Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 5.1: James Gang – Jesse Come Home

It’s the last studio album by James Gang, released in 1976. Joe Walsh was 5 years into his Eagles slot and the band had continued on with a variety of line-up changes.

Their first album in 1969 was recorded as a power trio consisting of Joe Walsh (guitars, lead vocals), Tom Kriss (bass), and Jim Fox (drums). One of my favourite guitarists Tommy Bolin recorded two albums with the Gang called “Bang!” (released in 1973) and “Miami” (released in 1974) before he accepted the Deep Purple offer.

Only drummer Jim Fox remains. This album is the only one recorded with lead guitarist Bob Webb and keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. Giallombardo was in the Gang’s first ever line up with Fox, however he had left prior to the recording of their first album.

The cover features an atmospheric painting of the folk hero riding off into the sunset, an image which fans had identified as evidence that the band had known this album to be its last.

The players on this album are Bob Webb on guitars and lead vocals on three tracks, Phil Giallombardo on keyboards and lead vocals on the other 6 tracks, Dale Peters on bass guitar and Jim Fox on drums.

I Need Love

Written by keyboardist and co-vocalist Phil Giallombardo.

A simple syncopated bass and kick drum groove starts off the song. It’s almost funky but I feel like its hard rock.

The vocal melodies are overused.

Some of the critics said that the playing is uninspired but these guys can play and groove as evidenced here.

Another Year

Written by guitarist and co-vocalist Bob Webb. It’s a typical 70’s cut, with a dreamy acoustic guitar shimmering with some emotive leads that remind me of “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps”.

Feelin’ Alright

Written by the band, it’s also the most streamed track at 196,915 streams on Spotify. Press play to hear the lead break.

Peasant Song

Written by Phil Giallombardo, it’s a piano ballad with strings and this song feels like a bad Hollywood movie soundtrack, and it doesn’t connect at all.

Hollywood Dream

Written by Bob Webb and I like the rhythm and groove of the blues. It’s almost metal and its forgotten at 46,590 streams on Spotify.

Love Hurts

Written by Andrew Gold who was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He played on a lot of albums from other artists and wrote songs for artists as well. He died in 2011 at age 59 from heart failure.

It’s is an overused title.

The piano is back again, so far removed from the funk and blues of what the band was known for.

It’s a skip for me.

Pick Up The Pizzas

An instrumental track written by Bob Webb. A terrible title for one of the best riffs on the album. Press play and enjoy another forgotten track.

Stealin’ The Show

When Bob Webb writes a track there is guitar on it. On this one the acoustic guitar is back and Bad Company comes to mind.

When I Was A Sailor

The closer, at 6 plus minutes long and written by keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. This song is more Styx than James Gang.

The album is forgotten, with most songs being streamed less than 50,000 times. Especially when you compare those numbers to the Joe Walsh penned tunes like “Funk #49” with 47.382 million streams on Spotify and “Walk Away” with 29.297 million streams.

In the end, this album is just a bunch of musicians who wanted a record deal. Unfortunately for them, it was under the name of James Gang, which would always be known as Joe Walsh’s band, even though he wasn’t a founder. But the label still saw value in the project, however they also pulled the plug on it after the album stiffed.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week (Last Few Months Actually) In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 15 to September 20

I like doing these review posts as it gives me the opportunity to read my earlier writing. Some of it is okay, some of it is crap and some of it is good. But the life Reno’s I went through recently put a stop to these weekly posts.

So here is a review of a few months of history.

4 Years Ago (2018)

REDEMPTION

You can read my review of Redemption’s new album at the time, “Long Night’s Journey Into Day”. Vocals on this album were provided by Tom Englund from Evergrey, while previous efforts had Ray Adler from Fates Warning fronting them.

Being a fan of Redemption before Englund joined, I was always keen to hear a new Redemption record, however I was even more keen to hear it when I knew Englund would be singing.

STANDING FOR SOMETHING

Back in 2018, we had gas poisoning and acid attacks in the UK, Russia meddling in politics (and still meddling via a pointless war in Ukraine) and mother nature taking back her lands via fires, volcanoes, hurricanes/twisters and earthquakes. We have a problem with pollution in the air and plastics in our waters. We have people carrying out mass shootings or driving vehicles into crowds of people. We have wars over religion and poverty/famine in Africa is still happening and as much as big business want to deny it, climate change is real.

And then of course we got lockdowns due to COVID-19.

The past is littered with bands and music in general taking a stand against a problem, a situation, injustice and war. But what about now. What is upsetting musicians enough that they feel compelled to write about it?

Remember, you can’t be liked by everyone.

Take a stand.

LOCK UP THE WOLVES

A ticking clock sounds in the distance.

Suddenly it starts to get more louder as the speed increases.

It’s time for something to happen but what.

Then a syncopated guitar, drum and bass riff kicks in. And there is a pause. It happens again. And another pause.

“Lock Up The Wolves” doesn’t get the notice it should.

DR FEELGOOD

“Dr Feelgood” came out on the first of September, 1989. 33 years ago. The album cost me $19.99. I pay just a little bit more than that a month now for my whole family to listen to almost the history of music on Spotify.

The drug overdoses, the death and subsequent return from death for Nikki Sixx, the drugs, the crashed cars, the lawsuits, the drugs again, the imposter, Vince escaping jail, the women, the drugs again times two, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

“Dr Feelgood” had to be number 1. If the music didn’t do it, the stories would have. Apart from the big songs, the other songs on the album were not mere filler.

