $70,000 per show. Play 20 of those shows and you have a $1.5 million tour.

Or, who would have thought that a bill of “The Used”, “Taking Back Sunday”, “Tonight Alive” and “Sleepwave” would also gross about $70,000 per show. See above, do 20 shows and you have a $1.5 million tour.

Even the mighty “Manowar” still gross $60,000 per show.

It all adds up.

It’s hard work being an artist however if you are in the game because you love it, it makes it easier. If you are in the game to bitch and moan about piracy, then get out of it and join the bankers or the techies.

DIVIDED WE STAND

Metallica resorted to a professional coach to get it together again. So did Aerosmith.

Bon Jovi and Megadeth resorted to group therapy. For Bon Jovi it was a way to keep the band together after “New Jersey” and for Megadeth it was a way to keep a stable line-up together.

And other bands declined to use any coaches.

Motley Crue imploded at the peak of their powers with the firing of Vince Neil and then sued each other in the courts. Van Halen ousted David Lee Roth and they kept bad mouthing each other. Then they booted Sammy Hagar and the feud turned ugly with both sides airing their dirty laundry.

Sebastian Bach and Skid Row are still at loggerheads. Matt Kramer left Saigon Kick because he felt ripped off.

Machine Head and Adam Duce are in the courts because Adam Duce felt ripped off. Dave Lombardo is spitting venom at Slayer and their management team because he feels ripped off.

And Rock and Roll was supposed to be fun.

The ugly truth is that the biggest obstacle standing between musicians and a career in music is the simple fact that we cannot get along.

Bands that claim that their song writing is a democracy are lying. There is always one that will be the boss.

GUN continued…

GUN are way underrated and way under-appreciated, it’s almost criminal.

Coming in to 1994, GUN needed to make a statement. After a well-received debut album in “Taking On The World”, the follow-up “Gallus” didn’t set the world on fire in relation to sales and back in 1992, sales was the barometer of success.

“Swagger” was released in 1994 and to great success.

How could that be?

Because the band didn’t fit the conventions of the now defunct hard rock and glam rock movement. The band also didn’t fit the conventions of the Seattle sound.

They fitted the conventions of a rock band. It is that simple. It is that pure. And it was a rocked up version of an R&B Funk hit from 1986 by Cameo that connected.

“Word Up”

Who would have thought that a cover of an R&B/Funk song from 1986 would prove to be so popular. When Korn covered it, they more or less copied this version.

The first 3 albums, “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger” are the career albums. No shredding or weird time signatures. Just an honest, arse kicking album with gutsy vocals and prominent guitars.

However, the line-up changes kept on coming. In this case, guitarist Rob Dickson left before the release of “Swagger” to join Bruce Dickinson’s solo band. Drummer Scott Shields also left before the release of “Swagger” with Mark Kerr brother of Jim Kerr from Simple Minds replacing Shields on drums. Music is a relationship business and GUN benefited from a lot of relationships.

ADAPT OR DIE

The ones who adapt to the changes fast, survived. While the ones that complained and whined about peer-to-peer either perished or downsized.

Traditional music distributors are either gone or downsized. Replaced by Digital distributors.

Record Store Retail Outlets. More or less gone. Replaced by online shopping carts, streaming and digital downloads.

Record Labels. Downsized or merged. Saved by the tech industry.

Bands. Either are breaking up or are constantly replacing members.

In business, cash flow is everything but in music, cash flow is a by-product of great music.

In music, rules are meant to be broken. Innovation is about breaking the rules.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GUITAR RIFF?

The mighty Guitar is still in the forefront of all the main hard rock and metal music. Regardless of what music style came and regardless what technological new medium came to kill it off, (like the Eighties midi craze), the mighty guitar has fought its way back time and time again.

It is an integral part of culture, both past and present. Think of Jimi Hendrix burning one or Pete Townsend smashing one or Randy Rhoads playing that immortal polka dot guitar or Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein guitar.

Think of all of the album covers that featured a guitar.

But in 2014, the number 1 hits around the world belonged to “The Monster” by Eminem/Rihanna, “Timber” by Pitbull/Keisha and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Not a lot of guitar in those songs and if there is guitar, it is in the background, relegated to a support act.

So what happened to that riff that connects. The one that we want to play air guitar to.

Rock and Metal bands are churning out songs. Good songs. Great choruses. But no definitive riff. We hum the melodies, we tap the groove, but we don’t do the der, der, derr on the riff like “Smoke On The Water” from Deep Purple.

Avenged Sevenfold came close with the “Hail To The King” album. Pissed off a lot of people in the process. They called them copycats. But they had the balls to create a classic rock album.

And Classic Rock albums are created from influences.

HAREM SCAREM – THE FIRST THREE ALBUMS

From Canada. Not the early Eighties Australian band with the same name. And that is all the similarities that there is between the two.

The first three albums have a powerhouse set list. I was a fan of Honeymoon Suite and Loverboy, so Harem Scarem was right up my alley.

1991 – Harem Scarem

It is a strong debut with a terrible album cover. Actually all of their albums in the nineties had bad album covers.

Coming out in 1991, it was not out-of-place. Guitarist Pete Lesperance showed what a talent he is, hence the reason why he is still creating music.

Artists needed to rock. And when Harem Scarem rocked, they rocked with the best of them.

1993 – Mood Swings

Released at a time when Grunge was taking over the world, it was the definitive album from Harem Scarem. It is by far the fan favourite.

1995 – Voice Of Reason

Two years passed and we get a heavier/experimental version of Harem Scarem.

Check out tracks like “Voice Of Reason”, “Warming A Frozen Rose” and the Euro Metal vibe of “Candle”.

If you need an introduction into the world of Harem Scarem, then the first three albums are essential listening.

RECORD STORE DAY – Killers and Kings

For “Record Store Day” in 2014, I paid $30AUS for the “Killers and Kings” single from Machine Head.

Online I could purchase the single for $15US from the Nuclear Blast store. Since the single came in four different covers, I selected the three other covers that I didn’t have and added them to my cart.

The total was now sitting at $45US. Then I registered my account and since I am in Australia I was charged $29US for postage and handling. The total of my purchase was now sitting at $74US. Once I paid it via PayPal, the final payment figure from me was $82.21 in Australian dollars.

That equates to about $27AUS for each single.

Now if the Independent Record Store was selling it for $30AUS, then that would mean that the actual independent record store would be making $3 per item. Maybe a bit more.

Hell if that is the mark up for each limited edition item they were selling and let’s just say that one record store sold 200 items, that would mean that the pure profit for the record store would be $600 for that day.

So is the “Record Store Day” there to benefit/save the independent record store or are the labels using the whole “save the record store” in their promo as a way to sell over priced items.

And that’s a wrap of DoH History.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – April 4 to April 10

4 Years Ago (2018)

A slow week for the site 4 years ago.

8 Years Ago (2014)

2009

I sort of did a history post called “2009: This week (April 1 to April 6) – 5 years ago”.

I just went back and looked at some events that happened in the music business.

Like.

Record Labels: The 360 deals that the labels had artists sign had a lot of headlines as the labels found a new way to get more money from the artists. In this case, the 360 deals take income from touring and merchandise for almost nothing in return.

C#m7(add9) Chord

As a guitar player it was that C#m7(add9) chord that i always return to.

