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

The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Electric Rendezvous

In 1980, Di Meola released the double album “Spendido Hotel”. Keeping with the Miami Vice covers theme.

And then the subsequent tour was captured live and released at the start of 1982 as “Tour De Force – Live”.

Towards the end of 1982, “Electric Rendezvous” was released.

The band for the album is Al Di Meola on electric and acoustic guitars, Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums and Mingo Lewis on percussion.

God Bird Change

Percussionist god Mingo Lewis is still writing a track per album. This is his contribution.

The bass and drum groove throughout the song is a favorite as there is so much energy.

And of course there is a percussion interlude.

Electric Rendezvous

The title track at almost 8 minutes long.

The Intro is essential listening, with a clean tone guitar playing fast arpeggios while a nice relaxing guitar melody plays over it.

From 1.12 it changes. More Jazz fusion and alot of chromatics over time signatures changes.

From 2.11, a bass riff begins which the distorted guitars then copy. This creates a foundation for Di Meola to solo over, but it’s brief as they groove on the riff.

At the 4 minute mark, a metal sounding riff is played which allows Di Meola and Hammer to solo one after each other.

Passion, Grace & Fire

Paco de Lucia appears and the title of this song would be used to promote the run of acoustic shows that Di Meola, de Lucia and John MacLaughlin would do.

So there’s a lot of acoustic playing, fast fingers and lush arpeggios.

Cruisin’

Written by Jan Hammer it’s got a keyboard hook that is addictive and catchy.

It rocks and perfect for doing exactly what the title says.

Black Cat Shuffle

Written by Philippe Saisse, who also plays keyboards on this, it’s a blues groove with Di Meola’s Lydian and Mixolydian soloing.

The last 60 seconds has some great hard rock soloing from Di Meola.

Ritmo de la Noche

Lounge Waltz music with a Flamenco flavor.

Then some fast shred and make to the Waltz music.

Somalia

A short 90 second instrumental. Arpeggios and an exotic guitar melody as it’s centerpiece.

Jewel Inside a Dream

A riff that reminds me of ELP and their song “From The Beginning” dominates the song.

And you have Hammer and Di Meola trading licks on the keyboard and guitar.

I’m the end it’s a different album from its predecessors but still worthy.

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

The Record Vault: Al Di Meola – Casino

Its album number 3 for Al Di Meola, released in 1978.

This time around its more of a band with Al Di Meola on all things guitar related, Barry Miles on keyboards, Anthony Jackson on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, Mingo Lewis with Eddie Colon on percussion.

While the first two albums had a lot of rock and metal overtones to it, this one leans more in the jazz fusion domain, in which Rock and Metal is not the dominant fusion partner as it was on the first two albums.

Egyptian Danza

An exotic riff made up of single notes begins this song. If you’ve listened to the first two albums it would be familiar, however if this was your first exposure to Di Meola it would be unusual and innovative, full of time changes, Arabic like influences and unison bass/guitar riffs.

It’s progressive and the drumming from Gadd thunders throughout the song.

Chasin’ The Voodoo

Percussionist extraordinaire Mingo Lewis is back again, with another excellent composition. He is the one that wrote “The Wizard” on the debut album and “Flight Over Rio” on the second album. From the whole album, this song is the progressive rocker and a favorite.

As expected, the song begins with percussion before a progressive bass riff kicks in. The drumming is frantic. Then the guitars kick in with chords and Di Meola’s superfast machine gun alternate picking.

There is a lot to unpack here, but my favourite section is brief, between 4.15 and 4.25.

And you’ll be pressing play on this, for the very underrated bass guitar playing.

Dark Eye Tango

A slow groovy bass line begins and when the drums come in, it’s like a wedding waltz, which Di Meola solos over appropriately.

At 1.38 it goes into a Latin/Flamenco feel, as the tempo increases and the solos while repetitive are catchy like a good Chorus.

Then at 2.57, a brief distorted guitar riff begins, which reminds me of Rush and Alex Lifeson, before it moves back to the Latin Flamenco feel, 15 seconds later.

On a sidenote, the keyboard riffs are great to play on guitar as well.

Senor Mouse

It’s a Chick Corea cover from Di Meola’s days in Return To Forever before he went solo. But he slows this one down and it doesn’t have the manic interplay of the original.

Regardless it’s still a good interpretation and it feels like the start of a movie.

Some sections are atonal and some sections are locked into a mode, with some chromatic notes being used as passing notes.

I like the bass riff at the 5 minute mark which Di Meola then goes into a flamenco like lead to complement. His palm muting technique is excellent.

Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars

It has four movements, in “Viva La Danzarina”, “Guitars of the Exotic Isle”, “Rhapsody Italia” and “Bravoto Fantasia”.

While all the ingredients are there for a flamenco sounding track, it’s more classical and Tuscany, then Spanish/Portuguese.

The section which I think is “Rhapsody Italia”, has strummed major chords with sevenths and ninths added while Di Meola throws in a fast machine gun lick here and there.

