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

2021 – Spotify Wrapped Summary

I spent 40,275 minutes on Spotify listening to music.

That equals about 671 hours and close to 2 hours of music on the service alone.

And I have a lot of vinyl which also gets listened to, YouTube also gets some of my attention and various CD’s and DVD’s of artists.

In other words, I’m madly in anger with music.

I listened to 86 different genres. But I’ll take that with a big asterisk as Spotify needs to break down musical styles in many little categories so their algorithms can get down low.

And the top 5 are listed as follows:

It’s a pretty common theme that the music is either Rock or Metal. And who comes up with a genre called “Album Rock”.

What does “Album Rock” even mean?

But in the space of 365 days, I listened to 819 different artists.

And I remember in 1988, I purchased 8 albums and copied about 20 other albums from friends onto cassettes. From those albums, some were from the same artists. For example, I purchased “And Justice For All” and dubbed “Kill Em All” from Metallica.

Even if it was 28 different artists, that number is nothing compared to 819. And any new artist trying to make a dent to get peoples attention is up against the history of music on streaming services plus all the new releases that come out each day.

From a podcast point of view, “No Fucking Regrets” from Robb Flynn was my main one.

It’s cool to see a musician doing different things. Apart from the podcast, Robb also does “Electric Hour Fridays” on YouTube/Facebook in which he drinks beer and plays through songs from Machine Head’s catalog along with cover songs. And he does his “General Journal” posts.

My top five artists vis Spotify are Free Spirits Rising, Coheed And Cambria, Daughtry, Disturbed and Dokken.

And that’s the summary of my Spotify Wrapped.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 32 to November 6

4 Years Ago (2017)

NIKKI SIXX

Love him or hate him, one thing is certain. Nikki Sixx is a lifer in the music business and once he and Allen Kovacs got back control of Motley’s catalogue in the late 90’s, they went about reinventing his image and persona, until he became bigger than the rest of the Crue guys combined.

Crue was my favourite band in the 80’s. Their attitude, their pop choruses, the street life lyrics and their simple but effective riffage all connected with me.

Crue showed the world that you don’t have to be the most gifted musicians to write effective songs that connect.

The 10th year anniversary edition of “The Heroin Diaries” came out during this period.

And you know what; it still is a pretty good album.

And 10 years is a long time in music. You could be here and then you could be gone.

Think about it.

In 1989, the Crue released “Dr Feelgood”. Their first ever Number 1 album. At the peak of their powers. By 1999, the Crue was creatively non-existent. By 2009, they had released a new album and had a massive tour. By 2019, they had retired from touring and then announced a comeback, which was derailed by coronavirus.

THE EARLY 90’s

By the early 90’s, the remnants of the dominant 80’s rock movement was looking for ways to fit in and get back people’s attention.

A lot of the acts signed towards the late 80’s had already splintered. Some got dropped and tried to get a new deal or they just left the recording business for good. And you had a lot of acts from the early 80’s, who had platinum success and somehow were still together and looking for ways to survive in the 90’s. You also had the 70’s acts that re-invented themselves in the 80’s thanks to MTV and were looking to keep the momentum going well into the 90’s. Aerosmith and Kiss come to mind here.

Meanwhile, the recording business was in a race to the bottom with a winner take all mentality. Label after label started to get sucked into the vacuum of the larger label.

Changes in personnel happened so fast that once an artist was signed, a few weeks or few months later, the people who signed the artist would no longer be working at the label and the interest to develop and promote the artist disappeared.

So the artist was in limbo.

But the label is not letting the artist go, just in case the artist makes it with another label. It’s one of the big no-no’s in the recording industry.

A record company in the 80’s would get you on radio, music television, magazines and they would push the album hard enough to achieve platinum sales.

If it didn’t “sell”, they would put you in the studio again, get you further in debt and if you failed again, you would be dropped.

A record label in the 90’s would sign you and then drop you before you even released anything or had a chance to get your message across.

And in today’s world it’s getting even harder to get your message across. It’s weird, because everyone has smartphones and everyone is connected however this great digital era also means that the users are the product.

WHITESNAKE 30th ANNIVERSARY

I was listening to the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the 1987 self-titled album from Whitesnake.

Coverdale might have racked up a $3 million plus debt recording it, but Geffen Records recouped their investment and Coverdale got to make some coin himself.

To show the obscene amount of money thrown at artists, Sykes was hired in 84 with a million dollar sign-on fee, which would turn out to be another amount Coverdale had to pay back.

Because, labels recoup everything before they start to pay anything out.

And the “Evolution” demos are gold.

Pure Gold.

The way Coverdale and his team edited them together to demonstrate the evolution of each song is something that no other artist had done at that point in time.

It shows how a good chorus or a vocal melody evolves into a song. In some of the demo’s Coverdale is lost for words, but he’s hearing the melody and he repeats the same lines so he has something on tape to go back to later on.
Sykes on those jam versions; solo’s and riffs like hell. He’s unrefined and spontaneous and just trying stuff out, seeing what sticks and connects. The beauty of demos are the mistakes. There are no maps or directions but the artist sort of knows where they are going.

For example, in “Still Of The Night”. In the first minute, Coverdale is drumming on his legs, singling and adlibbing while Sykes is playing a riff over the normal F#5 chord. Then the phone rings and the next bit you hear from the minute mark to 1.45, I believe is from another song writing session. Then it evolves into a band rehearsal. And it just keeps on evolving from there. The evolution.

It’s best to invest time and check em out yourself. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MILLION AND SEVEN MILLION

While it’s great to see David Coverdale celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album.

Dokken and the work Lynch did with the band is another favourite of mine during this period and Lynch’s guitar work is a huge influence on my guitar playing and style.

But “Back for the Attack” released in 1987 gets no anniversary treatment. It gets no attention and is rarely part of the conversation.

But back in 1987 it was everywhere. The momentum started with “Dream Warriors” which was released to promote “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”.

For nine months, Elektra Records flogged “Dream Warriors” to death over a staggered windowed release.

Then the album dropped and people purchased.

So what does 1 million sales in 1987 mean in 2021.

Using Spotify stats, 1 million sales in 1987 leads to 7.1 million streams of “Dream Warriors” in 2021.

Compared to how big Dokken was in the 80’s, these numbers are anaemic.

“Is This Love” has 181 plus million streams, while the “Here I Go Again” 1987 version has 204.8 million streams.

