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

Metallica – A Lot Has Changed Since 2008.

Seduced by fame
A moth into the flame

I have been listening to “Moth Into Flame” on Spotify daily. I must say it’s one of the their best songs written since we entered the 2000’s. The structure of the song, the brilliant intro, the lyrics, the barking verses and the melodic chorus all stand out.

Infamy
All for publicity
Destruction going viral

It could be about anyone in the entertainment business. Hell, it could be about Metallica’s Napster lawsuit.

For “Hardwired… To Self Destruct”, I like the lyrical message and the story behind the title more than the song in itself.

“Fifteen years ago, when you put out a record, there was a particular way that you did everything. Now it’s just whatever works for you. We’re in the process of putting a new record out this fall, and we’re just doing whatever we feel is right. There’s no particular way that it should be.”
Lars Ulrich – METALLICA

The last time Metallica released an album was in 2008. First week sales of “Death Magnetic” in the U.S market topped half a million units. But back then, streaming didn’t exist in the U.S market. It also didn’t exist in the major European and Asian markets. Now streaming makes up a large portion of the record label revenue however the price points are still debated. The customer has the option to purchase an album digitally, purchase the album on vinyl or CD, subscribe to a paid streaming service, subscribe to Spotify’s free tier or illegally download the album for free. Depending on the country you are in, the price points range from $0 USD to $10 USD.

As the Forbes article states, there is no alternative price in between even though research has shown that a $4.99 USD monthly subscription fee would convert the 60 million free tier streaming users into paid users.

What is better for the recording industry, 30 million users paying $9.99 USD a month or 90 million users paying $4.99 USD a month?

Do the math.

30 million paying users at $9.99 = $299,700,000

90 million paying users at $4.99 = $449,100,000

Metallica are masters of their own destiny, masters of their own recordings. For them, they do not have the high risk unknown that other labels have. They do not spend close to 20% of their revenue on artist development. They can negotiate their own streaming rate with Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and Google. But they still do it the old way, taking time out to write and record 10 plus songs for a release. They will still judge this album on amount sold, instead of the amount streamed.

The article at Forbes, states what the record labels of the future would look like in six bullet points and one of the points is an artist-run record label.

Metallica own their masters. With the help of their management team, they have set up their own label. This gives the band negotiating power and it allows them to monetise their masters for the best price possible. Spotify has Metallica on it and it was on Metallica’s terms. You don’t hear Metallica complaining about the lack of money given to them by streaming services. Actually Kirk “I need a wah wah pedal for leads” Hammett might complain.

“Back in the day when Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning approached the music industry with a little baby they had called Napster, and the music industry refused to entertain any kind of deal with them on any level. Instead they open-sourced it to the world, and that changed the face of music. And so the industry’s reluctance to go with technology back in the day is something that we’re all, unfortunately, suffering from to this very day. Thankfully, the industry has seen the error of their ways, and they are embracing digital and technology on an unprecedented level, and we’re going through an adjustment period. It’ll take time.”
Dan Draiman – DISTURBED 

Instead of working with Napster, the recording industry got Lars Ulrich on board and went to war against the consumers of music. But in 2016, the recording industry is at another crossroad. It needs to decide on a price point for streaming that converts the 60 million plus free users into paid users. But the record labels want an increase in the current $9.99 price point. As far as the labels are concerned, it needs to be more.

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

1985 Continued

I couldn’t afford to purchase the earlier Maiden albums as there was music from other bands I felt I needed more. But Maiden just kept on lasting and kept on being in the magazines. So I purchased the “Live After Death” set.

“Live After Death” is my best Iron Maiden album, purely because it was the first Maiden album I got (on double cassette), and I played it over and over and over again. So the quicker tempo of the songs compared to the studio cuts works for me and it’s how I remember the songs.

It’s a best off collection, recorded live. You didn’t need to own the first five albums to hear the best songs from those albums. All of them are available on “Live After Death”. Read this review/experience of the World Slavery tour in 1985

But the Maiden albums have a certain context. My kids have grown up with everything available online. But back in the Eighties, the only way to get the albums was to find someone who owned them.

Recently I purchased 5 tickets for Iron Maiden’s Sydney show in May 2016. I am taking my 10, 9 and 4 year olds, along with my wife to watch the mighty Maiden. They haven’t really listened to Iron Maiden, so in order to get them into the Maiden music, I put the “Live After Death” and “Flight 666” albums onto their iPad’s. It’s good to hear them cranking “The Trooper” constantly. A good song is a good song, regardless of age.

