Music, My Stories

Systems 

The Playlist is here.

Systems of play are everywhere. Before the internet became a commercial force and one of the best copy systems ever, humans served different systems like the royal system, the democratic system, the communist system, the fascist system, the slavery system, the social system, the tax system, the credit system, the workforce system, the pension system, the religious system, the criminal system, the police system and so forth. We went from working in assembly lines to being the cogs in the assembly line. We went from using paper and pens and put files away in shelves to typing into a digital screen and saving files.

Everything we do today is controlled, stored and read by a machine.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And they’re scanning all their databases, hunting terrorists
Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist
“Are You Interested?” By Cog

Freedom is raped by war like whore like technology
Technology, technology of materialism
Personal freedom only an obstruction
“Figure It Out” by Serj Tankian

There is no doubt that technology rules our lives. Our posts are tagged, our books have ISBN numbers, our purchases have barcodes, our searches are saved, our electronic transactions are logged to be analysed, our mobile calls are stored, our email/text messages are stored and everything is optimised for marketing and obedience. In other words everything we do becomes a piece of data stored in a database.

For how long this data will be stored will never be known. What security this data has and who controls it, will never be known.

You want the world to be free? WHAT THE HELL IS FREE ABOUT IT?
“Come Whatever May” by Stone Sour

The Government has passed a lot of laws that allow organisations to store our information in the name of national security. And guess what, we have given up so much of our privacy and the laws have failed to stop the attacks. We vote our leaders in, but they serve the corporations who pay the most. We pay our taxes while the elite pay none via off-shore tax havens and dodgy deals.

Why pretend that we don’t know
CEOs are the disease
“Figure It Out” by Serj Tankian

If machines controlled the world right now, we would be pigeon holed into categories.

Up here in space
I’m looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do
You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time
“Electric Eye” by Judas Priest

Hell, my Spotify.me algorithm tells me I must be a traveller.

Did it make that assertion based on the length of my playlists or is it taking into account my location/s when I’m listening to music. If it’s using my location, then it must have a tracking tool that runs in the background. I don’t recall giving the app permission to track my location.

My “Maps” app on the iPhone tells me if there is a traffic incident every Monday to Friday on my route to work. It tells me this before I have even left home.

How did it come to this knowledge?

Well it’s tracked the route I take to work. Since I’ve done it thousands of times it’s worked out my route. Should I care that a machine knows what time I leave home for work and what time I get to work. I also don’t recall agreeing to share this information. I even checked my security settings and I cannot see anything that gives the machine approval to track me. But it does.

It’s pretty scary if you ask me.

And scary is only getting faster.

Messages will travel faster and more people will be sending them to even more machines. The time we spend on devices would increase and the time we spend on other activities will decrease.

At the end of the day I know,
That we work all our lives to pay for a cage they own
It ain’t no coincidence that the whole world is caught in an endless debt
“Problem Reaction Solution” by Cog

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My Stories, Stupidity

Money, Money, Money

I have been listening to Machine Head’s “Bloodstone and Diamond” and “Unto The Locusts” albums a fair bit lately along with Serj Tankian’s solo albums “Elect The Dead” and “Harakiri”.

To me, Robb Flynn and Serj Tankian are great writers that take a stance on an issue and put their viewpoints out there. The music business is lacking heroes like these. A lot of musicians just seem to be sitting on the fence. Jon Bon Jovi is singing about moving mountains while Serj Tankian is singing about drum fish and blackbirds committing hara-kiri.

Serj Tankian’s “Elect The Dead” album came out in 2007 before the GFC. It has the same themes on that album that “The Circle” and “Wrecking Ball” from Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen that came after the GFC.

What a great inequality divide we live in. The mega wealthy artists need to hear and read about financial corruption after the fact to write about it. It just goes to show how much they are wrapped up in their own bubble to see how the real battler is really doing. While the wealthy got bailed out by the government and went on speaking tours, the working class lost their houses and their livelihoods.

Even though Serj Tankian is known and recognisable  his lifestyle is nowhere near that of the blockbuster duo from Jersey. But his reach and impact might not be far off.

Artists have the power to spread the truth in world where misinformation rules, however a lot of them choose to not do so. They conform so that they don’t upset the powerful ones just in case they are excluded from the social circle.

“Money isn’t everything” is a common catch-cry but the truth is we live in a money economy.

It’s the number one aspiration. My sons third class play from last year was about what they would like to be when they grow up. Some wanted to be famous at a sport they liked and some just wanted to play video games. But, the majority of the kids, especially the girls, all wanted to be rich. It looks like that’s the new norm now.

