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

RIAA Certifications

There is just so much hoopla about certification these days. The usual media outlets are reporting how difficult it is for artists to achieve a certification due to piracy/copyright infringement. And if the artist is on a major label, the yelling is even louder. And when artists do get a platinum certification these days, it is reported by everyone.

Of course, the certification process once upon a time was based on SALES and sales only. It took into account the people owned the music they purchased and really liked it. The fact that people might not have listened to the music over and over again, didn’t matter.

However, as streaming services have shown due to piracy/copyright infringement, people also like to have access to music instead of owing music. So what we have is the following situation;

  • Ownership of music -> registers a sale, which counts for certifications and generates a lot more money for the artist and the label then streaming services do.
  • Access to music -> registers a sale by following a formula. 1,500 streams equals 10 tracks which equals one album purchase. The one album purchase counts for certifications and the streaming equivalent of sale doesn’t generate as much income for the artist and label then the sale of a mp3 or a CD or vinyl does.

Five Finger Death Punch has a PLATINUM certification from the RIAA. Seven years after the album was released.
FFDP_Platinum_Cert

For a band that plays to a niche audience this is exceptional and proof that metal and rock fans are avid music consumers. The viewpoint from the past always was “if your album goes Platinum, it means the public has accepted it” and when others see the love that people are giving the album, more people are going to go and check it out.

Music is and always will be about longevity.

Will people still be interested in the music, many years after it was released?

Apart from selling a decent amount of product, Five Finger Death Punch are also one of the bands with decent streaming numbers. This tells me that people are listening to them on a consistent basis.

“Fantasy” from Aldo Nova went Gold within the same year it was released in 1982. But it wasn’t until 1989 (seven years later) that it was certified platinum and by 1994 (12 years from when the song was released and 5 years from its Platinum certification) it was certified double platinum.

If you apply that formula to FFDP, then “War Is The Answer” should be certified double platinum by 2021. Is this such a bad thing? According to the ones that want to be paid straight away it is.

For a lot of bands, a loyal fan base is monetized to maximum effect.

Dream Theater and Machine Head are two bands that have a small (compared to other bands) but high net worth fan base. Dream Theater only has a Gold Certification (they have other DVD/Video certifications), that came three years after “Images And Words” was released. This sole certification hasn’t stopped Dream Theater from having a career.

BB_Gold_Cert

Another band, Breaking Benjamin is also the same as Dream Theater and Machine Head. Breaking Benjamin also received a Gold Certification last year for an album they released back in 2002. Yep that’s right people, an album released 13 years ago is still in the public conversation. But what Breaking Benjamin has going that the other bands don’t is the singles. Their singles are pushing on double and triple platinum certifications.

Remember what I mentioned earlier. Music is about longevity and will people still be interested in the music, many years after it was released. But to the ones that want to be paid straight away, this is a problem.

Volbet_CertVolbeat is one of those unsung heroes here.

A hard-working band, that tours like crazy, building their audience, city by city, state by state, country by country.

Known in Europe, it wasn’t until Metallica put them as openers in the U.S Death Magnetic trek that Volbeat started to get traction in the U.S.

And then their albums started selling.

And then they went out on their own, and the shows kept on selling out.

Certifications are nice to have.

But they are not the be all and end all to have a career in music.

Longevity and people listening is the key.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Tom Werman

I have read a few rock bio’s and man, these rock stars go to town on the producers that were involved with their hit albums. Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater goes to town on Dave Prater who produced “Images and Words” which to this day, is Dream Theater’s most successful album. Dee Snider and Nikki Sixx go to town on Tom Werman, who for Twisted Sister was involved in “Stay Hungry” and for Motley Crue, he was involved in “Shout At The Devil”, “Theatre Of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls”.

Let’s look at Tom Werman. The facts are out there. Most of the bands that he produced, achieved great commercial success. The majority of these successes happened during the heyday of hard rock music on MTV and when the recording industry abandoned hard rock acts to chase alternative grunge acts, Werman was part of the collateral damage.

Which is a shame as Werman is a rarity.

He forged a successful career as a heavy metal and hard rock producer because he was able to identify and feature the pop elements in the music of the bands that he was producing. Coming from an A&R background his whole set up was to get the band onto radio. He knew the game. If a band he worked with could get a hit single, it would translate into sales of millions of albums.

He also was a producer that didn’t really have an engineering background like Ron Nevison, Andy Johns, Jack Douglas, Bob Rock and so forth which freed him up to focus on other tasks like refining the songs and getting the artists to decorate the songs accordingly. To be a Producer is a tough gig. You are there to realise the bands musical vision. The producer is basically a hired independent consultant, paid by the band through a label advance and the band is perfectly free to replace the producer at any time, which is why the stories against Werman lack authenticity.