Casino

The closer. 9 plus minutes.

How good is the opening riff?

This album is a lot more experimental than the previous two albums and while “Elegant Gypsy” is the jewel in the crown, “Casino” shows a style that he would carry through from the mid 80’s and into the 90’s.

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

1986 – Part 3.2: Queensryche – Rage For Order

“Rage for Order” is the second album by Queensrÿche, released on June 27, 1986.

The Queensryche Cyber Army are really good at keeping the bands Wikipedia pages up to date and super detailed. Everything that can be found on the a internet is included along with print media and newspaper articles.

Go to the Wikipedia page on this album and you’ll get heaps of information.

MTV was becoming a huge promotions vehicle for artists and 1986 was clearly becoming the last year that bands would experiment with the songwriting. After 1986, albums would become very MTV Friendly because all the artists wanted a piece of that pie.

Musically it’s an excellent album. Each song has a riff or a vocal melody that I like. From a song point of view, “Walk In The Shadows” is close to perfect.

Lyrically the album touches on subject matters I’m interested in, like government intrusion and corruption, technology and social issues.

Management and the Label must have felt threatened at the experimental progressive album delivered by the band, so it’s no surprise that there is a cover song, which then became the lead single.

And no one knew how to handle Queensryche.

They had opening spots with Ratt and Bon Jovi (seriously, what the….), AC/DC (good gig to have if you play similar styles but they are very different styles) and maybe the most compatible one in relation to “Metal”, Ozzy Osbourne.

The Tri-Ryche logo makes it’s first appearance as well.

I never understood how this album was ever labeled as a “glam metal” album, but the label had to make them fit somewhere along with some questionable clothing and hairspray.

Queensrÿche is the classic line up of Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton on guitars, Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums.

Neil Kernon is Producing, Engineering and Mixing. Man of many hats.

Walk In The Shadows

Written by Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.

It’s as good as anything that came from “Operation Mindcrime” and “Empire”.

I’m a big fan of the Intro riff (it’s great to play) and that Chorus is massive.

I Dream in Infrared

Written by Tate and Wilton.

It reminds me of Rush in the Intro and I feel like Crimson Glory took this song and used it as a foundation to build on.

But you need to press play on this for the acoustic guitar arpeggios and the haunting vocal melody from Tate in the verses.

Is it just me or does this track remind you of “Breaking the Silence” and “Waiting for 22” from the “Mindcrime” album?

The Whisper

Written solely by DeGarmo and the Celtic inspired Intro definitely gets me interested. Something that Maiden would use a lot in the Dickinson Part 2 era.

The whole song is what Metal should sound like.

Gonna Get Close to You

A Dalbello cover, although I didn’t know it at the time.

To cover a song from outside the genre you are classified in, is a sign of respect to the artist who wrote it.

Many years later, Lisa Dalbello would do guest vocals on Alex Lifeson’s “Victor” album.

Check out the way the verses are constructed, it feels ominous.

The Killing Words

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

The keyboard Intro gives way to the guitar, before it goes into a soundtrack like verse. It’s very Marillion like and the vocals remind me of Fish and I like it.

But you’ll be pressing play to this song, for the section when Tate sings “Over”.

Surgical Strike

Written by DeGarmo and Wilton it feels more like a cut from “The Warning”.

And there are sections here which remind of “Speak” and “The Needle Lies”.

Press play for the Outro that begins from 2.40. You won’t be disappointed.

Neue Regel

Written by DeGarmo and Tate.

When I heard “A Perfect Circle” for the first time, I thought of this song. It has all of those atmospheric elements and outside the box sounds and composition elements.

This is how progressive music should sound like and it’s the embryo of what the “Promised Land” album would be.

But press play on this just to hear the power of Geoff Tate.

Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)

Written by Tate and Wilton, who brings the heavy metal riffs to the rebellion.

It’s put together in a progressive way as it doesn’t just follow the standard verse and chorus narrative.

London

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton and it reminds me of the “Mindcrime” album musically and the song “I Don’t Believe In Love”.

It’s got a great Chorus, so press play to hear “London” sound like “Young Boy”.

And then hang around for the harmonies and individual lead breaks.

Screaming in Digital

Written by DeGarmo, Tate and Wilton, musically it also reminds me of different songs from the “Mindcrime” album.

The electronic synths are dominant and Tate is very Peter Gabriel like in the verses.

But press play for the vocal melodies from 2.15 to 2.40 and stick around for the guitar hero lead breaks. And then those unbelievable vocal melodies come back.

I Will Remember

Written by DeGarmo, it has some nice acoustic playing from DeGarmo, a sign of things to come.

It was Certified Gold in the U.S.

To this Australian, it’s a criminally underrated jewel that was way ahead of its time and no one really knew what to do with it.

And I’m not sure if Marillion was an influence to the band at this point in time but goddamn this album reminds me so much of “Script for a Jester’s Tear”. Maybe it’s the similarities in vocal styles between Fish and Tate.

Anyway press play and let the sounds of love, politics and technology wash over you.

