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

Thrash Metal

I am a great believer that certain musical styles rise to prominence on the backs of social change or a social movement. There is a quote from Deena Weinstein who is a Professor at DePaul University in the Metal Evolution Thrash Episode that goes something like this;

“When Thrash started in the early eighties Thatcher and Reagan were in charge and we had a highly conservative very restrictive kind of society and if you’re a teenager especially a teenage male, yuck, you don’t want to live in a place where they are in charge. This made males feel like they had to fight against the system just to stay in place and that kind of aggression leads to a sense of wanting to be louder and faster.”

By 1988, Thrash Metal in Australia was becoming huge. There was a substantial underground movement of thrash bands or bands that dabbled in rock, thrash and traditional heavy metal and there was an audience for it. Suburban garages became jam rooms for a million wannabe thrash bands.

And then came Metallica to our shorelines for the “Justice” tour.

All of those suburban teens who had seen their parents deal with the Black Monday Wall Street crash purchased tickets.

All of those suburban teens from immigrant families that had seen their parents get dicked around and racially abused purchased tickets.

All of those suburban teens that had seen their parents get shafted from various long-term state governments that dealt in corruption purchased tickets.

All of those suburban teens that had seen their parents get fired from companies that dealt in corruption and bribery of politicians purchased tickets

 

All of those suburban teens who didn’t fit in to the new divide between the haves and the have-nots purchased tickets.

All of those suburban teens who had finished high school or dropped out and couldn’t hold down any jobs or get work, scrapped up enough cash to purchase tickets.

We even made the news. In our excitement to get into the venue, we broke down gates and fences. When the police came we resisted. So many misfits, that just wanted to fit in.

We all stood together with people wearing Venom, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, first two albums Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Slayer tops. This was our moment and the “…And Justice For All” album with its lyrical themes of corruption and truth being sold to the highest bidder was the same shit that we faced or our parents had faced. We all related to the “injustice” themes throughout the album.

I have always debated with people who was the biggest band in the genre. I always saw it from an influential musical point of view and others saw it from a sales point of view. Metallica and Megadeth to me are the two bands that had their feet in so many genres. With each album they kept on crossing over into new markets. That is why to me, the Black album wasn’t outside of the norm for what the Metallica sound is.

In the doco, Sam Dunn (the interviewer) felt betrayed when Metallica came out with the “Black” album. He wasn’t alone in that view-point. A lot of my peers also felt betrayed at the album however I couldn’t understand their viewpoint.

Metallica always had more accessible shorter songs on every single album leading up to the “Black” album.

What about, “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape” and “Trapped Under Ice” from the “Ride The Lightning” album.

What about, “Leper Messiah” (how good is that bass riff (RIP: CLIFF BURTON) over the E5 power chords from 0.33 to 0.55) and “The Thing That Should Not Be” from the “Master Of Puppets” album while the “…And Justice For All” album had the big one, “Harvester Of Sorrow.”

All of those songs are more or less at the same tempo that the “Black” album songs are at.

I for one am glad that Metallica had the balls to make the “Black” album instead of “And Justice For All Part Two”, which if you look closely at it, the Justice album was more or less, “Ride The Lightning Part III”.

Megadeth on the other hand, in between their drug addictions and overdoses created some definitive songs. All of the thrash fans that felt betrayed at the Black album liked “Peace Sells”. That is why their view points just didn’t make sense.

Yes people, the mighty Dave Mustaine was way ahead of his time. He gave Metallica that technicality and their sound in the early years and by 1986, he gave the Thrash movement a crossover hit song in “Peace Sells”. It was all over MTV.

And that is the reason why this sub-genre has survived and grown. The two biggest bands of the movement just kept on crossing over and those two biggest bands had two super influential songwriters in Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield. It’s hard to believe that once upon a time they were in the same band.

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

We Don’t Live In A Happy World

One of the reasons why I got into bands like Metallica, Machine Head, Evergrey, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Twisted Sister and Queensryche (and there are many more bands) is because their lyrics reflect/reflected what was going on in the wider world at that time.

You see we are not living in a Pharell Williams’ “Happy” world.

We are living in a world that is besieged by economic problems. We are living in a world that has democratic governments undertaking surveillance on their citizens like the totalitarian regimes that our grandfathers died fighting against. We are living in a world where the majority of politicians are on the payroll of the corporations. We are living in a world that has a digital divide to go along with a class divide. We are living in a world where privacy is eroded a little bit at a time.

Some of my favourite artists had songs that just spoke to me.