It is basically a C#5 power chord played on the 4th fret on the A string. Add the ninth note (the D#) and then let the open B and E strings resonate. It is a beautiful sounding chord. When you tab it out, it looks like this.

——0–
——0–
——8–
——6–
——4–
———

The first time I heard a power chord with the added 9th was in “Message In A Bottle” and then again in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.

Both songs have Sting as the songwriter, however the real credit goes to Andy Summers. He was the one that took a keyboard line or a bass line and made it rock.

Then I heard that chord again in 1992. From bands I had no idea about. One band was Dream Theater and the mighty John Petrucci used it in “Take The Time”.

The other band was Saigon Kick and their very underrated guitarist/founder/main songwriter/producer/record label owner/studio owner and general music business lifer, Jason Bieler also employed the same sounding chord in the song “Love Is On The Way”.

And that chord has been in my arsenal ever since. If I need to play a C#m chord in a song, this is the one i play.

Without fail.

The other chord is this G#m9(#5) that I heard in “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche and again in “Another Day” by Dream Theater.

——0–
——0–
——3–
——4–
——X–
——4–

Hearing “Love Is On The Way” again today, brought back all of those memories.

And that is what music is all about. A soundtrack to our lives. Memories from different times that somehow connect with one another. That is what the C#m7(add9) chord achieved.

Changes In Music

THEN
Music was all about achieving LIBERATION.

NOW
Music is all about the tyranny of MONEY.

THEN
Bands/Artists needed to be busy to make it or stay relevant.

NOW
Bands/Artists still need to be busy to make it or stay relevant. Just check out George Lynch and the amount of releases since 2008. Or Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy and their involvement in various projects.

At the time, Avenged Sevenfold was out on the road promoting the “Hail To The King” album, working on the “Deathbat” game and an anniversary re-issue for “Waking The Fallen”.

THEN
The challenge was getting your music heard

NOW
The challenge is still about getting heard.

THEN
No one toured South and Central America.

NOW
Touring dollars are in South and Central America. If you are an established band and are not touring South/Central America, then you are leaving money on the table.

THEN
Platinum selling bands/artists were told that they owed the label millions.

Van Halen comes to mind here during the Van Halen II era. “We went platinum. We toured for a year, we came back, and Warner Bros. told us that we owed them $2 million,” said drummer Alex Van Halen.

“And on top of that, we owed them another record,” added guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

“It was the end of the year. We had three weeks to deliver another record…then boom, we went straight out on tour again. The first record took about a week, seven days to do. The second record took about three weeks.”

NOW
Platinum selling bands/artists are still told that they owe the label millions.

THEN
Bands/Artists covered songs as a career choice and made them unique. They made those cover songs their own. Van Halen did it with “You Really Got Me” and again with “You’re No Good”, which Linda Ronstadt also covered.

NOW
Bands/Artists do cover songs as a tribute to their influence.

THEN
The Record Labels didn’t know what would succeed or what would fail.

Metallica’s “Kill Em All” was independently financed.

Motely Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” was independently financed.

NOW
The Record Labels still don’t know what would succeed or what would fail.

Five Finger Death Punch is a big seller in the world of metal and hard rock and they couldn’t get a deal at the start so they self-financed their debut and issued it on a small subsidiary label.

THEN
Music was a risk business.

NOW
Music is still a risk business.

THEN
Labels invested in a lot of projects because they didn’t know what would connect.

NOW
Labels invest in fewer projects and blame piracy because they still don’t know what will connect.

THEN
Recording was expensive.

NOW
Recording is cheap.

THEN
Distribution was expensive and controlled by gatekeepers.

NOW
Distribution is cheap.

THEN
Marketing was all about radio and record shops.

NOW
It is about Spotify, YouTube, social media and virality.

THEN
Labels had executive boards/owners that were music fans.

NOW
Labels have executive boards that are actual business executives.

THEN
The release of music was controlled.

NOW
We have plenty. We are overloaded.

USER TRANSCRIPTIONS

The rise of the internet, has given rise to sites like UltimateGuitar.com and Songsterr, which has full transcriptions of songs from artists.

The beauty of it all is that the transcriptions are free and made by musicians who are fans of the band. Some of the more complex progressive stuff is also out there and massive kudos to the guys and gals who sat down to transcribe Dream Theater, Periphery, Sikth, Animals As Leaders and Protest The Hero because they love the bands and not because they get paid to do it.

On the flip side you still have Hal Leonard selling Note For Note books for $50 to $70 plus dollars in Australia. And they wonder why no one is buying. Let’s blame piracy. Why not, everyone else does.

Of course, there was a time when the Music Publishers Association freaked out about PowerTab and went all nuclear on the software and tried to kill the user transcription sites.

SOME VIEWS IN 2014

Ahead Of The Game: YouTube dominates music streaming UNOFFICIALLY.

Behind The Eight Ball: Apple’s got no streaming solution. iTunes Radio is no match for Pandora so Apple/Cook making a billion dollar deal with Beats Music (which was losing money) so that they could have a streaming solution. And Trent Reznor (who was an investor in Beats) cashed in with the Beats sale to Apple by making way more money than he ever made in music.

Ahead Of The Game
Independent bands that come up with creative ways to engage their fans. “The Airborne Toxic Event” a few years back released a series of stripped-down, single-shot videos for every song on their album. Check out their Spotify and YouTube numbers today. A lot of the established rock bands do not have those numbers. The lesson here is that the artists in today’s world have way more opportunities to reach out to their fans and share content with them. It’s a lifer game.

Behind The Eight Ball
Artists talking about CD sales. Or research that focuses on innovation hurting sales of music. Hell, lets bring back Eight Track Tapes and Cassettes while we are at it.

If you are an artist, you need to keep on creating so that you can stay ahead of the game. If you are a label, you need to be finding talent and innovating to stay ahead of the game. Otherwise, you will be behind the eight ball and blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.

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

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

2001 – Part 5.1: The Calling – Camino Palmero

The Calling, was formed by Alex Band (lead vocals) and Aaron Kamin (lead guitar, backing vocals).

They weren’t a modern alternative rock band to start off, with David Matthews Band style influences. But, next door to Alex Band, was Ron Fair, a music business executive.

Imagine that, your neighbour was a Chairman at Geffen Records, then Virgin Records and prior to Geffen, he was President of A&M Records and held Senior Positions at RCA Records, Chrysalis Records and EMI Records.

On top of that he was also known as a “mentor” to unsigned artists. Apart from The Calling, other artists he mentored that made it to major label releases are Christina Aguilera, Vanessa Carlton, Keyshia Cole, The Black Eyed Peas and Fergie, and the Pussycat Dolls.

Between 1996 and 1999, the guys kept writing and demoing, and by 1999, Ron Fair was impressed enough to sign them to a deal with RCA.

The name of the band was originally, “Generation Gap”, then “Next Door” and after getting signed, they became “The Calling”.

Their sound through the years morphed to be more influenced by Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, early Maroon 5, Train and Fastball.

The RCA deal was huge for a band that hadn’t played any shows whatsoever, nor did they have a fan base. I suppose it pays dividends to live in the same suburb as a record label exec.

And Ron Fair, just kept working with em over that two year period until they had the songs ready to record an album.

The players on the album, joining Band and Kamin are Sean Woolstenhulme on rhythm guitar, Billy Mohler on bass and Nate Wood on drums.