“Sticky Sweet” has a wicked solo section, “She Goes Down” has a great bass and drums verse section after the solo section, which ends with the sound of a zipper going down, “Slice Of Your Pie” is so Aerosmith, but it’s the Beatles “She’s So Heavy” outro that hooks me, while “Rattlesnake Shake” has a riff reminiscent to the 60’s blues guitarists that influenced Mick.

POWERSLAVE

“Live After Death” on cassette was my first Maiden. I even high speed dubbed the album, just in case the cassette deck chewed up the original tape. “Powerslave” was released a year before “Life After Death” but it came into my collection a few years after because if you had “Live After Death” you didn’t really need the earlier albums.

The thing with “Powerslave” which makes it great is that it has the power and energy of a live album and the line-up is finally stable. When you don’t have to look for new musicians to fill the void, you can focus on writing great songs as they did with the “Peace Of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere In Time”, “Seventh Son of A Seventh Son”.

For an album which is 38 years old, it’s still so relevant today as it was back then. That is the power of music and great song writing.

1979 – Part 3

1979 was a year of transition. While some bands were on their last legs, some were just starting to find their own.

Led Zeppelin were coming to an end while Thin Lizzy was on the ascendancy. The Scorpions had bigger things waiting with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Winds Of Change” while Fleetwood Mac and Bad Company delivered stellar albums that unfortunately got compared to their previous mega gazillion selling albums.

Aerosmith became a shell of the band they were with “Night In The Ruts”, while Motorhead after a few up’s and downs with record label crap, got lumped in with the NWOBHM movement starting off and started their brief commercial rise.

Uli John Roth left Scorpions and created Electric Sun, but in all honesty he should of stayed with Scorpions, while a supergroup of “musicians who all had small record deals” got together and called themselves Survivor. “Eye Of The Tiger” was a few years away, but you get to hear a band allowing their influences to shape their sound.

Basically, all the bands on this list just kept on creating, regardless of their status on the record label commercial tree. Because that’s why people get into music, to create. Not because copyright terms are forever or because some label said I will give you money to create.

Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door
Scorpions – Lovedrive
Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
Bad Company – Desolation Angels
Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts
Motorhead – On Parole
Motorhead – Bomber
Motorhead – Overkill
Electric Sun – Earthquake
Survivor – Survivor
Susan – Falling In Love Again

11 CRUE YEARS

“Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles” both came out on June 24, 11 years apart.

How fortunes change for a band in a decade?

Before 1997, Motely Crue was riding high after “Dr Feelgood”. They renegotiated their Elektra contract for a lot of money and dropped “Decade Of Decadence” with 3 new studio recordings. Life was good.

Then Vince left or was fired (depending on whose story you believe). Regardless, the Crue got Corabi and delivered a stellar self-titled album in 94. But it didn’t sell the way Elektra wanted it too, and since they were footing the bills, they wanted the blond guy back in. Yep, Elektra Records A&R Reps in 1995, referred to Vince Neil as the blond guy.

The Crue camp remained defiant and went ahead writing songs for an album to be called “Personality #9” with Corabi. But money wins in the end and Corabi was out and Vince was back in.

It’s never been confirmed, but the Chinese whispers were in full voice, and the story doing the rounds mentioned how Corabi’s wage was coming from the other guys. Basically, Elektra paid Nikki, Tommy and Mick. Management took their cut, legal took their cut, Corabi got paid a wage and the rest was shared between the other three based on the band agreement.

“Generation Swine” came out, you heard it was a confused album. During the tour, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil punched on and Tommy leaves, then comes back and leaves again. Nikki gets into a slanging match with Elektra and eventually the contract was terminated and somehow Nikki managed to get the copyrights of the Crue songs back in the hands of the band. They form their own label and away they go.

Randy Castillo comes in, “New Tattoo” comes out, Randy dies, Samantha fills in on drums, Nikki gets it going with Samantha and his marriage goes to pieces while the Crue play theatres and cancel shows all over the world. I know, their Australian tour got canned. And after “New Tattoo”, the Crue went on hiatus.

In between, they got some stories together and a book called “The Dirt” came out. The band got back together for a few select shows and demand was so huge, those few shows turned into a huge world tour which was encapsulated in the “Carnival of Sins” DVD release.

If you want to have a career as an artist, you need to be a lifer, and be ready to ride the journey. It’s not always bright lights and success after success. There are hard times and good times. Doors shut and other doors are opened. And when everyone wrote them off, they came back stronger than ever.

For a band who were just average musicians at best, they built a career 40 plus years long. And that period between 1997 and 2008 could have been the end, but it wasn’t.

KINGCROW

I was overdosing on a band called Kingcrow and their new album at the time “The Persistence”.

A FEW MILLION

I came across an interview from Vince Neil in Faces USA 1993. Post Crue departure, Vince was the man, the centre of attention. Here are some sections in italics.

Faces: What surprised you the most about the reception you received upon your departure from Motley Crue?

Vince: How quickly I was accepted. A lot of the labels had faith in me. I had a lot of different labels that were interested. It was a really exciting process, walking in there and talking with the different companies, like the heads of Geffen and Giant and Epic.

All these corporate presidents were like “Come on, come and be with us.”

I sat in with Mo Ostin at Warner Brothers and all these dudes and I felt so much power in the room. When I made the deal, went “Okay, give me the money I want and a Warner Bros jacket with Bugs Bunny on it and I will sign the deal.”

I went with a Warner Brothers basically because they gave me the money I wanted and the security of being on the Warner’s label.

Faces: Can you tell us what the deal was?

Vince: Eighteen million dollars for 5 records.