They questioned the system and pointed the finger at the wrongdoers. When our governments lost their way, our heroes always told us so. When society went to hell, our heroes told us so. When epidemics happened, our heroes told us so.

We believed that music could change our lives, if not the world.

“What do you mean I don’t support your system, why do you think I’m broke”.

Dave Mustaine wrote that back in the mid-Eighties. Fast forward almost thirty years, and we are still broke supporting the system. The rich and the powerful caused a global recession and guess what, they got bailed out by the governments while we lost our jobs and homes.

Inequality exists in music as it does in economics. You’re either a winner or a loser and if you cross over, you become a global phenomenon. Think Metallica. There crossover was the “Black” album. That is their victory lap album.

“But now the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives, gotta make a million, doesn’t matter who dies.”

The above line is from “Revolution Calling” from Queensryche. Spotify cares about Spotify and they want to make millions. Taylor Swift cares about Taylor Swift and she wants to make millions.

Remember all of the suicides post GFC, especially in the Asian countries.

“Words are the bullets to this revolution”

Robb Flynn spits out the line in “Clenching the Fists of Dissent”.

We live in an information age. Everything is at our fingertips so we should put those tools to use to do our own investigations because our media reporting outlets are all owned by large corporations. They report news items that will push their agenda. They report news items that have been paid for by a marketing PR firm. Impartiality is over.

However, there are people out there that look at events and issues critically. WordPress gives us a tool to voice these opinions.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist

Barcodes and fingerprints, obedience identikit
It’s time to read the warning signs

COG’s “Are You Listening” released in 2009.

The tragedy of 9/11 brought about a new reality. The erosion of our rights and the erosion of our privacy. Suddenly, the Governments of democracy started to spy on its citizens much like regimes our grandfathers went to war against.

England has cameras on every street corner. This need of protection and surveillance arose due to the IRA terrorist bombings. And they still got bombed in the subways.

The NSA spies on all Americans and their answer is “IT’S OKAY, WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS.”

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

Sacred Reich and “The American Way” released in 1990.

The problems of today existed before. However, the it is the people of today that had to bail out the rich. If the POOR or the WORKING CLASS did something fraudulent and corrupt, they would be doing time in a cell. When the RICH do something fraudulent and corrupt they end up screaming to the Government for a bail out and escape without punishment.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It” was the catch cry once upon a time. In time it will be the catch cry of a new generation.

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Music, My Stories, Copyright, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Piracy

The Prophetic Writings of Dave Mustaine

Throughout my life, bands like Megadeth, Metallica and Queensryche, have commented a fair bit on governments, democracy and the corruption that happens.

In the last 10 years, the Entertainment Industries have shown to the world, how corrupt they really are, and how they would do anything to protect obsolete business models. When I started writing this post, the themes that started to appear, reminded me of Megadeth songs.

Dave Mustaine is renowned for his mouth and his witty/snarly lyrical writing. Remember a time when musicians used to lead. Dave Mustaine is one of those musicians.

Seeking Asylum

There is a current role reversal happening in our lives today. Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, political dissidents would actually SEEK asylum in Democratic Free countries like the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Now people are looking for asylum in other countries to get AWAY from the Democratic Free countries. How the times have changed?

It reminds me of the lyrics to The World Needs A Hero (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

An Iron Fist quietly sits inside the Velvet Glove
Take control, untouchable just like God above
I can’t escape, wrapped in red tape, what will become of me?
If I object, then I defect my country tis of thee

Bradley Manning, detained in red tape and military courts. What will become of him? He didn’t kill anyone? He didn’t terrorise anyone? He didn’t bomb any public infrastructure? So why is he imprisoned? All he did was to embarrass a government.

Ed Snowden, leaked information about the NSA spying on US Citizens and now he is treated as a criminal, seeking asylum in countries that will not hand him over to the US. Remember the time when Communist defectors seeked asylum in the US. This is what corrupted democracy leads too? All Snowden did was to embarrass a government.

Copyright Levy

Most of Europe has a Copyright Levy imposed on the purchase of storage media, smartphones, tablets and any other connected devices.  In my view, since there is such a levy on digital products, whether devices or storage media, then non-commercial infringement should be permitted. The copyright monopolies shouldn’t get to have it both ways – either they need to go after alleged “pirates”, or they can tax the items “pirates” use. Makes you wonder why organisations like HADOPI (in France) were formed, since the public had already paid for the content without even wanting to?

Sort of like the song Dread and The Fugitive Mind (from the album The World Needs A Hero, released in 2001).