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

Australian Method Series and 1996 Part 3.7: John Farnham – Romeos Heart

“Romeo’s Heart” was released in Australia on 3 June 1996 by John Farnham.

His comeback to mainstream success started with “Whispering Jack” released in 1986. It is certified 24x Platinum in Australia, Platinum in Sweden and Gold in Canada and Germany.

“Age Of Reason” came in 1988 and it is certified 11x Platinum in Australia.

“Chain Reaction” in 1990 is 7x Platinum in Australia.

“Then Again…” in 1993 is 4x Platinum in Australia.

This album is also 4x Platinum in Australia.

The band is top notch as well with Brett Garsed from Nelson fame on guitars along with Stuart Fraser from Noiseworks.

Joe Creighton from The Black Sorrows is on Bass and Angus Burchall also from The Black Sorrows is on drums with Steve Williams on harmonica.

Vocals are provided by John Farnham with Lindsay Field and Lisa Edwards providing excellent backing vocals.

And from when Farnham made his comeback in the mid 80s as a solo artist, the songs he performed on his albums were written by other artists/songwriters.

This album is no different, with every song on it coming from outside writers.

Have a Little Faith (In Us)

Written by Russ DeSalvo (who at the time was writing and working with Celine Dion) and Arnie Roman (who also was working with Celine Dion).

Great song title and a major key chord progression to give its uplifting vibe.

But press play for the gospel like backing vocals in the outro which

Little Piece of My Heart

Written by C. Celli, A. Levin and Jack Ponti.

The same Jack Ponti who co-write “Shot Through The Heart” with Jon Bon Jovi and a heap of songs for Baton Rouge, Alice Cooper and Babylon A.D.

I’m not sure on why they would use this song title for a totally different song. It’s like reusing “Smoke On The Water” for a totally different song and not for a cover.

But in the end a simple funky rock groove is heard throughout the song and it’s cool to jam to.

A Simple Life

Written by Jon Lind and Richard Page. The same Richard Page from Mr Mister and Jon Lind had written or co-written songs like “Crazy For You” for Madonna and songs for Earth, Wind And Fire.

This one is a soft rock song.

Check out the vocal melody for the Chorus.

All Kinds Of People

Written by Eric Pressley, Sheryl Crow and Kevin Gilbert.

Yep the same Sheryl Crow and her songwriting partner Kevin Gilbert from her debut album were in demand and writing songs for other artists as well.

It’s in that soul contemporary pop rock vibe which was prominent in the 90s.

Romeo’s Heart

Written by Jennifer Kimball and Randy VanWarmer it appeared on Randy’s solo album “The Third Child” released in 1994.

And here it is a few years later as the title track. It has a soft rock Springsteen vibe.


Don’t Let It End

Written by Aaron Hendra an Australian-born songwriter, singer and guitarist who lives in the U.S.

It reminds of “Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” movie.

Hearts On Fire

Written by Tom Kimmel and S. Lynch. I was wondering which S Lynch is a co-writer.

Could it be the Steve Lynch from Autograph?

Nope it’s Stan Lynch, the ex drummer from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers who became a successful producer and songwriter.

On a side note, “That’s Freedom” was also written by Kimmel which Farnham recorded and it became a Top 10 hit for him in late 1990. So it’s no surprise that Farnham used him again.

The “Rocky IV” track comes to mind but it’s not it. The song is more blues soul rock.

Hard Promises To Keep

Written by Kimmie Rhodes ‎and the song appeared on her “West Texas Heaven” album released in 1994 and it’s in the vein of country ballads musically, but the vocal melodies are more in line with pop melodies.

Over My Head

Written by Ricard Pleasance and A. Tanner.

Richard Pleasance is an Australian rock musician and producer. He was a founding member of Australian band “Boom Crash Opera”.

It’s a ballad and it’s chord progressions is more like country rock ballads, reminding me of current songs like “Home” from Daughtry.

May You Never

Written by John Martyn it’s an up beat acoustic track that is played in the way Nuno Bettencourt plays on “More Than Words”.

John Martyn, is a British singer-songwriter and guitarist who released 23 studio albums over a 40-year career. He’s been described as blurring the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues”.

Second Skin

Written by John Farnham, producer Ross Fraser and Chong Lim.

Finally Farnham gets a co-write in a track that is a cross between “Superstition” and “Play That Funky Music”.

If you want to hear John Farnham in a rock way, then “Whispering Jack” and “Age Of Reason” would suffice. If you want to hear Farnham in a soul and country rock way, then this album would donyje

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

The Record Vault: Daughtry – Leave This Town (B Sides)

“Leave This Town: The B-Sides” is an EP released on March 15, 2010, to iTunes.

Listening to these six tracks, it’s hard to believe they were left off. The quality is there.

The personnel is Chris Daughtry on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Josh Steely on lead guitar,
Brian Craddock on rhythm guitar, Josh Paul on bass guitar and Robin Diaz on drums.

