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

Progress Is Derivative 3

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Good artists copy, great artists steal is the saying. We can paraphrase it to “Good artists try to sound original by hiding their influences”, while “great artists let their influences show”. It’s how the language of music is learned. We imitate our influences.

If you don’t believe me, what is the first thing a person does when they are learning an instrument?

We start by learning songs created by other artists.

Inspiration is not theft. Theft is me taking something and you not having it to use anymore, like your apple or your car. Taking a musical expression and using it in your own song is not theft, as the original musical expression is still there. Here are some examples of taking musical expressions and re-using them in different songs. And in each example, the original expression is still there.

  • Five Finger Death Punch in the verses of “Lift Me Up” paid homage to Ozzy’s vocal melody from “The Ultimate Sin”.
  • Megadeth in the verses of “Kingmaker” paid homage to Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”.
  • Dave Mustaine wrote “This Was My Life” from his “Phantom Lord” progression that appears from about 2.30 to 3.10.
  • “Live Wire” from Motley Crue borrowed from Girlschool’s “Yeah Right”.
  • “My Sanctuary” from Unisonic released in 2012 has a vocal melody that is very similar to “A Flock Of Seagulls” song called “I Ran (So Far Away)” that was released in 1981.
  • “Hey Hey My My” from Neil Young, released in 1979 is very similar to the song “I’d Love To Change The World” from Ten Years After released in 1971. In addition the riff to Tom Petty’s “Refugee” from 1980 is also very similar to “I’d Love To Change The World.”
  • “Ten Black Roses” from The Rasmus released in 2008 borrows from Muse’s “Showbiz” released in 1998.
  • “Life is Beautiful” from Sixx AM released in 2007 borrows from Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” released in 1993.
  • Even the song “Come Undone” is an amalgamation of other songs. Duran Duran wrote a song called “First Impression” and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo was creating a re-interpretation of the song for a covers album the band was doing which would include some re-interpreted songs. The bass line and drum groove came from producer John Jones and a song demo he did called “Face to Face”.
  • The song “This Is It” from the band Staind released in 2011 has the chorus vocal melody that borrows from The Offspring’s “Gone Away” chorus melody.
  • “Shepherd Of Fire” borrows from everything. The fire and the bell at the start and the feedback riff with the evil tri-tone is influenced from the song “Black Sabbath”. The drum pattern is very “Trust” like from Megadeth which is based on based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. The guitar riffs are also very Megadeth like and also based on “Trust” from “Cryptic Writings”. Yep, it’s perfect and it is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative” effect in action.

The list is just a summary of how the creative arts work.

We take what came before and we build on it. And for creativity to flourish and for cultures to grow like the British 60’s explosion, a healthy public domain is needed which means shorter copyright terms or even no copyright terms.

Copyright is never about paying artists/creators. Copyright was designed by the distributors (book publishers, record labels and movie studios) so who do you think benefits most from Copyright.

For centuries, the distributors have campaigned hard to promote how Copyright is there to help writers and artists. They have PR writers who tell the story of the poor artist who needs Copyright to pay the rent and how dare do people, copy a song instead of paying a price set by the industry for it. These PR writers have turning copying a song, (two songs exists) into theft (now product A is not in your possession).

Yes, Copyright operators do pay artists as a means to make it look like it’s doing the right thing, however more monies end up in the pockets of the organisations than artists.

And all of the great PR work the labels, movie studios and book publishers did in selling the copyright story is biting back at them, via the heirs of dead artists (who in reality should have no rights to songs they didn’t create) taking them to court with plagiarism law suits and what not.

Sort of like our governments who finance revolutionaries, only to have those revolutionaries rise up against their financiers once they seize power.

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

Progress Is Derivative – One Riff To Rule Them All

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Remember “Progress Is Derivative” means to take the best things of what has come before and merge it all together to come up with something new. In some cases it might sound similar to something in the past and in other cases it might sound unique, original and innovative. And the “One Riff To Rule Them All” is a perfect example of how so many songs can have the same riff conceptually and still be able to stand on their own.