Moving on, I didn’t get into “Misplaced Childhood” until the Nineties, when I picked up the first four Marillion albums from a second-hand record shop. It was the album covers that got me interested in laying out some money for them, which wasn’t a lot. From memory I am pretty sure I paid $2 for each album. I knew nothing about the sound of the band or even about the band. It’s safe to say that Marillion didn’t get a lot of love in the magazines I purchased.

How good is the piano riff in “Pseudo Silk Kimono”, which then leads into “Kayleigh”?

When it comes to guitarists, Steve Rothery has no pretty boy looks like George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Robin Crosby or Richie Sambora. He’s no super star shredder like Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Warren DeMartini or John Sykes. What he is, is a damn good songwriter and decorator like The Edge from U2.

Marillion songs are all about moods, and Rothery decorates the moods very nicely. When the song needs to lift, Rothery phrases his leads to lift the song. When the song needs emotion, he does the same. When the song needs to rock, Rothery is there to make it rock.

From a guitarist point of view, Kayleigh was enough to get me interested.

RATT’s “Invasion Of Your Privacy” was another album that came into my collection towards the end of 1990. I never owned any RATT albums in the Eighties and up until then RATT was known as a singles band to me.

“Round and Round”, “Back For More”, “Wanted Man”, “Your’e In Love”, “Lay it Down”, “Dance”, “Way Cool Junior” all come to mind. I knew of the songs and I had them recorded on a cassette by a mate.  So upon hearing “Invasion Of Your Privacy” I still hold my view that RATT is not a band you purchase for the full album experience.

Apart from “You’re In Love” and “Lay It Down” there is nothing much else on the album to grab you. “Closer To The Heart” is a cool ballad. “Never Use Love” has a cool guitar riff in the intro. “What You Give Is What You Get” is almost up there with the two singles however the rest is garbage. A pure cash grab by the record label to capitalise on the success of “Out Of The Cellar”.

I purchased “Killing Is My Business” from Megadeth after “Countdown To Extinction” came out in 1992. I hated the debut back then and I still don’t like it today (compared to other albums that came out in 1985 and against Megadeth’s other output) however I appreciate the album for what it is though.

It is Dave’s F.U to Metallica for kicking him out.

He’s mixed his anger and resentment with coke, heroin, pills and alcohol and the output is the debut album. And because of this nostalgic viewpoint I have for the album, I return to it, listen to it and each time there are bits and pieces that I dig. Not full songs, just little bits and pieces of a song or a riff. Combat Records built their business on the back of Megadeth. No Megadeth, no Combat and no take over from Sony, many years later.

When I saw Megadeth live in Australia with the Mustaine, Drover brothers and Lomenzo version, they started off playing “Mechanix” and half way through “Mechanix”, they went into “Four Horseman” from Metallica. The crowd went nuts. Mustaine even sang the “Four Horseman” lyrics that Hetfield wrote.

As good as Yngwie Malmsteen is as a guitarist, if he doesn’t have a great vocalist behind him and if the songs are lame, then he is crap. “Marching Out” to me is a classic Euro Metal tour de force. From the opening “I’ll See The Light” to the closing “Marching Out”, I was enthralled and glued to the headphones.

Jeff Scott Soto on vocals nails it, and on “Don’t Let It End” and “On The Run Again” Malmsteen and Co. proved just how commercial and poppy they could get. The “Trilogy” album from 1986 with Soto on vocals built on that commercialism and 1988’s “Odyssey” with Joe Lynn Turner on vocals cemented it.

As soon as Bon Jovi crossed over with “Slippery When Wet” it would be natural for fans to snap up their back catalogue. I was first exposed to the “7800 Fahrenheit” album by the VHS video, “Breakout” which I traded in the Nineties for the Def Leppard “Hysteria” TAB/NOTES book.

“In And Out Of Love” kicked off the video, then “Only Lonely”, then “Silent Night”, then “She Don’t Know Me” and “Runaway” (the last two being from the debut album). Finally there was a live performance of “The Hardest Part Is the Night”.

I loved it. I was hooked, so I purchased the “7800 Fahrenheit” album, while my cousin Mega purchased the debut album. Once we got home, I dubbed the debut album from my cousin, and my cousin dubbed “7800 Fahrenheit” from me.

We couldn’t afford everything, so we copied and shared music with each other.

Now “In And Out Of Love” and “Only Lonely” are pretty good songs. “Silent Night” not so good. But man, the rest of the songs are just as good, if not better.

“The Price Of Love” is brilliant and Sambora really goes to town in the solo.  “Hardest Part Is The Night” and “Always Run To You” are up there as well. “Secret Dreams”, “To The Fire”, “Tokyo Road” and “King Of The Mountain” are not throwaway songs either. It’s a shame that due to what came after with Bon Jovi, the second album started to get lost to the sands of time.