The debut album “Camino Palmero” was released in July 2001 and was a commercial success. The cover art of the album represents platforms 5 and 6 of the Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence, Italy but the name of the album comes from a LA street where the Band and Kamin first met.

All tracks are written by Alex Band and Aaron Kamin, except “Stigmatized” which was co-written with Eric Bazilian.

Unstoppable

As soon as the song starts its recognizable and when I heard the strummed acoustic guitar in the verses, “Alone” from Heart came to mind straight away.

A great opener but it is lost in the world of streaming right now as it doesn’t even rate a mention in their Top 5 streamed songs on Spotify.

Nothing’s Changed

It reminds me of Bush.

Wherever You Will Go

The big hit at 429.6 million streams on Spotify. And the acoustic version of the song has 33.8 million streams.

The vocal melody is catchy and I like the way it moves between acoustic arpeggios, strummed acoustic guitars and then a light distortion in the Chorus.

Could It Be Any Harder

I like the country rock ballad feel on this and the vocal reminds me of Lifehouse. Four songs in, its a 4 punch knockout.

Final Answer

The acoustic alt rock style is evident here, more Tonic and Lifehouse and man, I dig it.

Adrienne

More Matchbox 20 like.

We’re Forgiven

If you are a country then this song would resonate, however it’s a skip for me.

Things Don’t Always Turn Out That Way

It’s got a cool start, with a progression reminiscent to “Glycerine” from Bush and a Fastball “The Way” chorus.

Just That Good

It’s a skip for me.

Thank You

Press play for the Chorus.

Stigmatized

A great closer with a nice vocal. It sounds like a lot of alt rock/soft rock bands, but I don’t care.

In a post Napster world, the album did rack up a few certifications along the way. Brazil is one of the biggest markets when it comes to piracy and the country made the album a Platinum success. So did the UK and Italy. Canada and the US, gave it a Gold certification.

In November 2003, former members Wood and Mohler sued Band, Kamin, and the group’s management, accusing them of mismanagement, fraud, and asking for an audit of the money that was spent during their tenures in The Calling.

They claimed that they were promised a share of the royalties and profits from touring and merchandise. Band and Kamin claimed that the two were not entitled to any records of the royalties.

Their second album “Two”, was released in June 2004.

But the album didn’t perform well commercially compared to the debut. Ron Fair was no longer Executive Producer, replaced by Clive Davis. Davis was all about the hit, right now while Fair was more about career longevity. The record features the original members Alex Band and guitarist Aaron Kamin along with a variety of session musicians.

The band or duo broke up in 2005, but in 2013, The Calling reformed with a new line-up and they still operate today with a new album on the horizon.

But even that was bizarre as Alex Band in that same year, sued Aaron Kamin for “disappearing from the public eye” and Band wanted full rights to “The Calling” name and songs. But the case was dismissed only to resurface later when Band was promoting a “reunion” show which didn’t involve Kamin.

On top of that Band was almost beaten to death after a show that required a jaw bone reconstruction and three implants.

The music business is vicious. But check out the debut. It’s excellent.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – March 7 to March 13

4 Years Ago (2018)

FORTNITE

While everyone was complaining about freemium and the monies streaming services pay to the rights holders of music, Fortnite “Battle Royale” came out for free and conquered all. It’s already at everyone’s price point. It can’t get any lower so it costs nothing to try it.

But Fortnite was originally a game for purchase. Within six months of its release in 2017, it had over a million users. But then in September 2017, Epic (the game developer behind it) did something different. They released a free-to-play “Battle Royale” mode. Within 2 weeks of its release, it had over 10 million players.

For Epic, the “Battle Royale” mode is a major hit. It’s like Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA” style of a hit. And it’s still going strong because the best marketing tool is word of mouth.

Fortnite spread because the people who played it, enjoyed it and then they asked their friends to create an account and play with them online.

And their friends said “why not”, it’s free, let’s give it a try. The game kept growing in popularity because Epic constantly upgraded it on a regular basis.

In other words, the fans of the game are not waiting 2 years for a new upgrade. Like how fans of artists wait years for new products.

I come from the era of the album, but all I want is frequent content. It’s the reason why the bootleg industry was huge in the 80’s and 90’s. Hell, my record collection has hundreds of bootlegs, from live recordings, to demo recordings, to sound check jams and what not. It was the need to fill the gap between albums.

And like all hit’s there is a writ.

8 Years Ago (2014)

MICK MARS and GENERATION SWINE

Mick Mars said that he almost left Motley Crue during the “Generation Swine” sessions and that still to this day, he hates the album.

It was meant to be called “Personality #9” with John Corabi on vocals. But the label was still reeling from the $3 million loss on their accounts from the 1994 self-titled album so they demanded that Vince Neil come back in.

The Crue started working on the follow-up in 1995. Nikki Sixx wanted to road test the songs before they recorded them, in small venues and using different band names, like the Four Skins. It was a back to the seventies approach, when bands used to debut new songs on the road before committing them to tape in a studio. That is why so many songs from the seventies worked well in a live setting. Deep Purple played “Highway Star” for at least 12 months before recording it. Same as Ted Nugent and “Stranglehold”. The list goes on, however today’s rock star doesn’t need to pay their dues on the live circuit.

But they road tested nothing.

The biggest Achilles heel to “Generation Swine” is the lack of the hit song. Like “Kick Start My Heart”.

It wasn’t a hit on the Billboard Charts, however in rock circles it was a song that all the rock heads and the metal heads could latch onto. Even the self-titled album, didn’t have that kind of song that people could latch on to.

MUSIC BUSINESS RULES FOUND IN SONGS

Here is a summary, however each rule is expanded in the blogpost.

On Motley Crue’s 2008 song ‘Welcome To The Machine’ they provided a few general rules about the recording business and the machine that is the music business.

Rule Number 1: “Sign on the x to sell your soul”.

Rule Number 2: “It’s so automatic, Hocking broken plastic, Royalties you’ll never know”.

Rule Number 3: “Give your ass like a whore, Once you take a hit, You need more more more”.

Rule Number 4: “Welcome to the machine, Once it sucks you in you’ll never leave, Grind you up spit you out, After all you’re just a piece of meat”.

Rule Number 5: “Sell out to the rats, Make em rich make em fat”.

On Motley Crue’s 1999 song ‘Fake’ they seem to provide a few more general rules about the recording business.

Rule Number 6 (supporting Rule Number 1 and 2): “Sold my soul while you sold records, I have been your slave forever.”

Rule Number 7 (supporting Rule Number 5): “What are you fat cats doing anyway?, Take our money and flush it down the drain.”

Ugly Kid Joe asked “Mr Recordman” if he knew who they were or if he gave a damn about them or if he was purely there for the dough. Based on their career trajectory, the answer was obvious. Mr Recordman didn’t give a damn about them once they stopped being “commercially viable”

Rule Number 8 – Mr Recordman doesn’t know who you are. Look at the band “Winger”. When Reb Beach called the label after the Beavis and Butthead episode hit TV screens, the label claimed they never knew a band called Winger.

Rule Number 9 comes from Disturbed and their song “Sons Of Plunder”.