One Riff To Rule Them All…
Yep, it’s the A pedal point riff… It all started with a motor city madman called Ted Nugent, and his song “Stranglehold” released in 1975 (actually it’s a bluesy groove that has been around for a lot longer before then). Since then, the riff has morphed to inspire the following songs.

  • “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest released in 1978.
  • The intro to “Swords and Tequila” from Riot released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Never Surrender” by Saxon released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Riding With Angels” by Samson (with Bruce Dickinson on vocals), released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Hellbound” by Tygers of Pan Tang released in 1981.
  • The main riff for “Flash Rockin’ Man” by Accept released in 1982.
  • The Intro in “Curse Of The Pharaohs” from Mercyful Fate released in 1983.
  • The main riff in “Power And The Glory” from Saxon released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Stand Up And Shout” from Dio released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Seek And Destroy” by Raven released in 1983.
  • The intro and main riff in “Two Minutes To Midnight” from Iron Maiden released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Heavy Metal Breakdown” by Grave Digger released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Phantoms Of Death” by Helloween released in 1985.
  • The main riff to “Skin O My Teeth” by Megadeth released in 1992.
  • The main riff to “Break The Chains” from Tokyo Blade.
  • A small variation of “the riff to rule them all” morphed into “Welcome To Hell” from Venom released in 1981.
  • And this morphed into “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue released in 1983 and became known as the Sunset Riff. So it was no surprise that other Sunset guitarists started using it.
  • “Young Girls” from Dokken in 1983 has a riff that’s similar.
  • “Tell The World” from Ratt, released in 1983 also has it.

I guess you can’t keep a good riff down. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Music is derivative. Always has been and always will be.

Ted Nugent’s originality in the 70’s is due to him writing derivative versions of blues grooves. There would be no metal music without rock and roll and there would be no rock and roll without country and blues. In the early blues (circa 30’s), copying and transforming was the norm. The same blues song would be recorded by different artists in different states. Sometimes, the titles would change. No lawyers got involved and especially no courts. In return, this allowed the blues sound to grow.

If you look at the bands above, they all built careers from the same patterned riff without a lawsuit to be seen.

What an amazing concept?

Stone Temple Pilots
Fans of Kiss smiled when they heard “Sex Type Thing” from Stone Temple Pilots. The main riff is influenced by “War Machine”. How strange it is, that one of Kiss’s heaviest songs is co-written by pop rock songwriters, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance with Gene Simmons.

Motley Crue
The Chorus riff to “Ten Seconds to Love” sounds like it was influenced by a certain riff in “Rock & Roll” by The Plasmatics. Actually they sound the same, but who cares. Both are different songs and unique and as you all know, I am a fan of the “progress is derivative” viewpoint.

The Led Zeppelin Effect Again
The impact of “Immigrant Song” cannot be underestimated.

Recently I heard it in “Siberian Queen” (2012) from The Night Flight Orchestra. The drum pattern is Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (1970) and the guitar riffs reference “Achilles Last Stand” in the intro and verse riff.

Meanwhile, John Sykes re-invented himself as Jimmy Page when he combined “Black Dog” with “Immigrant Song” in “Still Of The Night” (1987). In case you are not sure, it’s the riff that comes in after the intro singing.

Then there are the obvious clones of “Immigrant Song” in “Hold Her Tight” by The Osmonds (1972) and “Burning” by Sweet (1973).

Music is and always will be derivative. Enjoy.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Perpetual Copyright and The Public Domain

There is a lot of hate for the Public Domain from the corporations that hold the Copyrights to a lot of culture and also to creators who created those cultural icons. But without the Public Domain, those creators wouldn’t have a bed of influences that allowed them to create their works without fear of lawsuits and copyright infringement.

