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

1978 – Part 3 – Power To The Rock N Roll Outlaws

Australian artists had a certain sound which seemed to connect with the world.

Being oceans apart from the many other continents aided this sound as music didn’t travel that fast to get to the land down under, which meant we had to listen to our albums with the same songs a bit more longer, or listen to the same songs on radio a little bit more longer or watch the live pub shows with the same songs a little bit more longer.

And when you went to a pub show and heard a certain sound/style rocking the joint and getting people into it, well it was a no brainer that if you formed a band, your style would have some of those elements.

And here my folks is Rose Tattoo.

Rose Tattoo – Rose Tattoo

The real Bad Boys of Rock N Roll, cut from the cloth of Heavy Metal Thunder and various pub brawls in Australia. And they had a singer called Angry Anderson, who didn’t mind spilling blood on stage either. At their Reading performance, he kept banging his head against the amp head until he spilt blood.

I saw a picture of the band once and I thought they would motor in on their Harley’s and bash everyone they saw.

Rose Tattoo is tied to biker culture the same way “Born To Be Wild” is. Maybe it’s got to do with Angry’s up bringing and how his Uncle was a biker.

Motley Crue and the Gunners have nothing on these guys. And Gunners covered “Nice Boys” on their live EP, which Rose Tattoo introduced as a Gunners song when they opened up for them on the “Use Your Illusion” tour down under in the early 90s.

“Rock N Roll Outlaw” starts off with the opening lyrics of “I don’t need lots of people telling me what to do”. Defiance and rebellion encapsulated in just a few words.

“Nice Boys”  don’t play rock and roll and “Remedy”is “Long Way To The Top” on steroids. 

AC/DC – Powerage

The ascendancy to world domination is almost there.

Who would have thought that in almost 2 years time, Bon Scott would be dead?

“Rock N Roll Damnation” is a great opening track. Musically, its typically AC/DC and Bon Scott lyrically, is growing into a beast of a writer.

Especially in the section when he sings; “Damnation, left a happy home, Damnation, to live on your own”.

And it continues in that vein, with Bon Scott singing “Damnation” and then something else after it, like “you got dollars in your eyes” or “chasin’ that pie in the sky”.

Life is about taking risks. You can stay at home and be comfortable or you can live.

“Down Payment Blues” has some of the best lyrics about life.

“Living on a shoestring, a fifty cent millionaire, open to charity, rock n roller welfare”

Life is not easy trying to make end meets as a rock and roller.

“I’ve got holes in my shoes and im way overdue, down payment blues”

One thing you can’t escape in Australia is repayments. Miss one and you get a letter. Miss two and you are on notice. Miss three and the whole world is coming down.

“Get myself a steady job, some responsibility, cant even feed my cat on social security”

Government welfare payments, which are less than the minimum wage are there, but if you can’t find a job in time, these payments are not really there. It’s spent on day one and then you have to wait 13 days for the next payment.

“Gimme A Bullet” has this awesome guitar groove which just gets your head nodding and foot tapping. And to my ears, it’s the embryo to what would become “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

“Riff Raff” and “Sin City”  make it a perfect five-0.

“Riff Raff’ is basically a re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and it has riff that Motley Crue used in “Rattlesnake Shake”, a decade later. And the lyrics,  man, Bon Scott was onto climate change.

“See it on television every day, hear it on the radio, it aint humid but it sure is hot, down in Mexico, boss man tryin to tell me, beginning of the end.”

Is there a better song that “Sin City” and that verse riff?

“Ladders and snakes, ladders give, ssssnakes take, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief”.

The sin city always win, its why it has survived and everyone who has ventured there has turned to dust.

“Kicked In The Teeth” is another re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and I love the lyric, “kicked in the teeth again, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Relationships are try and try again.

Songs like “What’s Next To The Moon”, “Gone Shootin’” and “Up To My Neck In You” are good songs, but the ones mentioned above are my go to songs.

UFO – Obsession

If only the band spent the same amount of time creating as they did partying and taking narcotics, who knows how big they would have been.

Because while a lot of the 70’s bands got a second chance in the 80’s on the back of MTV, UFO didn’t and neither did Michael Schenker, although the label tried and ex-partners and managers did their best bankrupting them.

There are no hits on this album, but a band following their muse and creating.

“Only You Can Rock” is rooted within the Free/Bad Company/ELO roots.

“Pack It Up (And Go) is heavily influenced by “Immigrant Song” and a perfect UFO song which gets no attention.