Rule Number 9: “You say you’ve found yourself a new sound, one hundred more all have the same sound”

The song Chainsaw Charlie from WASP is littered with music business rules. The first three lines, “Will you gamble your life?, Sign right here on the dotted line, It’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life” fall into Rule Number 1. Then the lyrics of “And tomorrow when I’m gone, Will they whore my image on?” brings us to Rule Number 10.

Rule Number 10: The record label will forever whore your image on after they have dropped you or after you have departed this Earth. There is a lot of money to be made in death.

Rule Number 11: “We’ll sell your flesh by the pound you’ll go, A whore of wrath just like me, We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul, Strap on your six string and feed our machine.”

Rule Number 12: “Welcome to the morgue boy, Where the music comes to die” is about songs written by a committee. It’s soulless, however it sells.

Rule Number 13: “Ah, trust me boy, I won’t steer you wrong, If you trust me son, You won’t last very long”

Rule Number 14: “The new morgue’s our factory, to grease our lies, Our machine is hungry, it needs your life” is the definition of the recording business.

Rule Number 15: “I’m the tin man, I’ve never had a heart, I’m the tin man, But I’ll make you a star” is the Record Label CEO. All promises and that tin heart doesn’t care if those promises are broken.

Savatage is another band that covers the music business in a bit of detail. Rules 16 to 18 are from the song “Jesus Saves”.

Rule Number 16: “You know Jesus he started changing, Things got really strange, He saw his tee shirts everywhere, He started missing shows, The band came down to blows, But Jesus he just didn’t care.”

Yep, it’s a tough gig keeping a band together, especially when a band member becomes the idol that the fans latch onto.

Rule Number 17: “Things got out of hand, And so he quit the band, Still the critics they would rave”

Rule Number 18: “hear Him cut through the night, On those late night radio waves”

Eventually, we get old and we become “classic rock”. There is no way around out. Embrace it and play to your core audiences.

The final two rules are from the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage.

Rule Number 19: “I don’t know where the years have gone, Memories can only last so long, Like faded photographs, forgotten songs”

Rule Number 20: “The story’s over, When the crowds are gone.”

Pretty self-explanatory.

ADRENALINE MOB

Adrenaline Mob are seasoned professionals collaborating on a hard rock project. For some reason they remind me of Night Ranger.

The debut album “Omerta” was number 4 on my list for releases in 2012. I hold the vocal talents of Russell Allen and the guitar talents of Mike Orlando in high regard. Add to those talents the powerhouse drumming from Mike Portnoy on the first album (and the two EPs) and of course the mighty AJ Pero appears on the second album. As a Twisted Sister fan, this is a great thing to see happen. And finally John Moyer from Disturbed is providing the bottom end.

Listening to “Men Of Honour”, it comes across as a band having fun. Check it out and while you’re at it, listen to Mike Orlando.

I don’t know what to call Orlando’s guitar style. One term I have for it is “Technical Chaos”. He has the chops, but he plays with an improvised abandonment that sounds so precise and I like that.

PONO MUSIC

If you remember back to 1998, the recording business became famous for saying that no one will be interested in downloading a crappy mp3. Guess they didn’t know how many billions those no ones came too.

Pono came out at a time when fans of music had decided that YouTube and Spotify are better alternatives.

And that is what Pono Music fails to understand. The fans of music are in control. If they want to pay, they will. If they want to go to a show, they will. If they want to download for free, they will.

But Neil Young’s PR said that mp3s are crap.

So in 2017 it was discontinued.

And that’s another wrap.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – February 28 to March 6

2018 (4 Years Ago)

IDEAS

All ideas or If you use the words “intellectual property” for the Copyright maximalists, have an influence from something that came before. We learn to write music by learning the music from others. We learn to write stories by reading the stories of others.

It’s probably why people shouldn’t get all emotional over ideas/intellectual property.

People like familiarity.

Derek Thompson in his book “Hit Makers” mentioned how people are drawn to music that might be new, yet familiar enough to be recognizable.

In other words, that new song we all like has enough variation in it to make it not a carbon copy of its source influence.

And people still like to claim that their song is so original and free from influence and when people have that fixed mindset, well, the courts are busy and the lawyers are making money.

Check out my recent Google alerts on the word Copyright.

A lot of delusional people who believe that their works are so original and free from influence.

Guess what.

All of our ideas have already been stolen. Because there is no such thing as the genius loner. It’s a myth. We are all social people and our creativity is fuelled by our social environments. Every single day, we take in our surroundings, we set meaningful and important goals and we are always thinking of solutions to problems.

A neuroscientist and a psychologist broke down creativity into three main buckets;

  • Bending means you take a previous work and re-model it in some way. “The Walking Dead” and “Night Of The Living Dead”.
  • Blending means merging previous works together so you have multiple melodies and re-cutting it to suit what you want to write. Jimmy Page was great at doing this with Led Zeppelin’s music. Metallica did that with “Sanitarium”.
  • Breaking is taking a short and important musical idea otherwise known as a musical fragment and building on it. Think of my post on “One Riff To Rule Them All”, which covers the A pedal point riff used in songs like “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

The differences between humans and computers is how we store information and how we retrieve information. For the computer, the riff stored on the hard drive will sound exactly the same three years later, however that same riff stored in our head would be different.

Why.

Our brain breaks it down, blends it and bends it with other information. This massive mash up of ideas in our brains is our creativity. And when we play that riff three years later, it has a different feel, different phrasing or something else. Some of them stink and sometimes we create something that breaks through into society.

LIVE ALBUMS

A funny thing started to happen when streaming became the main source of income for the labels.

Live albums started to come out.

You see, streaming services like new content. And since bands like to take their time or need to make time to record new original music, they filled the void for new content by releasing live albums.

Suddenly getting new product out yearly instead of every two to three years became the norm. But it still didn’t solve the problem of people not buying albums.

Whitesnake is a band which keeps firing out live recordings year after year. “Made In Japan”, “Made In England”, “Bad To The Bone 84”, “Castle Donnington 90”, “Live In The Heart Of The City” and “The Purple Tour” have been released as stand-alone albums over the last 10 years.

And David Coverdale knows the value of his super fans.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

AVENGED SEVENFOLD and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH Live

I attended the Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold gig on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at the Big Top in Luna Park. It was my first time seeing them both live so I didn’t know what to expect.

Read the review here.

And if you get a chance to watch em live, do it.

INNOVATION FROM LABELS (Cough, Cough)

Each week, the sites that enable copyrights to be infringed innovate at a rapid rate to stay ahead of the curve. They are competing against each other for people to use them to illegally access entertainment.

Read the post to see how these sites innovate. Instead of shutting em down, the labels and movie studios should be employing these people.

TRENDS IN ROCK AND METAL

I played Nostradamus and looked into my crystal glass full of whiskey in the jar-o to make some predictions.

ON A DOWN SLOPE

DAUGHTRY

The band leader, Chris Daughtry messed up big time chasing the crowds of “Train” and “Imagine Dragons”.

He is a hard rocker from day dot and rock gave him his legion of fans. For the ill-fated and recent “Baptized” album, he committed career suicide, throwing his lot with the hit songwriters.

The songs are good, however they are not Daughtry songs. It would have been better for him as an artist to have given those songs to other artists that are more electronic pop rock minded. That way he would have been the songwriter, the way Bryan Adams gave songs away to other artists that wouldn’t suit the Adams sound back in the 80’s.