Hell, even all of the blockbusters coming out these days are story boarded by using scenes from films that maybe should be in the Public Domain. Check out this article from The Guardian about how “Rogue One” and “War For The Planet Of The Apes” came together. As the article states;

“.. the film’s initial “cut”, designed to map out the movie before any shooting took place, was cobbled together by editor Colin Goudie using footage from hundreds of other existing films. For protagonist Jyn Erso’s early encounter with Mon Mothma and her comrades on the Rebel council, Goudie substituted in the interrogation scene from the beginning of Aliens; for the bit where Erso and her pals break into the Imperial data vault, the editor inserted a similar scene from 1983’s WarGames. Old Star Wars movies were also pilfered from. Using this celluloid patchwork quilt, director Gareth Edwards was able to devise a working template for Rogue One (albeit one that would later be ripped apart and stitched back together following extensive reshoots).”

Yes people, it’s okay to be influenced. It’s okay to take an existing work and use it as a template to build upon. No art is created in a vacuum. As the article further states;

“We watched every Planet of the Apes movie, war movies, westerns, The Empire Strikes Back,” Reeves told About Movies. “We just thought, ‘We have to pretend we have all the time in the world,’ even though we had limited time. We got really inspired.”
Matt Reeves – Director of “War For The Planet Of The Apes”

Just because they used other films for inspiration doesn’t make the movie crap. As the article further states;

The fact that many of the above movies are derivative does not make them bad films. Plagiarism, in many ways, is the oil that greases the cogs of the studio machine. Each film-maker takes something from the last, and hopefully passes something on to their successor. It has been ever so since the early days of silent film, and indeed even the era of Shakespeare.

Progress is derivative has been my motto since I started creating music. Be influenced by what you see, hear and read.

And all of this leads me to the Public Domain.

Each year on January 1, certain works should be entering the Public Domain. But in the biggest market, the U.S, the large movie studios and record labels, lobbied hard to change the Copyright laws and since 1978, nothing really enters the Public Domain in the U.S.

The below works from 1960 should all be in the Public Domain in 2017, however they aren’t. And we will not see them in the Public Domain for another 39 years.

The team over at Duke University always put together a comprehensive list. If the below works entered the public domain, creators could use them to build new works without fear of a copyright infringement case. Fans could make their own clips and homages or new movies without fear of copyright infringement.

Here are some movies that should be in the Public Domain that I recognise;

  • The Time Machine
  • Psycho
  • Spartacus
  • Exodus
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Ocean’s 11
  • The Alamo
  • The Andy Griffith Show (first episodes)
  • The Flintstones (first episodes)

Here are some books that should be in the Public Domain that I recognise;

  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • John Updike, Rabbit, Run
  • Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

In the period these works were created, the writers and movie studios had a thriving public domain which they could call upon. They all created the above works, knowing that in time, the works would fall into the Public Domain and people would be free to use these books and movies in their own stories.

But the money in perpetual copyright created business that make millions, which in turn led to these businesses to pump politicians full of money, so they write and vote for laws that grants them a government monopoly.

There is research out that shows only 2% of works between 55 and 75 years old continue to retain commercial value. So apart from the famous works, the 98% remainder of the books and movies do not have any dollar value, however people cannot use them to build new works. No one benefits from perpetual copyright.

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Soul Stealer – John Sykes

It’s the opening track, released in 1995 on the “Out of my Tree” Sykes album. No one even knows it. On YouTube, a couple of fan accounts have it and combined, the number of views are less than 10,000. It is on Spotify, however no one is listening to it.

Intro A
0.00 to 0.09
It’s the simple E note staccato guitar riff that sets up the bluesy groove. I’m talking about “Cowboys From Hell” style staccato where you take bluesy grooves and metal them up. It just grabs you from the outset.

Intro B
0.10 to 0.16
It quickly transitions into a Motorhead “Ace Of Spades” style riff, however while Ace Of Spades is all speed, this one has more swing and groove.

In “Ace Of Spades”, Fast Eddie Clarke holds an E5 power chord (E,B notes) then a Eflat5 power chord (E, B flat notes) and then A/E chord (E, A notes) over an E pedal point. In “Soul Stealer”, John Sykes plays B flat, B octaves and then B, to B flat to G octaves over an E pedal point.