“Long Way”

Written by Chris Daughtry and Jason Wade from Lifehouse.

It’s got that Lifehouse vibe, but Daughtry’s voice is so unique.

Having a stable band behind Daughtry’s voice, makes all of the songs sound genuine and not over-produced, regardless of the money and time spent in studios to over produce em.

“One Last Chance”

Written by Daughtry, Mitch Allan and David Hodges.

Its too similar to “Life After You” in the verses and is probably a reason why it wasn’t included. But its still a worthy track, with a Chorus that reminds me of “Learn My Lesson” just a bit more aggressive.

And there is a harmony solo.

“Get Me Through”

Written by Daughtry and rhythm guitarist Brian Craddock and it’s in the alt-rock dropped D arena vibe.

Check out the Bridge vocal melody.

“What Have We Become”

Written by a songwriting committee of Daughtry, rhythm guitarist Craddock, ex-drummer Joey Barnes, bassist Josh Paul, guitiarist Josh Steely and songwriter/bassist Tommy Henriksen.

It’s basically a mid-tempo heavy rocker with a Chorus riff that reminds me of “Pour Some Sugar To Me” and a worthy guitar lead.

“On the Inside”

Another mid-tempo rocker written by Daughtry, Richard Marx and Chad Kroeger.

Flip a coin and let it land in your hand
Heads you gonna stay but its tails

Taking a chance is easier said than done. Writing out a plan is easy, actioning the plan is a different story altogether.

“Traffic Light”

Written by Daughtry and rhtynm guitarist Craddock.

This one is a favourite, another mid-tempo rocker which is a cross between “September”, “Tennesse Line” and “Supernatural”.

Man that Chorus.

Wow, so catchy for a B- Side.

“Back Again”

This is a great rock track, written by Daughtry and Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace at the time and two of the greatest hard rock voices to come out in the 2000’s.

The Chorus is Arena rock.

But you will be listening and saving this song because of the bridge, when Daughtry starts singing, “we’ve been down this road before”.

It’s that good it comes “back again” for the outro.

These B-sides are A-sides to me.

Their not on Spotify but YouTube has em so check em out.

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

1996 – Part 3.5: Victor

If you search for Alex Lifeson in Spotify, this album would not come up, because even though “Victor” is a solo album by Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, its released under the name of “Victor” and filed away under V.

Released in January 1996 on Anthem Records and recorded between the Rush albums “Counterparts” and “Test for Echo”, two of my favourite Rush records of the 90’s.

The musicians behind “Victor” are Alex Lifeson on guitars, bass and keyboards, plus spoken vocals on a few songs. Les Claypool makes an appearance on bass for “The Big Dance” while other bass tracks are handled by Peter Cardinali. Bill Bell is a Canadian guitarist who has toured and recorded with Jason Mraz, Tom Cochrane, Alex Lifeson and Danko Jones to name a few, also appears on guitar and Blake Manning is on drums.

For vocalists, Lifeson speaks on a few tracks, and a singer called Edwin (who I found out later is from a Canadian Rock band called “I Mother Earth”) does vocals on “Don’t Care”, “Promise”, “Sending Out a Warning”, “The Big Dance” and “I Am the Spirit”.

Another Canadian singer called Dalbello (otherwise also known as Lisa Dal Bello) appears on “Start Today”

“Don’t Care”

The track is written by Alex Lifeson.

The sound is grungy. But take away the studio sounds of the day and play the riffs through a 5150 amp, you’ll hear how heavy metal they are.

Some of the open string riffs do bring back memories of 70’s Rush.

Lyrically it’s so different from what Peart would write for a RUSH album. Its crude, full of fuck words and it’s basically about sex. The Rush elitists crucified him on the Rush boards back in the day for the lyrics. But Lifeson didn’t care.

“Promise”

Written by Lifeson and Bill Bell, it’s got this REM/Tragically Hip feel in the verses with a bit of “Limelight” in the Chorus.

I like the solo section. It has a riff which keeps repeating, while Lifeson does ambient like guitar noises and various note bends. It’s not technical, but its more abstract and it fits the vibe of the song. Then again it could be Bell on the solo. I don’t know.

“Start Today”

Written by Lifeson, check out the intro riff on this. Its huge, simple and yet progressive.

And Dalbello sounds a lot of like Geddy Lee when she hits her highs. A young Geddy Lee.

“Mr. X”

An Instrumental written by Lifeson. It sounds like a King Crimson cut, very Avant-garde, but the lead breaks are like blues jazz fusion.

“At the End”

Written by Lifeson and his son Adrian Zivojinovich. Adrian actually provides most of the computer programming which gives the songs he’s involved in, that Industrial tone.

Check out the riff at 2.24. I went straight for the guitar.

“Sending Out a Warning”

Another track written by Lifeson and Bell. And the riffs are interesting enough to get me to try and jam along.

The main riff by the way is excellent.

“Shut Up Shuttin’ Up”

Written by Lifeson and Bell, along with Lifeson’s wife Charlene and a person credited as Esther who basically provide the talking voices complaining about their husbands.