Werman is probably best known these days for producing Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” (4x Platinum by 1997), “Theatre of Pain” (4x Platinum by 1995) and the “Girls, Girls, Girls” (4x Platinum by 1995) albums. Werman has gone on record to claim that Nikki Sixx was a friend until he revised history and created a work of total fiction in the “Heroin Diaries” book. John Corabi even questioned the authenticity of “The Heroin Diaries” along with Dee Snider.

However, Werman worked on other projects as well.

“Tooth N Nail” was released on 1984 and the album reached PLATINUM status in the U.S in 1989, after the mega successful “Back For The Attack” album along with MTV, got people interested in Dokken’s back catalogue. Tom Werman produced the “make or break” album and according to Don Dokken, Werman, almost came to blows with George Lynch during the recording. It got that bad, that at one stage, Lynch said to Werman that he will kill him. The issue arose when Werman asked Lynch to play a more substantive lead break for a particular song, which Lynch objected to.

Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” came out in 1984. In that same year the album went GOLD and then PLATINUM. Twisted Sister was everywhere, largely thanks to their clips doing the constant rotation on MTV. Dee Snider was a star who was also everywhere. Finally after paying his dues for 10 years, he was in the mainstream. By March, 1985, the album achieved 2 x PLATINUM status March 19, 1985. Then 10 years later, in November, 1995, the album achieved 3 x PLATINUM status.

Werman has stated in interviews that he feels that Dee Snider was unable to share credit for a hugely successful LP hence that is the reason why Snider has spoken negatively about Werman.

Snider has a different view. In his book “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic”, Snider goes into detail about his relationship with Werman.

First, Werman wasn’t their choice at all for producer. He was pushed onto them by Atlantic Records.

Second, in a meeting, Werman was asked a question by Snider that if Werman was to put his A&R hat on, would he had signed Twisted Sister. Werman answered NO.

Then there are further stories on the recording process and how Dee Snider had a routine to write songs for the next album, while the current album was getting mixed and finalised. However this didn’t pan out because Mark Mendoza who normally handled all of the production and sound duties refused to get involved due to friction with Werman which then left Snider to deal with it, which in turn meant, no new songs got written.

A point to note about Werman is that while he was at Epic Records his specific job was to get the bands on the radio. In order to get bands onto the radio, they needed to have singles. That is why Doug Morris (while he was president of Atlantic Records) called Werman to make a hit with Twisted Sister. That is why Doug Morris refused to hear Snider’s pleas to remove him. A general rule of thumb for Werman was to ensure that each record had at least two “singles” as he knew that hit singles would sell several million albums.

Kix released their self-titled debut album in 1981 and it wasn’t until their fourth studio album “Blow My Fuse” released on September 12, 1988 that they broke through.

By November 2, 1988, seven weeks later, the album was certified GOLD by the RIAA. In May 1989, the single “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was released and by February 5, 1990, eight months later, the single was certified GOLD by the RIAA. Finally, on August 28, 2000, the “Blow My Fuse” album was certified PLATINUM by the RIAA. Yep, that is almost 12 years from when it was released. Don Purnell of Kix (who was the main songwriter) distrusted Werman, however as others have mentioned, that was who Purnell generally was.

For Kix the success of “Blow My Fuse” came from a change to Tom Werman, a change to a better and aggressive manager in Mark Puma who got Atlantic to get behind the record and promote it, a natural progressing in the songwriting department and perfect timing.

Poison’s “Open Up and Say Ahh..” was supposed to be produced by Paul Stanley however due to schedule conflicts, Stanley was unavailable and Tom Werman was in. Keeping with Werman’s credo ensuring that each album he works on will have at least two hit singles, “Open Up And Say Ahh…” had three. “Nothin’ but a Good Time” is still a party anthem decades after its release, “Fallen Angel” is the clichéd moving to the big city to chase your dreams and the timeless classic “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.

The album sold over 5 million copies in the U.S and Werman has stated that it was not an easy record to make. According to Werman in an interview with the Legendary Rock website, “Bobby was the brains behind Poison, while Brett was the single most important individual in the band. CC did give the band its personality and its sound, but was so distracted by the recreational side of rock that he didn’t realize his potential. He was a lovable guy, but suggesting musical directions and recording his leads were formidable tasks.

Other albums that Werman worked on during the eighties are LA Guns “Cocked and Loaded” (their most successful), Junkyard’s self-titled debut (a cult classic), Love/Hate “Blackout In The Red Room” (should have been more successful), Babylon A.D “Nothing Sacred” (a very underrated album that deserved more attention), Steelheart “Tangled In Reins” (a solid follow-up that did well just before the Grunge movement), Lita Ford “Dangerous Curves” (she was on a downward career trajectory) and Stryper “Against The Law” (their least successful in sales however the album is chock full of fan favourites and live staples).