Those 16 seconds are a lesson in song writing through experiences, influences and time spent in the business. All the excess fat is trimmed away, and in 16 seconds you have a kick-ass lean riff that makes you sit up and take notice.

Verse
0.17 to 0.39
It starts off with the Intro B riff and then moves into an Em blues chromatic descending riff (which would become the Chorus riff later) and picked back up by some C to G chords on the first run through on the second run through, Sykes plays ascending power chords, B5, C5, C#5 and D5.

Cold hearted woman
Boy she gonna mess with your mind
Cold hearted woman
Take you to the highest high
Love you till the morning
Shake it through the night
Share your darkest secrets
Make you feel all right

The clichéd lyrics take away from the music. In my book, the lyrical message could make or break a song.

For example, as good as the music was from Randy Rhoads, if Bob Daisley wrote lyrics about getting laid and had “please” rhyming with “knees” and “Crazy Train” was called “Wicked Whore” or something silly, then all of that great music that Rhoads created would be lost in the lyrical message. But the lyric line “Goin off the rails like a crazy train” is universal and it will never sound dated. The lyric line, “Go ahead and Jump” is universal and it will never get dated.

Dokken is one band that had lyrics on certain occasions that didn’t do justice to the music of the song. “Unchain The Night” is a perfect example. Musically, it is brilliant. The vocal melodies are strong. The lyrics, blah. Does anyone know how you can chain up the night, so that you can then write a song about unchaining it?

Regardless of what is said about rock music and grunge, by 1995, rock music was still VERY POPULAR to write and still a big seller, however the lyrical content and the look was very different to the Seventies and Eighties and it needed to be more in the alternative/grunge vein.

Pearl Jam is a bloody good rock band, regardless of which city they came from. Alice In Chains are a good rock band. Both of those bands sold well. Megadeth sold well during this period. Dream Theater sold well during this period. However their lyrics, weren’t derivative of the Seventies classic rock and the Eighties Glam/Hair Metal movement.

Check out the lyrics to the song “Black” from Pearl Jam as an example of writing about a woman/relationship that isn’t clichéd and derivative of the Eighties/Seventies movement.

In saying that, while David Coverdale was probably the most broken-hearted singer out there, John Sykes is the singer that dealt with cold-hearted and black-hearted women. It became a recurring theme that appeared on each release.

Chorus
0.40 to 0.47
The Chorus riff was introduced in the verses briefly, so when it comes up in the Chorus it is not unknown to the listener. This is a brilliant piece of song writing musically.

Cause she’s a soul stealer
Dream weaver
Gonna steal your heart away

Breakdown (which is the Intro A riff again)
1.19 to 1.26
That intro E staccato riff is back again.

Solo
1.27 to 1.57
John Sykes first and foremost is a lead guitarist. But in 1995, the lead guitarist was not the focal point of the band. The guitar poses and facial expressions didn’t cut it anymore. However, you can’t take away a person’s ability to shred. It’s like a fast car. You can crank it from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. John Sykes wasn’t about whammy bar theatrics and sweep picking. He was all about the pentatonic scales. First and foremost, the lead had to be melodic and not just a finger exercise.

It’s a simply rock song but musically, a very busy and well-orchestrated song. It wasn’t made for radio airplay. It was made for the fan to enjoy the craftsmanship of an exceptional guitar player and song writer.

“Out of My Tree” was available as an import in Australia for more than $80 dollars. I didn’t hear this album until Napster hit in 1999 when I downloaded it illegally. Sykes did not fit into the system, which now wanted industrial and alternative rock. With any album release back in 1995, an artist needed to have the right people behind it, to push and promote it. The mere fact that the album was geo-blocked from worldwide release and only available as an import in a lot of countries is evidence that the wrong record label was behind it.

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Musical Cloning

I was reading a Motley Fool newsletter about investments and in that newsletter they talk about a process called “Capital Cloning”.