The “Here I Go Again” version from “Saints and Sinners” has 110 plus million streams and when you add the 68 million streams from the 1987 radio edit version, “Here I Go Again” combined 382 million streams.

The difference between a million seller and a seven million seller.

8 Years Ago (2013)

GUITAR WORLD

Once upon a time getting on the cover of a magazine was a sign of success. For the musical fan, the magazine was the only way that we could get any information from our favourite artists. The heyday for the metal and rock movements was the Eighties. Hundreds of different magazines appeared that covered certain genres and information was plentiful.

I started purchasing Guitar World magazines from January 1986. Any magazine that had content of bands/artists that I liked I devoured.

Circus, Faces, Metal Maniacs, Rip, Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, Hot Metal, Metal Hammer, Kerrang, Guitar School, Guitar One, Total Guitar, Guitar Player and Guitar.

So how important is it to an artist to be on the cover of Guitar World today?

Back in 2013, I still subscribed to the magazine and I had all the issues for the year mapped out in front of me.

This was the cover roll for 2013.

December – Nirvana – In Utero Anniversary
November – John Petrucci
October – Synester Gates / Zacky Vengeance
September – Ultimate Prog Roundtable/Asking Alexandria
August – Jeff Hanneman Tribute
July – Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne
June – Dave Mustaine / Chris Broderick
May – Brad Paisley
April – Orianthi
March – SRV “Texas Flood” Anniversary
February – The Who / Pete Townsend
January – Led Zeppelin Rides Again

Guitar World likes to play it safe. Sort of like a record label in the current environment. Not a lot of new artists in the list because they don’t sell advertising.

Each issue is still enjoyable and the lessons, plus the tabs are the reason why I still subscribed to it.

However, with user posted tabs on the rise in greater numbers on the internet (along with peer reviews and edits), plus YouTube videos of guitarists covering their favourite songs, in addition to the artists themselves delving deep into the “how to play” department, does a magazine like Guitar World still have a relevance in today’s market?

SCORE SHEET

STREAMING
Everyone talks about the money that isn’t filtering down to the artist however streaming is too entrenched to be replaced.

ALBUM
Everyone talks about the money that is lost due to piracy.

Remember that 20% of the tracks on Spotify have never been played.

SALES
Are not the best metric to measure a bands reach and pull.

PIRACY
Is not that large of a problem as the majors and the RIAA make it out to be.

LIVE
Remember the excitement and the buzz of going to the show. It was uncontrollable. Everyone waiting in line to get inside, to watch a band that rules, in an era that music ruled. By 2013 standards, it was too expensive to take kids to a concert and with a pandemic/endemic happening right now, it’s not even safe.

MUSIC IS DERIVATIVE

All the music we love is an amalgamation of music that has come before. In a lot of the cases, this amalgamation involves some serious copying.

In other words, the history of music as I know it involved a lot of “stealing.”

MUSIC IS DERIVATIVE 2

Since the Copyright industries have grown into Corporate monoliths, it is suddenly uncool for an artist to use previous works as influences for further works.

But.

Those artists who “steal” are the most successful. Those who “imitate” are the most successful. Those who “copy” are the most successful.

Led Zeppelin built a career on copying blues and folk standards.

Metallica built their career by copying their NWOBM influences and many others.

Oasis built a career on copying from “The Beatles”.

The Beatles built a career on copying from blues and rock standards.

It is a shame that we have a generation of people that have grown up with a belief that music is created in a vacuum and they decide that legal threats is the best way forward.

When Balance Sheets are affected, these industries will do anything to hold on or maintain their profits.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Digital Summer – The Aquarius EP

50 Shades

Released in 2015 as a single. The theme of the song is easy to make out.

The “Aquarius” album was also announced with the single. It’s a mixture of the electronic elements and heavy rock.

It’s No Good

Released in 2018. It’s a cover from Depeche Mode and it rocks.

The vocal delivery is like a cross between “Come Undone” from Duran Duran and Staind in the verses crashes into a big Chorus.

Buried Alive

Released on February 9, 2018.

Press play for the Chorus.

And suddenly I’m guilty
Of just trying to survive
Inhale but I can’t breathe
It’s like I’m being buried alive

And at 3.10 in length, there isn’t a note or lick or melody wasted.

Push Me

Released on May 25, 2018.

It’s an accumulation of the first three albums.

Just push me over the edge so I can feel the fall

Mayday

Released on October 15, 2018.

One of my favorite cuts from them.

It’s heavy, it rocks and the melodies show a real growth.

And it was the last song they released. Their website went from being there to being unavailable, as the domain name wasn’t renewed.

The Facebook account is there, but the band members are not active on it as it doesn’t look like there is a band.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 24 to October 30

4 Years Ago (2017)

ATTENTION

Attention is fleeting.

Attention is there and then it’s gone.

Or it never goes away because fans care about the artist; love what the artists does, their music and their connection to them via social media.

But some of those fans will grow and change and fall out of love with what the artists does.

And what will the artist do to get back their attention.

STREAMING

All the action is in streaming. The oldsters hate it and the youngsters embrace it. 

Personally, I thought all the 80s acts I grew up with would re-enter the charts because streaming would allow them to compete with the new acts. But back in 2017, none of the old acts had hit a billion streams.

Used to be you weren’t a star until you got a record deal and heard your song on the radio.

Then it was MTV. 

Then it was YouTube and now you’re not a star until you see your track in the Spotify Top 50 and just recently your not a star if you don’t have a song with a billion plus streams.

The media keeps pushing stories about the small payments of recorded music to artists and songwriters, however revenues are going up on the back of streaming. If you ain’t making money, get a better deal because streaming will pay you forever.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright issues are always in the news.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was speaking out against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), accusing the RIAA of asking the US government to apply copyright law the way the RIAA wishes it to be applied.

Because if Copyright is there to reward creators then there would no need for the Spinal Tap creators to take Vivendi/ Universal Music to the courts.

Both of these corporations are making up accounting transactions so the creators of the Spinal Tap movie and the soundtrack are STILL shown as being in debt to the studio/label.

Yep, you would pay off a home loan in 35 years, but in 2017, the Spinal Tap soundtrack still had a debt to the studio/label.

And all they wanted to do was take back their copyrights. Because Copyright law was written to allow the creator to take back their copyrights after 35 years.

80’s AND TODAY

80’s
It was hard being a musician
Today
It’s still hard being a musician.