In the end his hit ratio was on average 1 out 3. Which means that one album out of three reached at least a GOLD status in the U.S. That is a respectable stat and if there is a history of Glam / Hard Rock, Tom Werman will and should be part of it.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

M. Shadows and The Sales Of Music Today vs The Magical Eighties

In a recent Loudwire interview, M. Shadows mentioned some viewpoints on the current state of the music business.

One of the big comparisons that every artist or media personality makes today, is the status of sales right now vs sales more than 30 years ago. And everyone today, especially artists or media personalities, always say that the Eighties was so much better. It is a bold claim to make, especially when the Eighties have been known as the era that record labels ripped off artists.

In a way, the magical Eighties was easier for an artist as “a lot of the work around them” just happened like magic. All the artist needed to do was create songs, record them in a studio the label selected, then go on tour that someone else organised. Fast forward to 2014, the artist is across all aspects of their career and they need to make the decision. Things just don’t magically happen anymore. The artist is aware and they make these things happen.

In relation to sales, let’s look at Metallica and Megadeth compared to Avenged Sevenfold.

FIRST ALBUM

Metallica released “Kill Em All” in 1983. It wasn’t until 1989 (yep six years after) that the album was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. So much for the argument bandied about in 2014, that sales from the Eighties are better. After six months, Metallica was back in the studio recording the follow up.

Of course, on the back of the Black album juggernaut, by 1999, “Kill Em All” was certified 3 x Platinum, 16 years after it’s release. Yes, 16 years later.

Megadeth released “Killing Is My Business (And Business Is Good) in 1985 and still to this day it hasn’t been certified anything. So by default this album hasn’t passed 500,000 sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet” in 2001 and like Megadeth’s debut, it still hasn’t passed the 500,000 Gold barrier.

So if you compare the first album release of each band, all of them failed to achieve GOLD status within the first two years.

But, but…. sales of the eighties are awesome compared to today. How can bands today survive? Rubbish is what I say.

SECOND ALBUM

Metallica released “Ride The Lightning” in 1984. It wasn’t until 1987 that the album was certified GOLD in the U.S, three years after it’s release. In 2012, twenty-eight years after it’s release, the album was certified 6 x platinum.

Megadeth released “Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying” and it was certified GOLD in 1988, two years after it’s release. By 1992, the album was certified Platinum for 1 million sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Waking The Fallen” in 2003. In 2009, it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S., six years after it’s release and with the new anniversary edition coming out, expect these sales to increase even more.

So who is the winner for the second album sales. Megadeth reached GOLD in two years, Metallica in three years and Avenged Sevenfold in six years. Still, is the Eighties so much better. Both Megadeth and Metallica went back into the studio nine months later to record follow ups, while Avenged Sevenfold had a longer run before entering the studio.

Who really knows what level of sales, “Waking The Fallen” will be at in 2031. Who really knows, the amount of streams or YouTube views the album would reach by 2031?

THIRD ALBUM

Metallica released “Master Of Puppets” in 1986 and it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S in the same year. In 2003, 17 years after it’s release it was certified 6 x platinum. The digital mp3 of the song “Master of Puppets” has also passed the 500,000 barrier. Again, massive sales numbers did not come right away. It took time and a lot of great music.

Megadeth released “So Far, So Good, So What” in 1988 and it was certified GOLD in 1990, again two years after it’s release. By 1998, 10 years after, it was certified Platinum. Again, massive sales did not come right away. It took time.

Avenged Sevenfold released “City Of Evil” in June 2005 and six months later it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. Eventually the album would pass the 1 million sales barrier in 2009 four years after it’s release. In addition, the song “Bat Country” also being certified GOLD in Digital sales.

So after three albums each, which band reached GOLD the quickest? Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold both reached 500,000 sales for their third album, within six months.

But…. Bands had way more sales in the Eighties than today…. The answer is NO, they didn’t.

Sales for Megadeth and Metallica got a lot better after the Black album and the Countdown To Extinction albums. Those albums converted alot of fence sitters into fans who then went and purchased the back catalogues.

In reality, sales of music really haven’t dried up. The fact that “Master Of Puppets” has moved six million units since it’s release should not be taken into account right now. Who knows how much “City Of Evil would have moved by 2022?

People still purchase music, so it is not harder for bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine or Five Finger Death Punch to sell millions like the artists from the magical Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

All they need is an album that will unite the fragmented metal genres in existence today.

What is harder is getting the great music heard from the rest of the noise that internet distribution has allowed. I am a believer that all great music will rise above. It might take years for some artists or it could be instant for others.

I am sure by 2030, young bands starting up will be saying that there will no band at that point in time that will be able to sell millions of albums or have their songs streamed 100,000,000 times or have YouTube views in the trillions.

However like the artist of today, they are as successful or if not more than those bands from the “glory” years.

As M.Shadows mention in the interview, don’t be worried following the sales metric as a sign of success. Focus on writing good songs and delivering live.

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

The Force Is Strong In The Kashmir Effect

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” is the type of song that is so good, that it has become part of pop culture. The song was released in 1975 on the “Physical Graffiti” album.