So the 3 Steps to “Capital Cloning” as mentioned in the newsletter are as follows;
1. EXTRACT a business model with a track record of profitability from an established company in a mature market.
2. IDENTIFY an immature, fertile market in which that business model can be successfully planted/recreated.
3. Watch your “Capital Clone” grow and HARVEST a second heaping of profits from a single business strategy along the way

So does the above “Cloning” template sound familiar when it comes to music. Let’s put into a musical context;

1. EXTRACT a group of songs with a track record of profitability.
2. RECREATE those group of songs.
3. WATCH your “Musical Clones” grow and HARVEST another round of profits from them.

The funny thing is that if you look at the largest bands today, that is the exact thing they have done.

Let’s start with Metallica.

“Fight Fire With Fire” -> “Battery” -> “Blackened”
See a trend there. Each song kicks off slowly and builds into a thrashathon. If I had to pick a standout, it would be “Battery”.

“Ride The Lightning” -> “Master Of Puppets” -> “And Justice For All”
The title track of each album always came in at number 2.

“For Whom The Bells Toll” -> “The Thing That Should Not Be” -> “Eye Of The Beholder”
The more mainstream groove song came in at number 3, so it would be no surprise when songs like these were heard on the “Black” album.

“Fade To Black” -> “Welcome Home” -> “One”
The power ballads that always ended with a WOW statement. On the “Black” album, “The Unforgiven” also came in at number 4, while “Until It Sleeps” and “The Unforgiven II” had that honor on “Load” and “Reload”.

“Trapped Under Ice” -> “The Shortest Straw”
Two little misunderstood songs in Metallica folklore.

“Escape” -> “Leper Messiah” -> “Harvester of Sorrow”
This is the groove of the “Black” album right here on these three songs.

“Creeping Death” -> “Disposable Heroes” -> “The Frayed Ends of Sanity”
A win-win and then a miss.

“The Call Of Ktulu” -> “Orion” ->”To Live Is to Die”
If one instrumental worked, why not re-create it and do another two more.

“Damage, Inc.” -> Dyers Eve”
The “Ride The Lightning” album didn’t really have a supersonic speed metal song. However “Master of Puppets” did in “Damage Inc” and it worked so well, the band re-created it on the follow-up album with “Dyers Eve”.

All of these musical clones set Metallica up for the self-titled black album that is still talked about today.

There are fans that wanted “Ride The Lightning” Part 4, while other fans wanted “Kill Em All” Part 2. But the biggest talking point was James vocals. It looks like a lot of the fans really enjoyed his unique snappy bark style as heard on the first four albums and were really upset because he actually sang on the “Black” album.

Of course when the “Black” album came out, what do you think Metallica tried to do next. Re-create the “Black” album with “Load” and “Reload”. Then they threw a curveball at us with “St Anger” and surprise, surprise, they went and cloned their back catalogue for “Death Magnetic”.

Let’s look at a few Bon Jovi clones.

“Let It Rock” -> “Lay Your Hands On Me” -> I Believe
They all have intro build ups. One is by keyboards, one is by drums and the other is by guitar.

“Livin On A Prayer” -> “Born To Be My Baby” –> “Keep The Faith” -> “It’s My Life” -> “Bounce” -> “Have A Nice Day” –> “We Weren’t Born To Follow”
Now here is some serious cloning going on. We need the President/Prime Minister to pass some new laws that bans it.

“Wanted Dead Or Alive” –> “Stick To Your Guns” -> “Blaze Of Glory”
Two number one hits there and one miss.

But then I look at Motley Crue and I cannot hear any musical cloning happening there. Blame it on the drugs, whatever. Each album is unique in its own way and according to who you talk too, full of filler as well.

Even when they had their big album in “Dr Feelgood”, they didn’t even try to replicate it. Hell, the Motley Crue album that came next with John Corabi on vocals is one hell of an album. Then they went all electronic industrial rock with “Generation Swine” and returned back to hard rock on “New Tattoo” and went all modern rock with “Saints Of Los Angele”

In the end, all progress in music is based on derivatives. In other words, musical cloning.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

P(etty)L(ynne)A(ttack)GIARIZE

Anyone heard Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”. I know it’s not a rock or metal song, however since July last year, thousands of YouTube clips came up where YouTube users mashed up “Stay With Me” with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” that was a co-write with Jeff Lynne from ELO and released back in 1989.