“Arbory Hill” should have been made into a song instead of a short minute instrumental. It sounds like something from a Genesis album with Peter Gabriel singing.

“Cherry” has a bass riff in the verses, that I swear appeared on a “Joy Division” or “New Order” album a few years later. It’s like the seed of the New Wave movement.

“Hot N Ready”, “You Don’t Fool Me” and “One More For The Rodeo” are songs from UFO we know and they would have served the existing fanbase well, but for me, it’s those songs that had a few things just a little bit different that really connected with me.

Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute

I have to admit, I dig the song “What A Fool Believes” and those ball squeezing falsettos in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus.

The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

As soon as they appropriated the reggae and put it into the mix, it was a different ballgame.

Because while the opening track “Next To You” is rooted in blues rock and roll, the second track “So Lonely” is a cross between reggae and rock and roll.

So when “Roxanne” kicks in as the third track, its mix of reggae guitars over a flamenco bass guitar riff in the verses, and a pop rock Chorus, well, you can hear something special was in the air.

So it’s no surprise that the biggest songs on the album had that reggae feel, like “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “Roxanne” and “So Lonely”.

But “Truth Hits Everybody” is my favourite. It’s a melodic rock song.

Joe Walsh – But Seriously Folks

“Tomorrow” and “Shandi”.

What came first?

And with the Kiss reference to close of Part 3, Part 4 will begin with a Kiss-a-ganza.

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

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Music

Angus Young – Guitar World – March 1986 – Part 1

ANGUS YOUNG – RAW ENERGY IS ALL YOU NEED
Guitar World March 1986
By Joe Lalaina

(All parts in Italics and Quotes are from the March 1986 issue of Guitar World)

The little guy with the big SG is unconcerned with current guitar hero fashions.  His stock in trade has always been the hard rock shuffle to a boogie beat.  Before you drop the needle on any new AC/DC album, you know what to expect. Rarely has a band maintained such a consistent sound as AC/DC, they’ve been pretty much making the same album for the past ten years. Fly On The Wall, the group’s eleventh release, is no exception.

“I’ve heard people say all our music sounds the same,” says soft-spoken lead guitarist Angus Young, “but it’s usually just the people who don’t like us who say it.”

Not true. It’s just that ever since the band’s High Voltage debut back in 76, AC/DC has been playing the same relentlessly raw and straightforward style on every succeeding album. And that’s the way their fans like it.

I like AC/DC.  They are a talisman to consistency.  Each album is the same, however that doesn’t mean that each album was successful.  You need great songs, and that is what AC/DC delivered on High Voltage, Highway To Hell, Let There Be Rock, Back In Black and on The Razors Edge.  Credit both Mutt Lange for Back In Black and Bruce Fairbairn for The Razors Edge.  Actually, The Razors Edge album is the most crucial album AC/DC ever did.  After a steady decline in fortunes and sales since Back In Black, they kicked off the 1990’s with a bang.  It made them relevant again.  The Razors Edge album sustained them throughout the 90’s and into the now.

“We never go overboard and above people’s heads,” says Angus, who took some rare time out from his recent American tour to discuss musical and other matters.

“We strive to retain that energy, that spirit we’ve always had. We feel the more simple and original something is, the better it is. It doesn’t take much for anyone to pick up anything I play, it’s quite simple. I go for a good song. And if you hear a good song, you don’t dissect it, you just listen and every bit seems right.”

For any guitarist that is starting off, AC/DC wrote the book on beginners guitar.  In the process, they also created songs that are timeless and a soundtrack to a whole generation of people in the seventies, eighties and nineties.  I am just teaching my kids to play guitar and the first song i showed them was Long Way To The Top from AC/DC.

Although this stripped-to-the-bone approach has made AC/DC internationally successful, thirty million albums sold worldwide ain’t bad!, Angus is more concerned with having a  good time than with album sales.

“We don’t go around the world counting ticket and record sales,” he says, “nor do we glue our ears to the radio to hear what’s trendy at the moment; we’re not that type of band. We do run our own careers, but we leave the marketing stuff to the record company. We make music for what we know it as, and we definitely have our own style.”

AC/DC defined a style and in the process spawned a million imitators.  What a lot of people don’t understand, especially the international fans, is that Australia rock bands where all playing the same style.  Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Daddy Cool, Stevie Wright all had that pub rock vibe.  AC/DC just stood out a bit more.  Credit Bon Scott and Angus Young.  Brian Johnson walked into the house built by Bon and Angus.

Is there anything Angus considers special about his playing style?