Think about it. Motley Crue signed a 5 album deal with Elektra worth $35 million and the singer who wasn’t even the main songwriter of the band, then goes and signs a solo deal with Warner Bros for $18 million and 5 albums. And the “Exposed” album is a great slab of hard rock during a time when hard rock albums started to disappear from the record store shelves. But in music, these long term deals very rarely are seen to the end. Two years later in 1995, Vince was no longer accepted, and he had no record deal and no management after “Carved In Stone” disappointed commercially.

The person who signed him, Mo Ostin left Warner Bros in 1994, so it’s safe to say the new team, didn’t really like some of the signings that the old team did.

Even Motley Crue didn’t see the end of their Elektra deal. The people who negotiated the Motley deal in 1992, were no longer at Elektra by 1995 and the new Elektra management team didn’t really care for Motley. All they cared about was the bottom line and Nikki Sixx constantly called out current Elektra boss, Sylvia Rhodes at the groups concerts, even calling her from the stage, so the crowd could tell her to fuck off.

So what’s a few million when bands make the labels multi-millions.

SOLO

I expressed my disappointment at the SOLO movie, which basically put into images the words that Han Solo said in the original Star Wars movies.

Did we really need $300 million spent on that?

The problem these days is movies have a lot of action scenes and hardly any good dialogue scenes. Meanwhile TV shows are winning the story script war hands down.

And do movies need to cost $300 million plus to make. In my view the higher the cost of the movie, the less story it has. And people are attached to a story.

COPYRIGHT ISSUES

It’s sad reading stories about how far removed Copyright Law is from what it was intended to be.

Copyright battles are happening everywhere. Most of the news is on how the record labels and movie studios are calling on governments to pass stronger dictatorship style copyright laws which would give these organisations police like powers.

But Copyright was originally designed to help the creator of the art. However, it’s assisting the corporations to make billions of dollars while the creators make a lot less.

Remember the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Well, the movie has made over $400 million in profits, however the co-creators have received $81 from merchandise sales and $98 from record sales. If you think those amounts are pretty low, well the co-creators thought so as well, and off they went to court, for fraudulent accounting and to get the copyright back in the hands of the creators. And lucky for them they got a judge that saw their side, so the case is going to get interesting. Unfortunately for UMG/Vivendi, the co-creators in this case, also found fame with “The Simpsons” and they have a voice in the market as powerful as the corporation.

8 Years Ago (2014)

EASTERN EUROPE

I was in the middle of our holiday around Eastern Europe and you know what, piracy is king in these countries. CD and DVD shops exist with forgeries. Clothing shops exist with forgeries.

But in all of this piracy, thousands of people turn up to watch artists perform live. Every artist tours Eastern Europe and I am pretty sure that sales of recorded music now and in the past didn’t correlate to the thousands who attended the shows.

PROTEST THE HERO

I got back from Eastern Europe on a Thursday morning and by Friday night I was at the Manning Bar at the Sydney Uni watching Protest The Hero. The ticket for the night was $45 Australian plus booking fee of about $6. Compared to some of the prices I have paid for tickets, this was a good deal.

And that’s a wrap of about a months’ worth of posts from the past.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

1986 – Part 5.6: Madonna – True Blue

I’m not sure what Madonna is trying to own right now, but once upon a time Madonna owned the charts,

“True Blue” is album number 3. She had a new look and a newish sound.

She co-wrote and produced the entire album with Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard.

Papa Don’t Preach

Written by Brian Elliot and Madonna.

There are a lot of players on this song.

Bray provides keyboards, drums and drum programming. Fred Zarr provides additional keyboards, John Putnam is on acoustic guitar and electric guitar, with David Williams providing more guitars and Bruce Gaitsch providing even more guitars. Billy Meyers did the string arrangements and Jonathan Moffett provides percussion and drums.

While the song doesn’t resonate lyrically, Madonna’s vocal performance is stellar and the melodies remain with me long after the song is finished.

Open Your Heart

Written by Madonna, Gardner Cole and Peter Rafelson. It was one of the first songs recorded for the album, however it was originally intended for Cyndi Lauper.

White Heat

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard.

The great Richard Marx provides backing vocals on this.

The song was dedicated to actor James Cagney and named after the film of the same name from 1949. The song is like a funk meets a groovy rhythm and blues chord progression.

Live to Tell

The keyboard/synth riff hook you in and the decorative guitar playing by Bruce Gaitsch is perfect.

The track is listed as being written by Madonna and producer Patrick Leonard who also plays the keys and drums on the song, with Jonathan Moffett also contributing. No bass player is listed, as all the different keyboard tracks create a synth bass line.

It was originally written by Patrick Leonard for the soundtrack of Paramount’s romantic drama film “Fire with Fire” but, after the company declined it, Leonard showed the song to Madonna. She decided to use it for “At Close Range”, the new film of her husband Sean Penn. When the film’s director, James Foley, heard Madonna’s demo, he asked Leonard to write the score for the film, as suggested by Madonna.

Make sure you listen to the album version, the version that is close to 6 minutes long.

Where’s The Party

Written by Madonna, Stephen Bray and Patrick Leonard. Bray and Leonard also do the keyboards, the drums and the drum programming. The great Dann Huff plays guitars on this with David Boroff appearing on the saxophone.

I class this song as a funk pop song.

And who knew that the funk pop rock sounds of this album would give way to a whole new movement called Dance Music in a few years’ time. While not released as a single, “Where’s the Party” did receive airplay on radio stations, back when the radio DJ’s did their own programming. Before investors and share prices.