The belief is that if you’ve got money, you’ve won and no one can say a bad thing about you. The dirty little secret is that it actually costs money to save/make money. If you don’t have any money, how can you save money. The simple math is $0 in money equals $0 saved.

Now if you earn a wage and have $10 a week lying around, you  might put that into a savings account. By the end of the year you would have saved $520. Over the course of 20 years, you would have saved $10,400, Sounds great. However, I am pretty sure that something will come up that will need you to dip into these savings. Dental care for your children, costs around vehicles maintenance or some other urgent event. You could get sick, take extended leave without pay and then there goes that $10 a week saving plan.

Seriously if you work for a company with a lot of employees with different ethnicities, how many conversations do you overhear or are involved in when people just say the words “we can’t afford to do [something]”. And it confuses the fuck out of me when they say that they have created a budget, crunched the numbers and made a decision that something they want to do is not affordable.

So what’s the point of the budget?

Isn’t a budget put in place so that you can AFFORD to do something that you like?

To me it looks like we are all putting budgets in place to live within our means. That is why the rich get richer and the working class remain poor.

Isn’t that sad that we have come to this situation in life. Crunching numbers over our quality of life and then purchasing a lottery ticket when the jackpot is astronomical, hoping that the rays of luck will shine down on us.

I for one am terrible with managing money and saving money. I am sure I am not the only one in the world, but we all hide it and pretend that we are better off than what we really are.

While we see losing in sport as acceptable, we don’t have that same viewpoint when it comes to money. In the money game we see winning as the only acceptable outcome.

But money alone doesn’t give you a reach that art/music can provide and that is where I will leave you today, with some words from Robb Flynn, heard in the song “Darkness Within”.

Fill your heart with every note, Cherish it and cast afloat, ‘Cause god is in these clef and tone, Salvation is found alone, Haunted by its melody

Music it will set you free
Let it set you free

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Classic Album Closing Songs

Diary Of A Madman (1981)

Entries of confusion
Dear diary, I’m here to stay

What can I say, it had to be a Randy Rhoads song.  Diary shows the monster that Randy was becoming.  Despite being seen as Ozzy’s band, the star of the band is Randy Rhoads.

Diary Of A Madman is the perfect fusion of progressive metal, technical rock and sinister classical all rolled into one potent song.  As much as Sharon Osbourne tries to re-write Ozzy’s history, she can never re-write the music that was created.  The music comes from the guitar, bass and the keys, all instruments her beloved Ozzy doesn’t play.

Australian Bob Daisley as the lyricist and bassist is the unsung hero in Ozzy’s second coming.  He doesn’t even get credited as playing on the album, thanks to a spiteful Sharon Osbourne.  He was recruited from the Dio fronted Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.  How ironic, that Dio would leave Rainbow to sing for Black Sabbath, and Daisley would leave Rainbow to join the singer that Black Sabbath fired.

Hallowed Be Thy Name (1982)

Mark my words believe my soul lives on
Don’t worry now that I have gone
I’ve gone beyond to seek the truth

When you know that your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll begin to understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion

It’s a Steve Harris composition, however the voice of Bruce Dickinson is the savior. It gave Iron Maiden the fire to break away from the New Wave of British Metal image and forge a new direction.  It made them relevant.

Iron Maiden became a household name on the back of The Number of The Beast along with it’s anthem Run To The Hills.

However the real star on this album is the closer, Hallowed Be Thy Name.  The definitive version is the live version featured on Live After Death (1985).  The tempo is increased slightly and Nicko McBrain (who replaced Clive Burr) on the drums, gives the song the fury it needs.  The song is about the last moments of a prisoner before the execution.

Who We Are (2011)

We are the young
And young at heart
The strong and the brave that are destined to start
We are the change
The world needs to see
Look in our eyes and see our belief

This is who we are
This is what I am
We have nowhere else to go
Divided we will stand

The mighty Machine Fucken Head.  It’s a Robb Flynn composition.  He should have changed the Divided We Will Stand to UNITED WE WILL STAND.  It would have fit the lyrical message of the song to a tee.  The only time we metal heads stand united as a metal show.  Apart from that, we are in a elite class of the genres we like.  I like Black Veil Brides.  Try telling that to my elite Slipknot and Mudvayne friends.  Do you get what I mean.

S.M.F (1984)

Black sheep of the family, nothing like the rest
Separate from the others, failing all their tests
Can’t they see you’re different, so hungry and so lean
You’re a walking wonder, you’re a metal machine
Look and you’ll see you’re a lot like me

You’re an S.M.F.

