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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 19 to July 25

4 Years Ago (2017)

All death is tragic.

David Z, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington passed away. Ivan Moody was in a dark place at the time.

So many people make money from artists, and some make way more than the artists. The vicious cycles that artists are on from labels and management is borderline negligence.

The show must go on but there is no show when there is no artist.

The Jungle Giants is a band that plays a form of pop rock with dance/techno elements. I’m not a huge fan but in 2017 they were an unsigned artists that racked up over 50 million streams on Spotify. Those stats are impressive and a lot more than artists who actually have label deals.

It’s hard work controlling your own destiny. But you have the freedom to decide what path to take.

And Album number 4 just came out.

When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying? 

It is possible to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard.

And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new. 

According to manager Barry McKay, Steve Harris stole an idea. I don’t know how you can steal an idea, but hey it happens.

Legal streaming music at the time was hurting.

Streaming companies need to license music from the legacy players for a substantial fee and then pay royalties to these organizations when the songs are listened/viewed.

And these organizations like the labels and publishers keep the bulk of these payments and pay cents to the artists they represent. 

Then they remain silent when Spotify gets sued for having music on their service.

But.

It was these organizations that approved Spotify to license their catalogues.

And I compared music streaming to Netflix who at that time had no problem growing its subscriber base and making profits, however it produces its own content, which earned it over 90 Emmy nominations.

And it’s monthly fees are identical to music subscription services, even though it costs a lot more to create a TV show or a movie than a song/album.

So how is Netflix profiting and Spotify losing?

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Australia.

Corporations and Unions run this country. The Courts have been compromised by money. The mainstream media is all about half-truths and likes. No one reports with any substance or an opinion anymore as they had served whoever paid them the most.

Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way.

Why?

Unless we pay $300 plus for a PAY TV subscription, we couldn’t watch it.

Nine years later nothing much has changed. We’re still a mess. We can’t get our population vaccinated and we have a leader who just looks for the photo opportunity and has best friends who run QANON sites.

I’m an Amazon Prime Video subscriber and due to a deal they have with another PAY TV provider in this country, I couldn’t watch Bosch S7 on Amazon.

So I downloaded it.

Imagine that. I’m a paying legal subscriber and I couldn’t watch a show that the service created on their platform.

Why did guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Alex Skolnick, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert rise above all the other shredders of the era that came on the scene between 1984 and 1994?

Guitarists like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore are all great guitarists, however they are still relatively unknowns outside of their guitar instrumental niche market.

Someone like Vinnie Moore played with Alice Cooper and is holding down the fort with UFO. He’s been there since 2003, 18 years. Michael Schenker only did 11, his first stint between 1973 and 78 was only 5 years.

But a lot of people still don’t Moore.

Jon Bon Jovi seemed to be pissing off his fans.

Perseverance is a massive skill. Especially when it comes to life as a musician in an internet era with information overload each day.

And success happens when you contemplate giving up.

Dream Theater almost called it a day, between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.

Quiet Riot during the Randy Rhoads years, couldn’t get a U.S deal. After Randy left to join Ozzy, Kevin Dubrow persevered under his own surname, only to resurrect the Quiet Riot brand after the death of Randy Rhoads and turn it into a Number 1 act.

George Lynch auditioned for Ozzy’s band on two occasions, losing out to Randy Rhoads once and then to Jake E. Lee. One of his earlier bands “The Boyz” had a showcase gig organised for Gene Simmons to attend. Van Halen opened the show and the rest is history. Gene even said to Lynch, to consider changing his name as he will never make it.

Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.

How many musicians starting out today, would put in 18 years of service to music?

Don’t chase trends because what is here today will be gone tomorrow.

The Record Labels aren’t worth much if they don’t have acts. And Artists really don’t need a label deal anymore.

Of course it’s more difficult going your own way, however that is the future. If you are successful you will get label interest and a deal that suits you, because without an artist, there is no profit from music for the labels.

But.

The major labels want radio hits so they find artists that are easy to sell and easily expendable.

The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was one of the funniest movies I had seen that year.

I provided my thoughts on the Metallica “Death Magnetic” DVD which included footage on the making of the album. It came with the Coffin Edition of the album.

James Hetfield still rules. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. Bob Rock once said that the problem with “St Anger” was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for “Death Magnetic”.

And they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the “Six Feet Down Under” EP’s part 1 and 2.

When that died down, they orchestrated the “Big 4” shows and the “Orion” festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.

Then they celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. When that died down they released the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut. Then they released “Quebec Magnetic” and at that point in time they were doing the “Through The Never”movie.

So did anyone remember the debacle of “Lulu”?

It was old news, history. It’s like it never existed.

What a difference two years make?

“The House of Gold and Bones” by Stone Sour was becoming a favorite so I posted my review here and a review of a song “The Uncanny Valley” here.

At the time I was reading about how artists deserve to be paid for their creations because they put their blood, sweat and tears into those works.

