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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 6 to June 19

4 Years Ago (2018)

As much as I try to have a buffer of posts, sometimes life and other events get in the way so my days become a matter of priorities.

And 4 years ago, my blogging suffered. Sort of like how it is suffering around this time again.

WHAT’S NEXT

You paid your dues from hotel to motel, got ripped off on the pay from the promoter, had some fights and some good times and maybe, just maybe, you might have gotten a recording contract.

Which didn’t guarantee success, but it gave you a chance to play in the field of dreams.

Suddenly, MTV made people believe that if they got a recording contract, success was guaranteed. And the live show became a clone of the recordings, because artists took their time to get the recordings perfect.

Music is cultures greatest invention and the record labels signed artists based on the music more than the commercial potential. With some A&R development, smart marketing, an audience would come and a career is built. But streaming put the public in control. It took away the power of scorched earth marketing tactics from the labels.

Songs that go nuts on streaming happen months before the rest of the mainstream picks up on them. And every so few years something new comes along that becomes mainstream. Classic rock gave birth to prog rock to punk to metal to hair rock to grunge to industrial to nu metal and so forth.

What’s next.

8 Years Ago (2014)

HEY STOOPID

Alice Copper had a string of hit albums in the Seventies. Towards the end of the decade and in the early Eighties his output was of a lesser standard while he dabbled in new wave rock. Then he started to gain some momentum with two underrated hard rock/metal releases in “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell”. But the massive mainstream comeback happened with “Trash”, his Eighteenth studio album. Yep, Alice’s career was eighteen albums deep.

So when it came time to record the follow-up to “Trash”, another star-studded cast was assembled.

A lot of cash was thrown at every body. It was a who’s who of hard rock royalty.

Listen to it and re-evaluate.

COMPLICATED COPYRIGHTS

I don’t understand why people go to a rock show or a metal show to film the whole thing on a smart phone.

I have also been known to break out my iPhone and capture some footage or a few photos for posterity. But I’ve never gone back and referred to my amateur filming or photography.

The reasons are simple, those captures can never accurately reflect the concert as I witnessed it.

Once upon a time it was a big thing to go to a concert and talk about it, but these days it’s no big deal.

So is videoing a concert with a phone a violation of an artist’s copyright. Don Henley says it is, however he also said that he doesn’t want the shows posted on YouTube because it spoils it for people who are going to come to a show in the future and that he doesn’t want to see Eagles content out there that sounds horrible.

Some use it as a form of a diary record, to remember or relive that moment when their favourite song came on. Some do it to share the moment and their love for the artist. Some do it because they simple can. A smart phone or an iPad or Tablet, allows us the convenience to do so.

BANDS

The years of practicing and writing do not prepare you for the realities of the music business.

To me the big one is the sense that bands just can’t get along. The odds of success are so rare no one wants to give an inch just in case that inch was their chance at making it.

It got to the point where fans of other bands were told to wait outside while the other bands played, just in case some record label rep was in the audience and saw people having a good time.

INVASION OF THE SWEDES

Sweden is a massive exporter of cultural content. Most of the bands I like are from Sweden and one of the biggest Pop songwriters over the last 25 years is also from Sweden.

Isn’t it funny how the home country of Spotify also has one of the most vibrant rock and metal scenes in the world. But wait a second. I am sure I have heard the RIAA and their proponents scream that because music has been devalued, no one will create anymore.

Well it looks like someone forgot to tell the Swedes, a country that has embraced streaming and guess what, their musical scene is flourishing.

KAMELOT

I don’t mind my fix of Power Metal. Here is my own 10 second wrap up of a whole genre beginning from the Seventies.

It started with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Then Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween came along. They both increased the tempos and Yngwie Malmsteen exaggerated the classical elements which led to the current Power Metal movement which is just a higher tempo version of the beast that Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween inspired.

The thing with power metal at the moment is that there are so many acts out on the market that are just not good enough to be there. They think by playing at break neck speeds it makes them good enough.

Kamelot is not one of them. Because Kamelot is not all about higher tempos. There is more variation in their music. Credit Thomas Youngblood, one of the bands original founders.

I’m listening to “Silverthorn”, Kamelot’s tenth studio album and their third concept story.

It’s the song “Veritas” that connected with me. And the connection comes in the form of a band called Savatage, who I am a big fan off, especially the era of Criss Oliva. Because it sounds like something that could have been recorded for a Savatage album.

I can’t say that I like everything that Kamelot has put out, however they have done enough on each album to keep me interested to come back and invest my time to hear each new album. And that is what matters today.

DAYBREAK EMBRACE

I really enjoyed Daybreak Embrace’s 2010 EP “Tomorrow Awaits”. From that EP “Thirty–Six” is a dead set classic and “Sanctuary” is not that far behind. This is where people should start.

So I was curious as to what new music they had released since then.

I go to Spotify, type in their name and I see that they have new music. The “Mercury” EP was released in 2013. Damn, how did I miss that. The Modern Rock scene in the U.S is a very crowded marketplace. With all the beautiful things that the Internet has brought us, one thing hasn’t changed. It is still difficult for a band to get attention and the odds of success are still very low.