The message of the song is clear. It doesn’t matter how bad or pressured life could get, accept that party invite and let your hair down. Enjoy.

True Blue

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray. I dig the whole 60’s Motown vibe.

Bray provides the keyboard sounds, the drums and the drum programming, with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards and Bruce Gaitsch again decorating nicely on the guitars.

La Isla Bonita

Written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and session guitarist Bruce Gaitsch who also provides some wonderful flamenco leads.

Leonard provides most of the music with the keyboards and drums/drum programming with Paulinho da Costa providing percussion and all the guitar tracks are provided by Bruce Gaitsch.

It’s about escapism and hoping that the holiday never ends.

As a side note, the song was written for Michael Jackson’s “Bad” album, but Jackson turned it down. While working with Leonard, Madonna accepted the song and re-wrote the lyrics, earning herself a co-writing credit.

Jimmy Jimmy

Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray.

Leonard and Bray provide the keyboards, drums and drum programming with Fred Zarr providing additional keyboards. Jonathan Moffett is on real drums and percussion while Bruce Gaitsch again decorates nicely on the guitars.

“Jimmy Jimmy” is that bad boy that Madonna likes, like James Dean.

Love Makes the World Go Round

Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard, it feels like a Phil Collins track. Guitars on this one are provided by Paul Jackson Jr with Paulinho da Costa on percussion with Bray and Leonard providing all of the other sounds.

And the themes are about anti-war and anti-poverty, using Latin drums and samba-influenced rhythms.

For 40 minutes, Madonna had captured my attention and held it.

And she did that around the world to many others.

It went Diamond in France and Canada.

It went 7x Platinum in the UK and the US.

It went 5x Platinum in New Zealand.

It went 4× Platinum in Australia, Italy and Argentina.

It went 3x Platinum in Spain and Switzerland.

It went 2x Platinum in Germany.

It went Platinum in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Norway.

It went Gold in Brazil, Greece, Japan and Portugal.

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

1986 – Part 5.5: Eurythmics – Revenge

How cool is the painting for the cover?

When I first heard “Sweet Dreams” I said, that’s “Crazy Train”. I don’t care how Dave Stewart spins it, he was definitely influenced by Randy Rhoads. If you don’t believe me, listen to this recent cover version of the song from Iron Savior.

I guess they heard the similarities as well.

Anyway, “Revenge” is album number 5, released on 29 June 1986 by RCA Records in the United Kingdom and on 14 July in the United States.

All tracks are written by Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart.

Missionary Man

I like the groove on this song.

Thorn in My Side

This song is excellent. The intro riff alone is iconic in my book.

When Tomorrow Comes

A rarity on the album, written by keyboardist Patrick Seymour.

It’s a melodic AOR rocker.

The Last Time

The rock sounds continue.

The Miracle of Love

This is a song that has survived the test of time. It is one of those crossover songs that works well in hard rock and normal rock. The intro keyboard lead sounds so good on a distorted guitar, sort of like the sax solo on “Careless Whisper”.

For me, it’s a 5 out of 5 for side A.

Side B is a good listen but the track titles always seem to escape me.

Let’s Go!

It’s got a New Wave vibe, with a bit of rock.

Take Your Pain Away

Repetitive with a funky bluesy bass groove.

A Little of You

The Chorus is addictive. Press play to hear it.

In This Town

It’s like they are warming up in soundcheck. And then it kicks in, with a rhythm and blues “Mustang Sally” vibe. The hook of “in this town something got to change” will always be relevant, considering how crazy and divisive towns have become.

I Remember You

A lonely Sax player is wailing away with the sounds of streets noise as the song builds. It’s not a favourite, as it percolates without exploding.

Side B is a 1 out of 5 and not as strong as the opening side.

This album was huge in Australia, reaching number 2 in the Charts and hanging around for a long time on the backs of the singles, eventually reaching a 4x Platinum certification. All the radio stations played the songs and the music video stations played the music clips.

And what is good for Australia, New Zealand likes as well, with the album certified 5x Platinum. Other places the album received certifications include Austria (Gold), Canada and the UK, (2× Platinum), Finland, Norway and Switzerland (Platinum), , while it only got a Gold certification in the U.S, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Press play on the first five songs and check out Iron Savior’s cover of “Sweet Dreams” on the YT link provided.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, Unsung Heroes

1986 – Part 5.4: April Wine – Walking Through Fire

It’s not even on Spotify. I guess when the hard core fans classed this album as the weakest album of the April Wine catalogue, the band took notice. Then again there was no band when this album was recorded. Read on.

Read on.

“Walking Through Fire” is album number 12. It is listed as being released in 1985 and in 1986. Remember those days when albums would have staggered releases based on geography.

As the Wikipedia page for the album states, it was essentially a contractual obligation to the band’s record label, to whom they still owed one album. And the label made sure that they would never recoup this album, getting songs from outside songwriters and booking expensive studio time.

By this time, the band had broken up, and the album features only Myles Goodwyn and Brian Greenway from April Wine’s “classic line-up” with some session musicians. For those wondering, Myles Goodwyn is on lead vocals and guitar, Brian Greenway is on guitar, Daniel Barbe is on the keys, Jean Pellerin is on bass and Marty Simon is on drums.

Rock Myself to Sleep

A lifeless opener and the first single released from the album, a tune written by two members of Katrina and the Waves in Kimberley Rew and Vince De la Cruz. It failed to make the charts.

Wanted Dead or Alive

This is a great Melodic AOR Rock. Press play to hear the Chorus.

Written by Jeff Cannata and Michael Soldan when they were in band Arc Angel together.