And to be honest I had no idea that Petty and Lynne went for royalties on this one, so when I came across the stories a few days ago about it, I have to admit I had a laugh.

I laughed first because both Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne as musicians have used a lot of blues standards and classical music respectively in their output.

I laughed because one of the greatest bands in the world Led Zeppelin plagiarized a shit load of folk and blues standards. Hell, their biggest song “Stairway To Heaven” was even plagiarized.

I laughed because one of the biggest bands in the world today, Metallica plagiarized a shit load of metal and skate metal bands for their biggest songs.

I laughed because the whole British rock invasion was a cultural movement based on plagiarizing the blues standards of the thirties to the fifties.

I laughed because Avenged Sevenfold released a great rock record that plagiarized a shit load of other bands from the Eighties and the Nineties.

I laughed because the whole concept of writing music is to copy something that came before it and to allow that to influence you.

I laughed because the copyright bullshit laws that Petty and his team used are there to protect songwriters from competitive works that diminished the original work. I can honestly say that Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” in no way diminished Tom Petty’s “I Wont Back Down”. There is no way that people who like “Stay With Me” would neglect Tom Petty’s “I Wont Back Down”.

I laughed because the vocal melodies are both simple pentatonic sequences. The pentatonic scale is a five note scale that is a standard in rock and metal.

I laughed because Tom Petty when questioned about similarities between The Strokes “Last Nite” and Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Dani California” with Petty’s “American Girl” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” said that he doesn’t believe in court actions to fight over pop songs.

I laughed because one of the albums I have been listening to lately is the poster child for copying and what a fucking great album it is. That is Kingdom Come’s self-titled album.

I laughed because when it comes to music everything is loaded with so much emotion.

I laughed because all music is a derivative of what came before it.

I laughed because the reason WHY WE LIKE music is that it sounds like something familiar.

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George Lynch and Michael Sweet

George Lynch. As much as he probably despises it, he will always be known as the lead shredder for Dokken. Yep, his greatest claim to fame is under the surname of a person he doesn’t really like.

In guitar circles he is known for losing out to Randy Rhoads for the Ozzy gig, however he was good enough to take over from him at Musonia. Gene Simmons told Lynch once (during the Xciter days) that with a name like George Lynch he would never make it. I guess Simmons didn’t take into account the power of determination and perseverance.

In a roundabout way Lynch ended up with a record deal and recorded “Breaking The Chains” in Europe in 1981. He auditioned again for Ozzy after Randy’s passing however the job went to Jake E.Lee this time around. With nothing to lose, he had one more crack at the big time. With the addition of Jeff Pilson, a new formidable song writing team would be formed in Lynch, Pilson and Mick Brown.

What can’t be taken away from Lynch is that he is a man of many projects. If you want to survive in the music business you need to create. And that is what George Lynch does each year. He creates, plays live and creates some more and plays live again.

But the part that impresses me more is his foresight.

Back in the early two thousands he started “Guitar Dojo” an online guitar instructional course that was way ahead of its time. Hell, Skype and YouTube were not even around at all. Today, every artist has some lessons out there that they conduct via Skype or YouTube. And without knowing it, Lynch was finding different ways to connect with his fan base. The Guitar Dojo became a community that would end up seeing the guitar students turn up at shows, purchase merchandise and recordings.

He self-funded his “Kill All Control” album, which had the song “Son of Scary”. The band agreement in Dokken meant that they split up all the songs equally. “Mr Scary” an instrumental that Lynch wrote by himself was also split four ways. Back in the Eighties it was probably no big deal.