GEORGE LYNCH – SACRED GROOVE

By 1993, everything changed. The Record Labels threw their lots in with the Grunge movement, abandoning the majority of the hard rock and heavy metal bands they had on their roster. But, hard rock and metal releases still kept on coming. The only issue was that they became harder to get in Australia.

And “Sacred Groove” from George Lynch would probably never get booted out of the Top 10 list for that year. It’s an album that has guitar instrumentals with hard rock songs featuring some of the best singers. Slash did something similar with his Solo album a decade later.

The best instrumental track by far on the album is “Tierra Del Fuego”. A six-minute tour de force in Flamenco Hard Rock music.

The best vocal track on the album is “We Don’t Own The World”, that has vocals by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. But the song is actually written by George Lynch and Don Dokken. Dokken was supposed to sing on the track, however he failed to show up at the studio. So Lynch got the Nelson twins who were in the studio next door recording their ill-fated “Imaginator” album, which got rejected by Geffen and John Kalodner.

“Flesh And Blood” is written by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson and Ray Gillen is on vocals. This is a rare gem as Ray was to pass away that same year. That awesome groove sets it up and Lynch owns that solo.

Glenn Hughes involvement with George Lynch goes back to the Lynch Mob days, when he recorded scratch vocals on the second album, so that new singer Robert Mason could follow. On Lynch’s first proper solo outing, he sings on two songs, “Not Necessary Evil” and “Cry Of The Brave”. Both of the songs have music written by Lynch and lyrics by Hughes. This period of Hughes’s career is the one I like the most. He was everywhere with his own solo project, with George Lynch, with John Norum, with a Blues project and many more.

THAT 1994 MOTLEY CRUE ALBUM

I had mixed feelings when I heard that John Corabi was the new Motley vocalist. Twenty Eight years on the album has survived the test of time. Darker, bluesier, ballsier, kick-ass rock and roll.

It has some of the best playing the band had and has ever done. And it was so ahead of its time that the record label just didn’t know what to do with it and how to market it.

People said they ripped off Alice In Chains because it packed serious groove. Umm, listen to the Girls and Feelgood albums. They also grooved.

People said they jumped on the grunge bandwagon because they down tuned. For most of their career Motley Crue down tuned.

What about all the scattered Zeppelin and Beatles influence all over the record? Nikki Sixx said that he was trying to write his own Physical Graffiti. And he succeeded.

It’s a great record with the unfortunate truth that it was released by Motley Crue and the album remains hidden from any new fans connecting with it.

And that’s a wrap for the fortnight that just passed.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – April 4 to April 10

4 Years Ago (2018)

A slow week for the site 4 years ago.

8 Years Ago (2014)

2009

I sort of did a history post called “2009: This week (April 1 to April 6) – 5 years ago”.

I just went back and looked at some events that happened in the music business.

Like.

Record Labels: The 360 deals that the labels had artists sign had a lot of headlines as the labels found a new way to get more money from the artists. In this case, the 360 deals take income from touring and merchandise for almost nothing in return.

C#m7(add9) Chord

As a guitar player it was that C#m7(add9) chord that i always return to.

It is basically a C#5 power chord played on the 4th fret on the A string. Add the ninth note (the D#) and then let the open B and E strings resonate. It is a beautiful sounding chord. When you tab it out, it looks like this.

——0–
——0–
——8–
——6–
——4–
———

The first time I heard a power chord with the added 9th was in “Message In A Bottle” and then again in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.

Both songs have Sting as the songwriter, however the real credit goes to Andy Summers. He was the one that took a keyboard line or a bass line and made it rock.

Then I heard that chord again in 1992. From bands I had no idea about. One band was Dream Theater and the mighty John Petrucci used it in “Take The Time”.

The other band was Saigon Kick and their very underrated guitarist/founder/main songwriter/producer/record label owner/studio owner and general music business lifer, Jason Bieler also employed the same sounding chord in the song “Love Is On The Way”.

And that chord has been in my arsenal ever since. If I need to play a C#m chord in a song, this is the one i play.

Without fail.

The other chord is this G#m9(#5) that I heard in “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche and again in “Another Day” by Dream Theater.

——0–
——0–
——3–
——4–
——X–
——4–

Hearing “Love Is On The Way” again today, brought back all of those memories.

And that is what music is all about. A soundtrack to our lives. Memories from different times that somehow connect with one another. That is what the C#m7(add9) chord achieved.

Changes In Music

THEN
Music was all about achieving LIBERATION.

NOW
Music is all about the tyranny of MONEY.

THEN
Bands/Artists needed to be busy to make it or stay relevant.

NOW
Bands/Artists still need to be busy to make it or stay relevant. Just check out George Lynch and the amount of releases since 2008. Or Mark Tremonti or Myles Kennedy and their involvement in various projects.

At the time, Avenged Sevenfold was out on the road promoting the “Hail To The King” album, working on the “Deathbat” game and an anniversary re-issue for “Waking The Fallen”.