80’s
You wrote and performed music.
Today
You write and perform music, maintain an online presence, manage yourself, promote yourself, have to know your legal rights, organise your own shows, licensing, merchandise and more.

80’s
Artists did the hard work of building up a local fan base, city by city
Today
Artists want to take over the world in an instant.

80’s
The labels and the media measured attention via sales of recorded music.
Today
Well, attention is measured by likes, shares, views, streams, sales of physical, sales of digital, sales of tickets and so forth.

80’s
MTV was king.
Today
YouTube is king.

80’s
To discover new music, we needed to rely on a knowledgeable record store operator, gatekeepers, radio and expensive import magazines.
Today
We don’t know when new music comes out? There is just too much noise. Spotify Release Friday is one avenue. We have Google, YouTube, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, blogs and many more.

80’s
Gatekeepers decided who would get signed or not
Today
The internet decimated the barrier to entry.

GETTING PAID

Do you wanna get Paid?

The ones who write the songs always get paid.

Sting gets paid for “Every Breath You Take”. He’s listed as the sole songwriter, but the guitar arpeggio pattern created over the synth/bass lines from Sting’s original demo is the iconic part of the song. And it wasn’t written by Sting, but Sting gets the payments.

Ozzy Osbourne gets paid for all of the “Bark At The Moon” album songs as he “supposably wrote” it all by himself.

Bon Scott wasn’t kidding when he said “getting ripped off on the pay” in “Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock’N’Roll)”.

But in the 80’s, two things happened to the music scene. 

MTV made artists into global superstars and the CD revolution cashed up the labels while all the fans replaced their vinyl and cassette collections with CD’s.

Suddenly you had record label execs flying private and living in mansions on the backs of monies earned from songs the artists wrote.

Motley Crue almost had their career derailed when Elektra Records refused to promote the band post Vince. They got Vince back and the label still didn’t deliver on promises. Nikki Sixx along with manager Allen Kovacs went into battle. They got back all the rights to the Motley’s songs, left Elektra Records, formed Motley Records, took control of the Motley narrative and re-invented the band to become a commercial behemoth from 2003 onwards.

And we moved from Napster to iTunes to YouTube to Spotify in little over a decade while at the same time MySpace tanked and got replaced by Facebook, Yahoo lost the search battle to Google, video stores lost out to Netflix and Amazon became the one stop shop.

It turns out the public is paying for music. It’s called streaming and if the Spotify royalties the artist is getting are low it’s because not enough people are streaming their songs. Then again, if you are on a label, the label will be taking the lion’s share of the royalty.

And with streaming, every artist is competing with Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC and the whole history of music.

The power of music is in the song, not the distribution system. And if we are listening, artists will get rich and have more power than they know what to do with. It’s the modern music business.

8 Years Ago (2013)

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

I was listening to “Disarm the Descent.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums.

It was a “Guitar World” issue from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. So free does pay as I became a buyer of their next album.

Sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until many years later.

Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

VITO BRATTA

The record labels didn’t have no moral obligation to keep their hard rock rosters in tact. The only obligation they had is to their shareholders and their bottom line.

So with every major label signing bands from Seattle, the poor old hard rock bands that made the labels billions over the last 10 years suddenly disappeared. White Lion was one of them. The label never dropped them, however they would have if the band stayed together.

White Lion finished up because Vito Bratta became conflicted. Disillusioned.

The recording business only cared about short-term income and total control.

Vito wanted longevity and he didn’t like how White Lion was seen as part of the same movement of bands that he was commenting about. He was an artist competing in a game of rock stars. He was an artist competing in a game of profits. With each game, there is a winner and a loser.

By 1991, every artist needed a hit to get recognition. The album format was already dead due to MTV playing the “HIT” video. If a band had a hit single then people were interested in buying the album to see what that band is all about.

This was Vito’s disillusionment. When he made an appearance on the Eddie Trunk show, he said words to the effect like “how do you write a hit single” when he was talking about Big Game, the following up to Pride.

White Lion was never a band that played the singles game, however the industry forced them into it and their main musical songwriter started to second guess himself as a creator.

CHARTS

What do the Billboard charts tell us?

On the Rock and Metal chart we had the following list for the week;

  1. Korn – Paradigm Shift (1 Week on The Chart)
  2. Alter Bridge – Fortress (1 Week On The Chart)
  3. Cage The Elephant – Melophobia (1 Week On The Chart)
  4. Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington – High Rise (EP) (1 Week On The Chart)
  5. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (7 Weeks On The Chart)
  6. Dance Gavin Dance – Acceptance Speech (1 Week On The Chart)
  7. Metallica – Through The Never (Soundtrack) (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1 (11 Weeks On The Chart)
  9. Dream Theater – Dream Theater (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  10. Rush – Vapor Trails: Remixed (2 Weeks On The Chart)
  11. Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (10 Weeks On The Chart)
  12. Skillet – Rise (16 Weeks On The Chart)
  13. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (27 Weeks On The Chart)
  14. Black Sabbath – 13 (18 Weeks On The Chart)
  15. Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (27 Weeks On The Chart)

Special mention:

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions (58 Weeks On The Chart)

So the above charts show me a few things:

  1. That the fans love new music. There are 5 albums that have their first week on the charts.
  2. After a week, if that new music is not great, we move on very quickly.
  3. If that new music is great, we spread the word and the album hangs around in the “charts”.  Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet and Volbeat are a few bands that are hanging around.
  4. If you create a group of songs that connect, expect to be hanging around for a long time. Imagine Dragons is one such band.
  5. Artists need to adapt their business practices. Instead of spending months on an album, just to see it fade away within 6 weeks, they should be releasing more frequently. It doesn’t have to be original songs all the time. It could be acoustic versions, cover versions, unique live versions, blog posts and so on.
  6. Here today, gone tomorrow is the modern paradigm. Artist need to adapt, so that they are here today, everyday.

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival

So what do all of our favourite bands/artists keep on doing?

They keep on spending a lot of time writing and recording 10 to 15 songs, just so they can group them together and release them as an album.

This “expectation” worked once upon a time.

However it is not working today.

But Metal and Rock artists still have time as metal fans are loyal and still purchase the “album”.

Check out the following comment from Anita Elberse and her book “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”. It is probably the best advice that any artist will get.

“…out of a total of 870,000 albums that sold at least one copy in 2011, 13 album titles sold more than a million copies each, together accounting for 19 million copies sold.