Even “Kashmir” is a result of Jimmy Page creating derivative versions of previous ideas and songs. The first thing is the CIA tuning that Jimmy Page first employed with “The Yardbirds”. CIA stands for Celtic-Indian-Arabic and the exact tuning is known as DADGAD, a tuning that Davy Graham used for his 1963 rendition of an old Irish folk song “She Moved Through The Fair” which in turn saw Jimmy Page come along and derive a new song called “White Summer”, and another derivative version called “Black Mountain Side”.

If you don’t know who Davy Graham is, go to YouTube right now and type in “Anji” and prepare to be mesmerized. For all the music geeks out there, check out one of the riffs from “Anji” (that comes in at about the 14 second mark) and then go and listen to Queens Of The Stone Age song “No One Knows”. Hear the riff. While “Anji” wallows in internet obscurity, “No One Knows” has 17,883,776 views on the Queens Of The Stone Age Vevo account.

“Black Mountain Side” was recorded in October 1968 and released in January 1969 on the first Led Zeppelin album. It is credited to Jimmy Page as a writer, however the guitar arrangement closely follows Bert Jansch’s version of “She Moved Through the Fair”, recorded on his 1966 album “Jack Orion” which more or less was a cover of Davy Graham’s 1963 version.

All of these songs are in the same DADGAD tuning that was used for “Kashmir”. I am not saying that these songs sound similar to “Kashmir” however these songs needed to be jammed on, so that Jimmy Page could get used to the DADGAD tuning. You see great songs don’t happen overnight or by a committee. They happen by derivative jamming and by derivative accidents.

If there was any doubt about the power of “Kashmir”, then look no further than the metal and rock movements during the Eighties.

Kingdom Come’s derivative version “Get it On” helped the self-titled Kingdom Come album released in 1988 move over a million units in the U.S. Whitesnake employed the same technique in “Judgement Day” from the “Slip Of The Tongue” album, which even though it didn’t reach the sale heights of the self-titled 1987 album, it still moved over a million copies in 1989.

As Yoda would say, the force is strong in “Kashmir”. Kashmir’s legacy in pop culture was solidified in the Nineties when the main riff was used by Puff Daddy in the song “Come with Me”.

The defining part of the song is the ascending chromatic riff over a pedal point which is made even greater by the drumming from John Bonham, playing slightly behind the beat.

Dave Mustaine is a great employer of this technique. “In My Darkest Hour” and “The Call Of Ktulu/Hanger 18” both employ this technique, however there are other Mustaine penned songs that also include this technique. Progress is derivative is the mantra that I employ.

“Mary Jane” from the “So Far, So Good, So What” album released in 1988 has that riff that comes in at 0.46 and continues throughout the song. If it sounds familiar, it should, it is a very close derivative version of “In My Darkest Hour”. Both songs are similar and both songs have the ascending bass line over a pedal point.

“This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction” album released in 1992 has the main verse riff.

“Public Enema Number 1” from the “Th1rte3n” album released in 2011 has the main verse riff.

“The Kingmaker” from the “Super Collider” album released in 2013 has the Chorus riff.

Billy Squier also employed “The Kashmir Effect” and “The Ramble On Effect” in his song, “Lonely Is the Night” from the album “Don’t Say No” released in 1981. The music is “Ramble On” and the beat is “Kashmir”.

Guess progress really is derivative.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Great “Bark At The Moon” Song Writing Controversy

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was in disarray. Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake got fired before “Diary of A Madman” was released and in the process they had their credits removed from the album. The other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best and after delivering the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined Ozzy’s band during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. The band at the time consisted of Tommy Aldridge on drums, Don Costa on bass and Lindsay Bridgewater on keyboards. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

This is what Jake E. Lee had to say on the song writing process in a recent interview with the Ultimate Classic Rock website;

Well, most of that was really me and Bob Daisley. Because Ozzy would show up and kind of play around with songs. I remember that I had the riff for ‘Bark at the Moon’ and I played that, and he said, “Oh, I love it — we’ll call that one ‘Bark at the Moon,’” because he already had the album title in mind. So he said, “That’s the one that’s going to be ‘Bark at the Moon.’” He’d come in with things like that and then he’d drink, and he’d either pass out or leave, which left just me and Bob. We’d stay in the studio and flesh out the songs. It was fun working with Bob. He wrote all of the lyrics, [and he’s] a great lyricist. So yeah, me and Bob, we had a good working relationship. It was fun doing that record.

Bob Daisley told his story to the Bravewords website in the following way;

“You see Ozzy and Sharon were trying to get me to agree to get rid of Lee (Kerslake) and get Tommy Aldridge in the band. I kept on saying no, it’s not broken, so let’s not fix it. Lee (Kerslake) was working fine. So they got rid of both of us. But a few months later, Sharon phoned me and asked me to meet her in London for a chat. She said that Randy wanted me to come back and that they wanted to do a third album. So I was supposed to do an album with Randy, Ozzy and Tommy Aldridge. It was all planned that I was supposed to do the third album, which I did but not until 1983 but was supposed to be in 1982. Obviously Randy was not a part of it and it ended up being Jake E Lee. Everything was postponed when Randy left us.”