THEN
The challenge was getting your music heard

NOW
The challenge is still about getting heard.

THEN
No one toured South and Central America.

NOW
Touring dollars are in South and Central America. If you are an established band and are not touring South/Central America, then you are leaving money on the table.

THEN
Platinum selling bands/artists were told that they owed the label millions.

Van Halen comes to mind here during the Van Halen II era. “We went platinum. We toured for a year, we came back, and Warner Bros. told us that we owed them $2 million,” said drummer Alex Van Halen.

“And on top of that, we owed them another record,” added guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

“It was the end of the year. We had three weeks to deliver another record…then boom, we went straight out on tour again. The first record took about a week, seven days to do. The second record took about three weeks.”

NOW
Platinum selling bands/artists are still told that they owe the label millions.

THEN
Bands/Artists covered songs as a career choice and made them unique. They made those cover songs their own. Van Halen did it with “You Really Got Me” and again with “You’re No Good”, which Linda Ronstadt also covered.

NOW
Bands/Artists do cover songs as a tribute to their influence.

THEN
The Record Labels didn’t know what would succeed or what would fail.

Metallica’s “Kill Em All” was independently financed.

Motely Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” was independently financed.

NOW
The Record Labels still don’t know what would succeed or what would fail.

Five Finger Death Punch is a big seller in the world of metal and hard rock and they couldn’t get a deal at the start so they self-financed their debut and issued it on a small subsidiary label.

THEN
Music was a risk business.

NOW
Music is still a risk business.

THEN
Labels invested in a lot of projects because they didn’t know what would connect.

NOW
Labels invest in fewer projects and blame piracy because they still don’t know what will connect.

THEN
Recording was expensive.

NOW
Recording is cheap.

THEN
Distribution was expensive and controlled by gatekeepers.

NOW
Distribution is cheap.

THEN
Marketing was all about radio and record shops.

NOW
It is about Spotify, YouTube, social media and virality.

THEN
Labels had executive boards/owners that were music fans.

NOW
Labels have executive boards that are actual business executives.

THEN
The release of music was controlled.

NOW
We have plenty. We are overloaded.

USER TRANSCRIPTIONS

The rise of the internet, has given rise to sites like UltimateGuitar.com and Songsterr, which has full transcriptions of songs from artists.

The beauty of it all is that the transcriptions are free and made by musicians who are fans of the band. Some of the more complex progressive stuff is also out there and massive kudos to the guys and gals who sat down to transcribe Dream Theater, Periphery, Sikth, Animals As Leaders and Protest The Hero because they love the bands and not because they get paid to do it.

On the flip side you still have Hal Leonard selling Note For Note books for $50 to $70 plus dollars in Australia. And they wonder why no one is buying. Let’s blame piracy. Why not, everyone else does.

Of course, there was a time when the Music Publishers Association freaked out about PowerTab and went all nuclear on the software and tried to kill the user transcription sites.

SOME VIEWS IN 2014

Ahead Of The Game: YouTube dominates music streaming UNOFFICIALLY.

Behind The Eight Ball: Apple’s got no streaming solution. iTunes Radio is no match for Pandora so Apple/Cook making a billion dollar deal with Beats Music (which was losing money) so that they could have a streaming solution. And Trent Reznor (who was an investor in Beats) cashed in with the Beats sale to Apple by making way more money than he ever made in music.

Ahead Of The Game
Independent bands that come up with creative ways to engage their fans. “The Airborne Toxic Event” a few years back released a series of stripped-down, single-shot videos for every song on their album. Check out their Spotify and YouTube numbers today. A lot of the established rock bands do not have those numbers. The lesson here is that the artists in today’s world have way more opportunities to reach out to their fans and share content with them. It’s a lifer game.

Behind The Eight Ball
Artists talking about CD sales. Or research that focuses on innovation hurting sales of music. Hell, lets bring back Eight Track Tapes and Cassettes while we are at it.

If you are an artist, you need to keep on creating so that you can stay ahead of the game. If you are a label, you need to be finding talent and innovating to stay ahead of the game. Otherwise, you will be behind the eight ball and blaming everyone else for your shortcomings.

And that’s a wrap for another week of DoH history.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 4.8: Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail

It’s their seventh studio album, released in February 1976 on Charisma Records. But Genesis didn’t exist for me until the 80s version of the band had mainstream success at the same time that Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel had super successful solo careers.

Who hasn’t played air drums to “In The Air Tonight”?

This album was the first to feature then drummer Phil Collins as the lead vocalist following Peter Gabriel’s departure in late 1974, midway through the tour for the album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”. Management and Gabriel’s bandmates wanted him to stay. It was more of a business decision as they were in debt to their label and his departure could jeopardise their chances at getting funding for future recordings.

Following the end of the tour, guitarist Steve Hackett recorded a solo album, “Voyage of the Acolyte”. And the other members weren’t sure if the band would continue. But they reconvened in July 1975.