That’s 0.001 percent of all titles accounting for 7 percent of sales.

The top 1,000 albums generated about half of all the sales, and the top 10,000 albums around 80 percent of sales.

Deep in the tail, 513,000 titles or nearly 60 percent of the assortment, sold fewer than 10 copies each, together making up half a percent of total sales.”

513,000 album titles sold fewer than 10 copies each. So if you are one of those 513,000 bands that sold less than 10 copies, what do you do?

You obviously expected a better return on your investment. A lot of artists will give up, a lot of bands will break up and then there will be a small percentage who will adapt and alter their expectations.

The competition for listener’s attention is huge.

Like the Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties, there are still only a select few of releases that end up selling more than a million.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 17 to October 23

4 Years Ago (2017)

METAL T-SHIRTS

My then five year old had to draw his family in kindy class. In the drawing he had me drawn with a black T-shirt and black shorts.

When they say “Take the Black” in “Game of Thrones”, a metal/rock head says, “pffft, we’ve already done that”.

All though I’ve morphed to plain black tees as I have gotten older, I still break out the metal and rock t-shirts now and then.

When I first got together with my wife, I had a Posion T-Shirt with the sleeves cut off and she had dance music playing in the car.

I asked her if she had anything else.

The answer was no.

I asked her if she would be okay if I introduced some new music in the car.

She said okay.

The next day, I had the rock and metal mix tapes ready for indoctrination.

At first it was the more commercial sounding rock and metal.

Secretly the dance tapes ended up in a draw in my room. It was many years later that she asked what happened to those tapes.

\::/

ALBUMS

I started this post with “Just put out the damn album”.

When we laid out cash for the 10 to 15 albums we used to buy a year, we had time to digest and live with the music for a long time so we were okay with the lead up.

But.

The 8 week lead up to the release is too much these days especially when the LP run could be over in a month after it’s released.

That’s right.

That’s how fast new albums disappear from the conversation in the current environment.

The first week sales that might look great on paper are irrelevant.

Check the second week streaming numbers. Then the third, then the fourth and so on. Those numbers will show you if the fans care for the music or if only the press (that the marketing team has paid to promote your product) cares.

And people will complain about streaming revenue and how it doesn’t pay enough. Control your rights, have a song that people connect with and you will be paid well and forever.

If investment firms are cashing in, it’s because streaming pays. But it pays the organization who controls the rights.

YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and all the rest will pay forever.

Isn’t that better than the one off transaction between the record store and the fan?

That fan could have purchased the album, taken it home, played it once and traded it.

Maybe that fan played the album a million times. But the artist wouldn’t know that behaviour. 

Data tells us what’s hot and what’s not. And like it or not, it’s always been about the hits. To me a hit isn’t the song that takes the number 1 slot on a chart.

“Fear Of The Dark” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name” or “Creeping Death” or “Fade To Black” or “Master Of Puppets” didn’t set the charts alight but the fans made those songs hit’s. Convert staples.

We don’t live in 1989, where mediocre stuff on the radio gets some traction because of the marketing/hype dollars invested into the promotion. We live in the era of connectivity and virality and hits and streaming that pays forever.

But artists need to release a continuous stream of product to win.

TRIBUTE

It’s my bible.

I played the cassette tape to death trying to learn every riff and lick. And when I couldn’t pick it all up, I shelled out $50 on Wolf Marshal’s transcription of the “Tribute” album and I spent a lot of hours woodshedding to it.

Even though Ozzy re-cut his vocals for the release there is no denying Randy Rhoads and his love for his instrument. The way he re-imagines his multi-layered guitar riffs from the studio versions and turns it all into one definitive guitar cut is brilliant. For any guitarist, new or old, this is it. It gets no better than this.

“Mr Crowley” was the first song I got stuck into. It has two shred leads and the way Randy combined those guitar lines into one definitive track for the “was he polemically” section is brilliant. And the outro lead is just one of those songs within a song lead breaks.

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” has a finger picked part at the start which is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless. And the live tempo is much better than the studio tempo. 

“Children Of The Grave” was the next song I tried to learn after “Mr Crowley”. I love the way Randy plays the C#m riff on the 4th fret on the 5th string. That’s how I learned this song. It wasn’t until many years later I heard the Sabbath version and Iommi is down tuned to C#.

I must say, I love the tempo of this live version.

And that outro improv lead is brilliant especially when Randy starts to reference Ace ala “Love Gun”.

When I think of “Children Of The Grave”, I think of this.

“Goodbye To Romance” is the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but do they have the song sense of Randy Rhoads.

JACK BLACK

My kids back then had been watching “School Of Rock” and “The Pick Of Destiny” on and off, so i did a \::/ salute to Jack Black for spreading his love of rock and heavy metal to the masses.

Because the movies capture what rock and roll is all about;

  • going against the grain, 
  • breaking rules set by the institutions/parents and having fun along the way. 

Let’s make sure it will never be forgotten. 

MY NINTH POST ON THE YEAR THAT WAS 1983

“Back To Mystery City” by Hanoi Rocks was covered. It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death due to being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil.

All death is tragic. And I remember reading an interview (I think it was in Faces) that if Razzle’s didn’t join in 1982, the band probably would have broken up. And then his death in 1985 ended the band.

“Speaking in Tongues” by Talking Heads is mentioned. “Burning Down the House” sold the album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.

“Streets” was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas.

The debut LP was released in 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and destroyed by their next manager after he argued with the President of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris.

So Atlantic just released the albums with no promo and if they stuck, good. But they didn’t stick. And they never released the albums on CD while they controlled the rights.

Steve Walsh even got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently.

So before people beat up streaming, they need to understand how it was back then and the monopoly the labels had to kill or break a career.

The Eric Martin Band released a great melodic rock album called “Sucker for a Pretty Face”.

And I still don’t understand how “Burning” from Shooting Star wasn’t a big hit.

Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and running low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.

But the truth is that the bands first managers were stealing from em, so the band fired em.

And because these managers used to work as record promotion guys, they blacklisted the band to the radio stations.

Meatloaf released “Midnight At The Lost and Found” but it was lost as “Bat Out Of Hell” was still selling like it was a new release.

And Aldo Nova was trying to capture the highs of “Fantasy” with “Subject”.

8 Years Ago (2013)

STREAMING

The public has voted. It prefers streaming.