When I started to read some interviews about Whitesnake around 1987/88, I came across how Adrian Vandenberg and Vivian Campbell became the guitarists that replaced John Sykes. I was a fan of Vivian Campbell from his Dio days and Vandenberg was an unknown to me, so my natural inclination was that David Coverdale would use Vivian as his main songwriter for the follow up album.

Well that didn’t happen. Coverdale holed up with Vandenberg and Campbell was out. So I became interested. Who was Adrian Vandenberg?

A trip to the second hard record shop ended with a copy of “Alibi” from Vandenberg.

While on the topic of Whitesnake, I must say that not a lot of information was known about artists. The U.S mags came to Australia 3 months too late and priced at a price that we couldn’t afford. So we didn’t really purchase them.

Case in point is Vivian Campbell. All I knew about Vivian in the Eighties was the “Holy Diver” album. MTV and the other TV music outlets played nothing from the “The Last In Line” and “Sacred Heart” albums.

It was “Dream Warriors” that made the connection. I knew that my cousin Mega had some albums from Dokken, so I stocked up on blank cassettes for my next visit. “Under Lock And Key” was one album that came back with me along with “The Last Command” from WASP.

For Dokken, it was “Unchain The Night”, “Lightning Strikes Again” and “In My Dreams” that made the connection. “Don’t Lie To Me” and “Til The Living End” also connected. My kids crank “In My Dreams” from time to time. So it’s nice to see Dokken get new fans.

It’s funny that Motley Crue’s “Theatre Of Pain” gets more press than Dokken’s “Under Lock And Key”. One album is far superior than the other but “Under Lock And Key” has been forgotten.

For WASP it was “Wild Child”, “Widowmaker” and “Cries In The Night” that made the connection. And lucky for me, I had a cousin who spent a lot on recorded music and was more than happy to share his love of bands with others. Since 1985, Blackie Lawless has made thirteen albums. His major label deal is thirty years in the past. He’s never had a hit and his voice is far from perfect. But Blackie is still out there, writing, recording, releasing music and touring.

The film clips for “Calling On You” and “Free” started doing the rounds, so the “To Hell With The Devil” album was in my lounge room. By default, the music stations started to play the “Soldiers Under Command” video and I was blown away. I then purchased a Headbangers Heaven Double LP compilation and Stryper had a song on it called “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” and I was pretty impressed at how metal Stryper could get.

However, I didn’t own any full albums, so Stryper (like RATT) became a singles band at first. Then I was at the Saturday markets and I saw the “Soldiers Under Command” and “To Hell With The Devil” albums for $10 each. Lucky for me, I had family members around that could give me the extra cash to purchase these after much negotiating.

“Soldiers Under Command” and “The Rock That Makes Me Roll” are both classic metal songs.

A friend of my brothers had Night Ranger’s “Midnight Madness” on cassette, which he allowed me to copy. He was always funny when it came to sharing music he purchased. His view was that we should purchase the music, instead of leaching from him, however when you don’t have the funds to purchase, what are you supposed to do.

Anyway, “Midnight Madness” is a great record from start to finish, so I was interested in finding out more about Night Ranger. Enter “Seven Wishes”, another purchase from a second-hand record store. It wasn’t as good as “Midnight Madness”. Three songs connected with me from the outset and still to this day, it is those same three songs. “Seven Wishes”, “Four In The Morning” and “Sentimental Street”.

I didn’t know it in the Eighties, but in the Nineties, Y&T became one of my favourite bands, as I managed to pick up all of their albums up to “Ten” from that same second-hand record shop.

“Down For The Count” came out in 1985. Hearing this album almost 10 years after its release date proved to be an experience. Seriously, how fucking good is Dave Meniketti. Great voice, great lead player, great songwriter.

“In The Name Of Rock”, “Anytime At All”, “Summertime Girls”, “Face Of An Angel” and “Hands Of Time” are total keepers and still stand the test of time. The rest not so much. Also here is one for all of those people who have jumped on the plagiarism wagon. How familiar is the intro riff from “Don’t Tell Me What To Wear” to “Blackout” from Scorpions? I call that inspiration.

Y&T’s journey just kept on evolving, from a more blues rock vibe to a very melodic rock vibe.

“R.O.C.K In the USA” was all over the music video channels in Australia. John Cougar Mellencamp was huge. But the whole album experience didn’t come until I purchased “Scarecrow” from that same second-hand record shop in the Nineties for next to nothing. It’s chock full of hits and great songs.