While some members contemplated calling it quits, keyboardist Tony Banks had other ideas. He took the songs he had written for a possible solo project and decided they should be used on the new Genesis album. They started writing for a new album, however without a lead singer. An anonymous ad in the music paper Melody Maker for a “Genesis type singer” received 400 plus replies. But nothing came of it and they entered the studio without any idea as to who would sing the songs on the album.

Eventually, Collins was persuaded to sing “Squonk”. The performance was so strong, that the lead singer position in the band was put to bed, with Collins singing lead on the rest of the of the album.

Phil Collins is on drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals. Steve Hackett is on all things guitar related. Mike Rutherford is on bass guitar and Tony Banks is on all things keys related.

Dance On A Volcano

Written by the band.

I like the intro, a fusion of rock and blues and it’s a touch progressive as it moves between the verse and chorus. It was also the first song written for the album.

Entangled

Written by Hackett and Banks.

It’s got this chord in the song, in which they play the G# as the root note on the low E string, and an then an F# and A# on the 4th and 3rd strings with the open B and open E strings ringing out.

The first time I heard a chord like that was in the song “Another Day” from Dream Theater on their 1992 “Images and Words” album, but then when I started to go back and listen to the influences of Dream Theater, I started to hear that chord in the music of Rush and then Genesis, to name a few.

Squonk

Written by Rutherford and Banks.

I like the music feel on this. It was pretty obvious the band was trying hard to write their own “Kashmir”.

Lyrically it is based on the North American tale of the Squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears.

Mad Man Moon

Written by Banks, it sounds like it could be interchanged with an ELP album. Its indulgent with the piano and if that is your thing, then this song is perfect for you.

Robbery, Assault and Battery

It’s like a theatre song, mostly written by Banks, while Collins, who also contributed to the writing, sang the song in character, inspired by his earlier role as the “Artful Dodger” in “Oliver!” before he became a professional musician.

If you like theatre music, then you will like this song.

Ripples…

It’s a combination of a 12-string guitar piece composed by Rutherford and a piano-led middle section written by Banks. “Tears” from Rush comes to mind, which is more superior.

A Trick of the Tail

Written by Banks it’s the best song on the record. It took form as a song many years before the band recorded it.

He was inspired from reading the novel “The Inheritors” by William Golding and “Getting Better” by the Beatles, and wrote about an alien visiting Earth. The pop rock of what Genesis would become in the 80’s is all here, albeit a bit more quirky than the 80’s polish.

Los Endos

The closer written by the band. It pays homage to the progressive past of Genesis while bringing in enough influences of where the band would go in the later years.

Collins came up with the basic rhythmic structure, inspired by his work in the side project Brand X and the song “Promise of a Fisherman” by Santana.

Banks and Hackett wrote the main themes, including reprises of “Dance on a Volcano” and “Squonk”, and Collins sang a few lines from “Supper’s Ready” (from the 1972 album “Foxtrot”) on the fade-out, as a tribute to Gabriel. The opening piece was actually recorded for a completely different song called “It’s Yourself”, which was later released as a B-side.

The track became a live favourite, and it continued to be played throughout.

Post album release, the group went out on tour with Collins as the front man and Bill Bruford as the additional drummer, and the resulting performances in the US raised Genesis’ profile there.

Chart wise, it charted high in both the U.S and U.K markets.

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

1976 – Part 4.5: The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Inner Worlds

The Mahavishnu Orchestra were a jazz fusion band formed in New York City in 1971, led by English guitarist John McLaughlin.

The group underwent several line-up changes throughout its history across two stints from 1971 to 1976 and 1984 to 1987.

The first line-up which consisted of musicians Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, and Rick Laird, the band received its initial acclaim for its complex, intense music consisting of a blend of Indian classical music, jazz and psychedelic rock, and its dynamic live performances between 1971 and 1973.

After the original group dissolved, it reformed in 1974 with a new cast of musicians behind McLaughlin:

“Inner Worlds” came out in 1976. It’s the group’s sixth album release and it would be the last album by them for nearly ten years, when leader and guitarist John McLaughlin re-formed the group in 1984.

All in the Family

The song is written by John McLaughlin who also plays guitar and guitar synth. Stu Goldberg is on all things keys related.

Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and the star of the song is Narada Michael Walden on Drums, congas, bass marimba and shaker.

And the reason why Walden is the star is because the song opens with a drum solo before it moves into a fast jazz like beat. Its chaotic as all the instruments come in and somehow it all makes sense. Progressive rock is the best way to describe it.

There is this section between 3.25 and 3.45 in which McLaughlin and Goldberg play this fast unison lead line and I like it.

Miles Out

It’s written by John McLaughlin who plays all things guitar and a special instrument called the “360” systems frequency shifter. It’s actually not an instrument, but an effect. These days, it would be in a stomp box, but back then it was a pretty large unit.

You hear it in action in the Intro and throughout the song. Stu Goldberg is on the Mini-Moog and Steiner-Parker synthesizers, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden on drums.