“In some ways, yeah.” he says. “I know what guitar sound I want right away. And if I put my mind to it, I can come up with a few tricks. I mean, I just don’t hit the strings that my
fingers are nearest to. But the most important thing, to me, is I don’t like to bore people. Whenever I play a solo in a song, I make sure that the audience gets off on it as much as I do.”

Angus exerts more energy in the course of one song than most guitarists do in an entire show.

“I’m always very nervy when I play.” he says. I usually settle down after the first few songs, but it’s hard for me to stand still. I suddenly realize where I am, onstage in front of thousands of people; so the energy from the crowd makes me go wild.  I’m always very careful, though. If you bump an arm or twist an ankle, there s no time for healing on the road. You can t tell the crowd. Hey, people, I can t run around tonight I have a twisted ankle.”

I have mentioned before about bands writing great songs and how that is very different to bands that write great songs that go down great live.  AC/DC is another band, that has that foresight.  The songs are all meant for the arena.  To be honest, i don’t really remember a recorded song fading out, i am sure some do, however it is testament to the band that they write a start and an end.

Malcolm Young, AC/DC s rhythm guitarist and Angus older brother, would rather just stand in one spot and bang out the beat with thuddingly repetitive chord structures.  

“Malcolm makes the band sound so full”, says Angus, “and it’s hard to get a big ego if you play in a band with your brother, it keeps your head on the earth. Malcolm is like me, he just wants the two of us to connect. Although he lets me take all the lead breaks, Malcolm’s still a better guitarist than Eddie Van Halen.  Van Halen certainly knows his scales, but I don’t enjoy listening to very technical guitarists who cram all the notes they know into one song.  I mean, Van Halen can do what he does very well, but he’s really just doing finger exercises. If a guitarist wants to practice all the notes he can play, he should do it at home. There’s definitely a place for that type of playing, but it’s not in front of me.”

Big call by Angus.  Dishing on King Eddie.  Back then, I was like WTF?  How dare he?  Eddie was king back in 1986.  He was untouchable.

I didn’t even like AC/DC back in 1986 and I am Australian.  I was so into the U.S. Glam/Hard rock scene, I failed to see the talent that was AC/DC.  I am glad I made up for it in the nineties, when Grunge allowed me to drop out of the mainstream and go searching for classic rock bands.

These days, no one speaks their mind.  They all want to be loved.  No one wants to be hated.  Guess what people, we can see right through it.  We can tell the fakes from the real dealers.  (Nice lyric line by the way, I will keep it)

Angus would much rather listen to old time players like Chuck Berry or B B King. 

“Those guys have great feel, ” says Angus. “They hit the notes in the right spot and they know when not to play. Chuck Berry was never a caring person. He didn’t care whether he was playing his tune, out of tune or someone else’s tune. Whenever he plays guitar, he has a big grin from ear to ear. Everyone always used to rave about Clapton when I was growing up, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well even on a bad night Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be.  Clapton just sticks licks together that he has taken from other people – like B B King and the other old blues players—and puts them together in some mish-mashed fashion. The only great album he ever made was the Blues Breaker album he did with John Mayal and maybe a couple of good songs he did with Cream. The guy more or less built his reputation on that. I never saw what the big fuss was about Clapton to begin with.”

That is what made Angus a legend, he always spoke his mind.  The world we have today is all about yes people and making sure that we don’t offend.  We all want to be loved, hence the reason why one person has 5000 Facebook friends.  Yeah Right.  5000 Friends.  What a load of B.S?  No one speaks their mind these days.  The kids grow up these days, being told by mum and dad what a great game they had in football, and how great they are at reading and how great they are at this, when all they did was touch the ball once and play with the grass most of the time.

It’s easy to get lost in those comments against Clapton and Van Halen.  If you do, you miss the point Angus is trying to make.  He has no time for technical players, but he has time for Chuck Berry.  In relation to Eric Clapton, he didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about, he believed that others where better, like Jeff Beck.

“There are guys out there who can play real good without boring people.  Jeff Beck is one of them.  He’s more of a technical guy, but when he wants to rock and roll he sure knows how to do it with guts.  I really like the early albums he did with Rod Stewart.”

There is that name again Jeff Beck.  When I was reading this magazine, Jeff Beck’s name came up a few times.  I had to check him out.  This is 1986.  No internet to Google Jeff Beck.  No YouTube or Spotify to sample him.  I had to walk down to the local record shop and look for it.  Good times.  I am glad I lived them and I am glad they are not coming back.

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