Musically, its funky, a bit bluesy and full of soul and every time the female voice overs say “Shut Up And Play The Guitar”, Lifeson begins to wail.

By the end of it, Lifeson is screaming back at em to “SHUUUT UUUP!”

For some reason, “The Audience Is Listening” from Steve Vai comes to mind.

“Strip and Go Naked”

Another Instrumental written by Lifeson and Bell.

The intro riff is one of this “Copperhead Road” riffs. Even Maiden used a similar riff on “Writings On The Wall”. Aerosmith on “Hangman Jury”.

But a Lifeson song moves within different musical pieces and this song is no other.

Check out the bluesy licks from the 2 minute mark over an ascending like bass riff and a strummed acoustic riff. And at 2.48 it goes back to the “Earle/Maiden” like riff.

But from 3.28 to the end, Lifeson takes that simple riff and makes it sound progressive. Listen to it.

“The Big Dance”

Written by Lifeson and Adrian Zivojinovich.

Man, that intro riff, so heavy.

And Les Claypool is on this, so the bass is prominent, syncopated with the kick drum.

“Victor”

Written by Lifeson and W.H Auden as the song is based on a poem written by Auden.

Its more experimental, with programmed drums and synths being prominent throughout while Lifeson recites the poem to us. It does nothing for me.

“I Am the Spirit”

My favourite song on the album and a perfect closer.

Written by Lifeson and Bell, it’s the most Rush sounding song on the album but the heavy rock sounding Rush.

“Tragically Hip” comes to mind here for the Verses with the vocal delivery, but musically, its Rush through and through.

The Chorus shows “The Spirit Of Radio”.

At 2.40, it quietens down and you hear some synth chords being played. Then Lifeson comes in with a clean tone guitar riff and man, what a riff it is. Different variations of it are heard throughout the song, but the way its delivered in this section, really brings it to life. One of his best riffs for the 90’s.

Then he goes into a guitar lead, which is emotive and perfect. But too short.

A great way to close the album.

Overall it’s not a perfect album and the spoken work melodies don’t really do much for me, but it’s that outside the box thinking which also draws me in, plus Lifeson always includes a riff or two in a song which makes me want to pick up the guitar and play along.

Check out this eclectic mix of blues rock, soul, funk, progressive, grunge, hard, industrial and alternative rock.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – September 20 to September 26

4 Years Ago (2017)

After three weeks of zero posts it was James Durbin that got me out of the rut.

His first album dropped in 2011 and its a hard rock album. “Higher Than Heaven” is my favorite track. It’s melodic and heavy enough to rock and a co-write with James Michael and Marti Frederiksen.

Then album number 2 dropped in 2014 and it was not what I expected, more in line with the Imagine Dragons style of rock.

So I just moved on.

And then “The Road” came up on the New Release Playlist as I was driving.

I’d like to tell you that I knew it was Durbin on vocals just from hearing him, but I had to google it to find out. Hell I had to Google who was in that version of Quiet Riot. 

Frankie Banali has been the drummer for the band since DuBrow reformed it in the 80s after the death of Rhoads. Bassist Chuck Wright replaced Rudy Sarzo and has been in and out of QR since the 80s. Guitarist Alex Grosso has been in a lot of hard rock bands and ended up in QR in 2006. 

I wrote back in 2017 to go and listen to “The Road” first, then “Renegades” and “Freak Flag”. They are songs that should remain around for a lot longer. And I still stand by that but looking at Spotify, these songs doesn’t even rate in the Top 10.

Unfortunately this version of QR would record one more album. But, drama surrounded that release. Durbin left before it’s release and Banali went missing, only for the world to find out that he was dying from cancer.

But QR continues.

Johnny Kelly from Type O Negative and Danzig joins on drums. Jizzy Pearl is on vocals again. Alex Grossi remains on guitar and Rudy Sarzo has rejoined.

8 Years Ago (2013)

DID PIRACY ASSIST THE COMEBACK OF TWISTED SISTER?

Young people today do not realise the impact that Twisted Sister had on the music business around 1984 and 1985. Sure, other bands had greater sales and bigger tours, however no one did MTV like Twisted Sister.

But by 1987 it was game over for Twisted Sister.

So how did they come back?

LAST MAN STANDING

The “Because We Can” tour should of been renamed to “Because I Can”.

Richie Sambora didn’t show up to work but the show went on as JBJ had a replacement for Sambora on the same day.

Then Tico Torres undergoes emergency appendectomy surgery and the band POSTPONES their Mexico concert. This would have pissed the Jovi machine.

Then Tico fell ill again, but JBJ had a back up plan this time in New Jersey native and Kings Of Suburbia drummer Rich Scannella, who filled in until Tico was cleared to play.

The show must go on for JBJ as those super large merchandise deals means that the tour cannot stop. Merchandise deals become very expensive to the artist if they are broken or if the sales do not meet targets or if the promised shows are not delivered. Just ask Dee Snider.