That postponement meant that Dan Costa was playing bass on the 1982, Winter/Spring European tour. Eventually, Ozzy got fed up with him, punched him in the face, breaking his nose and firing him all in one swoop. The call went out to Bob Daisley again to do the US Festival gig and then the third album.

The US Festival attendance figure varies however it is safe to say that the attendance was somewhere between 350,000 to 450,000 people. The US Festival was the Metal’s world “Woodstock”.

From May 29, 1983 up until 1992, metal and rock ruled. Coming into the US Festival, Bob Daisley had a week to get himself re-acquainted with the songs. In typical rock star fashion, Daisley flew in to L.A, went straight to rehearsal from the airport with some series jet lag. After another rehearsal the next day, he walked out on stage to play to a sea of people on the third day. The bands that performed on the Heavy Metal day included;

Quiet Riot
Mötley Crüe
Triumph
Ozzy Osbourne
Judas Priest
Scorpions
Van Halen

The US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack) was a pivotal moment for all of the metal bands involved.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, if you heard those songs and liked them, you more or less would go out and purchase the album that has them them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. Isn’t it funny what a festival in May of that same year did to boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. Also in March 1984, “Love At First Sting” hit the streets with the worldwide smash “Rock You Like A Hurricane” further cementing the band’s status as superstars. This success didn’t come instantly either, as the Scorpions had been working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. The visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Ozzy Osbourne on the other hand was a very different place in his career. He had the momentum with the Blizzard Of Ozz band and then started losing that momentum when Sharon and Ozzy fired Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. With the death of Randy Rhoads, all of that momentum was totally lost. So the US Festival was an important moment for Ozzy Osbourne’s career.

For Daisley, coming back into the fold after he played the U.S Festival meant that he came with conditions this time around. Two of the conditions he stipulated was to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. Other conditions that he stipulated was to get bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came. Of course when the album was released in November 1983, by January of 1984 it was certified Gold in the US.

So after the US Festival in May 1983, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. Writing continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman Engineering and producing again. The rest of the album was finished at The Power Station back in New York in 1983. The reason for the change was that Ridge Farm Studio was losing money at that point. In typical Osbourne fashion, the favourite Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio, with Sharon Osbourne constantly on his case as to why the drum parts were taking so long. So after Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. Appice appeared in the “Bark At The Moon” video and had a contract to do the tour. Eventually he got fired from the tour as well due to him sneaking off and doing drum clinics, which infuriated Sharon Osbourne, especially when he would come back late for sound checks.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Sometimes he (Appice) would throw extra things into the songs that shouldn’t be there just to show his pupils that he gave free tickets to after doing the clinics. He got a little carried away with himself but it was wrong for Ozzy and Sharon to get rid of him because he had a contract to do that tour. They should have ironed out the problems but what do they do? They get rid of him and bring Tommy Aldridge back and I think it was a mistake. Carmine sued them and he won.”

How many law suits would the Osbourne’s face that all could have been avoided if they were fair to the musicians that really made Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career. Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. The mix is horrible. Thank Tony Bongiovi for that.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Ozzy mentions it and both Jake and Bob agree with it. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics about a beast that comes out in a full moon.

I love the lyrics in “You’re No Different.” Bob Daisley has stated that it was Ozzy’s title and that Ozzy wanted the song to be about people judging and criticizing him.

Look at yourself instead of looking at me
With accusation in your eyes
Do you want me crucified
For my profanity

Concealing your crimes behind a grandeur of lies
Tell me where do I begin
If you think you’re without sin
Be the first to cast the stone

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes
Reflecting jealousy

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try to understand
But is that blood that’s on your hand
From your democracy

The lyrics to the song “Now You See It (Now You Don’t)” were composed by Daisley and were aimed at Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne. However Ozzy and the rest assumed the song was about sex. Even Bob Daisley stated once that the song is about hiding a sausage.

For the song “Rock N Roll Rebel” this is what Bob Daisley had to say about it on his website;

Ozzy’s title and another one about him being accused of being a devil worshiper. Some of the lyrics were his too but about 90% were mine.

“Centre of Eternity” or “Forever” was Bob Daisley’s title and lyrics. As Bob stated, it is a “tongue-in-cheek philosophical look at ‘time’ and our existence in eternity.”

“So Tired” to me was a great song. Jake E Lee hated the orchestra in the song. Bob Daisley has stated that it was his title and lyrics. On his website, this is what he had to say about the song;

Something quite unusual for me to write – a love song. The idea came from a Kinks’ song I heard on the radio one night driving back home from Ridge Farm. Their song was called ‘Tired of Waiting’ but that’s where the similarities end.