You would think the war is over. But it’s not.

Spotify pays millions to the copyright holders.

Now unless the artist is a DIY artist who controls their own copyright, or Metallica or Motley Crue who own their masters, most of the copyright holders are the major labels. So the labels are raking it in.

There is also a term doing the round, called “Black Box Revenue.” This is the name given to income that the record labels collect that cannot be directly tracked to the recordings of a specific artist.

To put it all into context, streaming services pay the labels an upfront fee to access their catalogues. In addition, the services then pay the labels royalties for each stream.

Yep the labels get paid twice because they “own” the masters that artists created.

Musicians always had to work hard to get somewhere, that part hasn’t changed and it will never change while others fly private on the backs of the hard work of artists.

THE LIES OF THE LABELS

During the recorded music industries heyday, there was this widespread idea, sort of like an unwritten law, that we (the fans of music) could purchase music and own it, the same way we purchased and owned the toaster and any other commodity.

Of course when it comes to music, its never that simple.

What the music fans actually purchased was a non-transferable license to listen to the music under very specific and strict conditions. If you don’t believe me read the fine print.

We basically had the right to enjoy the music in private, over and over again.

METALLICA

I had been re-reading a lot of the magazines I accumulated during the Eighties and the Nineties and I finished reading a story about Metallica from the Australian magazine “Hot Metal”.

It was the June 1992 issue.

And in the interview James Hetfield was talking about the stage design and how they would have an area in the middle of the stage set aside for taping. The fans would have to buy a special ticket for the tape section area and Hetfield saw it as a cool thing to flood the market with bootlegs.

Metallica in 1992, wanted to flood the market with bootlegs. Metallica in 2013 had the following disclaimer on their Live Metallica website “Terms of Use”; Any violation of copyright laws may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Violators will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible.

KIRK HAMMETT

Kirk Hammett said that there hasn’t been any great bands “because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”

You see, when you detach yourself from the streets and live in your ivory tower, you don’t see what is happening at ground zero.

Five Finger Death Punch is going GOLD and PLATINUM in a tough sales market. They have great numbers in relation to YouTube views and Spotify streams. Their albums have been selling up to the point of when their new one is released. Think about that for a second.

Shinedown are doing super numbers in relation to sales, YouTube views and Spotify streams. They have certifications to prove it as well.

Will we have the superstars of the Eighties and Nineties again?

Of course not, but we don’t live in a monoculture anymore.

We are living in the golden age of music access. The history of recorded music is at our fingertips and that is a good thing.

STREAMING vs OWNERSHIP

If I pay $120 for a Spotify Premium account, it means that i can listen to millions of songs.

If I buy $120 worth of songs from iTunes in Australia, I can only listen to 70 songs.

If I pay $120 for CD’s, I can pick up 5 albums with a potential of 50 to 60 songs.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

I’m a fan.

The music that BFMV creates is very reminiscent to the hard rock / heavy metal music created between 1981 and 1986, before Bon Jovi released “Slippery When Wet” and the majority of bands started chasing the pop metal / pop rock “pot of gold”. It is basically the same music that I grew up on.

Metallica – CHECK
Iron Maiden – CHECK
AC/DC – CHECK
Slayer – CHECK
Megadeth – CHECK
Judas Priest – CHECK

Modern influences like Machine Head, Pantera and Metallica “Black” album period are also found in the songs. It’s probably why I connected with the band.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1996 – Part 3.1: Scorpions – Pure Instinct

Man, the Scorpions sure know how to cause a bit of controversy with their album covers. Remember “Virgin Killer” or “Lovedrive” and to a lesser extent “Animal Magnetism”. Well, you can add “Pure Instinct” to the list.

And all of this controversy generated an alternative cover, with the Scorpion guys acting like animals..

And the music catalog of Scorpions is all over the place when it comes to streaming services. This album like many others from the Scorpions is not available on streaming services like Spotify, Deezer or Apple, but hey YouTube has it.

So “Pure Instinct” is album thirteen. Released in 1996 it’s basically forgotten.

Klaus Meine is on vocals, Rudolf Schenker on rhythm guitars, Matthias Jabs on lead guitars and Ralph Rieckermann on bass. For drums they used a session player (aka a “Hired Gun”) called Curt Cress.

The main Producer is Erwin Musper with 80s legend Keith Olsen, producing tracks 1 and 7.

“Wild Child”

Produced by Keith Olsen.

Bag pipes play a Celtic like melody before the crunchy guitars of Rudolf Schenker kick in. Its classic Scorpions delivering a kick ass rock song.

Check out the lead breaks from Mattias Jabs especially the outro solo.

And to close out, the bag pipe melody is back in. Musically it’s as good as any hard rock track from the Scorpions.

“But the Best for You”

Klaus Meine wrote the song.

It’s more Bryan Adams in the Intro than the Euro Scorpions Rock and the verses are very heavily influenced by ELP and the song “From The Beginning”.

What is it with that ELP track?

Dokken covered the ELP track a year before on “Dysfunctional”.

The Chorus also has that “You Give Love A Bad Name” vibe.

“Does Anyone Know”

Another Meine composition and its the first ballad on the album.

Another day has just begun
Life goes on there’s no return
How can I trust anyone
When honesty is such a dirty word

A breakdown in a relationship is not easy especially when you’ve been deceived.

The guitar solo from Jabs is excellent, reminding me a bit of a certain UFO guitarist who did time in Scorpions.

“Stone in My Shoe”

The hard rock of Schenker is back and its got that 70’s feel.

“Soul Behind the Face”

The intro remimds of the Uli Jon Roth era with a bit of Neal Schon.

And even though the acoustic guitar is prominent in the verses, i class the song as a rocker.

And Meine’s lyrics are better here, questioning who he’s real friends are.

And What a Chorus!.

“Oh Girl (I Wanna Be with You)”

A mix of “No One Like You” and “Passion Rules the Game”.

“When You Came into My Life”

A ballad written by Meine and Schenker along with Titiek Puspa and James F. Sundah.

The intro arpeggios remind me of something, but I cant remember what.

The acoustic lead break by Jabs is brief.

“Where the River Flows”

I thought of Collective Soul when I saw this title, even though their version came after. A rock song but with a strummed acoustic as the main focal point.

Under suburban skies
Where life is bleeding
Where concrete skies are grey
There’s plenty of room for dreaming

My hometown has sure changed. Suburbia has moved from the house into the apartment which goes up many levels.