DREAM THEATER PREDICTIONS

It was almost September 24, 2013 and the new self titled Dream Theater album would be “officially” released on Roadrunner.

Going back a few more years, on September 13, 2011, “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” was released and it had 35,750 units sold in the first week.

With Roadrunner putting a lot of money into Dream Theater, they would want the above figures to increase by at least 20% but the market at that point in time was showing a shrinkage in sales compared to two years ago, due to licensed streaming.

But as album sales went down, concert attendances went up as well as ticket prices.

MOTLEY CRUE REVISION

“MOTLEY STILL SINGERLESS” is the headline from a news break item that did the rounds in an issue of Hot Metal from June 1992.

For anyone who wasn’t aware, Motley Crue and Vince Neil parted ways in February 1992. The actual argument took place on February 11, 1992, with Motley Crue issuing the official statement on Neil’s departure on February 14, 1992.

The Crue wanted everyone to believe that they started working with John Corabi immediately, from as earliest as February 17, 1992, however it wasn’t until September 27, 1992, that John Corabi officially signed a contract to be Motley Crue’s new lead vocalist.

Sebastian Bach’s claimed that he did in fact audition during that period which Nikki Sixx denied on Twitter.

The other vocalists that are known to have auditioned are Stevie Rachelle from the band Tuff, Marq Torien from the band Bullet Boys and Stephen Shareaux from the band Kik Tracee.

40 WORD REVIEWS – FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

It is a pretty solid album, sticking to what they know best. I would rank it the same as “American Capitalist”, part two of what came before.

40 WORD REVIEWS – DREAM THEATER

Download “Illumination Theory”, “Behind The Veil” and “The Looking Glass”. “The Bigger Picture” also has some great musical sections.  As for defining what Dream Theater is about right now; technical wizardry comes first and the actual song comes second.

40 WORD REVIEWS – THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS

The women of the world will love this album and the majority of guys will love the track “Conquistador.” A grand experiment in orchestra style theatrics merged with rock and pop sensibilities. 

CERVELLO

I just heard Cervello’s debut album (released in 2011) in 2013 and I liked it. I wanted to find out more information, only to find that they had broken up.

40 WORD REVIEWS – CANDLELIGHT RED

This album is more or less “B” grade Sevendust except for the last track “Sleeping Awake” which sounds like an “A” grade cut that should have been on Red’s “Release The Panic” album.

40 WORD REVIEWS – WITHIN TEMPTATION

A brilliant hard rock covers album of pop songs. Songs that I originally dismissed as terrible suddenly have a new lease of life thanks to Within Temptation’s reinterpretation and Sharon’s wonderful voice. 

BURNING YESTERDAY

I have had some music laying around that I earmarked once upon a time for a re-listen in a proper way.

“Burning Yesterday” was one such band.

Their album from 2009, “We Create Monsters Not Machines” was an amalgamation of bands like Red, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin, Skillet and Disciple. And I liked it, so give em a spin.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Hired Gun

I watched it last night, however it was released in 2016.

Eric Singer is a legend and the doco cemented that for me.

Between 2004 and 2008, Kiss wouldn’t tour when Alice Cooper was touring and Alice wouldn’t tour when Kiss was touring.

All because of Eric Singer. Both acts had him as a Hired Gun.

And what happened to Billy Joel?

He turned down being produced by George “Beatles” Martin because Martin wanted to use session guys and Joel was loyal to his current band members only to boot 1/2 of em a few years later and then drummer Liberty DeVitto sometime after that after he asked for a pay rise.

Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch is involved as Producer so there is a focus on heavy metal/rock acts.

And I didn’t know his past pre FFDP, as the touring guitarist for Mandy Moore and Hillary Duff. It didn’t mention if he played on the albums of those artists. And while these touring gigs could be lucrative, they can also end abruptly.

But it was the Hillary Duff gig that got him noticed by Alice Cooper, so when that finished up, Alice was there.

And there was a bass player who was a hired gun for the band Filter, was paid hardly nothing and said it was his worst experience ever and now he does voice overs.

The guitar player for Pink’s band was mentioned. I forgot his name so I just googled him.

Justin Derrico.

There is footage of him jamming. Derrico brings out some Mixolydian lines, string skipping and sweeps. The dude can play but the last time he played on a Pink album was in 2012 for “The Truth About Love”.

You get to hear how Jason Newsted borrowed money from his friends to fly out for the Metallica bass player audition after Cliff Burton’s death. Once he got the gig, he was put on $500 a week until he became a full member a year later.

Or Derek St Holmes, who sang “Stranglehold” but was never part of the band and people believed that the voice of St Holmes was Ted Nugent.

Rudy Sarzo is there as well, as his stints in Ozzy and Whitesnake were as a hired gun.

The documentary focused on the death of Randy Rhoads and showed footage of the crash, which I think took away from what they were trying to achieve with the doco but as a Randy Rhoads fan I was still glued to the TV screen. They could have spoken about the death like they did for Cliff Burton. I suppose there is never an easy way of dealing with these kind of things.