I like the bass intro from Goldberg, it’s creepy like, and funky. McLaughlin plays a staccato like guitar riff, which is more funk and reggae like. When he activates the frequency shifter, it sounds chaotic but the drumming of Walden is super-fast, technical and on point. Somehow it makes sense.

In My Life

Written by John McLaughlin and Narada Michael Walden.

John McLaughlin is on 12-string acoustic guitar, Stu Goldberg is on backing vocals, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden is on the piano and drums, along with the lead vocals.

It’s a poor song and the lyrics are very childish, like seriously, they sing “thank you for the fish in the sea”. A skip for me.

Gita

Written by John McLaughlin and it’s another song with vocals that doesn’t connect with me.

Morning Calls

A short one minute piece, written by John McLaughlin who plays guitar synthesizer and Narada Michael Walden who plays organ.

It sounds Oriental and Celtic like but it’s another skip for me.

The Way of the Pilgrim

Written by Narada Michael Walden and it’s got some intricate instrument sections, but this far in, these kind of passages are starting to sound same same.

River of My Heart

Written by Kanchan Cynthia Anderson and Narada Michael Walden.

There is no guitar on this, with Ralphe Armstrong on double bass and Narada Michael Walden on Piano, Lead Vocals and Percussion.

But it’s a skip for me.

Planetary Citizen

Written by Ralphe Armstrong, this song could have been on a Stevie Wonder album. It’s got that blues, jazz funk fusion happening.

And are you ready to be a planetary citizen?

Lotus Feet

Written by John McLaughlin. I like this instrumental.

There is a guitar that plays arpeggios and a MiniMoog playing a lead break with percussion as the foundation.I

It sort of reminds me of “Albatross” from Fleetwood Mac, the Peter Green version of the band.

Inner Worlds

The title track. Part 1 is written by John McLaughlin and Part 2 by Stu Goldberg. But it’s a bit of mess and that Frequency shifter gadget is just noise to me, however it would have been cool to have that whooshing effect back in the day.

In the end, there are better Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, which we will get to as I work my way back through history.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series: Karnivool – Asymmetry

Atonal. It means not written in any key or mode.

It’s one way to describe this album musically.

But it’s not the correct word either as the album is full of melody and atmospheric melodic passages.

The voice even acts as an extra instrument in some songs with the Ohhhs and ahhs.

Karnivool are pushing boundaries here. There are no genres you can use except the word progressive.

But progressive in the sense of how the songs are stuctured and arranged. Because when people think of progressive rock, they think of virtuosos playing super fast passages over complex time changes.

Even progressive is not the correct word.

The band was burnt after a massive worldwide tour in support of their second album, “Sound Awake”, so they took a break in 2010.

Vocalist Ian Kenny started work on his, Birds of Tokyo project.

The band would get together on occasions over a two year period and write the album.

“Asymmetry” is the third studio album by Karnivool released in 2013.

Produced by Nick DiDia, he got the band of Ian Kenny (Vocals), Drew Goddard (Guitar), Mark Hosking (Guitar), Jon Stockman (Bass) and Steve Judd (Drums) to fire on all cylinders and record the album in 3 months.

It divided people.

One review I read said that the band needed someone to tell them “No”. Another review said to “listen to this album with headphones to fully appreciate the album”.

Aum

It’s a short atmospheric ambient introduction that’s hard to even hear.

Nachash

The words “Hash” and “Nac” is backwards for Can and it sounds like they used hash writing this.

A.M.War

The drumming is dominant, the bass is distorted and progressive while the guitars feel jagged and grey.

Vocally, Kenny is channeling his love of Maynard from Tool.

At some stages it’s hard to keep track of the beat as the tempo competes with the other instruments.

There is a lot happening so press play.

We Are

The single.

If you like funk and the kind of funk that Omar Rodriguez is known for, then you will like this.

Stockman rumbles throughout on the bass and Kenny is singing with passion.

Goddard and Hosking are going nuts decorating on guitars.

Like all albums that are classed as progressive, this song is like the commercial song. If you want to call it that.

The Refusal

Bass guitarist Jon Stockman does the screaming vocals. It feels dystopian and industrial. Almost like early Tool.

Aeons

It’s atmospheric and echoey with fast picked guitar notes in the beginning.

The song moves between full heavy sounds and clean tone sounds. And by the time the 6th minute rolls around and Kenny is singing about chemical fires signaling our death, you can only press repeat.

Eidolon

It’s like Muse but like the other songs, there is so much going on.

Sky Machine

This is how the live child of Tool and U2 would sound like.

Amusia

A little interlude that sets up the next song.

The Last Few

The love child of Tool and The Mars Volta.

It feels frantic yet restrained.

Float

Psychedelics are back. Kenny’s vocal is like an instrument throughout the song.

Alpha Omega

Tool and Led Zeppelin this time get together and out comes “Alpha Omega”.

Om

A weird way to finish the album with a spacey instrumental

In Australia it went to number 1 and a Gold certification.

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

Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Bodyswerve

I always saw Barnesy as indestructible, taking the world head on, with no fucks given.