Once upon a time, artists created music and that Record Labels looked to profit from this relationship with the artists. It didn’t always happen as making money in any occupation is a tough business.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – Holy Diver

I got “The Last In Line” album first (on cassette) and then went back to “Holy Diver”.

Ronnie James Dio success came from hard work and a commitment to stay the course. A true lifer in the music business.

Check out his release schedule.

Elf’s self-titled debut was released in 1972, “Carolina Country Ball” in 74 and “Trying To Burn The Sun” in 75.

Also in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s “Rainbow” was released, “Rising” in 76, “On Stage” in 77 and “Long Live Rock N Roll” in 78.

With Black Sabbath, “Heaven and Hell” came out in 1980, “Mob Rules” in 81 and “Live At Last” in 82.

By 1983, the “Holy Diver” release would be his 11th album in 11 years. An album I have on vinyl and CD.

And it’s funny how artists today are complaining that streaming services are forcing em to release more albums frequently but that’s how it was done, especially prior to MTV.

The band that Dio assembled involved some experienced players in Jimmy Bain on bass and Vinnie Appice on drums and an unknown youngster called Vivian Campbell on guitar, who was recommended to Dio by Bain after he saw Campbell tearing up the stage with Sweet Savage, his NWOBHM band that was struggling to get a record deal. Their song “Killing Time” would become another Metallica cover, used as a B side for one of the Black album singles.

Jake E Lee also auditioned but he missed out, only to get the Ozzy gig soon after.

Stand Up And Shout

You’ve got the power, stand up and shout

The opening song and it’s a call to arms right off the bat.

Written before Vivian Campbell joined the band, the opening riff has appeared in a lot of songs. I did a post called “The One Riff To Rule Them All”.

It’s fast and energetic.

Lyrically the song deals with breaking away from conformity.  It was the same theme that Twisted Sister sold millions of albums on.

It’s the same old song
You gotta be somewhere at sometime
And they’ll never let you fly

The mysterious “they” could be your teachers, employers, leaders, mortgage brokers or some other entity/establishment holding you back.

You are the driver
You own the road
You are the fire — go on, explode

Damn right, we are our own driver but how many can truly say we made decisions without any influence from others.

Holy Diver

The lead single, sitting at 130.6 million streams on Spotify.

It’s “Heaven And Hell” re-cut in a new way.

How good is that groove from Appice and Bain under the iconic riff?

Vocally, Dio is fantastic and the guitar solo from Campbell is shredalicious.

Foo Fighters used it in the pre-chorus of their song “Something From Nothing”.

Gypsy

“LA Connection” comes to mind.

And the solo from Campbell is a standout.

Caught In The Middle

As soon as the opening chords ring out I was all in.

Looking inside of yourself
You might see someone you don’t know
Maybe it’s just what you need
Letting the river in you flow

And the song goes verse and pre, then verse and pre, so when the Chorus comes in it’s well worth the wait.

You’re caught in the middle
Just like the way you’ve always been
Caught in the middle
Helpless again

And how good is Dio’s ad-libing in the outro.

Don’t Talk To Strangers

The acoustic Intro. It’s enough for me to like it.

And the song percolates for a minute before the speed metal riff kicks in. If that fast riff sounds familiar, it should as they reused it again for “We Rock”.

This style of songwriting would also be used to perfection with “The Last In Line”.

The lead break is one of my favorites. It goes on for a while but I wanted it to go on longer.

And the song is then back to the acoustic intro before the speed metal “We Rock” riff kicks in to close it out.

Straight Through The Heart

I like the groove on this and the lead break from Campbell is another killer, especially towards the end of it when he harmonizes.

Invisible

A rewrite of “Straight Through The Heart”.

It wasn’t doing anything for me and then at 2.28, this Heaven and Hell like groove kicked in and Campbell is soloing over it and I’m playing air guitar to it and head banging.

Rainbow In The Dark

Sitting at 107.7 million streams on Spotify.

“Holy Diver” and “Stand Up And Shout” warmed up the fan base but it was “Rainbow In The Dark” that mobilised them and sealed the deal.

Dio is using the term rainbow as an analogy for a “light” in the dark.

Shame On The Night

The song is like “Sign of The Southern Cross”.

But it’s the ascending outro that rocks. I’m ready to take up arms and go to war.

This album unleased a new guitar hero in Vivian Campbell. But he would go on to leave the band bitterly. Only to join Whitesnake as a touring guitarist, then leave when David Coverdale told him he only wanted to write with Adrian Vandenberg, to Shadow King and then Riverdogs, before grabbing the Def Leppard gig in the 90’s.

Dio also knew how long an album should be.

“Heaven And Hell” is 39 minutes long and “Mob Rules” is 40 minutes. “Holy Diver” is at 42 minutes.

You don’t need 60 to 90 minutes’ worth of new music to be released at one time every two to three years. People don’t have spare hours. They have spare minutes. Release 30 to 40 minutes of new music on a frequent basis.

And Ronnie James Dio did exactly just that.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2020 On Spotify

It’s no surprise that the decade I listened to most on Spotify was the 80s. And “Stormwind” from Europe is my most listened to track from that decade.