“Time Will Call Your Name”

It’s like a long lost cut from Led Zep III.

“You and I”

A boring ballad to me but it got played live.

“Are You the One?”

A ballad to close the album with.

Skip.

And the album was a Top 10 album in Germany and Finland. It was also a Top 20 album in France, Switzerland and Austria.

It was also certified Gold in Germany, France and Finland.

In the end, it was a release to keep the Scorpions brand going. But the songs feel dull and uninspired. Other artists who had fame in the 80s ask struggled during this period, unsure of what to write, how to sound and how they fit in. Like when Slayer delivered a Nu-Metal album, you knew as a fan that bands were doing it tough.

Klaus Meine at 48 years of age was still writing about “Wild Child’s” and other irrelevant 80s cliches. But on some songs he showed us that there is a questioning human behind the rock star bravado.

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

Disturbed – Evolution

I don’t own it. Between 2016 and 2019, I didn’t buy a lot of music as streaming was becoming king.

Released in 2018 and after the success of “The Sound Of Silence”, it was inevitable that the sound of Disturbed would evolve to include a lot of acoustic guitars.

In the interviews leading up to the release, the guys in the band mentioned that the classic rock music they grew up with, influenced the writing of this album.

And this time around, Kevin Churko is also listed as a songwriter along with the band (like how Mutt Lange was listed as a writer with the bands he worked with) and the song “Uninvited Guest” has Dianne Warren as a co-writer. Yes the “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” Dianne.

Are You Ready

A throwback to the first two albums in musical style, lyrics and vocal phrasing with an anthemic Chorus.

No More

It’s got a riff and drum groove that reminds me of “The Beautiful People” from Marylyn Manson.

In the Chorus, if you like Swedish Hard Rock or Euro Hard Rock, then you’ll get your fix here.

A Reason To Fight

One of the first acoustic tracks on the album, about not giving up when the demon inside you wants you to. Not a favorite.

In Another Time

The start feels poppy, but then a “Kashmir” like riff kicks in.

The way the verses are delivered vocally is more in line with the popular charting songs.

And the Chorus. Huge.

Stronger On Your Own

A drum groove that reminds me of the first album from Imagine Dragons is prominent but the song still sounds like Disturbed with a bit of Shinedown.

Hold On To Memories

A simple strummed progression on the acoustic guitar starts it off, and then a melodic acoustic lead kicks in.

Draiman is hopeful, sending a message to take the ones you love and hold em close, and to make the most of your life.

And the song remains in the acoustic domain throughout, like “A Reason To Fight”.

Saviour Of Nothing

The heavy rock is back.

But the song was pedestrian, until the interlude section from 2.40 got me interested.

Then a lead break started, first with some Digitech Whammy effects and the shred kicked in after.

Watch You Burn

The acoustic guitars are back, more Led Zeppelin like especially the interlude.

The Best Ones Lie

Its back to the Disturbed Hard Rock sound.

Already Gone

Acoustic guitars are back again with a “Stairway To Heaven” like intro.

This is the best of the acoustic guitar songs and the only one that should have been included. The feel of it is almost Country Rock and Draiman’s bass/baritone like delivery is perfect.

Now for the bonus tracks.

The Sound Of Silence (Live with Myles Kennedy)

It’s a great track and Disturbed have done it justice with their re-interpretation.

This Venom

It’s a bonus track, but the Chorus is better than some of the album tracks.

Check out the whole interlude and lead section part.

Are You Ready (Sam DeJong Remix)

It’s an Imagine Dragons song with this remix and I like it.

Uninvited Guest

Another acoustic guitar led song.

Give it a listen just for the orchestra.

And the album at this point in time doesn’t have any certifications. Time will tell if people will keep listening to it. If I had to rank all the albums, this is my least favorite.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Dokken – Return 2 The East Live 2016

I listened to this album when it came out in 2018 on Spotify. I felt like I needed to. And I have most of the Dokken albums except, “Broken Bones”, this one and “The Lost Tapes”.

Sebastian Bach on Twitter was asked a question recently, “which band does he believe squandered all their talents?” and he answered that with “Skid Row”, but goddamn, “Dokken” is probably the poster artist for “squandering talents”.

It’s Another Day (New Studio Track)

It sounds like a Lynch Mob track with Don Dokken singing.

Nostalgia and my memory of Dokken in the 80’s wants me to like this.

Kiss Of Death

It’s great to hear Pilson, Brown and Lynch rocking out again musically. The crowd at the ball park fakery is unsettling. Don’s voice is more bass than his earlier self. It’s not how I want to hear him, but I also understand that age is never kind to a voice.

When Lynch breaks loose in the lead break, you hear exactly why he’s a guitar hero. He plays it almost note for note as per the studio recording, however he adds in extra notes and phrases and they enhance the lead break.

And the song fades out.

WTF.

The Hunter

It’s up next but it doesn’t feel like it was the next song in the set list.

The riffs in this song are excellent and I’ve always liked the lead break in this.

And like “Kiss Of Death”, Lynch enhances it, evolves it, throwing in his years of experience of playing it live.

I’m not a fan of the overall vocal delivery or the backing vocals.

Unchain The Night

The songs don’t flow like a concert as there is dead silence between the songs, as one song fades out and the other begins.

Even though the live album was put together from different shows they could have made it flow like a concert experience from start to finish.

The riffage in this song is excellent. And the lead breaks again from Lynch shows an artist who is on top of his game and has been for a long time.

When Heaven Comes Down

This song doesn’t get the credit it deserves as a heavy metal cut, as the riffs are very NWOBHM.

Breakin’ The Chains

It’s sped up just a little bit and I like it. Vocally, everyone is delivering.

Listening to Lynch wail away with just Pilson and Brown providing the foundation is rawk and roll in the power trio sense.

Into The Fire

Another cut, that doesn’t get its dues as a metal cut. And Lynch decorates in between the riffs with little fills here and there.

The lead break also has some fast picked lines added to it.

Dream Warriors

How can you not like this song?

The way the drums introduce it, the spooky clean tone riff and then the head banging distorted riff.

Lynch’s tone in the clean tone verses is excellent.

Tooth And Nail

I always enjoy listening to the lead breaks on this song. Especially the finger tapped section.

And “Tooth And Nail” goes straight into “The Hunter” but its faded out.