But there was fear. He was like all of us. Unsure of choices and decisions.

He had the uncertainty and fear of going it alone after Cold Chisel broke up. He had fear incase he couldn’t come up with songs for his first solo album as Don Walker was the main writer in Cold Chisel.

But he persevered and he wrote and wrote and delivered.

Once the songs were written he had to assemble a band.

He got people he felt “safe with”.

Drummer Ray Arnott recorded with Barnes on Cold Chisel’s final album, Twentieth Century.

Bruce Howe was the bass player in Fraternity a band that Barnes had sung in for a short time in 1975 after Bon Scott left to join AC/DC.

Bruce Howe was a hard taskmaster and he should be credited for pushing Bon Scott and Barnesy vocally, as they did develop their high octane vocal style with Howe.

Mal Eastick had played with Stars which was a Country Rock band in Australia who did the rounds in the late 70s.

Seeking a second guitarist to make the band more “hard rock”, Barnes chose ex-Dingoes guitarist Chris Stockley, who played, “old-style rock, like Little Richard and Gene Vincent”. The Dingoes are also a country rock band.

And then they went on the road, playing small pubs. Something unheard of these days for a band to road test songs.

The more shows they played the better the songs became and when they went into the studio to record, the energy of the band and their tightness transferred onto the tape.

And the rest is history.

The album dropped in 1984 and went straight to Number 1 in Australia. Jimmy Barnes was reborn as a solo artist.

Listen to the riff and groove of “Vision”.

Or check out the Soul Rock style of “Daylight” which reminds me of songs like “Mustang Sally” but with a hard rock guitar riff that wouldn’t be out of place on an AC/DC album.

“Promise Me You’ll Call” is a slower tempo song, ballad like with a soul rock vocal melody. And that Chorus with the Gospel like backing vocals. Press play to hear it.

“No Second Prize” has that “Stand By Me” progression, all rocked up, 80s style. And it became an Aussie pub rock classic.

“Boys Cry Out For War” has a riff which reminds me of “Let’s Stick Together” from Bryan Ferry and a little bit of “Get It On” from T Rex. And I like it.

“Paradise” is a rewrite of the song “Rising Sun” song from his Cold Chisel days. A 12 bar rockabilly blues romp.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” is a cover, a blues like ballad written by American singer-songwriter Sam Cooke. It came out in 1964 as a B-side and then became part of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Thick Skinned” is a southern country rock cut.

“Piece Of My Heart” is another cover. It feels misplaced here.

“Fire” has this “Strutter” vibe in the verses and a Melodic Rock chorus.

And “World On Fire” is another rocker to close the album with a bass groove which thunders along while the guitars decorate.

Crank it loud.

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1986 – Part 4.4: Steve Earle – Guitar Town

Steve Earle didn’t exist until “Copperhead Road” came out in 1988. But that album was number 3 and he had two albums before.

So say hello to the country rock of “Guitar Town”, released in 1986.

Guitar Town

It’s a country rocker.

The acoustic guitar gives it this Tom Petty and Steve Ray Vaughan feel and the vocal line reminds me of Springsteen.

Goodbyes All We Got Left

Great title, a slow country rocker.

Hillbilly Highway

It’s a skip for me.

Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)

It’s a good easy listening, a combination of The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and “Desperado” Eagles.

My Old Friend The Blues

Great title but it has no blues and it’s way to country-ish for my liking.

Someday

I like this one, a combination between Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen. And there wasn’t a teen alive who didn’t want to get out of their hometown someday.

Think It Over

It’s got this 60s rock feel like Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. But it’s a skip from me.

Fearless Heart

A 60s country and rock vibe on this. More Tom Petty like.

Little Rock ‘N’ Roller

Not a lot of rock and rolling on this, as it’s a country ballad. The lyrics are descriptive about a truck driver who won’t be home for a while. It’s like a lullaby.

It’s a skip for me.

Down The Road

The embryo of his biggest hit is right here.

Earle was 31 years old when his debut album was released. The dude paid his dues on the live circuit.

And the album had some legs, crawling to a Gold certification in 1999 for sales in the US. Yep, 13 years later.

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The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Pyromania

In 1983 and 84, it felt like there was “Pyromania” and then there was everything else.

Quiet Riot didn’t have the same success in Australia that they had in the U.S and Motley Crue was a few years away from their “Home Sweet Home” fame in Australia.

The Lep’s wanted to be on top of the pop charts. That was their mission. The rise was slow but gradual.

If you like rock and metal music, you would like this album. If you like pop and other forms of music, you would still like this album.

The “Pyromania” story begins with “High ’N’ Dry”.

The album didn’t sell what the band and the label expected it to sell. And their UK headlining tour had them selling 25% of the tickets. In other words, they were pulling in between 400-500 people in 2000-seat theatres.

Def Leppard was then given a supporting slot on the European Leg of the “Point Of Entry” tour by Judas Priest. But they never had a chance to make an impact, coming on second after Accept, who had massive momentum with “Balls To The Wall”.

The tour finished in December, 1981.