What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine too
If you shake my hand better count your fingers

Nothing else can sum up the Entertainment lobby groups and the Copyright Cartels better than the above two lines from Dave Mustaine.

ENFORCEMENT

Speaking of enforcement, Hadopi in France, has been a total waste of time and money. It was created as a gradual response system to piracy. Basically three warnings and then no internet. The aim of Hadopi was to push people to legal paid services.

“While illicit file sharing has dropped, legal paid services have not benefited as was hoped.”

The entertainment industry focus should be trying to figure out ways to make more money however the entertainment industries believe that getting rid of piracy will lead to more money. All it will do is push piracy further into a darknet.

Sort of like the lyrics in Symphony Of Destruction (from the album Countdown To Extinction, released in 1992).

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a roll

Let’s change them up to suit;

You take the RIAA
And put them in control
Watch them become gods
Watch people’s heads a roll

BLOCKADES

All over the world, blockades of websites is becoming common. The site they are all after is The Pirate Bay. The labels claim that the infamous torrent site facilitates copyright infringement. In countries like the UK and Ireland the courts agreed and ISP’s are forced to implement the block. Of course, users can easily bypass any blockade by using one of the many available Pirate Bay proxy sites. It’s that old whac-a-mole game. The Recording Associations around the world are spending monies in costly legal avenues and lobbying/bribery, instead of innovating.

Reminds me of the song New World Order  (originally recorded for the Youthanasia album of 1994 and released on the Th1rt3en album in 2011).

Monitoring all wages
New world order comes in stages
Your currency is obsolete
Feel the agony of defeat

Power resides in the ones that can purchase legal solutions to assist in their bad business models. The currency of fairness and justice is obsolete, against the power of money. We are all slaves to it. The whole blockade of websites is due to money, not piracy.

THE ART OF WAR VIA THE ARM OF THE LAW

The Entertainment industries like the RIAA seem to think that by using the arm of the law to extract money by force or to threaten people by force is a satisfactory response for copyright infringements. Remember people, copyright infringement is a civil matter not a criminal matter. However when power resides with the ones that control government, anything is possible.

Reminds me of the song Endgame (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

The Ex-President signed a secret bill that can land a legal US Citizen in jail
And the Patriot Act stripped away our Constitutional Rights

All rights removed, you’re punished, captured and enslaved
Believe me when I say, This is the Endgame

Admins of websites have been found guilty for facilitating copyright infringement, have been given sentences harsher then murderers and drug dealers. These admins didn’t kill anyone, however if you take a penny from the wealthy, you have committed a grievous crime that needs to be punished severely.

INNOVATION STIFLING

Spotify has been far more successful in tackling piracy than any law. So what does the RIAA do? They want to charge more for the licensing fees. I am waiting for the punch line to come from the RIAA that this increase is needed to protect the artists that create the content. When it comes to money people just become dumb and those people are in charge of companies that make dumb decisions.

Sort of like the song, Millennium Of The Blind (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011)

All your money’s ours to bankroll corrupt wars
You can’t see what you’re fighting for
Trust your leaders as they send you out to die
The true face of evil can’t be seen without eyes

You can tweak the above to read;

All the money’s ours to bankroll shakedown wars
You can’t see what we are legislating for
Trust in the RIAA as they protect what you create
Through bribery and corruption so that politicians legislate

JUDGES SET MARKET PRICES

A 3 judge panel has set prices on the rates that internet services like Pandora need to pay, so that they can play music on line and the RIAA claims it is a free market.

Reminds me of the song Bite The Hand That Feeds (from the album Endgame, released in 2009).

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see

They took everything and anything
As long as it once belonged to me

When the Courts have Judges that used to work for the Copyright Monopolies, the verdict is always the same. Good for business, bad for the people.

POLITICIANS PUSH CORPORATE PROPAGANDA

When are politicians going to stand for the people again. Instead we have the people that we voted in, pushing the agendas of corporations. A good example is the new RIAA stooge Marsha Blackburn. Enough said.

All of this reminds me of Peace Sells (from the album Peace Sells But Who’s Buying, released in 1986) and We The People (from the album Th1rt3en, released in 2011).

What do you mean “I couldn’t be President of the United States of America?”
Tell me something, it’s still “We The People” right

Nope, it is not we the people anymore and it hasn’t been for a long time. It is We With The Money.

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your social security

When our politicians started to want to earn the same as Wall Street bankers, the writing was on the wall for equality and justice. Looking at all of the headings in this post, it makes me feel like I am living in a dictatorship. All of this is happening in Democracy. Peace Sells people, and the Copyright Cartels have purchased it all up.