Why they decided to sequence it like this and not follow the actual concert set list is mystifying.

Alone Again

Although it’s a ballad, it’s a favourite.

Lynch doesn’t miss a note in the lead break.

The best part of the song is the C to D to Em chord progression, while Don is singing “Alone Again” without you over and over again. It would have been great to hear em jam on that a little bit more.

It’s Not Love

It’s like an anabolic ZZ Top cut, a perfect song for the live show.

After the lead break, the band is jamming and Pilson steps on the fuzz to become the centre point.

There’s some more jamming, some crowd participation and they move back into the song.

In My Dreams

Lynch is tuned down to cater for Don’s voice and the riffs suddenly sound menacing.

I think it’s safe to say that the lead break in this song is iconic. You can only play it one way, and that’s the way it was recorded.

Heaven Sent (Acoustic Studio Bonus Track)

This song would always work as an acoustic cut, because its blues based and the blues started off on acoustic guitars.

Will The Sun Rise (Acoustic Studio Bonus Track)

A nice re-imagining of a stellar rock song.

Actually the two acoustic tracks are the real highlights here.

And for their return to the East, it would have been great if they did a different set list instead of paying homage to the original set list. But they didn’t.

If you want to hear Dokken at their best, then 1988’s “Beast from the East” is their piece d’resistance and one of my top 5 live albums, along with “Live After Death” from Iron Maiden, “Tribute” from Ozzy, “Alive III” from Kiss and “Live At Budokan” from Dream Theater.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 23 to August 29

4 Years Ago (2017)

PEOPLE CREATE VALUE

Do artists create value or does the audience create value?

I believe it’s the audience.

We are the ones who decide what song or album we will give our time and money to.

And it’s a cold hard truth for any creator out there. The art they create has no value at the start. It might later, if people decide it’s valuable.

DEF LEPPARD

Def Leppard was huge from 1983 to 1992. Even their sound was huge with multi-layered vocals and instrumentation.

They had a bit of a back lash in the 90’s and maybe alienated some of their fan base with their 90’s sounding “Slang” album. But like all great bands from the 80’s they had a renaissance.

Because of piracy.

No one could purchases or access Def Leppard’s digital music library legally between 2000 and 2017 (apart from the few forgeries the band did themselves and the live releases), so people obtained the music illegally.

And just like that Def Leppard replenished their fan base with younger fans. 

“In recent years, we’ve been really fortunate that we’ve seen this new surge in our popularity. For the most part, that’s fuelled by younger people coming to the shows. We’ve been seeing it for the last 10, 12 or 15 years, you’d notice younger kids in the audience, but especially in the last couple of years, it’s grown exponentially. I really do believe that this is the upside of music piracy.”

Vivian Campbell

8 Years Ago (2013)

MACHINE HEAD

Machine Head is a favourite. And if you want to read a post on some deep album cuts then here it is.

QUEENSRYCHE

Queensryche appealed to me for a few reasons.

  1. Insightful lyrics
  2. Great messages and themes in the songs
  3. Brilliant arrangements and guitar playing.
  4. Each album that they released with Chris DeGarmo followed my own changing musical tastes.

So I did a post on some semi-obscure Queensryche songs.

RECORD FAIRS

I did a post of my score at a Record Fair.

And I’m thinking what is the point of em when most of the stuff is priced high. But I still go. The collector in me makes me go.

100 MILLION STREAMS

Daft Punk’s track “Get Lucky” by August 2013 had been streamed 104,233,480 times. Spotify generally pays 0.004 a stream to the rights holder. So by doing the math that comes to $416,933.92 in payments from Spotify to the rights holder.

How much of this money is distributed down to Daft Punk from Columbia Records is unknown?

For a song that was released in April 2013, it’s proven to be a pretty good earner.

And i was wondering when Metal and rock bands would cross that 100 million mark. Well by 2021, a lot of em have and in the case of Queen, they’ve even crossed the billion mark.

DREAM THEATER

I was re-reading a Kerrang interview that Derek Oliver conducted with Dream Theater back in 1989. It has the title; “PROG ROCK LIVES… RUN TO THE HILLS.”

It’s the same Derek Oliver that negotiated Dream Theater’s deal with Atco. It’s full of praise.

But it’s not 1989 anymore.

It was 2013.

Dream Theater was about to release their first self-titled album. Music is getting released left, right and centre. Independent DIY bands are competing against label funded bands.

Was Dream Theater still one of the most innovative bands in town?

VITO BRATTA

It’s 1991 and Vito Bratta is doing the rounds for the Mane Attraction album. And he was uncomfortable.

A few years before this is what Vito Bratta said in the June 1989 issue of Kerrang magazine.

“I hate recording. I can’t stand it. I cant stand the pressures of writing and recording a record. If they told me tomorrow that i was going to go out on tour for fives years, i’d say, fine, i love it. Playing every night is what i love.”

When Vito did the Eddie Trunk show in 2007, he had this to say about the expectations placed on them by the Record Label;

“So the record company’s saying we need another “Pride”.

I say, “Ok, so what exactly does that mean?”

The label goes, “we need the hit singles”

I go, “listen the songs we gave you, on “Pride” weren’t hit singles written purposely to be to be hit singles. They were just songs that became hit singles and they were just songs we wrote. Now you’ve got somebody telling you now, you have to purposely write a hit single.

Now how do you do that?

How do you purposely write a hit single, I mean there are people out there that do that…”

In a Guitar World interview from the June 1991, Brad Tolinski asked Vito if Mane Attraction was difficult to make.

“In a way it was. It was the first time I ever felt real pressure. When we recorded our first record, “Fight To Survive”, we were real naive and just happy to have a deal.

Our next record, “Pride”, was also very relaxed. It was written over a period of three years, so we had plenty of time to compose and experiment. “Pride” went double platinum, which was both good and bad.

When we went to record the follow-up, “Big Game”, everyone told us, “Don’t worry, whatever you write will sell a million.”

There wasn’t any real fire or hunger on that record. We were playing arenas, getting big checks in the mail, getting calls that we were going platinum, and so on.

On top of that, we had convinced ourselves that we had to write hit singles in order to maintain our popularity, and in the end “Big Game” was too contrived. It didn’t sell as well as “Pride”.

This is what Vito had to say on the Eddie Trunk show;

“Big Game” was a setback for the Label. It didn’t sell as many. We were doing a headlining tour of Europe by ourselves for the “Big Game” album and they (the Label) said, “wouldn’t it be great if we played at Wembley with Motley Crue and Skid Row?”