And Steve Lukather did a lot of session work but his main focal point was writing a song for George Benson. And it’s well known that Lukather and Eddie Van Halen were involved in “Beat It”. Lukather made sure to mention how he played the bass and guitar riff.

But.

At what state was “Beat It” in, before Lukather came and did the bass and guitar riff.

Was it just a keyboard song originally and Lukather needed to come up with something?

Was there a scratch riff for him to refer to?

Or was there someone else’s “Hired Gun” idea there for him to build on?

Or was he given the demo version and told to play it like that but in his style?

Some “unknown” Hired Guns to me are Brett Garsed who did work with John Farnham and Nelson along with Carl Verheyen who was a hired gun for Supertramp before becoming a member and he did a lot of session work for other artists, sometimes without even been credited.

And of course when Bob Ezrin was talking about “hired guns” playing on albums and not being credited, I immediately thought of Kiss and how towards the late 70’s, they started to get different players to perform on songs, but still sold the idea that the band members played on all the tracks to their fan base.

In the end, I wanted a bit more from “Hired Gun” however it was still a cool to watch.

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

Australian Method Series: Teramaze – I Wonder

From Australia. Advertised as Progressive Metal but it’s more like hard alternative rock with some progressive grooves on this album. And I like it.

“I Wonder” came out in October 2020 and I was surprised to learn that it’s their seventh album but my first time listening to them.

For this album Teramaze is Dean Wells on Guitars and Vocals, Andrew Cameron on Bass, Nick Ross on Drums and Chris Zoupa on Guitar.

The term Progressive Rock has a bad concoction these days, associated with a million notes over complex chord changes or in Tool’s case, long laboured grooves that move in and out of time signatures or polyrhythms. But there are a lot of bands that can take it all and make it sound easy, not complex and not too long.

Teramaze is one such band.

“Ocean Floor”

Kids noises are heard over an ominous synth riff and then the band crashes in with the lyrics “Children pray, from the ocean floor / Are we too late, to save their lives”.

The lyrics are based on a true story of children gone missing and their bodies been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

It’s powerful and you need to listen to it.

Especially that “Interstellar” soundtrack influence from 3.17 to 4.06.

“Only Daylight”

The way the songs starts off with the heavy groove riff, just gets the head banging.

By the time the verses come in, it’s slower but still powerful.

The lead break is excellent, emotive.

There’s this section after the solo which has the lyrics “No one will find me, no one will see me / From up above, I’m down below / They watch as they dance around me”. The way it is sung over the music is haunting as it carries the song for the last 2 minutes.

“Lake 401”

The clean tone arpeggio riff makes me pick up the guitar to learn it.

And the way the Chorus vocal melody with the words “Its so hard to know / If she’ll be waiting forever” is delivered is excellent.

And for styles, it’s more rock than anything else.

“A Deep State of Awake”

The synths start it off before an “Enter Sandman” style groove kicks in with the drums, bass and then guitar.

There are some leads which has the keys and guitar in harmony and it reminds me of Dream Theater “Images And Words” era.

Lyrically I see it as two voices within the same person. One part is delivered aggressively and the other is delivered melodically.

“Here to Watch You”

The Chorus.

Especially when Wells sings “The Fearless will construct / Our way all the world will know now”.

“Sleeping Man”

My favorite track.

The “Sleeping Man” has a chorus hook of “I’ve awoken the sleeping man inside”. It’s catchy, its hard rock and its perfect.

The keyboard hooks under the melodies are also memorable.

Check out the guitar solo.

“Run”

Man, this song for the first 90 seconds reminds me of those piano and vocal songs that Evergrey do so well.

After that it becomes a melodic rock song with excellent guitar playing

“Idle Hands / The Devil’s Workshop”

9 minutes long.

Musically and melodically the section in which Wells sings “We spent the time, and wasted it all most every year / And there is nothing left to follow” is excellent.

At 3.30, a lead break kicks in. It’s emotive and one of the best I’ve heard recently.

The section after it with the lyrics; “You never run it together / You never stopped the war / If only you could’ve chosen me / What life would have in store” is almost Daughtry like in delivery.

At 5.12 it’s just piano, playing the chords and vocal melody.

Then the vocals come in with the acoustic guitar. It builds up again to the “You never run it together / You never stopped the war” part again.

The last 90 seconds has double kick, fast melodic guitar leads and the only thing I can do is press play again and devote another 9 minutes of my time to the song.

“This Is Not a Drill”

Musically this song reminds of bands like Haken and Tesseract.

I see the world has changed
Theres nothing left to gather now
I feel the world has fallen
Tomorrow, may never come again..

We’re waiting for the cure
Assured it’s on the horizon
Pandemic fabrication
The lies insure well never know again..

I wonder what they’re singing about. And for everyone the world did change. People died, relationships ended, how we did things changed, flying and travel ceased and a lot of careers ceased to be.

At the 5 minute mark, the section that comes in reminds me of “Home” by Dream Theater.