But the band was busy writing riffs on the road and man, they sure had a lot for new songs. They also revisited some older songs and rewrote em lyrically or rearranged em musically.

“Medicine Man” wasnt good enough to make the “High ‘N’ Dry” album but it was beefed up and retitled “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)”. With new lyrics, it became the album opener.

There was another unfinished track which was described as “a dual-guitar pop song” by Joe Elliot in an interview at TeamRock.com. Well that song was also finally completed, and it became known as “Photograph”.

Producer Mutt Lange, was also on board, being listed as a co-writer on all of the album’s 10 tracks which bothered Willis as he believed that wasn’t the case.

When the band was given the green light to record, the budget was tight. Two albums in, the band was in debt to their label to the tune of £700,000, and each band member was on wages of £40 a week.

A cold hard truth on the realities of the recording business and the creative accounting of the labels is that the bands incur debts that could last forever.

The album finally hit the streets in January 1983.

But.

The album was selling slow in the U.K. A showcase gig at the Marquee Club in London on February 9 had a very small attendance.

But in North America, it was a different story.

MTV put the songs “Photograph,” “Foolin’” and “Rock of Ages” on constant rotation.

Suddenly rock and metal bands changed the way they recorded. NWOBHM bands started to sing more melodically and with multi-layered backing vocals.

Joe Elliot once said that he wanted the power of AC/DC mixed with the variety of Queen for Def Leppard. That equals “Pyromania”.

I had the vinyl but it was also in the same box that went missing during a house move however I picked this up on CD.

Rock Rock (Till You Drop)

It’s a sound and groove that Cinderella and Kix and many other U.S acts would put to good use to build careers’ on.

But it was guitarist Pete Willis who wrote the riff to “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)” however he’s not credited.

Willis and Lange didn’t get along at all, constantly clashing with each other in the studio which then also led to tension with the other members.

As a founding member, Willis didn’t believe he could be removed or fired. But removed he was.

Anything goes

Photograph

There is no denying the riff. It’s as good as any of the classic riffs that guitarists play in guitar shops and so forth. Structurally, the song goes all AC/DC style riffing in the verses and pop rock like in the Chorus.

Stagefright

Rick Savage came up “Stagefright”.

It’s got this Sweet “Action” vibe merged with metal riffage in the verses and a pop chorus.

Too Late For Love

As soon as this song starts off, I swear I’ve heard it somewhere else.

Die Hard The Hunter

You feel the sadness as soon as the Emadd9 clean tone arpeggios kick in and it gets even sadder when Joe starts singing “Let’s toast”. Then it goes into a riff that Queensryche used when they wrote “Revolution Calling”.

That section from 4.05 to 5.05 always gets me to stop what I’m doing and start paying attention.

Foolin

The opener to Side 2, with that majestic guitar part.

The magic is in the arpeggiated intro and the eventual build up with the layered backing vocals singing “Is anybody out there?”.

This song stands the test of time.

The lead break begins with a call and response. It reminds me of “Over The Mountain” from Randy Rhoads and Ozzy.

Rock Of Ages

The first time I heard em.

Yeah, it’s better to burn out / Yeah, than fade away

A rock and rollers creed.

Rise up, gather ’round / Rock this place to the ground

Burn it up, let’s go for broke / Watch the night go up in smoke

Rock on (rock on) / Drive me crazier / No serenade, no fire brigade / Just the pyromania, come on

This is the embryo of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and they take inspiration from Queen, by using songs like “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites The Dust” as influences for the verse delivery/structure.

When the Chorus comes in after two verses, it’s well worth the wait. “Don’t Stop Believin’” from Journey also used this kind of song structure.

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, keep a-rollin’

Rock of ages, rock of ages / Still rollin’, rock ‘n’ rollin’

You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along with the chorus.

Comin Under Fire

This song is a must for any guitarist. It merges 70’s classic rock, with the NWOBHM sound with Scorpions Euro Metal.

The intro alone has it all.

Arpeggiated guitar lines hook you in and then the pedal point riff blasts through the speakers.

When the verses come in, we are greeted with volume swells that outline the different chords.

Like the pre-chorus of “Foolin”, the chorus of “Comin Under Fire” has excellent layered backing vocals. Lyrically, it’s not the best, but musically, it rules.

Billy’s Got A Gun

Steve Clark was a Jimmy Page fan, so it was no surprise that he was the one who created this Zeppelin-influenced epic.

Never underestimate the ability of a song to paint a picture.

This is my favourite Def Leppard cut and it has so many good bits.

The verse bass riff reminds me of “Heaven and Hell”. The backing vocals are so layered, melodic and operatic. The overall drum groove reminds of “Kashmir”. And I guarantee you that Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton all had this album and paid particular attention to this song as the “Operation Mindcrime” album is musically influenced by “Billy’s Got A Gun”.

And you get an unbelievable solo and an ending that makes you press play again, so you hear the album over and over and over again.

As time marches forward, the greatness and power of this song is being forgotten.