The song was actually released on their self-titled first and only album in 1983 on CBS Records. For those interested, a number of session musicians performed on the album, like, James Christian, Jeff Bova and Hugh McDonald. If you follow hard rock music, those names would be familiar to you. Of course, their brand of AOR Melodic Rock proved very popular in Europe but did nothing in the US as their brand of rock was dismissed by music writers as a Boston/Kansas clone.

Beg For Your Love

Clichéd song written by Canadian songwriter Eddie Schwartz.

You probably heard his song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” getting a lot of air time courtesy of Pat Benatar recording it.

Half of the songs he recorded for his solo album, “No Refuge”, released in 1981 have been covered by other artists like “Hearts On Fire” by Honeymoon Suite on their self-titled 1984 debut and “All Our Tomorrows” by Joe Cocker on his “Unchain My Heart” album from 1987 to name a few.

Love Has Remembered Me

A ballad written by Myles Goodwyn. It was a minor hit and time has been kind to it.

Anejo

Written by Myles Goodwyn, it’s a skip for me.

Open Soul Surgery

Written by Jim Vallance, who has got a certain hard rock and roll sound and it’s the best track on the album.

You Don’t Have to Act That Way

Written by Myles Goodwyn, this track is a skip for me and I had an uneasy feeling that the rest of the album would follow this vibe. But I was wrong.

Hold On

Written by Myles Goodwyn this song is a hit, however it wasn’t promoted at all. Press play to hear the AOR Chorus.

All It Will Ever Be

Written by Myles Goodwyn rocks hard in the verses while it goes all major key “Life Is A Highway” like in the Chorus. It’s an underrated cut in my book.

Wait Any More

Written by Myles Goodwyn it’s got this summertime major key vibe which I like.

I grew up in the 80’s and this album can compete with a lot of albums that came out during this time. It’s basically a few good songs surrounded by filler, like most of the albums.

If you are interested, start with “Open Soul Surgery”, then go to “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and finish off with “Hold On”.

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

Australian Method Series: The Screaming Jets – Tear Of Thought

Let’s go back to February 1991.

The Screaming Jets released the single “Better” and two months later, their debut album “All For One” came out. Their sound is made up of an amalgamation of Australian acts like AC/DC, The Angels, INXS, The Choirboys and Cold Chisel, with a little bit of blues, a little bit of Classic Rock and Punk Rock thrown in. And it connected with the people of Oz.

Dave Gleeson always like to push censorship issues, and I remember when he appeared in the MTV Studios in Sydney for an interview, wearing a Metallica T Shirt with the “Metal Up Your Ass” design on it. The MTV guys weren’t too impressed and when he sat for the interview he had to strategically cover the offending images with his hands.

The group then relocated to the United Kingdom for over two years. The wanted to break into a European market first, before attempting their assault on the massive North American market. Doc McGhee was very keen to be the one to break them in the U.S

In the meantime, their youthful energy was getting them into trouble with other artists. The Divinyls wanted them off the Australian tour they were doing together, because lead singer Dave Gleeson insulted Chrissy Amphlett on stage, when he said, “Are you here for a rock and roll show or just a tasteful flash of the vag?”

Warrant copped it as well, when they turned up at a Club that the Jets were playing in Kings Cross, Sydney.

However Skid Row and Motley Crue liked the Jets and the Jets like them back.

As a warm up for their sophomore release, the label decided to release an EP called “Living in England” in June 1992. It included cover versions of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and AC/DC’s “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)” along the three album tracks. And we loved it. It wetted our appetite for more.

In October 1992, “Tear of Thought” dropped.

The band was unchanged with Dave Gleeson on vocals, Richard Lara on guitar, Grant Walmsley on guitar, Paul Woseen on bass guitar and Brad Heaney on drums. Continuing on from the debut album, bassist Paul Woseen and guitarist Grant Walmsley carried the bulk of the song writing.

And for some stupid reason the European release had a different cover.

Dream On

No, it’s not an Aerosmith cover. Written by Paul Woseen, it’s got this U2 vibe to start off, with backward sounding guitar effects and delays while the drums and bass slowly build it up, until the whole band kicks in.

And suddenly it feels like a post pop punk cut with a nod to The Angels and a 12 bar blues solo that George Thorogood would be proud off.

Here I Go

The intro riff. Heavy fucking Metal.

Please play just to hear it.

The song is written by Paul Woseen and its one of my favorites.

Especially the last 80 seconds, when they go into the main intro riff, the ohhs and ahhs vocal chants begin, the tempo increases, a lead breaks out and the tempo keeps on increasing until chaos reigns and the song ends.

Meet Anybody

Written by guitarist Grant Walmsley.

It has a vibe from The Angels, but man, the verses sit in the LA Sunset Strip style of writing.

When the Chorus kicks in, it’s got that Albert Productions sound. Press play and enjoy.

Alright

Another Grant Walmsley cut which reminds me of Cold Chisel and The Angels, with a head banging rocking solo section.

Night Child

Written by Paul Woseen, the songs music is rooted in the sounds of ACCA DACCA, however if you play the main riff with the distortion set to max, it sounds like it came from the fingertips of the NWOBHM bands.

Helping Hand

Written by Paul Woseen, this song was the unexpected hit.

It’s got this Crime Noir feel in the verses almost jazz blues, but when the bluesy Chorus kicks in, its singalong and infectious, remaining with you long after its finished.

Everytime

Written by Grant Walmsley and I feel like he channels Ian Moss from Cold Chisel with the main riff.