HYPE

We can see through the hype and we hate it.

So much hype was around Dream Theater’s self titled release and it disappeared from the conversation within six weeks.

Megadeth’s brand new album “Super Collider” was being outsold by the Black album.

THE ALBUM FORMAT

Making money is hard. Just because a band releases an album, it doesn’t mean that people would pay for it or would want it.

And when we are inundated with product we tune out, however, it turns out we have time for Metallica’s “Black” album. At this point in time it was still moving two to three thousand units a week and it was expected to pass 16 million by May 2014.

GOING GOING – ALMOST GONE

CLASSIC ROCK

Classic Rock bands have another 10 years left.

ON THE UPSTORYTELLING

That is why TV shows are the most downloaded torrents of all time. Tell a good story and the world will be at your door step.

THE LABELS WANT TO BE THE GOOD GUYS

Read the financial reports on Universal Music Group.

Spotify has propped up their bottom line and that bottom line will get better each year for Universal. And they keep spreading the bull shit that they are out there fighting for the artists. The good guys.

Frontiers has become a major player in the classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock scene. They kept the flag of melodic rock flying high since 1996, when all of the other major labels abandoned the style and put their monies into grunge first and then industrial rock/metal and then nu-metal.

And their business model is all about locking up copyrights for a long time.

They have realised it’s not about sales anymore, and while steaming numbers and revenue are still tiny, in the long term the labels will be able to reap the benefits.

Why?

Because streaming is a regular recurring revenue business. And these Copyrights are valuable?

Let’s put it this way, if Metallica is on Spotify, then the rates paid back to the COPYRIGHT HOLDERS (which in this case is Metallica as they do own their Copyright) must be good, because Lars Ulrich and their manager Cliff Burnstein would not allow Metallica to enter a business arrangement that is not in their favour.

And back in 2014, Tool or AC/DC or Def Leppard were not on Spotify. They all are now.

The real truth is that there is much more music out there than there has ever been, so the issues that are present to artist and labels is how do they get people’s attention directed towards that new music.

Personally, I don’t even know anybody who pirates music anymore. There is no reason to pirate and legitimate customers/fans would always turn to legal alternatives.

Add “Recording Sales Revenue” plus “Streaming Revenue” plus “YouTube Ad Revenue” plus “Ticket Revenue” plus “Merchandise Revenue” plus “Corporate Deals Revenue” plus “Sponsorship Revenue” plus “Publishing Revenue” plus “Licensing Revenue” and then decide if you are winning or not.

Again, if you are not seeing a lot of revenue, then you need to be speaking to your label, because if you have numbers in all of the above Revenue streams then something is a-miss contractually.

SPOTIFY

You know the drill. A new technology comes out and eventually it will start to get some traction. Then the word will spread about and more people would flock to it. It’s new, it’s cool, it’s hip and its innovative. Then when it is at its peak, the people who testified for the new tech, will abandon it, looking for something new and better.

MySpace, Facebook, Twitter are three such platforms that came, peaked and right now are suffering an identity crisis.

MySpace is finished.

Facebook got traction because it connected people in a way that MySpace couldn’t. Now, all of these connected people need to deal with the marketing of products, advertisers, like requests, fake friend requests and spam.

Twitter is well, Twitter. With so many people tweeting or having their tweets connected to their Facebook Posts or their blog posts, everything is getting lost in the mix. When a big news item hits, Twitter is the platform to go to, because people who are directly involved in these big events are the ones that are tweeting.

Spotify has been around for a while now and in the last 3 years it set up base in a number of large music markets like Australia, Canada and of course the US.

The people tried it. Some have stuck to it. Some have abandoned it. The ones that speak out against it have never used it.

Spotify however needs a game changer. Sort of like how the move to APPS changed the iTunes store. And it’s all about the FREE. Fans of music showed the world that they want FREE music to listen to. And don’t say that FREE doesn’t work. How the hell did Free To Air TV exist and grow over the last 60 years.

I am all over the shop when it comes to music. I still purchase product from the bands I like and I stream as well.

And the funny thing is that I don’t use iTunes anymore.

Who would have thought that day would have come?

And that is what Spotify needs to think about it. Once the newness has rubbed off, what’s next. Consolidation. How can you consolidate when the modern paradigm is DISRUPTION?

P.S.

I wrote this in 2014 and since then Spotify has innovated a lot to keep people interested. Putting their lot in with PODCASTS and it looks like they will be moving to Audio Books as well based on a recent survey I undertook with them.

But their algorithms have turned to shite.

COPYRIGHT

It’s all about stopping copyright infringement. It’s all about shaking down internet users. It’s all about a ridiculous and “out of touch with reality” penalty system. For example, if a user downloads one song, the RIAA have argued that the copyright holders are out of pocket between $20 to $10,000. Seriously.

When discussions are had on Copyright, it’s all about the enforcement. It’s all about creating a monopoly. The ones that sit on the innovation fence are shouted down to from the ones that control/hold the Copyrights.

The thing is, people have been “copyright infringers” since day dot. Anyone that remembers cassette tapes, will tell you how they used to copy songs from recordings onto a cassette tape. James Hetfield used to copy Lars Ulrich’s record collection onto cassettes.

We used to copy songs from the radio onto cassettes. We used to copy movies from TV onto VHS cassettes. Then we got even more creative and hooked up two videos at once to make copies of the latest releases. With the advent of the CD and blank discs, we started making mixed CD’s. When Napster exploded, people flocked to it. Because we had been copyright infringing forever.

It is easy to lay the blame on others. However it is the record labels that need to take responsibility. They still don’t get it. People want FREE music. Spotify provides a service that is free, however it is still seen as restrictive and people still go to other torrent sites to download content. YouTube also provides a service that is free.

And then the recording industry claims that these sites make so much money from running ads on their site. If that is the case, then why isn’t the recording industry offering the same service and making that same money.

They don’t want to, because that would mean they would have spent dollars in Information Technology. And they don’t want to do that.

And most artists have never made a living from royalties. The record labels always have.

Well I hope you enjoyed another wrap up of Destroyerofharmony history?

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

Australian Method Series: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Released in 1976. This is the cover we know for the album and not the Hipgnosis one which came out on the International release.

This version of AC/DC rocked hard. Bon Scott is on Vocals, The Young Brothers are on all things guitar related, Mark Evans is on bass and Phil Rudd is on the Drums.

Production is handled by The Easybeats main songwriters in George Young (big brother of Angus and Malcolm) and Harry Vanda.

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” is the third studio album by AC/DC. While it hit the streets in Australia in 1976, it didn’t get a U.S release until 1981.

And that decisions by Atlantic A&R man Doug Morris to release the album proved to be unpopular with the band.

AC/DC had successfully reinvented itself with a new singer, Brian Johnson. The band was working on a new album, which would become “For Those About to Rock We Salute You”, released later that same year.

But Morris saw a financial opportunity to capitalize on the success of “Back in Black” which had already sold over five million copies. And due to those numbers, Morris estimated that “Dirty Deeds” would move at least 2 million.

But it also took away an opportunity for the new album.

“For Those About to Rock” would have sold a lot more if Morris had waited.

So the US release of “Dirty Deeds” was widely seen as damaging the momentum for that album, which it outsold. The band was also forced to add songs from the “Dirty Deeds” album to its set list on its subsequent tour, further taking the focus away from their new album.