And it’s like the band made a crossroads deal to achieve fame. The success of this album put the band members on different paths than the previous ones they were on and that would lead to different outcomes for them.

On New Years Eve, 1984, Rick Allen went to overtake a car and failed to negotiate the bend. He lost part of his left hand in the accident and surgery to reattach it, led to an infection and then eventual surgical amputation.

And no one knew it at the time, but it was going to be long wait for the next album.

On a side note, Trevor Rabin and Mike Slamer are both thanked in the credits.

Those two dudes are very well known session guitarists, so I’m asking the question; did they actually play on this?

Slamer was used by producer Beau Hill on most of the records he produced in the 80s. If you have an Alice Cooper, Kix, Winger, Streets, Warrant, Fiona, Europe, Twisted Sister and Ratt album, then there is a high chance that Slamer played on it.

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Australian Method Series and 1996 – Part 4.5: Powderfinger – Double Allergic

“Double Allergic” is their second album released in 1996.

It peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified triple platinum by ARIA for shipment of 210,000 units by 2007.

Like all second albums it contained material that had been written for the debut album.

You know the saying. Artists have their whole lifetime to write their first and second album and only a few months to write their third.

They worked with an expensive producer on their first album but worked with a less well known producer for this.

From 1992 until their break-up in 2010, the line-up consisted of vocalist Bernard Fanning on vocals, guitarists Darren Middleton and Ian Haug, bass guitarist John Collins and drummer Jon Coghill.

“Pick You Up” was the first single and is by far the best pop song on the album.

“D.A.F.” is the the second single, and it’s title is the chord progression.

“Living Type” was the third single written about the Manson Family cult, and came with an X-Files style music video.

But if you want to press play on a song, then press play on “Oipic” and let the Led Zep exotic Sounds take you away.

By the way, this isn’t the album that got me interested. It was the next one “Internationalist” and the song “Passenger”. But that’s for another post.

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Australian Method Series: You Am I – Hi Fi Way

“Hi Fi Way” is the second album by Australian rock band You Am I, released in 1995.

Wikipedia tells me that “Hi Fi Way” reached #1 on the local albums chart and is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed Australian albums of the 1990s.

I remember this album being released and I also remember not being too enthralled by the singles at the time.

Coming off a decade plus diet of 80s hard rock, I was a bit destroyed when the labels started abandoning the genre in favour of grunge acts. So I went into a deep dive into the 70s. And that deep 70s dive became the reason why I ignored You Am I.

Main songwriter Tim Rogers later said that he was really high and drunk the whole time. And he wanted the album to sound huge but with the way that he sings and plays guitar it ended up sounding scrappier than he intended.

They had had seven days to make it, while living in New York.

The band is Tim Rogers on Vocals, Guitar, Mellotron, Hammond organ, Andy Kent on Bass and Rusty Hopkinson on Drums.

Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth is Producing. Stylistically it’s like punk and grunge.

Ain’t Gone And Open

It’s like a garage jam.

Minor Byrd

It’s a skip for me.

She Digs Her

Remember the lyrical theme from “Same Ol Situation” from the Crue.

A guy falls for a girl who is into girls and the guy is still thinking that’s okay, maybe he’ll get a threesome out of this.

Well, if you listen to the song; that also didn’t happen.

Cathy’s Clown

It’s almost like The Easybeats meets Radiohead meets The Who.

Jewels and Bullets

It’s a punk pop song and I like it.

There’s a drink you can drown in
Choose a blanket to die in

When you’re out on the streets only a few things matter.

Purple Sneakers

Folk Rock.

Found out what shame can mean
In purple sneakers and grey jeans

Yep to some people this look wouldn’t cut it and they’ll do their best to let the person know.

Pizza Guy

Grunge like.

Grab a six pack for the way home

Who doesn’t?

It’s a rite of passage. Well it used to be.

The Applecross Wing Commander

It’s got this Blue Oyster Cult and Free 70s vibe.

And although I have no idea what the song is about, the groove and attitude of the song grabs me.

Stray

I like the Soul Bluesy Intro on this.

The Vines would build a career playing songs like this.

Handwasher

It’s got this Hunters And Collectors vibe.

Wash my hands in shame
4000 times a day
And when I make it on home
There’s a smell that always stays

Sometimes the stain never comes out. When I used to be a fitter and machinist the grease was in the skin.

Punkarella

It’s high energy.

Coffee teeth and a cigarette heart for sale

Great lyrics.

Ken (The Mother Nature’s Son)

You’ve lived on beans and rice
And fell for Jesus Christ

Everyone is looking for some place to belong.

Gray

It’s a skip.

How Much Is Enough

It’s melancholic. My favorite song.

In the morning
When you’ve wiped his taste away
The last of the red and all the records you played
How much is enough?

Sometimes it’s enough for a few hours and then the night repeats.

There’s a review at Sputnik Music which summarizes the album as “The backyard gig, captured on CD”.

And I agree.

The album is mentioned by members of Jet and Wolfmother as an influence. And for a little while it looked like You Am I was going to break into the US, but that that never came.

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