I also didn’t mind Podcasts this time around.

Bob Lefsetz had some great guests on his show that had some involvement in my favourite decade like Bob Rock, Bob Ezrin, Derek Schulman, Joe Bonamassa, Lawrence Lessig and Desmond Child.

There is a Tom Werman interview that just came a few days ago which I will be checking out because a lot of artists like Nikki Sixx and Dee Snider had their say on their time with Werman but Werman has remained quiet.

My top song for the year was “Moon Of Forever” from an Australian act called Free Spirits Rising. I didn’t know it but I played it 835 times.

Actually my top 5 listened songs on Spotify came from Free Spirits Rising.

I discovered 278 new genres this year

But the main ones are;

And I discovered 289 new artists.

These new 289 artists found their way into a list of 943 artists, I listened to throughout the year.

This is the problem that every artist right now is up against. Too much supply and the history of music at our fingertips.

When I was purchasing music heavily and listening to music at home, I would probably have less than 10 new artists come into my life and no more than 50 artists throughout the year that I would listen too.

The top 5 of these artists are made up of;

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Feed The Copyright

It’s not even funny how much money the legal fraternity makes from music and Copyright issues. The legal teams of labels, artists and the heirs of artists make money from Copyright disputes. The legal teams of the same group make money from just representing those groups in contract negotiations and so forth.

But depending on what you read, streaming services are the problem because they don’t pay enough. Because these services also make money. While the streaming companies are running at a loss, the value of the people at the top of the Executive doesn’t diminish and their stock value is high.

Everyone is making money from so many different things except the artist. But it’s the artist who creates the content that engages with a person, who then becomes a fan and decides to spend their money on the artist.

This is what happens when artists are never allowed to be in the negotiation room when legislation is being drawn up.

When Corporations like the record labels are involved in the negotiations with their list of politicians on their payroll, well legislation looks very one sided. And when the labels get artists involved like Sonny Bono, these artists gets a handsome payday from the labels for their involvement which is probably a lot more than they would get from sales or even streams of their recorded music at that point in time.

So artists are now waiting for a judge to clarify whether they can reclaim their rights from record labels, even though the Copyright legislation states that they can.

The labels are digging deep with their counter arguments to prove that the termination requests are invalid. There best one is to say that the songs are “works for hire” which means that the label was an employer and the artist an employee, however the label didn’t meet any commitments that an employer needs to meet to be classed as an employer like annual leave, long service leave, sick leave, retirement pension contributions and yearly review of said salary and bonuses and so forth.

And the lawyers make even more money.

Remember when the streaming bodies disagreed with the Copyright Royalty Board on the new rates they need to pay to songwriters for streaming.

Well this disagreement went to an Appeals Tribunal and it’s all going back to the Copyright Royalty Board to renegotiate/review and to be a bit more transparent as to how the CRB do things or come up with things. Of course, this will be another public relations nightmare for Spotify, but then again they are the labels biggest client.

And it’s more money from the artists diverted to lawyers.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Streaming x3

Did you see the numbers at Universal?

For the first half of the year, recorded-music revenue reached €2.77 billion ($3.27 billion, up 3.7%), boosted once again primarily by a rise in streaming revenue (€1.81 billion/$2.14 billion, up 12.4%) that offset declines in physical sales (down 22.4%) and digital downloads (down 23.1%).

$2 billion in streaming revenue went to Universal Music Group for the first six months. That’s a lot of coin.

You know who is the labels biggest customer.

It’s Spotify.

If Spotify is the enemy, why have recorded music revenues increased?

How much of those streaming monies went to the artists, well that’s another story?

Only Universal has the answer for that?

Blabbermouth and Loudwire have seized on the tweets from artists and are running with it. It always gets eyeballs and people commenting which sells ads on those sites. But Blabbermouth or Loudwire don’t take a stance either way on the issue, which is shit journalism. Or it’s basically PR journalism.

For a different view, Bob Lefsetz summed it up nicely here and here. And he’s a music fan like all of us who owns physical and likes to stream.

Streaming tells us how big the artist really is and if people are really listening to their music.

And music is a lottery. No one is entitled to make a living from it or to keep making a living from it.

And for the ones who claim no one is buying physical anymore, Taylor Swift just moved 600K in the US of her recent album for one week. So people are buying, but their just not interested in what other artists are selling.

And let’s put some context around what’s happening .

Queen is Number 1 on the list of artists for the Top 40 Most Streamed Artists in the Hard Rock/Metal/Punk, Etc. for the period July 24, 2020 – July 30, 2020 from the site StreamNDestroy..

Queen has 22M streams for “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The data is compiled from a Rolling Stone list which features all genres.

On that list, Queen is actually sitting at Number 63. A long way away from number 1. And the 22 million streams from Queen are dwarfed by Taylor Swift at 300 plus million streams for a week.

What I see is a 44 year old song still earn a lot of coin when once upon a time it was only earning monies from radio plays. And this song will keep earning monies forever and a day, as long as people listen to it.

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