But going back to 1976, Atlantic was unhappy with the vocals and the production. This infuriated Malcolm Young because the label was putting shit on his older brother.

Bassist Mark Evans assumed Bon Scott would be fired as a result. The band was on the verge of being dropped.

But “High Voltage” which was also released in the United States in 1976 was still selling and the sales of that album versus what the label paid for it, gave AC/DC a lifeline.

The Young brothers along with Bon Scott were very creative during this period. As was the norm, each year had a new AC/DC album. And they always overwrote for each album.

As a side note a song called “I’m a Rebel” was recorded for this album, with music and lyrics written by Alex Young, another brother of the Young’s. While the song was never released by AC/DC, Accept somehow got their hands on it and released it as a single, and also named their second album after it.

Dirty Deeds

The riff’s simplicity is its magic.

The drum groove was used by Lars Ulrich for the “Enter Sandman” intro.

The lead break is the embryo of the “Thunderstruck”.

And Bon Scott is menacing as he gave us a new phone number to call.

36-24-36.

Love At First Feel

It’s got that Chuck Berry 12 bar blues rock feel, which AC/DC used a lot of. The most notable song being, “Long Way To The Top”.

Press play to hear a very good and underrated Angus Young lead.

And I like how it quietens down after the solo, with the vocal melody of “Love At First Feel” repeated as they build the song back up.

Big Balls

There was a band in Australia called Skyhooks who had this kind of cabaret/stage show delivery in their songs.

Rocker

Well the songs a rocker alright.

It brings back memories of Val Kilmer performing a rockabilly song in the movie “Top Secret”.

Problem Child

A favourite because of the riffs and the vocal delivery. If there is a track to press play on, then this is definitely one of em.

And Angus delivers another underrated lead break.

In concert, Scott would often introduce “Problem Child” as being about Angus.

There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin’

The 12 bar blues is back. Bands like Status Quo would build a career on tracks like this.

The rhythm is also very similar to that of “The Seventh Son” by Willie Dixon.

Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)

It follows more of the same “Long Way To The Top” feel. But press play to hear the Chorus riff, as there’s a chord ringing out and then some arpeggios and single notes.

Ride On

It can be supercharged with other slow blues songs they have done, like “The Jack” and “Night Prowler”

Squealer

How good is the intro on this?

The bass plays a groove that is not typical of AC/DC. It’s almost funky like.

And when Bon Scott moves from his lower register to his higher register, the guitars become more aggressive and the drums get louder.

Angus again wails away on the guitar, delivering a very mature lead. It’s one of my favourite AC/DC cuts and it has been largely forgotten.

This is another track you shouldn’t ignore on this album.

In relation to sales it was a hit in Australia when it came out.

In the US, it was a different story.

Following the American success of “Highway to Hell” in late 1979, copies of the album began to appear as imports in the US.

Some of these were the original Australian edition on Albert Productions; however, Atlantic also pressed the international version in Australia, and many of these were also exported to the US.

Strong demand for both versions (in the wake of the even greater success of Back in Black) led the US division of Atlantic to finally authorize an official US release in March 1981. It went straight to No. 3 on the Billboard album charts.

In relation to sales, 6× Platinum in Australia and the US.

Crank it.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – February 14 to February 20

2018 (8 Years Ago)

SPEAKING UP

When artists write lyrics that reflect society and our politics back at us, people get upset. When I think about the past, people who made real change persisted even when others tried their best to silence them.

Artists once formed the chorus of dissent to social ills and corruption. It’s probably a reason why we got so many songs that still stand the test of time today.

Artists told the record label heads what to do, not the other way around.

Machine Head’s new album at the time “Catharsis” was causing division amongst their American fan base. Europe, Asia and Australia didn’t really care about its Anti-Trump stance. Fans of any artist come from different sides of the political debate. It’s expected. No one can agree on everything. If people did, everyone would wear the same outfit. The world would be pretty bland if people all agreed. Wouldn’t it.

It never would occur to me to stop listening to an artist because of a stance they have on an topic.

Artists are not the enemy. They are mirrors, reflecting the world back to us. What we choose to do with the reflection is a different story.

CASSETTE COPYING INCORPORATED

Copying of music has always been there. We used to listen to the radio and record songs from it. We used to record video clips from TV music stations. We would make a copy of an LP from a friend or a family member. We would even re-copy a copied album. The music industry grew because of copying.

So if we used the buzzword of the modern era, piracy was rampant back in the 80’s. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music copied onto blank cassettes.

You know that peak year of sales for the recording business in 1998. Well there is research out there which suggests it was due to two reasons. One reason was people replacing their vinyl collections with CD’s and the other reason is the people who had music copied on blank cassettes in the 80’s had enough disposable income to buy those albums on CD.

If I didn’t borrow and copy (which the labels call stealing and piracy), I probably never would have become the fan of music I am. As my Dad would always say, “I probably would have had four houses paid off, instead I have a tonne of grey concert T-Shirts, ticket stubs and a wall to wall record collection.” I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the memories are the stories I tell.

1979

Here is the kick off from 1979.

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

Six months after the album release date, Bon Scott would be dead. Mutt Lange is on board to produce at the strong insistence of their U.S record label and it was the start of the holy trinity of albums. Malcolm was less than pleased because it meant older brother George, was no longer involved.

“Highway To Hell” is a rite of passage. It might have been about touring, however timeless songs have lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. Plus the riff to kick it off is iconic. Credit Malcolm.

Livin’ easy, Livin’ free

Pink Floyd – The Wall

“The Wall” is Roger Waters lasting legacy. But the best song on the album to me is “Comfortably Numb” written by Gilmour and Waters. Credit producer Bob Ezrin for persisting to get Gilmour’s music on the record. However, it was “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” that was all over the radio.

Check out “Goodbye Blue Sky” as well, which served as the inspiration for “Fade To Black” from Metallica.

And that outro solo in “Comfortably Numb”. Perfection.

Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine

The first time I heard “Delivering The Goods” was via Skid Row’s “B-Side Ourselves” EP. I enjoyed the Skid’s live take on it, so I went seeking for the album in the second hand record stores. I actually own both copies, the “Killing Machine” version and the “Hell Bent For Leather” version.

Or the iconic riff in “Hell Bent For Leather” which is so derivative that many other bands had a similar riff before and after this song, like the opening riff in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. They even used it again for “Running Wild”.

In relation to guitar playing, Glenn Tipton always kept an eye and ear out for what was hot in guitar circles and he would go away, master these new styles and incorporate those influences and styles into his guitar playing. In this case, he breaks out a tapping lick which was obviously influenced by EVH. On albums from the mid 80’s, Tipton would start to incorporate sweep picking courtesy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s influence.

“The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)” is a great cover of a Fleetwood Mac song, which is written by their original and largely forgotten guitarist Peter Green (RIP), and it works pretty cool in the hands of Judas Priest.

Journey – Evolution

It has “Lovin, Touchin’ Squeezin’” but it’s not my favourite. The three listed songs are for various reasons.

“Lovin’ You Is Easy” has upbeat music and it’s always good to hear Schon rocking out.

“Do You Recall” has melodies which appear in Jovi songs.

“Lady Luck” grooves, taking its cues from Led Zeppelin.