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

Metal Music and Piracy

Dave Mustaine from Megadeth was asked the question “What do you think about the state of the music industry right now with all of the changes that have been made?” when he appeared on That Metal Show (S12:Ep5)

“This generation has grown up to believe that music should be free. We focus on the live shows now. People are very song-focused now.”

While I disagree with David’s assessment that this generation has grown up to believe that music should be free, I do agree with his other comment that people are song focused and that the bands focus should always be on the live show.

This generation is a product of their times. The medium of the times is the Internet. This generation has grown up with the internet. This generation has grown up on quality. Dave Mustaine in the same interview was asked to rate his top 5 Megadeth albums. Guess which albums made his top 5.

1. Countdown To Extinction
2. Rust In Peace
3. Peace Sells
4. Killing Is My Business
5. So Far, So Good, So What

This is Dave Mustaine saying that his best work is in the first five Megadeth albums.

Scott Rockenfield (from Queensryche) was also asked the same question.

“Records are different these days, they are good calling cards for us to continue our legacy. Bands can’t earn a lot of money in record sales anymore. We started out as a live band. A lot of new bands don’t have that.”

No one wants to wait two years for a 14 song record with three or four good songs. We want more songs on a regular basis and we want quality.
The internet allows the bands to do this as the distribution costs are zero.

Record song, upload and share.

If the song is great, the fans will market it for free. That is the way the game is played today. Instead you still have artists thinking that they should record many songs, hype up their release, spend money on a scorched earth marketing policy and then release the product so that people can buy it. It’s all wrong.

As an artist you want your creations to live forever. For that to happen, people need to share the songs, talk about them, do derivative versions and make a connection.

This brings me to artists who just have it all wrong, when it comes to their views on the current state of the music business.

Scott Ian said that people should lose their connection because they share his recorded music. I listened to Worship Music on YouTube. I didn’t download it and I didn’t pay a cent for it. You can say that I unofficially streamed it, since YouTube is the first streaming platform that the entertainment business tried to shut down unsuccessfully.

As far as I’m concerned I went onto a legal site and listened to the music. So based on Ian’s interpretation of the law, the internet connection of the people that went on to YouTube to listen to the album has to be suspended (as we stole it) along with the Anthrax fan who put it up.

The Recording Business is just an arm of the Music Business, that is trying in vain to hold on to its old business models. No one wakes up in the morning, thinking they need to buy a CD. We wake up in the morning, thinking we need to hear this song.

Doc Coyle from God Forbid summed it up in a post on the Metal Sucks website;

“We seem to think people want CDs or books or DVDs as individual items to own and keep, but the truth is, what we really want is the content contained on these capsules of information. The CD, DVD and book are just messengers for the experience contained therein.”

I am going through an issue of Hot Metal from May 1993. As soon as I open the magazine, there is a two page advertisement for the release of AnthraxSound of White Noise. One page has the album cover art and the second page has the heading, RESERVE YOUR COPY OF ANTHRAX’S NEW ALBUM “SOUND OF WHITE NOISE” AT THE FOLLOWING IDN STORES.

Back then we needed to buy CD’s so that we could hear the music. If they said we needed to buy a stereo that plays unlimited music, we would have.

Speaking of buying:
Black Sabbath had week three sales of 25,300 and week four sales of 16,942. (U.S. sales)

It is doing the same decline as other rock/metal artists like Skillet.

Metal bands need to take a leaf from the Imagine Dragons playbook. This band has entered the Top 10 again with sales of 33,223 for its Night Visions album.

Think about that. Imagine Dragons has been selling for 44 weeks. It has sold more in its 44th week than a Black Sabbath album in its 4th week. The last couple of weeks has seen a resurgence for the band. Why? The band is touring.

People are talking about the shows and they are buying the music. Some people might see it as strange that people went to a rock show without owning a physical copy of the music.

These are the times we live in. These are the times that artists need to live in.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Music, My Stories

Dave Mustaine – What Do Ya Mean? I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Megadeth has a new album coming out, called Supercollider due to be released on June 4, 2013.  It will album number 14.  That got me thinking about the lyrics that Dave Mustaine has written for Megadeth, throughout their 30 year existence.

Holy Wars – 1990, from Rust In Peace

Brother will kill brother
Spilling blood across the land
Killing for religion
Something I don’t understand

Fools like me, who cross the sea
And come to foreign lands
Ask the sheep, for their beliefs
Do you kill on God’s command?