“Slow Down” is a Bob Daisley title and all lyrics are by Daisley. This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

Inspired by The Beatles’ song of the same name but again, that’s where the similarities end, the lyrics are very different. I remember Jake E. Lee particularly liked this one.

“Waiting for Darkness” to me is a favourite. It is Ozzy’s title however Bob Daisley wrote all the lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

I wrote it about the hypocrisy within organized religion, the brainwashing, mind control, paedophilia and manipulation through guilt, and that if that’s what equates to the ‘light’ then I’ll wait for the ‘darkness’. When Ozzy was asked what the song was about during his interview with ‘International Musician’ magazine, mentioned earlier, his answer was, “A witch.” It seems he didn’t understand the lyrics I’d written and he’d sung, although he took credit for writing it.

“Spiders” was a Bob Daisley title and lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

When we were recording ‘Bark’ at Ridge Farm, there were hundreds of little spiders everywhere. They were harmless but the glut of them inspired the song idea. I turned it around at the end with ‘the spider’s in your head’…

“One Up the B-side” is Bob Daisley’s ode to anal sex and the title and lyrics are all his.

In relation to the music, Jake E. Lee has said that he would come up with riffs and the ones that got the nod of approval ended up into songs.

On the Ultimate Classic Rock website, Jake E . Lee is asked the question if he went into the making of the “Bark At The Moon” record knowing that he would not be getting any writing credits. He answered that question with a simply “No”.

This is what he had to say on the matter;

“I was promised that I would get [credit]. Because I was young and I was in the middle of Scotland recording, I didn’t have a manager or a lawyer — it was just me. From the beginning, every musician, it’s always hammered into them, “Keep your publishing” and “Keep your writing.” So those were the only conditions that I had was “OK, I’m getting song writing credit, right?” I was always assured that “Yes, I’m getting publishing — of course you are!” When I didn’t on the first record, it was upsetting. But I figured OK, what am I going to do? I got freaked — what am I going to quit? We’re about to tour on a record that I finally got to make. There’s no problem for Ozzy to find another guitar player — am I just going to be that guy that played on that record, didn’t even get credit on the record and then refused to tour because I had a problem with Ozzy? No. I had to go out and tour. It would have been stupid not to. So I was only able to put my foot down at the end of the tour. “Let’s make another record” and I was like, “OK, but this time, you know what? I want the contract first before we start recording. I don’t want to be a dick, but I don’t want to get freaked again either.”

A lot of people think that Ozzy wrote a lot of the lyrics. Ozzy has led people to believe that. In interviews Ozzy has always stated, “when I wrote that”. It is all lies.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter, in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“The Osbournes won’t recognize or admit it’s true. They dislike the fact that, through my lyrics, I had a big hand in creating the magic and image that is Ozzy Osbourne. They’ve always tried to hide that. I remember at the time of Bark At The Moon, Jake E. Lee’s song publishing and mine had some complications. So we opted for a buyout and that’s why it says – ‘All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne.’ This of course, is not true. Ozzy did an interview with International Musician magazine, back in ’83 or ’84, they asked him how he wrote those songs and he said ‘with one finger on a piano.’ What a joke. The whole thing was ridiculous. Most people take it for granted that if someone is singing lyrics, that they wrote them.”

Now Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, however it looks like Jake E.Lee got really screwed over for this release. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either. Let’s hope the Osbourne’s can sleep well each night, considering that a couple of million from the hundreds of millions that Ozzy is worth could right their wrongs.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

It was a combination of events that cemented Cinderella as superstars.

The main event was the supporting slot on the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour. Bon Jovi had just broken through and started selling out all of the arenas. Apart from opening all the North American dates, Bon Jovi had a little jam session during each gig where the Cinderella guys would come out and do a song with them. Sort of like how in the recent Sydney show, Jon Bon Jovi brought out Kid Rock, his sax player and his back up singers for a version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock N Roll”.

Jon Bon Jovi even had a hand in getting the band signed with Polygram, by convincing Derek Schulman to check them out. By 1985, Schulman was four years into his A&R gig with Polygram and he was slowly proving himself at signing great talent. Of course he would also go on to sign such important acts like Pantera and Dream Theater in the years to come.

This is how Tom Keifer told it in a “Screamer Magazine” interview;

“We barely knew who he was because this was before Slippery When Wet. He was in Philadelphia making the 7800° Fahrenheit record, their second record, so we had no idea he was going to be there” stated Keifer. “He came back to the dressing room afterwards and introduced himself, Runaway was a hit, and he had a video on MTV so we knew who he was and for us at that point in our career, it felt like a big deal.”