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc

The Police didn’t really write a perfect album from start to finish, but they could write classic tracks.

The intro to “Message In A Bottle” hooks me. And it’s guitarist Andy Summers who saves the day with his add9 chord voicings over a simple bass groove.

Whitesnake – Lovehunter

I didn’t hear this album until very late in the 90’s. During this time I was buying so many second hand LP’s from record fairs and second hand book shops, I can’t even place a memory as to when I purchased it. But I do know I was always a sucker for the 3 for $5 bins.

Press play to hear “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues” which is written by David Coverdale and the underrated Bernie Marsden.

It all started with the blues. Rock was built on the bones of the 30/40’s blues artists. Metal was also built on the bones of those same artists, along with the defiance and rebellion of rock music. Without the blues, the music I listen to, would not be possible.

KISS – Dynasty

One of the first albums I owned from Kiss and I played it to death, so it’s no surprise I have a few songs from it on my list.

“I Was Made for Loving You” was the obvious single, but it was still an unexpected hit, written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and Desmond Child. Stanley also performs bass duties on this one.

“Sure Know Something” is a mixture between melodic rock, disco and new wave. In the end, it’s still Kiss. The bass groove is unique and the lead guitar break from Stanley is worth the listen.

“Dirty Livin’” is an excellent track. It could have been on a Steely Dan album or a Doobie Brothers record. Instead it’s on a Kiss record and it rocks. Peter Criss sings, it and he co-wrote it with Stan Penridge and Vini Poncia. It’s actually the only track that Peter Criss drums on. Anton Fig played drums on all of the other songs.

“Magic Touch” is solely written by Paul Stanley, which comes loaded with a melodic riff and a pop melody. Still to this day it’s a favourite, purely for its sense of melody.

“Hard Times” is from Ace Frehley and its another Kiss rocker.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

MORE RECORD LABEL INNOVATION

The record labels just kept getting my attention like trying to get the Courts to set a precedent in which the Internet Service Providers act as the Police to monitor music pirates based on the labels say so.

And my favourite was Principle Management (U2’s Management Company) losing money for the fourth year in a row, so its Chairman Paul McGuiness was quick to blame Google for his losses. Talk about sense of entitlement.

BADLANDS

With Jake E Lee excommunicated from the Osbourne camp no one was sure what he would do next. But in 1988, Badlands formed.

The original Badlands line up was Ray Gillen on vocals, Eric Singer on drums, Greg Chaisson on bass and of course Jake E Lee on guitar. And we will never be able to see the band that cut the self-titled debut album reunite. Ray Gillen has passed and Eric Singer said in an interview on the “Daves on Tour” website that his memories of Badlands aren’t good ones.

Eric Singer auditioned for Ozzy back in 1985 and he didn’t get the gig. Greg Chaisson also auditioned for Ozzy around the same period and he also didn’t get the gig. Both of them lost out to Randy Castillo and Phil Soussan. The outcome for both Singer and Chaisson was that they got to meet Jake E Lee and have a jam with him.

Eric Singer also did a stint in Black Sabbath during the Glenn Hughes/Ray Gillen era. Music is a relationship business and it was these relationships, albeit small ones once upon a time, that ended up getting together to create one hell of a debut album.

In an interview with Kerrang from May 1989, this is what Ray Gillen had to say on the bands beginnings;

“I was particularly keen on the project because I had to pick myself up off the floor after my involvement with the Blue Murder project had gone sour. I was basically asked to leave the band due to outside record company pressure. John Kalodner, one of the top people at Geffen Records, simply said that I couldn’t sing!”

Wearing their Seventies classic rock influences on their sleeves and very cleverly merging the minor key riff remnants of the mid-Eighties heavy metal sound, Badlands hit the target. Each song was unique.

The standout song on the debut is “High Wire”. It cemented Jake’s reputation. You can’t keep a super star down and what a great way to open the album.

Seriously, how good is that opening riff?

The beauty of the song is the simplicity. It is a simple A to C, A to D riff, the cornerstone to all classic blues/classic rock songs.

“Winter’s Call” is the most Zeppelinesque song on the album, especially in the verses, combining Middle Eastern drones with Celtic modes. It is also one of the oldest songs on the album, as the song’s roots go back to 1983.

“Streets Cry Freedom” is the next gem and a great way to close off side one. When vinyl was king, albums got sequenced by having a great opening track and a great closing track. The comparisons to Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and Bad Company are prevalent in this song. The song’s verses are a typical 12 bars blues. Instead of playing it in the standard way, Jake E Lee shows his guitar smarts by arpeggiating the verses.

“Seasons” is the gem on the second side. It reminds me a lot of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”.

This was 1989 and MTV ruled. Bands needed a hit to get recognition. So while “Dreams In The Dark” did the video rounds, as the record label decided it had the most “hit” potential, songs like “Winters Call”, “Seasons” and “Streets Cry Freedom” slipped under the radar.

The self titled album is brilliant. While other artists went with the one hit single per album and the rest as filler, Badlands delivered an album strong from start to finish.

THE WALKING DEAD

So how did a TV show, based on a niche Zombie comic, explode into the mainstream and into people’s consciousness.

In order to understand the answer you need to go back to the beginning. And the beginning for “The Walking Dead” goes back to 1968 and a movie called “Night Of The Living Dead”.

“The Walking Dead” is a classic case of building on works already in the public domain as well as building on existing copyrighted works by creating derivative works.

First the whole Zombie genre owes a large debt to George A. Romero’s classic “Night Of The Living Dead”. Many of the accepted Zombie formulas started here. Something that is quite common to us in 2014, was all brand new to audiences in 1968.

Due to a late name change from “Night Of The Flesh Eaters” to “Night Of The Living Dead”, the distributor forgot to include a copyright symbol on the release and due to this omission, the movie entered the Public Domain on its actual release date. That meant that anyone could do derivative works and also build on the existing story.

The whole opening scene from “The Walking Dead” of Rick Grimes waking up in the hospital alone, is a combination of what has come before.

In “The Day of The Triffids, the main character awakes to a silent hospital to find that his town has been overrun with blinded people.

In “28 Days Later”, a bicycle courier awakens from a coma to find the hospital and the city, completely deserted and overrun by people infected by the rage virus.

In “The Walking Dead”, Rick Grimes wakes from a coma in the hospital to find his town overrun with walking corpses, referred to as ‘walkers’.

Romero did miss out on a hefty payday due to the copyright bungle with “Night of The Living Dead”, but Romero’s story ends well. The film’s popularity OPENED UP MORE OPPORTUNITIES. Romero continued to create movies and the fame that his Public Domain movie gave him, opened up other offers around comics and novels.

In the end, the lack of copyright around one movie, grew and helped define the zombie genre in the same way that the lack of copyright around earlier blues and folk standards helped define the classic rock genre. So next time someone tells you they need stronger copyrights or longer copyrights, point them to the “Night Of The Living Dead” example.

SHARING MUSIC

I got a 8GB USB stick of music given to me recently by a musician friend who told me that I need to check out the bands on the stick. When I was growing up we used to these kinds of trades on cassettes. Back then we had an hours or hour and a half worth of music. Today 8 gigs worth of music is about 270 songs at 320kbps. Yep, that is how it is done today.

Some of the bands on that key are still favourites today like Degreed and Riverside.