To find someone to love, whatever.

That’s all we want in the end.

At 8 minutes and 40 seconds it never got dull or boring.

“I Wonder”

The closer.

The way this song builds and is constructed is excellent.

Check out the Chorus with its symphonic and anthemic melody, especially when Wells is singing “We’re here tonight, you’re never gonna see me alone / we feel alive, I’m never gone make it”.

The “I watch them killing you slowly” section reminds me of Muse.

At about 5.10 some intricate playing happens but it’s all still accessible and sing along like.

And the lead break is excellent.

By the end of it, each track left something behind with me.

And from reading some of the reviews, this is the first album in a while which features lead vocals from band leader and guitarist Dean Wells. And I’m like, “why didn’t he sing on all the albums?”. His voice needs to be heard.

Check it out.

And don’t let the progressive tag turn you off some great Rock and Metal.

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

Australian Method Series: Karnivool – Themata

“Themata” is the debut album by the Australian band Karnivool. The album was released independently on 7 February 2005. In 2007, Bieler Bros. Records picked it up for a U.S release and in 2008 Happy Go Lucky picked it up for a U.K release.

The band has a “progressive rock” label, but they are not a band that plays a million notes per minute with polymath time signatures. They are a band who are progressive in their song writing, as verses could have different riffs, and a groove could be jammed out over different time signatures. Other labels the band is given is “alternative metal” or “alternative rock”. Whatever the label, they created a metal album which got radio air play.

Karnivool are Ian Kenny on lead vocals, Drew Goddard on guitar and string arrangements plus he wrote all of the album’s songs and performed drums on every track, except for “Life Like” which was performed by Ray Hawkins. Mark Hosking on guitar and Jon Stockman on bass.

24 years later it still sounds as fresh as it did back in 2005.

“Cote”

I like the mood this song sets up. It’s a great opener, almost like “A Perfect Circle”.

I suppose this question will be answered
And I suppose the answers are here to save us

“Themata”

The title track that hooked me in.

And Ian Kenny is one talented vocalist who also has a very successful mainstream pop rock act called “Birds Of Tokyo”. His delivery on the title track is “Lead Singer Hero” worthy.

The “Kashmir” like violins that come in towards the end are haunting and hypnotic. It’s a beast of a song and it was doing the rounds on Australian radio.

It’s so good to see
This world is alive

And by the end of the song, Kenny is singing, “it’s so good to see this world I’m in loves me”.

And I was reminded of “The Tea Party” so I listened to this song over and over and over again.

“Shutter Speed”

It’s got a heavy groove that reminds me of Disturbed and a great Chorus.

Check out the small melodic lead riff in the middle of the song, which brings back memories of Mark Tremonti from his Creed days.

“Fear Of The Sky”

The jarring intro reminds me of songs from “The Mars Volta” and “At The Drive In”.

Another song with a great chorus. At the 3 minute mark it quietens down only to build up again. Check it out.

“Roquefort”

It’s a fan favourite.

The intro riff grooves around various time signatures but it still sounds like its in 4/4, almost Tool like.

You want to chase, this rabbit down a hole
You start to slide and lose grip of control

Ian Kenny delivers another great vocal merging Deftones and Tool like vocals.

Listen to the vocal and bass section from about 3.10.

And remember that the drums are played by the guitarist.

“Life Like”

It’s got the embryo of what “Themata” would become. It was released as a single about two years before the album came out.

Its more Nu-Metal than what “Themata” is, almost Linkin Park like musically, but with David Dramain singing.

“Scarabs”

It’s a 2 minute, Groove Nu Metal instrumental, with some frantic drumming and bone crushing riffage.

“Sewn and Silent”

An acoustic guitar led song, comes in at the perfect time, like the eye of the storm.

Check out the section from about 2.30 to 3.01.

“Mauseum”

Djent like riffs before “djent” became a style. At 2.20 it changes to a slower melodic groove.

Press play and listen.

“Synops”

It’s “Themata” part 2 and another highlight with its exotic eastern feel. Another song which reminds me of “The Tea Party”.

Leave no light on, this war, it rages in me
Leave no light on, this war, I fear it won’t end

“Change (Part 1)”

An anti-climax. But like a Marvel movie, it’s an end credits scene to forecast the next album and the style to come.

“Themata” is an excellent example of Australian metal with some progressive overtones. There are pop choruses, big Mesa Boogie riffs or fuzzed out tones, vocals that cover a lot of different styles. Maynard Keenan, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, David Draiman, Chino Moreno, Mike Patton, Jonathan Davis, Thom Yorke, Davey Havok and my favourite, Serj Tankian when he’s doing his exotic clean tone melodies are all covered and mixed in with Kenny’s life experiences and emotions.

In between Karnivool albums, Ian Kenny worked on his “Birds Of Tokyo” project with great success.

Fast forward to 2021, Karnivool has been recording new music. It will be their first bit of new music since 2013 and the “Asymmetry” album. And an audience awaits.

Standard