The best part of the grunge movement for me is that I hated it when it hit the Australian shores. Because of my hate for grunge and industrial and alternative at that time, the second-hand record store became my favourite place. It gave me a chance to get re-acquainted with the music from the Seventies and the Eighties that I couldn’t afford to buy growing up.

“Asylum” from Kiss was another album that came into my collection in the early nineties.

My Kiss purchases started with “Hot In The Shade” (upon release), “Revenge” (first I dubbed it from a friend and then purchased the original), “Lick It Up” (from a second-hand store) and “Alive III” (again I dubbed it from the same friend who gave me “Revenge” and then I purchased the CD).

So years after their initial impact, Kiss was a different band. On board was lead guitarist Bruce Kulick and a committee of songwriters in Desmond Child, Jean Beauvoir, Howard Rice, Rod Swenson and Wes Beech. Jean Beauvoir even played bass guitar on his co-writes, “Who Wants to Be Lonely” and “Uh! All Night”. As Paul Stanley noted in his bio, Gene Simmons was disinterested in the band during this period, so by default, Stanley took the band into more glam rock territory. He did what he had to do to survive.

“Asylum” was the answer and it kept Kiss relevant.

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Music

Albums From 2012 That Need To Be Heard

The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs

If you never experienced the Seventies, then this album from a super group of melodic death metal bands recaptures it all. From the “Immigrant Song/Achilles Last Stand” references in “Siberian Queen” to the “I Was Made For Loving You” references in “West Ruth Avenue” or the “Play That Funky Music/ Stevie Wonder’s Superstititious in “Internal Affairs”.

It captures it all and more.

Fen
Of Losing Interest

I didn’t know what to expect hearing this. It’s like Rush on Thrash Metal. Then its Rush on Hard Rock. Then its Rush meets Tool. Then it’s Rush on Groove Metal. Then it’s a cross between Rush and Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Being from Canada, the Rush influences are real strong.

Progressive music doesn’t have to be all time changes and technical playing ability. It can be Fen. Just doing something that blends so many different styles together and making it sound infectious.

Check out “Riddled”, it starts off with a thrash metal riff, then it goes into a verse that is Tool like merged with Kansas.

Adrenaline Mob
Omerta

It is balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.

The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop number one hit.

So put aside all of your views on the members that make up the band and from what bands they come from and embrace a great balls to the wall metal project.

Digital Summer
Breaking Point

DIY band from Phonenix, Arizona, getting stronger with each release. “Breaking Point” was a Kickstarter funded project and it didn’t disappoint. The lead single “Forget You” has racked up 1,027,533 views on YouTube. They are great numbers for an independent band, that also manage themselves, record and release their own music and hold down day jobs.

If you like modern rock, then you will like this band.

Richie Sambora
Aftermath Of The Lowdown

The good old Richie Sambora released a great modern rock album that didn’t get the recognition it deserved because at that point in time he was still in Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi (the band) needed him to start the promotional interviews for the “What About Now” album.

Check out “Seven Years Gone”, “Nowadays”, “Every Road Leads Home To You”. Hell, the whole album is good. Give it your time.

Lizzard
Out Of Reach

This band is definitely under the radar for what they do. Think of Earshot meets Tool meets 10 Years meets modern rock. Vocalist, Mathieu Ricou has a voice that crosses between Chad Kroeger, Aaron Lews and Maynard James Keenan.

There is a feel of Progressive Metal, TOOL, Hard Rock, Trance & hypnotic music, DEFTONES, YES and PINK FLOYD. It’s a potent mix.

Vaudeville
Vendetta

Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do. They merge the styles of Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock. It sounds beautiful and original.

Check out the song “Restless Souls”.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Hell Or Highwater
Begin Again

The new band from Atreyu drummer Brandon Saller. Hell or Highwater finds Saller stepping away from his drum kit and taking the mic to be the band’s lead vocalist. It’s hard rock people and it rocks real good and it doesn’t sound generic.

Burnside
Evolution

One of many great bands from Australia. It’s modern rock done really well. Check out “Remember When”, “Lost The Will”, “The Last Time” and “What You’ve Become”.

One Less Reason
A Blueprint For Writhing

This EP was my first introduction to One Less Reason. I knew nothing about them and when I heard “All Beauty Fades”, I was left speechless when the rest of the music and melody kicked in. And they are another DIY band.

It’s a six song EP and there is no filler. A very smart decision to release the best.

Corroded
State Of Disgrace

Corroded have a decent following in their own country of Sweden.

They are a skillful band that create groove based hard rock. Stand out songs are “Let them Hate As Long As They Fear”, “I Will Not”, and “Believe In Me”.

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