RECLAIMING YOUR RECORDINGS

In between solo albums, Henley was busy with the Eagles, Geffen contract issues, Copyright issues against Record Labels, termination rights on songs and the Eagles again.

Henley knows his rights.

While people criticise musicians who turn into business people, it was inevitable that musicians would end up taking the business path.

The great record label rip off/exploitation made them seek this path. It is just unfortunate that a lot of the musicians that didn’t achieve world-wide domination still don’t realise their rights on their songs. Not a lot of hard rock and heavy metal artists are serving notice to their record label to reclaim songs they had written 35 years ago.

While I don’t agree on everything Henley does, like sending a cease and desist letter to an independent band or trying to get a remix law taken off the radar, the bottom line is this, he is a musician that looks out for his own interests. And that is why we loved our heroes.

And that’s a wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Pyromania

In 1983 and 84, it felt like there was “Pyromania” and then there was everything else.

Quiet Riot didn’t have the same success in Australia that they had in the U.S and Motley Crue was a few years away from their “Home Sweet Home” fame in Australia.

The Lep’s wanted to be on top of the pop charts. That was their mission. The rise was slow but gradual.

If you like rock and metal music, you would like this album. If you like pop and other forms of music, you would still like this album.

The “Pyromania” story begins with “High ’N’ Dry”.

The album didn’t sell what the band and the label expected it to sell. And their UK headlining tour had them selling 25% of the tickets. In other words, they were pulling in between 400-500 people in 2000-seat theatres.

Def Leppard was then given a supporting slot on the European Leg of the “Point Of Entry” tour by Judas Priest. But they never had a chance to make an impact, coming on second after Accept, who had massive momentum with “Balls To The Wall”.

The tour finished in December, 1981.

But the band was busy writing riffs on the road and man, they sure had a lot for new songs. They also revisited some older songs and rewrote em lyrically or rearranged em musically.

“Medicine Man” wasnt good enough to make the “High ‘N’ Dry” album but it was beefed up and retitled “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)”. With new lyrics, it became the album opener.

There was another unfinished track which was described as “a dual-guitar pop song” by Joe Elliot in an interview at TeamRock.com. Well that song was also finally completed, and it became known as “Photograph”.

Producer Mutt Lange, was also on board, being listed as a co-writer on all of the album’s 10 tracks which bothered Willis as he believed that wasn’t the case.

When the band was given the green light to record, the budget was tight. Two albums in, the band was in debt to their label to the tune of £700,000, and each band member was on wages of £40 a week.

A cold hard truth on the realities of the recording business and the creative accounting of the labels is that the bands incur debts that could last forever.

The album finally hit the streets in January 1983.

But.

The album was selling slow in the U.K. A showcase gig at the Marquee Club in London on February 9 had a very small attendance.

But in North America, it was a different story.

MTV put the songs “Photograph,” “Foolin’” and “Rock of Ages” on constant rotation.

Suddenly rock and metal bands changed the way they recorded. NWOBHM bands started to sing more melodically and with multi-layered backing vocals.

Joe Elliot once said that he wanted the power of AC/DC mixed with the variety of Queen for Def Leppard. That equals “Pyromania”.

I had the vinyl but it was also in the same box that went missing during a house move however I picked this up on CD.

Rock Rock (Till You Drop)

It’s a sound and groove that Cinderella and Kix and many other U.S acts would put to good use to build careers’ on.

But it was guitarist Pete Willis who wrote the riff to “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” however he’s not credited.

Willis and Lange didn’t get along at all, constantly clashing with each other in the studio which then also led to tension with the other members.

As a founding member, Willis didn’t believe he could be removed or fired. But removed he was.

Anything goes

Photograph

There is no denying the riff. It’s as good as any of the classic riffs that guitarists play in guitar shops and so forth. Structurally, the song goes all AC/DC style riffing in the verses and pop rock like in the Chorus.

Stagefright

Rick Savage came up “Stagefright”.

It’s got this Sweet “Action” vibe merged with metal riffage in the verses and a pop chorus.

Too Late For Love

As soon as this song starts off, I swear I’ve heard it somewhere else.

Die Hard The Hunter

You feel the sadness as soon as the Emadd9 clean tone arpeggios kick in and it gets even sadder when Joe starts singing “Let’s toast”. Then it goes into a riff that Queensryche used when they wrote “Revolution Calling”.

That section from 4.05 to 5.05 always gets me to stop what I’m doing and start paying attention.

Foolin

The opener to Side 2, with that majestic guitar part.

The magic is in the arpeggiated intro and the eventual build up with the layered backing vocals singing “Is anybody out there?”.

This song stands the test of time.

The lead break begins with a call and response. It reminds me of “Over The Mountain” from Randy Rhoads and Ozzy.

Rock Of Ages

The first time I heard em.

Yeah, it’s better to burn out / Yeah, than fade away

A rock and rollers creed.

Rise up, gather ’round / Rock this place to the ground

Burn it up, let’s go for broke / Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on (rock on) / Drive me crazier / No serenade, no fire brigade / Just the pyromania, come on

This is the embryo of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and they take inspiration from Queen, by using songs like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust” as influences for the verse delivery/structure.

When the Chorus comes in after two verses, it’s well worth the wait. “Don’t Stop Believin’” from Journey also used this kind of song structure.

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, rock ‘n’ rollin’

You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along with the chorus.

Comin Under Fire

This song is a must for any guitarist. It merges 70’s classic rock, with the NWOBHM sound with Scorpions Euro Metal.

The intro alone has it all.

Arpeggiated guitar lines hook you in and then the pedal point riff blasts through the speakers.

When the verses come in, we are greeted with volume swells that outline the different chords.

Like the pre-chorus of “Foolin”, the chorus of “Comin Under Fire” has excellent layered backing vocals. Lyrically, it’s not the best, but musically, it rules.

Billy’s Got A Gun

Steve Clark was a Jimmy Page fan, so it was no surprise that he was the one who created this Zeppelin-influenced epic.

Never underestimate the ability of a song to paint a picture.

This is my favourite Def Leppard cut and it has so many good bits.

The verse bass riff reminds me of “Heaven and Hell”. The backing vocals are so layered, melodic and operatic. The overall drum groove reminds of “Kashmir”. And I guarantee you that Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton all had this album and paid particular attention to this song as the “Operation Mindcrime” album is musically influenced by “Billy’s Got A Gun”.

And you get an unbelievable solo and an ending that makes you press play again, so you hear the album over and over and over again.

As time marches forward, the greatness and power of this song is being forgotten.

And it’s like the band made a crossroads deal to achieve fame. The success of this album put the band members on different paths than the previous ones they were on and that would lead to different outcomes for them.

On New Years Eve, 1984, Rick Allen went to overtake a car and failed to negotiate the bend. He lost part of his left hand in the accident and surgery to reattach it, led to an infection and then eventual surgical amputation.

And no one knew it at the time, but it was going to be long wait for the next album.

On a side note, Trevor Rabin and Mike Slamer are both thanked in the credits.

Those two dudes are very well known session guitarists, so I’m asking the question; did they actually play on this?

Slamer was used by producer Beau Hill on most of the records he produced in the 80s. If you have an Alice Cooper, Kix, Winger, Streets, Warrant, Fiona, Europe, Twisted Sister and Ratt album, then there is a high chance that Slamer played on it.

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