“He was very complimentary, he really liked the band and enjoyed the show, nice to meet you and on his way he went. And we had no idea that he was y’know gonna get back to Polygram and he put in some very nice words to his A&R guy Derek Shulman who signed him. Derek had already had our demo tape as our manager had given it to him; and he was riding the fence. I don’t blame him because our demos were just god awful. We were pretty young and green and didn’t know how to record music. We didn’t really have much guidance. It’s a whole different thing to walk into rehearsal room or onto a live stage and blast out what you do, and then it’s another thing to walk in a recording studio and try to capture it!”

“So Derek’s riding the fence and basically what Jon did was, he said forget the demo tape, I just saw them live, and you should go down check them out.”

So the Bon Jovi tour gave Cinderella real exposure. Of course, they had the songs to capitalise on that exposure. While, lead off single “Shake Me” failed to make a dent, the second single “Nobody’s Fool” went nuclear, pushing the album to move 50,000 units a week. MTV put it in rotation and Cinderella became the new platinum darlings.

“Night Songs” was originally released in June 1986. In October 1986, the “Nobody Fools” video hit MTV and by December that same year, the “Night Songs” album is certified platinum. By February 1987, it was certified double platinum. So when it came time to record the follow-up, the pressure was on for the band to deliver.

Deliver they did. Within two months from when it was released, “Long Cold Winter” was certified platinum. “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)” certified Tom Keifer as a serious songwriter. Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album. Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Andy Johns kept on finding timing issues. The album is a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company and it celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

It’s got that piano riff that’s instantly memorable and secondary to Tom’s raspy voice. The song had everything that all the glam rock/metal bands where selling, but at the same time it was different enough to be stand out amongst the noise.

“Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long”

That’s what being an artist is all about. A need to express yourself. This is something that songs written by a committee cannot really achieve. The real stars of the Eighties wrote and performed their own material.

When you hit bottom, the first thing we turn to is music. Tom Keifer’s raspy voice brings the emotion out and connects on all levels. Truer words have never been spoken especially when in a few years, Tom Keifer would be diagnosed with a collapsed vocal chord. That still didn’t stop them from delivering “Heartbreak Station” and it would be another 4 years until “Still Climbing” hit the streets to a hostile musical climate. It quickly disappeared and their next project ended in a legal mess.

In an interview with Metal Sludge dated June 12, 2001, A&R Guru John Kalonder had this to say about Cinderella;

“Tom Keifer is a very talented musician and has always taken a long time to write a record. In two years, he demo’d some songs, only one of which I thought was good enough to be on a new album after so many years away. Just before we attempted to record some material last winter, I dropped them due to the lack of support from people at my company. Cinderella is one of my favorite bands and I hope they record a record and have great success with it.”

This is what Tom Keifer had to say on it on the matter of new music on Blabbermouth.

“We attempted that in ’98 with Sony and [former A&R executive] John Kalodner and it turned into a big legal hassle and lawsuit, which prevented us from recording the material that they claimed they owned, for five years. . . . Even though they didn’t want to record it. It’s typical in recording contracts. It’s called re-record rights. Once they claim they own the songs, you can’t re-record it for five years. They claimed ownership and decided not to make the record. It was like two years of writing and demos of material that we weren’t allowed to record. Needless to say, we had a slightly bad taste in our mouth. . .”

That’s the music business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When the history of hard rock is written by the winners, Cinderella needs to be there. Their first three albums are all masterpieces. Tom Keifer’s vocal style is his life style. When everyone was going for high range vocals in the Eighties, Cinderella brought it all back to basics. With each album they became rawer and dirtier, which was the opposite of what their contemporaries where doing.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Is Guitar World Still Relevant?

Once upon a time getting on the cover of a magazine was a sign of success or of dreams coming true. For the musical fan, the magazine was the only way that we could get any information from our favourite artists. The heyday for the metal and rock movements was the Eighties. Hundreds of different magazines appeared that covered certain genres and information was plentiful.

I started purchasing Guitar World magazines from January 1986. Any magazine that had content of bands/artists that I liked I devoured. Circus, Faces, Metal Maniacs, Rip, Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, Hot Metal, Metal Hammer, Kerrang, Guitar School, Guitar One, Total Guitar, Guitar Player and Guitar.

So when I saw my favourite artists or guitarists on the cover of magazines I saw it as a sign of them making it. In all of the interviews, most of the guitarists said it was a dream come true to be on the cover of a Guitar magazine.

So how important is it to an artist to be on the cover of Guitar World today? I still subscribe to this magazine and I had all the issues for the year mapped out in front of me.

This is the cover roll for 2013.
December – Nirvana – In Utero Anniversary
November – John Petrucci
October – Synester Gates / Zacky Vengeance
September – Ultimate Prog Roundtable/Asking Alexandria
August – Jeff Hanneman Tribute
July – Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne
June – Dave Mustaine / Chris Broderick
May – Brad Paisley
April – Orianthi
March – SRV “Texas Flood” Anniversary
February – The Who / Pete Townsend
January – Led Zeppelin Rides Again

Looking at the covers, I started to realise something.

