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

Credibility = Musical Differences

Music used to be about finding some Avant garde musical and lyrical edge and pushing yourself and that edge to the limits.

Want to be as big as Metallica. Forget about the Napster court case and remember that Metallica once was a band that had an edge. They were an outlier versus the LA Glam Rock movement.

When did it all change?

Now it’s about what maintains.

Now it is about what can an artist do to ensure that the nice income they got from the last recording and tour cycle remains the same?

So they go away and recreate the same album thinking that is what the fans want.

Now imagine thousands of artists doing the same thing and pretty soon, we, the public will be ploughed under by the plethora of product that all sounds very similar. And we do either two things. We switch off completely and go back to the classics that we know or we gravitate to a few current acts and decide that they will be the ones that we stick with.

Because we don’t have time to sit back and listen to every new album just to find that one song that could blow our mind.

Musicians didn’t want to make the same music everybody else did. It was all about finding your style.

Musicians didn’t care about how they looked. It was all about how they played.

Musicians didn’t want to sell out to the corporation because it took away their street cred.

And credibility is everything.

That is why Rock/Metal bands didn’t really last forever.

Credibility equals musical differences.

How long were The Beatles together? Eight or nine years.

What about the original line up of Kiss? Eight or nine years.

Twisted Sister (the version of Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza and AJ Pero) had a run of 7 years before AJ Pero was booted and another year after that the band itself was goneski for a long period of time.

Motley Crue had a run of 11 years before Vince Neil was outed.

Led Zeppelin had a run of 12 years before the tragic passing of John Bonham and even though they got together with Jason Bonham on a few occasions, you could honestly say that was the end.

The Doors had a run of 6 or so years before the tragic passing of Jim Morrison.

What about Jimi Hendrix? He had a three-year reign before he tragically died.

Dokken had a run of 7 years before they went down in flames just because George Lynch couldn’t get over the fact that the band he was in was called Dokken.

Credibility is the honesty and openness of our past heroes and the lyrics in their songs.

Motley Crue didn’t come out and pretend to live the destructive lifestyle they sang about. They actually lived it. Same goes for Guns N Roses.

Dee Snider wrote his career defining songs when he was poor and broke. He had the anger and the credibility of knowing what it was like to be poor and hungry for success.

With Desperado and especially Widowmaker Dee Snider was in the same position as he was before the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” success and he wrote a lot of great songs for those projects that no one has really heard. Listen to “Reason To Kill” from the Widowmaker album, “Blood and Bullets”. Elektra boss Bob Krasnow at the time would have hired multiple body guards to protect his sorry ass.

This is what music was.

Truth.

The basic human connection to one another.

And now with music available 24/7 everyone is sacrificing that truth in desperation to chase a trend that makes money. But the ones that had longevity in music never chased trends. Like Frankie said, they did it their way.

That is why in most new acts, most people know the singles, the real stand out songs from the album.

That is the difference between the new breed and the old acts. The fans of the old acts know the material. Because when you have that one album for a six month period, it is all that you listen too.

I will let you in on a little secret. All of our heroes are “years in the making” success stories. They started something, failed, looked stupid doing it, dusted themselves off and started something again.

But everyone these days wants to parade themselves as a winner. Which is BS.

What we need are musicians pushing the limits of their art.

We forget the latest song we listened too in a matter of minutes but we are still talking about the latest Game Of Thrones episode.

It needs to be the other way around.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Dee Snider – Widowmaker – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I saw Dee Snider as the spokesperson for Metal music in the Eighties’. Apart from writing generational anthems, he could also string sentences together like no one else could, and this led him all the way to Washington.

Reason To Kill is from the excellent Widowmaker debut, Blood and Bullets, released in 1992.

This is an angry Dee Snider, and that anger is directed at Bob Krasnow, the head of Elektra Records and the person responsible for killing off the Desperado project. It is a far cry of the anthemic Stay Hungry era.

For those that don’t know, Snider teamed up with guitarist Bernie Torme (Ozzy/Ian Gillan), drummer Clive Burr (Iron Maiden) and bassist Mark Russell to form Desperado, his first project post Twisted Sister. The album Bloodied But Unbowed was shelved at the last minute by Bob Krasnow.

Songs like Hang Em High, Cry You A Rainbow, Calling For You, Gone Bad and Emaheevull would be released on other Dee Snider projects. Dee even had to buy back his own songs from Elektra in order to re do them in Widowmaker, which features the excellent Al Pitrelli on guitar.

Pitrelli was coming off a run of high profile gigs with Alice Cooper (as musical director, songwriter and touring guitarist), Great White (fill in guitarist) and Michael Bolton (backing band guitarist). Also he started to become an accomplished songwriter, contributing to Y&T and Alice Cooper albums. On top of that, he had people like Steve Vai, recommending him as an artist to work with.

Widowmaker also included former Twisted Sister drummer Joe Franco and bassist Marc Russell from Dee’s Desperado project. The band name was suggested by producer Ric Wake because he liked the Dee Snider song called “The Widowmaker”. Snider even contacted bassist Bob Daisley (Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne), who played in the original Widowmaker, about using the name and got a “who cares if you use the name” reply. Rick Wake produced the album and that was an interesting choice as his experience at that time was purely pop artists like Taylor Dayne, Mariah Carey, Diana Ross and Sheena Easton.

So you used me
Then threw me away

That is the slogan of the Label Run Music Business. Actually it still is, especially to the ones who still chase major label gigs.

All my life it seems
Been spent building’ dreams
I knew would be broke by you

Think about the circumstances. Dee left Twisted Sister in 1987. He spent three years writing, demoing and recording the Desperado album, only to have it pulled from release in 1990. The band splintered apart and he was left in no man’s land. Three years out of the public eye in the music business is like a life time, and prior to Desperado, Dee spent his whole life building up Twisted Sister only to have that broken as well, by label and management pressure. Love Is For Suckers was always meant to be a Dee Snider solo release, however the powers that be had other ideas.

Dee was also upset with Atlantic when the label announced it was putting together a best-of Twisted Sister album, which was released a few months before the Widowmaker album. It was typical of the labels. Releasing music as best offs. The maths are simple. Zero Cost = Pure Profit.

Dee mentioned once in an interview, that he has grown musically and was into more heavy rock, and that he hoped, that the fans of Twisted Sister’s heyday had grown with him.

“You’ve got to remember that people who were fans in (Twisted Sister’s) heyday six or seven years ago were 16 then and are 23 now. The 12-year-olds are 18 or 19. Just as I’ve grown (musically), hopefully they have grown as well.”

Widowmaker didn’t have the same commercial success as Twisted Sister, however as a Dee Snider and Al Pitrelli fan, I loved the project and the combination of two talents.

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