Living in England

Also written by Grant Walmsley, its two minutes of relentless punk speed metal power. It’s heavy and it has a Lemmy/Motorhead vibe all over it. I guess that’s what “Living In England” meant to them. You just become influenced by Lemmy. And Brad Heaney on drums is a powerhouse here.

Think

Written by Paul Woseen it’s got an Alice Cooper “Only Women Bleed” feel with a lot of pub rock decadence. For a ballad, it’s not wimpy and it rocks hard.

Press play to hear what I mean, or you can watch the film clip on YouTube with all the surrealism images.

Best of You

Written by Paul Woseen, this song makes me think of other songs but I can’t remember what they are right now.

Rich Bitch

Written by Paul Woseen, its an attempt to do Fat Rich Cunt Part 2. George Thorogood would be proud.

Tunnel

Written by vocalist Dave Gleeson and guitarist Richard Lara.

The riff from Lara is excellent. The horns in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus enhance the song. Think “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob.

Musically it’s a cross between The Angels, Bad Company and AC/DC.

Hard Drugs

Written by Grant Walmsley its channelling The Angels.

Sick and Tired

Written by Paul Woseen it’s got that jazzy rhythm and blues feel that you hear on “Helping Hand”.

Shivers

Rowland Howard wrote a post punk masterpiece in the form of a ballad. For those that don’t know, it’s a cover from the band he was in called Boys Next Door who had Nick Cave as the vocalist for them.

The opening lyrics “I’ve been contemplating suicide / but it really doesn’t suit my style” immediately grab you by the throat and make you pay attention.

Feeble

Written by Grant Walmsley, the album closer is a different cut, moving between a post punk mood at the start, to a ballad like mid-section, before picking up the fast post punk feel. .

In Australia, it received a Platinum certification and charted as high as 3 on the ARIA chart.

The group supported Ugly Kid Joe on their European tour in 1993, when Heaney was fired mid-tour as he thought that all the band members had turned gay and that the girlfriends they had were just decoys to trick him that they were not gay.

Heaney was temporarily replaced by ex-Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland until former BB Steal drummer Craig Rosevear became the permanent drummer in July 1993.

For those who don’t know, BB Steal were meant to be Australia’s Def Leppard. Singer Dave Gleeson wasn’t too impressed to hear that a hair band drummer was being considered, but after meeting and jamming with Rosevear, he changed his mind.

And that wouldn’t be the end of the changes. In January 1994, after a US tour backing Def Leppard ended, guitarist Richard Lara was replaced by Melbourne guitarist Jimi “The Human” Hocking (ex-Spectre 7).

And a new chapter was to begin.

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1986 – Part 5.3: The Bangles – Different Light

I was always on the lookout for new music. New artists to get into. New melodies to expose my ears to.

Radio in Australia during this time was an interesting beast. We had stations that played just rock music (bands classed these days as glam metal, glam rock, classic rock, melodic rock and hard rock also fitted this bill). We had stations that played whatever was on the Charts. If it was popular they played it, so these stations could have included rock music. Then we had stations devoted to Country, jazz, various different religions and ethnicities and classical.

The Bangles ended up on a lot of stations. Because they could be classed as a rock band and during this time they were very popular. Music Television loved them as well. They looked great so were easily marketable, they could play their instruments and they were known for killer live performances.

“Different Light” is album number 2. It is their most successful album,. But the big secret for the album was the running time of each song. It’s like they knew back in 86, that Spotify would pay per listen. Here is a perfect Spotify album, with an average song runtime of 3 minutes each.

The Bangles were special because they had all the members on lead and backing vocals. Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson also played guitars. Micki Steele played bass and guitars on some tracks while Debbi Peterson played the drums. They were all seasoned and had paid their dues. Hoffs was 27 years, Vicki Peterson was 28, Steele was 31 and was also known as the founder of The Runaways, before leaving them prior to their first album and Debbie Peterson was the youngest at 25.

Manic Monday

The song is written by “Christopher” and Hoffs. “Christopher” was a pseudonym for Prince. At 157.5 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their biggest. Only “Eternal Flame” and “Walk Like An Egyptian” are bigger.

In a Different Light

My favourite track. It’s rocking from the start and the vocals remind me of “California Dreamin” from The Mamas And The Papas

Walking Down Your Street

This was a skip for me.

Walk Like an Egyptian

192 million streams on Spotify. It’s so overplayed these days, but goddamn it was infectious when it came out. The vocal melody was so unique. Press play and start walking like an Egyptian.

Standing in the Hallway

It’s pop rock, with a bit of rhythm and blues.

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A rare running time of 4.22 however the track was not their best.

If She Knew What She Wants

A Jules Shear cover from 1985 which has this 60’s feel.

The album standard slips towards the backend with tracks like “Let It Go”, “September Gurls”, “Angels Don’t Fall in Love” and “Not Like You” being seen as throwaways.

However the introspective acoustic cut, “Following”, written and sung by Steele, is excellent.

In relation to sales, it was 2x Platinum in Australia, Canada. It went Platinum in New Zealand and the UK. In the U.S, it went 3× Platinum.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

1986 – Part 5.2: Billy Squier – Enough Is Enough

“Enough Is Enough” came out a few years after the music video for “Rock Me Tonite” hit MTV screens. The 2011 book “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story Of The Music Video Revolution” described it as the worst ever music video. And I’ve seen some bad ones in my time but to see Squier prancing around a bed and acting all feminine = a decline in ticket sales.

To show what a career killer that video was, the songs he made after the first three albums didn’t even make it to a guitar transcription book.