How prophetic is this song? It was written in 1990, and at the time it was in reference to the IRA and the Northern Ireland issue.  If you hear the lyrics for the first time today, you would make the connection to something different.  The song is intense.  If anyone asked me to play them three songs that would sum up the Thrash movement,  Holy Wars would be first, Master of Puppets from Metallica would be second and Seasons In The Abyss from Slayer would be third.

Symphony Of Destruction – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

You take a mortal man,
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch peoples heads a’roll

I have known people who have been put in position’s where they have a certain amount of power and control.  They start out with good intentions.  In time, they begin to change, they develop the god complex and people either start to turn away from them, or for they ones that stay, they end up getting burned.

Kick The Chair – 2004, from The System Has Failed

Justice means nothing today
Now that the courts are for sale
Pick a crime from the menu, pick a sentence and defend you
And pick up the down payment called bail
The system’s for sale!

Mustaine covers the topics of justice, corruption and freedoms a fair bit.  Kick the Chair is from The System Has Failed album.  The album title alone tells the listener what they are in for.  These days, Justice is given to the ones who pay the most.  We have the Entertainment and Publishing Industries using Copyright as a form of censorship.  Just recently a Latvian school teacher was arrested and interrogated, for creating a website that provided access to school children to certain books.  What is more important, Copyright or Education.  Back in my day, the teachers used to photo copy the text books and give them out to the students.

Bite The Hand – 2009, from Endgame

They ball-gagged Lady Justice
And blindfolded her so she can’t see
The erosion of the people’s trust
Of what will come to be an FDIC Assisted Suicide

The depression of a depression
Worldwide suicide for the economy
Caused by the dialectic chaos when the
Mob on Wall Street took “We the People” for a ride

A song written after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). As each day went by, more information came out as to why the GFC happened.  It all pointed to greed, corruption and conflicts of interest between the revolving door of Government officials and Lobby Groups.

A Secret Place – 1997, from Cryptic Writings

There’s a secret place I like to go
Everyone is there but their face don’t show
If you get inside you can’t get out
There’s no coming back, I hear them shout

Didn’t we all have that secret place growing up.  That secret place in our heads.  Leave it up to Mustaine to make it sound sinister.

Skin Of My Teeth – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

I won’t feel the hurt
I’m not trash any longer
That that doesn’t kill me
Only makes me stronger
I need a ride to the morgue
That’s what 911 is for
So, tag my toe and don’t forget
Ooh to close the drawer

The opener from the excellent Countdown To Extinction has some of the best Mustaine lyrics ever committed to paper.  The last verse is a classic.  It’s a well-known fact that Mustaine has battled addiction, and as he says what doesn’t kill him can only make him stronger.

Peace Sells – 1986, from Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying

What do you mean, “I don’t believe in God”?
I talk to him every day
What do you mean, “I don’t support your system”?
I go to court when I have to
What do you mean, “I can’t get to work on time”?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, “I don’t pay my bills”?
Why do you think I’m broke? Huh?

Even though Peace Sells came out in 1986, I heard the album in 1988, just before So Far, So Good, So What came out.  Growing up, listening to metal and rock music, put you into this social class of troublemakers, drug takers and devil worshippers.  So when I heard Peace Sells, the words said what I and many others wanted to say.

“What do you mean” became the war cry.  To me, it summed up, the metal community.  Yeah we could get wild, we could get high and we could get rowdy, however in the end, we still paid our dues to the system.  We still worked, we still paid our bills/taxes and most importantly we still contribute to the system.

Foreclosure Of A Dream – 1992, from Countdown To Extinction

Barren land that once filled a need
Are worthless now, dead without a deed
Slipping away from an iron grip
Nature’s scales are forced to tip
The heartland cries, loss of all pride
To leave ain’t believing, so try and be tried
Insufficient funds, insanity and suicide

This song was released in 1992 and like Holy Wars, how prophetic was it?  It could have been re-released in 2008 or 2009 and it would have fitted in with that time.  That is the power of music when it is done right.  It is timeless.

The Right To Go Insane – 2009, from Endgame

I barely get to the graveyard shift on time
After pulling another grueling nine to five
I live from credit card to check
The paper money’swhirling by
And I hardly just, just barely, only just survive

I could relate to this song.  Working like a slave just to give it all away to the taxman, the banks and the utility providers.  Then doing it again and again and again and again.

We The People – 2011, from Th1rt3en

Violate your rights, no more equality
Surrender freedom, your Social Security
We, the people face unconstitutional lies
In greed we trust, in revolution we die

Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves
The land of liberty needs a regime change
Until you no longer know right from wrong
The constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s written on

Final say.

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