Guitar World likes to play it safe. Sort of like a record label in the current environment. They are going for the sure bets, going where the money is. There is no onus on going out there and taking risks. They are looking for the hits, so that they can sell advertising.

If the “legends” have something happening or an anniversary of an album, it is a good bet that they will get a cover. Led Zeppelin, The Who, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tony Iommi with Ozzy Osbourne and Nirvana. 5 issues out of 12 devoted to “legends”.

Then you have the tribute piece, which in this case it the Jeff Hanneman issue. Expect one to come out for Lou Reed soon.

Then it is focusing on the stars that have been proven successful previously in the magazine, like John Petrucci, Dave Mustaine and Avenged Sevenfold, who of course wouldn’t even be considered unless they have new releases coming out.

Then it has the obligatory issue with a woman on the cover. I actually liked how they covered Orianthi however the interview was a mish mash of information found on Wikipedia and PR rewrites. There was nothing there that couldn’t be found on the web.

The only issue that involved some ‘originality’ and some risk taking was the Brad Paisley issue however again after reading the interview piece, I was left wondering if the final printed version was re-written by a PR person of the artist.

Robb Flynn’s recent journal about the Through The Ashes of Empires anniversary, mentions the following in relation to mainstream media;
“The American metal media blacklisted us, magazines like Revolver told us, “we can’t cover you, but if you get to 50,000 copies we’ll give you an article.” When we got to 50,000 they said, “Well, when you get to 70,000 we’ll give you an article”. When we got to 70,000 they said, “well, the record is too old now.” The metal media of the time continued that blacklist well into “The Blackening” album cycle, when after that, they just didn’t matter anymore.”

So taking Robb Flynn’s comments and putting them up against the Brad Paisley cover issue, the originality comment I mentioned earlier doesn’t seem to fit. Brad Paisley has four pages of certifications on the RIAA Gold and Platinum database. His sales are well over the 50,000 and 70,000 ranges quoted, hence a cover.

Don’t get me wrong, each issue is still enjoyable and the lessons, plus the tabs are the reason why I still subscribe to it. However, with user posted tabs on the rise in greater numbers on the internet (along with peer reviews and edits), plus YouTube videos of guitarists covering their favourite songs, in addition to the artists themselves delving deep into the “how to play” department, does a magazine like Guitar World still have a relevance in today’s market?

It all depends on what Guitar World wants to achieve. People still like to read a nice interview however over the last decade all the interviews seem like they have been written by a PR team for the artist. Furthermore, artists can go straight to their audience today. The journals that Robb Flynn is producing are pure GOLD. So why would artists wait for the chance to appear in a magazine which could or could not happen.

Guitar World is in the business of selling advertising. It is using music and artists as it’s tool to sell advertising.

So if you are an artist, what does the mainstream press mean to your career?

In my point of view, no artist should equate mainstream press with success. Artists are on the front page for a day, and in most cases they are gone.

Has anyone read anything on Dream Theater’s or Black Sabbath’s new record the last few weeks? Dream Theater and Sabbath made a mistake. Their marketing campaign was better and larger than the music on the album. At the end of the day it’s what goes into our ears that matters. No one cares about the interviews or the press.

The publicity campaign worked once upon a time, however it doesn’t work any longer. If artists want to be around forever they need to understand that they need to grow slowly. If you peak, you should want it to happen deep into your career.

The only press that Megadeth is getting about their new album recently is that the Metallica Black album is outselling it on a weekly basis.

So what have we learned?

A cover on a magazine does nothing for your career. If you want to last in the music business, you need to earn it.

A scorched earth publicity campaign could see an increase in sales NOW. However, fans don’t want to be beaten upon the head every time you release music. In the end, great music will find its way to an audience.

The recording business is about listenability and repeatability. People could say that a track is good or bad. However will they play that track over and over again. That’s the reaction you want. If you plan to record, you need that track.

The goal of an artist is to write great songs otherwise say hello to obscurity. That is what gets people interested. Great music, great songs.

If you are not passionate about what you do you’re never going to make it. You need to be more into it than we are. You need to live for it.

For comparisons here is the list from 2012.

Holiday – Joe Perry (Legend)
December – The Beatles (Legends)
November – Billie Joe Armstrong (Safe Bet + High Sales Numbers)
October – Billy Gibbons (Legend)
September – Steve Vai & Tosin Abasi (Legend and Newcomer)
August – Van Halen (Legend + High Sales Numbers)
July – Slash (Legend + High Sales Numbers)
June – Slipknot (Safe Bet + High Sales Numbers)
May – Joe Walsh (Legend)
April – Van Halen (Legend + High Sales Numbers)
March – Lamb of God (Safe Bet + High Sales Numbers)
February – Pink Floyd (Legend + High Sales Numbers)
January – Billy Gibbons (Legend)

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