And Squier stayed out of the spotlight for the majority of 1985, taking some time off and preparing his next album with British producer Peter Collins, who was known for his work with Gary Moore and Rush.

The label, Capital Records spent a lot of money on the album. The personnel involved is a big list. Joining Squier is Jeff Golub and Robin Jeffrey on guitars, Jeff Bova, David Frank, Andy Richards and Alan St. John on keyboards/synthesizers. T.M. Stevens on bass and Jimmy Bralower, Bobby Chouinard and Steve Ferrone on drums. Jody Linscott is on percussion and Mitch Weissman on backing vocals.

Production is handled by Peter Collins as producer, Jimbo “James” Barton as engineer, Steve Boyer and Paul Wright as assistant engineers, Brian Gulland on arrangements and sound recording, David Thoener on mixing, Tim Leitner as the mixing assistant and George Marino on mastering.

All of the people involved would need to get paid. The recording studio would need to be paid. The label people would need to be paid.

And the cover. It’s more of an alpha male cover.

Released on September 27, 1986, it was the first album to be released under his second seven-year Capitol Records recording contract.

Shot o’ Love

Written by Danny Kortchmar and Billy Squier

The intro riff is feel good rock and roll. It’s like Bryan Adams with the influence of Mutt Lange.

Love Is the Hero

A Billy Squier track that sounds like a Queen track. And if you have a track that sounds like Queen, why not get Freddie Mercury to contribute vocals. This song deserves more attention.

Lady with a Tenor Sax

And then why not get Freddie Mercury to co-write a song with you.

This song has a cool blues groove and the horn section gives it a swinging rock feel. It was a minor hit, but it is largely forgotten.

All We Have to Give

Written by Squier.

A ballad, but then a section from 2.20 to 3.10 kicks in, and it rocks hard. Press play to hear it.

Come Home

Written by Bobby Chouinard and Squier and Squier is trying way too hard to rock hard.

Break the Silence

Written by Squier, a keyboard/synth riff kicks it off, with the guitar playing more of a decorative role. While the riffs sound cool, the melodies are lacking.

Powerhouse

Written by Squier and I am sure that CC DeVille was listening here as I can hear “Unskinny Bop”. It’s one of my favourite Squier tracks. Loud, funky and hard rocking.

Lonely One

Written by Squier, this track could have appeared on the “Top Gun” movie. It’s the pulsing bass line which reminds me of the movie.

Press play on this as it’s a melodic rock masterpiece.

Til It’s Over

Written by Squier, it’s the longest track on the album at 6 plus minutes long. It’s one of those 70’s style of tracks which percolates acoustically until it explodes.

Wink of an Eye

Written by Squier and I feel like it’s a complex pop hard rock for Squier. Ideas like these worked well in the hands of Eddie Van Halen.

Most of the music critics liked the album, but critics don’t buy albums. They get their review albums for free. It’s the fans who buy albums and there wasn’t enough fans buying it compared to the money spent on “Enough Is Enough” by the label.

So it was stamped as a commercial disappointment, selling about 300,000 copies in the United States, making it Squier’s first album since 1980’s “The Tale of the Tape” to not reach platinum status. Squier didn’t even embark on a tour in support of the album as no promoter wanted to touch him after the decline in ticket sales during the “Signs Of Life” tour.

Press play to hear “Powerhouse”, “Lonely One”, “Shot o’ Love”, “Til It’s Over” and the middle section of “All We Have To Give”.

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

1986 – Part 5.1: John Cafferty – Tough All Over

Back in 1980 they self-released a single which included the songs “Wild Summer Nights” and “Tender Years”. They sold over 10,000 copies, had radio play and they toured up and down the Atlantic seaboard. But the act was still ignored by the labels due to persistent comparisons to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

They finally achieved international success when producer Kenny Vance, a long-time fan, offered them the opportunity to score a movie soundtrack he was in charge of, based on the best-selling novel about a legendary bar band, “Eddie and the Cruisers”.

Vance wanted to use the music of Bruce Springsteen, but it was too expensive to license, so he got an act that sounds like Springsteen. The world was finally introduced to “John Cafferty And The Beaver Brown Band”.

In 1983, “Eddie And The Cruisers” came out and the singles “On The Dark Side” and “Tender Years” from the soundtrack cracked the Top 10 Billboard Charts. The soundtrack was released on CBS Records and you would think that CBS would sign the act, however it was independent label Scotti Brothers who signed them. They had distribution via CBS and the label was known for launching the career of Survivor.

“Tough All Over” was first released in 1985 and it was Cafferty’s first attempt to pull his band away from the “Eddie and the Cruisers” franchise. As soon as you heard his voice, you imagined it was actor Michael Pare, who did a pretty good job lip syncing in the movie. Well that is how I remember it.

And the album did okay business, but the label decided to re-release it in 1986 with a different album cover and “The Voice of Eddie and the Cruisers” added to the title. Maybe they thought it would sell more if it had this extra add on. Hence the reason why it is listed as an 1986 release for me.

All songs are written by John Cafferty who also does vocals and rhythm guitar. The Beaver Brown Band is made up of Pat Lupo (RIP) on bass, Kenny Jo Silva on drums, Gary Gramolini on guitar, Robert Nicholas Cotoia (RIP) on keys and Michael Antunes on saxophone.

Voice of America’s Sons

The fourth and last single released from the album. If you are a Stallone fan, you would remember this song from the 1986 movie “Cobra”.

As a side note, John Cafferty also sang the song “Hearts On Fire” for the “Rocky IV” movie. It was used during the training montage music in Russia.