Any closing song that abbreviates the term Sick Mutha Fucker has my attention.  Twisted Sister was one band, that knew how to write songs for the live show.  Put that down to their 9 years of playing the club scenes before they even got a shitty independent deal.  Dee Snider was a master.

Of course the Stay Hungry album was known for the smash hits, We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock.  However the real star of the album is the ode to all of those Twisted SMF’s who supported the band.

The lyrical theme follows the same theme as We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. It’s about metal fans versus the system and the family dynamic. This time the band is telling me, it’s okay to be different, it’s okay that I don’t fit a mold made for me.  There are others out there, that are experiencing the same and let our love of music, find us a home.

Shogun (2008)

Time has come to face all evil

It’s an epic.  The musicianship is excellent.  Trivium to me are part of the current Big 5 of metal bands, along with Machine Head (actually Machine Head to me are part of the Nineties Big 4 as well as the 2000’s Big 5), Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God and Five Finger Death Punch.

That time to face all evil came to me in 2010, however I should have faced it in 2008.  Avoiding it, only made it worse.

If you succeed in this battle
You still will lose so much more

Ain’t that the truth.  Winning a battle (albeit a court case, a street fight or a real battle) is one thing, dealing with the aftermath is another thing.

Aerials (2001)

Life is a waterfall
we’re one in the river
and one again after the fall…

life is a waterfall
we drink from the river
then we turn around and put up our walls

System Of A Down nailed it on Aerials.  They really captured their European Armenian minor key arrangements and fused it with modern metal. The music is written by guitarist and backing vocalist, Daron Malakian and the lyrics are shared between Serj Tankian and Malakian.  I got into SOAD because of the unique vocal style of Serj.  In bands, it doesn’t matter how great the music is, if the singer cannot connect with the listeners and deliver, then it’s time to find someone who can.

How true is the statement?  We flow into each day, into each routine without any effor and we could flow like that for days.  Then one day, it all changes and we are going down the waterfall.  It’s quick, it’s crazy and when we come out of it, we will flow again like we did, but we will be different.

 

The Count Of Tuscany (2009)

Could this be the end?
Is this the way I die?
Sitting here alone
No one by my side

I don’t understand
I don’t feel that I deserve this
What did I do wrong?
I just don’t understand

Dream Theater deserves a mention for this beauty.  The lyrics by Petrucci could have been better, however the last section makes up for it.  Furthermore, there is no denying the impact of the music.  I also have my own edited version, where I cut out that atmospheric 4 minute keyboard and guitar interlude.

The stars of the band have always been the guitarist and the keyboardist for me.  John Petrucci and Kevin Moore was Mark 1.  John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess is Mark 3.

The great fear in humans. Death.  There isn’t a subject on it.  Hell, there even isn’t a subject about getting old.  I know that the lyric lines quoted above are about how John Petrucci as a child, got lost on a family holiday in Italy and he was fearing for his life, in an Italian cellar with a strange-looking Christopher Lee.  The beauty of lyrics done right, means that they can also be taken in a different way.

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Music, Stupidity

System Of A Down – Calling For The Truth

http://loudwire.com/system-of-a-down-shavo-odadjian-calls-out-singer-serj-tankian/

So one band member speaks the truth, and then everyone goes into damage control.

Shavo Odadjian’s only creative outlet is System of a Down. He wants the band to make another album.  John Dolmayan and Daron Malakian also want to make a new album, however Serj Tankian doesn’t.

The fans want new music,  We want great music, we don’t care if it is one great song or ten great songs.

Has anyone ever been in a situation, where you are in a room with other individuals and they are complaining about the same thing, that really you didn’t care about.  After a while, it starts to get to you as well.  You start feeling the frustration the others are feeling and then you let loose.

This is what Shavo has done.  He has spoken out the words that others have put there.  There is always one in a group that has that explosive attitude.  I commend Shavo for having the balls to say it like it is .

Remember the words from Don Henley, it was a “horrible relief” when the Eagles broke up. That is the nature of the bands. Volatile and unpredictable.  “Bad Judgement” is what the System of A Down Facebook post said about Shavo’s outbursts.  They are placing the blame all on Shavo, however i am sure that Daron and John had a part to play in it as well.  Read Shavo’s part, he is convinced that the other guys are on his side.

The fact is, System of A Down became who they are because of Serj.  As the voice of the band, it was his unique vocal style that captured people’s imaginations, especially at a time where nu-metal was ruling the airwaves.

Daron’s, Scars on Broadway didn’t set my ears on fire and neither did Serj’s solo offerings.  On each, a few good songs existed, but that is not enough these days to keep people interested.  We want great songs.  Good doesn’t cut it anymore.    They are touring together, surely they can record songs together.

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