Fast forward to 2008/9 and “Guitar Hero” comes calling, wanting to use “Mr Scary” for the game. According to Lynch, Dokken had a problem with it and he made Guitar Hero’s legal department very uncomfortable. In order to work around this problem, Lynch re-wrote the song on a 7 string and called it “Son Of Scary”. In the end “Guitar Hero” didn’t end up using the track.

He also released “Sun Red Sun” that is a record he started more than two years ago with the last incarnation of the band. On top of that he is also just finishing up the music for another new Lynch Mob record that will be coming out next spring. This version of the band has Jeff Pilson on bass, Brian Tichy on drums along with Oni Logan on vocals. Lynch also has the Shadow Nation documentary and Shadow Train band project to come in 2015.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post!

There is no doubt that George Lynch is a wonderful talent. As good as he is, he doesn’t sing and for that you need a vocalist that is also talented in writing great vocal melodies. And he found that vocalist in Michael Sweet, who is another musician that is also creating and working non-stop.

Check out Michael Sweet’s output since 2005.

2005: Stryper – Reborn
2006: Michael Sweet – Him
2007: Michael Sweet – Touched
2007: Stryper – Live In Puerto Rico
2007: Stryper – The Roxx Regime Demos
2008: Boston Tour
2009: Stryper – Murder By Pride
2011: Stryper – The Covering
2013: Stryper – Second Coming
2013: Stryper – No More Hell To Pay
2014: Michael Sweet – I’m Not Your Suicide
2014: Stryper – Live At The Whisky
2015: Sweet & Lynch – Only To Rise

And that is what I am doing right now. I am listening to the Sweet and Lynch album “Only To Rise”.

From all of his projects since Lynch Mob’s second album, this is the best one by far. Michael Sweet as always delivers a killer vocal performance and in some cases, his melodies take pedestrian songs into a whole new stratosphere. “Recover” is one example. The intro and verses are okay, but when that chorus crashes down around the ear drums and Sweet’s glass shattering vocals hit the spot, all bets are off. The album has got twelve songs, however nine songs would have made a perfect album.

The Wish
This song is the star of the album. That chorus vocal melody and the guitar melody under it are brilliant.

“Girl I want to love you just like Hollywood
Like a New York Times best-selling fairy tale
A knight in shining armour who’s defending you
The wish within your well”

Dying Rose
Michael Sweet mentioned in an interview that he asked George Lynch to give him music with a Dokken vibe/feel like “The Hunter” (track number 2 from the Under Lock and Key album). That song ended up being “Dying Rose”.

Lynch further stated in a Guitar World interview that “Dying Rose,” has a “country-esque, Nashville element to it. It’s a beautiful melody and chorus with a nice hook.”

Love Stays
Michael Sweet mentioned that “Love Stays” is one of his favourites. He likes the vibe, the feel, the drum groove and just the way it sounds. The funny thing is that they are all the bits I dig as well.

As soon as that guitar riff comes in to start the song, I knew I was listening to something special especially when it transitions into a Beatles/ELO “Mr Blue Sky” bridge. Overall, the song could have come from the Max Martin stable of pop rock songs. Give it to any pop star of the week and watch it rise.

Time Will Tell
It reminds me of a band that is a huge influence on me musically and that band is Y&T.

Rescue Me
I read that Michael Sweet asked Lynch to give him something a little Journey-ish. The reply was a bunch of riffs titled “Bad Journey”. It might have that old-school Journey vibe however it’s got that Led Zep/Bad Company blues rock vibe as well.

Me Without You
The way the guitar transitions between chords reminds me of Michael Schenker for some reason. I really dig this song. The intro and the vocal melody are just brilliant. Haunting even.

Recover
One of the best rock/metal songs I have heard in a while. When that chorus crashes down around the ear drums and Sweet’s glass shattering vocals hit the spot, all bets are off.

September
I’ve read some comments and reviews that mention it’s hard not to think of Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years” during the intro and choruses of “September”.

Only To Rise
This song is the “Hey, dude. Give me something that’s a little Van Halen-ey.” And it sure is.

The whole album is an example of the progress is derivative model.

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