Skid Row went on and they were just killing the place. And Motley Crue had a great show and here we are sandwiched in between.

We realized, that night, on stage at Wembley that these songs from the “Big Game” album aren’t translating well in the live show.

So we all looked at each other on stage and said we need to throw in some of our better stuff in here. I was like what better stuff. We need to write more for who we are because these songs are not translating.

Then we went back to the States and we told the record label, no more tours on this album. We are going to do the album that we want to do. And they said well considering how the last album went, they said “go ahead”.

They gave us unlimited funds.

“Mane Attraction” was a half a million dollar record. They just said go and do everything that you want.”

And the album failed to connect with a large audience.

1986 vs 2013

And example of how the post flowed.

In 1986, Jon Bon Jovi was in debt to his record label and still living with his parents. Then the “band” Bon Jovi released their biggest seller, “Slippery When Wet”.

I’m 2013, Jon Bon Jovi was flush with money and the band Bon Jovi released their biggest dud, in “What About Now” and Richie Sambora was booted.

In 1986, Megadeth released “Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying”, which in their case, everyone was buying.

In 2013, Megadeth released “Supercollider” and no one was buying.

In 1986, Queensryche released a superior album in “Rage For Order”.

In 2013, Queensryche became two seperate bands that ended up releasing two inferior albums in “Frequency Unknown” (Geoff Tate version) and “Queensryche” (Todd LaTorre version).

The fans are screaming for order.

In 1986, Vinnie Vincent invaded the charts, with a point to prove.

In 2013, Vinnie Vincent is.

COG – ARE YOU INTERESTED?

Databases store everything we do online. And one of my favorite acts Cog had a song about it many years ago.

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

GOVERNMENTS SPYING

Our Government’s get caught red handed spying on it’s own citizens and artists needed to take a stand on this.

But no one did.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 9 to August 15

4 Years Ago (2017)

Thinking short term hurts us. Every leader thinks about the now and never about what’s around the bend. The majority of people in charge of corporations only care about the now.

What is our bottom line looking like?

There is no care about their environmental footprint or employee well-being.

Record labels are the same. They focus so much on first week sales and charts as they believe it brings in an instant payday, without understanding that the payday they are really earning is from music created 30 plus years ago and it just percolated, slowly rising to the top.

Have you heard of the record labels starting to employ artists as employees and offer them retirement plans?

Of course not. That’s long term thinking.

And while everyone kept complaining that Spotify doesn’t pay, they couldn’t explain how Warner accumulated $360 million dollars in streaming fees from em.

All of those artists who sold their rights to the labels and publishers are losing out in the long run but maybe winning in the short term.

I was writing about the 80s and listening to music those bands released in the early 90s.

And I didn’t see much dumbing down of lyrics in the way the writers of the time claimed. And that’s why grunge took over. Instead I saw better lyrics, more mature lyrics, lyrics that showcased highs and lows.

8 Years Ago (2013)

Music and movies just didn’t seem to last anymore.

So why would artists and film makers spend so much time on making one project every two to three years.

George Lucas once said that the $200 million movie is dead. But in 2013, a lot of blockbusters cost over $200 million and man didn’t they flop big time.

Movies like “R.I.P.D “ (a derivative version of Ghostbusters and Men In Black) and “The Lone Ranger” (a derivative version of The Lone Ranger TV show, National Treasure and Pirates of The Caribbean) came to mind.

For some reason, Hollywood still believes that they need a $200 million movie, meanwhile, the movies that did well in 2013 had lower budgets.

“The Conjuring” cost $20 million and when I wrote the article in 2013 it had made made $140 million and when I checked it today, it was at $319.5 million.

“The Heat” cost $43 million to make and in 2013 it had made $190 million and in 2021 it was at $229.9 million.

“Now You See Me” cost $75 million to make and in 2013 it had made $233 million and in 2021, the figures was at $351.7 million.

So is a $200 million budget movie really worth it or should those big budgets be used to make 5 lower budget movies.

So is social media a way to broadcast to people or connect with people?

And while I was critical of Dream Theater having a listening party with no fans, a few weeks later, they invited a select group of fans to experience the new album.

I was reading a lot about “The Pirate Bay” as it turned 10 years in 2013.

From its inception”TPB” is like a number one act, albeit a controversial act, always on top of the charts.

And it all happened via word of mouth in the same way we used to talk about artists and movies back in the day.

Or you can do like Lady Gaga, who would manipulate the mainstream media to write about her and get her loyal “monsters” to spread the word.

Are deluxe editions just overpriced boxes, offering the same thing over and over again for a higher price or offering something of value to a super fan that no one can get anywhere else?

The “Dream Theater” self-titled deluxe edition box set had the same album on a CD, a VINYL LP version and a FLAC version in a box and they charged over a $100 just to format shift the same music.

Meanwhile for half the price (at $55) Coheed and Cambria’s “The Afterman Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set Amory Award Edition” gives you the albums, the demos, a DVD making of, a VIP pass, a book of the story, and notes about the songs, plus a link to download the album and demos on mp3.

Back in the Eighties, the goal was to work in the music business for a record label while you dreamed of being a rock star. Fast forward thirty years and the goal is to work in technology as the new rock stars are the tech heads.

Artists don’t need a middle man to distribute their music, but artists are in love with the story of fame and wealth however they don’t understand that the aim of the game is to outlast the competition.

The “rock star myth” was a deliberate creation of the major labels. Wannabe musicians bought it hook, line and sinker, signing everything away to be the next star. And the Labels licked their lips at all the talent waiting to be exploited.

Stand Or Walk Away” is an underrated cut from “HellYeah”.

It’s got a “Kashmir” like groove I like. The head nods, the foot starts to tap and the fingers start to lay down the beat. There is a sense of classic rock familiarity that intrigues me and it is modern at the same time.

One last thing, when the future generations write the history of metal guitarists, talented players like Greg Tribbet will be forgotten. But he shouldn’t be.

Tribbet is a sum of his influences.

He can be progressive (Mudvayne’s 2nd album is the piece d resistance in progressive riffage), he can be heavy, he can be a guitar hero and he can be soulful, bluesy and even countrish. He is a great talent.

And since we are in the single music era, go and stream the crap out of this song. It will be worth your time.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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