The major chords immediately give you a feelgood vibe, and John Cafferty is bringing back the summery sounds of the 70’s in the 80’s.

Spent those years dreaming, but the dreams didn’t last, time is moving much too fast, turn the radio on

The radio was an escape into the world of music and the emotions which music brings.

Well they built those factories, with blood sweat and steel, coming down fast under, the weight of the wheel

My Dad worked in those same factories in Australia, until a broken back retired him.

Tough All Over

The first single from the album.

It’s basically a hard rock song built on a synthesizer riff, the song describes the struggles of young working individuals. Sort of like how “Living On A Prayer” described the lives of Tommy and Gina a year later.

“Well, she’s waiting for the bus down on the boulevard / Pretty little working girl / She ain’t got no fancy clothes don’t drive no fancy car / She’s the waitress at the bar and grill”

“Well, he’s drinking at the bar down by the old boat yard / He sits and he talks to strangers / The factory laid him off and life’s been getting hard / It’s enough to make a good man bad”

I guess we haven’t progressed much since the 80’s in relation to doing it tough. We still have our addictions and we are still trying to win something in this game of life.

C-I-T-Y

The second single. You can’t deny the rock and roll Bruce Springsteen and Huey Lewis influence on this track.

“On the South side of Detroit city, I’m working all night on the line, Under black smoke stacks, building Cadillacs, Jack, not one of them will ever be mine”.

How good are the lyrics?

Immediately an image forms in my head.

“Living in the C-I-T-Y, life here ain’t no dream”

Where the Action Is

The drumming reminds me of those 60’s beach songs, like “Wipeout” and the guitar playing reminds me of Dick Dale. Overall, the song would not be out of place on any 60’s Rock soundtracks.

Dixieland

I know John Cafferty probably hates it, but goddamn this song is Springsteen through and through.

Strangers in Paradise

It continues with the similar major key riffing that appears on “Voices Of America’s Sons”. Think of the keys riffs from Jonathan Cain.

Small Town Girl

The third single about working a late shift in his Dads shop and how he finally meets a girl that lives across town that drives him crazy. It’s got that 60’s ballad feel. The song wouldn’t be out of place on the “Grease” soundtrack.

More Than Just One of the Boys

This one is probably the most current sounding track that isn’t dated to any era. It has all kind of influences, with Billy Joel coming to mind.

Tex-Mex (Crystal Blue)

I thought it would be a greasy blues tune like ZZ Top, but it’s a ballad with a Mexican influence. Johnny Cash comes to mind.

John Cafferty never broke big in Australia with his American Heartland lyrics, while artists like Mellencamp and Springsteen did, however I was a fan. His Beaver Brown band could rock with the best of the backing bands at the time.

The only thing I can write is to crank it.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series: Screaming Jets – Living In England (EP)

They got their name from a Johnny Warman song called “Screaming Jets”. Peter Gabriel also appears on the song, delivering a haunting vocal. It was a hit in Australia and singer Dave Gleeson was singing it when the rest of the band said, “that’s it. That’s the band name”.

I saw The Screaming Jets live on Friday, July 29. They celebrated the 30 Year Anniversary of their debut album, “All For One” and played it in its entirety. You can read my review of that album here. I got tickets for the concert last year, when it was actually the 30th Year Anniversary, however due to the Delta wave and our third lockdown, the show was postponed.

All I can say is that bassist Paul Woosen is a beast on the groove. His bass rumbled and rocked at the gig, laying down the foundations for the rest of the band to roll.

But let’s go back in time here to 1992.

Following the “All For One” album release, the band relocated to the United Kingdom, which they called home for two and a bit years.

They remained unchanged from the debut album, with Dave Gleeson on vocals, Grant Walmsley and Richard Lara on guitars, Paul Woosen on bass and Brad Heaney on drums. But this would change once the album that carried these songs came out in October 1992. However that is for another post.

“Living in England” was released as an EP, in June 1992. The band was hot and still selling good numbers from their “All For One” album in Australia. So the label thought, why not make some extra cash by offering up an EP before the album “Train Of Thought” is released.

And I was all in.

I love this EP.

It’s got three original songs which would appear on the album, and cover versions of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and AC/DC’s “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)” which haven’t appeared anywhere else expect on this EP release.

Actually a live version of “Folsom Prison Blues” appeared on another EP in 2017.

Tunnel

Written by vocalist Dave Gleeson and guitarist Richard Lara.

The riff from Lara is excellent. And the horns in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus enhance the song. Think “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob.

Musically it’s a cross between The Angels, Bad Company and AC/DC.

Meet Anybody

Written by guitarist Grant Walmsley.

It has a vibe from The Angels, but man, the verses sit in the LA Sunset Strip style of writing. Then when the Chorus kicks in, it’s got that Albert Productions sound.

And you know which bands I am talking about when I mention Albert Productions.

There is this bridge section which reminds of how Vita Bratta plays. Press play and just enjoy.

Living in England

Also written by Grant Walmsley, its two minutes of relentless punk speed metal power. It’s heavy and it has a Lemmy/Motorhead vibe all over it. I guess that’s what “Living In England” means to them. You just become influenced by Lemmy. And Brad Heaney on drums is a powerhouse here.

Folsom Prison Blues

Written by the great Johnny Cash. It was my first time hearing this song and yes, it made me a fan of Johnny Cash. The Jets version can be labelled “speed country” if there is such a thing.

Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)

Young, Young, Scott. Own any AC/DC album pre “Back In Black” and those were the names that you would see as songwriters.

They could have covered the bigger songs, but they selected an obscure album track and made it there’s, performing it live as well.

Crank it.

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