Copyright, Music, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime

A telephone rings twice.   Nikki walks over to the phone and picks it up.
“Hello,” answers Nikki.
“Mindcrime, Mindcrime,” is the reply from the other end.
The music behind it sounds sinister.  In a panic, Nikki hangs up.  He is disorientated.  The words are strange and yet familiar.  His hands are shaking.  The phone rings again.  Don’t pick it up he tells himself.  Don’t do it.  What he is thinking and what he is doing are two different things.  They are out of sync.  He picks up the phone…

I added the above, in an attempt to describe how Operation Mindcrime (the song) begins.  It is a song written by Chris DeGarmo, Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.  To be fair to Wilton, he has had his share in co-writing some Queensryche classics (Empire is one song that comes to mind immediately), however compared to the quality output of DeGarmo, it pales. 

In order to explain where Operation Mindcrime (the song) fits into the story arc, I need to back track a little bit.  Nikki, is a heroin addict who is manipulated into joining an underground organization dedicated to revolution (this is the Revolution Calling song).  At the head of this organization is Dr. X, a man who manipulated Nikki by feeding his heroin addiction, while at the same time brainwashing him in the process.  Whenever Dr. X says the word “Mindcrime” Nikki becomes his servant, his puppet, a catatonic mental state which Dr. X uses to his advantage, by commanding Nikki to undertake any murder that the Doctor wishes.

It just takes a minute
And you’ll feel no pain
Gotta make something of your life boy
Give me one more vein
You’ve come to see the doctor
Cause I’ll show you the cure
I’m gonna take away the questions
Yeah I’m gonna make you sure

A hit man for the order
When you couldn’t go to school
Had a skin job for a hair-do
Yeah you looked pretty cool
Had a habit doing mainline
Watch the dragon burn
No regrets, you’ve got no goals
Nothing more to learn

Story telling in music.  This song came out in 1988.  How relevant does it sound today.  Just think of all the current Islamic terrorists.  They are normal kids, from poor backgrounds, that are all looking for a place where they can belong.  They are perfect prey for the religious demi gods looking to turn them into weapons, to turn them into puppets and servants, so that they carry out their bidding. 

Here’s a gun take it home
Wait by the phone
We’ll send someone over
To bring you what you need
You’re a one man death machine
Make this city bleed

How many cities have bled from the actions of a few individuals.  Operation Mindcrime deals with death by assassination, in real life, death by terror is what we are confronted with. 

As much as Operation Mindcrime is a story, you can go as far as to call it a prophecy.  A vision of a future where the democratic governments, become far from democratic.  Where our Government elected officials serve the Corporations, instead of the people that voted them in.  The lyrics in Speak state the same, “the rich control the government, the media the law”. 

These days, people do more jail time and pay more fines for Copyright infringements, then people smugglers, then drug smugglers, then murderers and rapists do.   How can that be so?  The answer is easy.  Copyright is controlled by the Corporations, and who do the Corporations control, the Government.  The Government even granted the Corporations a Government granted monopoly. 

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Undivided – Another classic Bon Jovi song waiting to be discovered

This is what music is about, writing about experiences. September 11, 2001 changed everyone. That event changed everything. For those that saw it, we felt fragile and we felt afraid. This lead to anger. We wanted revenge.

Undivided was written by Bon Jovi, Sambora and Billy Falcon. Falcon actually pops up on a lot of Bon Jovi songs that have been missed. Falcon was an artist who really hadn’t released anything worthwhile, until Jon signed him to a deal with Jambco Records. Does anyone remember that label? Jambco was a record label started by Jon Bon Jovi, under Mercury Records in the late 80’s. I remember it released Aldo Nova’s – Blood on The Bricks and Billy Falcon’s – Pretty Blue World. Both albums did nothing. Aldo Nova couldn’t capture the magic from the Fantasy album, even though JBJ co wrote all the songs on the album, and even produced the album. In the case of Falcon, all the songs were written by Falcon, with JBJ co producing. In the end even JBJ’s name couldn’t get it to sell.

Undivided is probably the heaviest song Bon Jovi has recorded. The producer was Luke Ebbin (who was introduced to JBJ by A&R legend John Kalodner) and the song was originally called One. For those that don’t know, John Kalodner was the guy that broke Whitesnake in the US and relaunched Aerosmith in the 80’s (both via Geffen Records). He also signed Foreigner and AC/DC to Atlantic Records in the seventies.

They should have kept the One song title. Maybe they thought One belonged to U2. The stomping groove grabs you from the outset. Its mean and its angry and you can feel it coming out of the speakers that way.

That was my brother lost in the rubble
That was my sister lost in the crush
That was our mothers, those were our children
That was our fathers, that was each one of us
A million prayers to God above
A million tears make an ocean of

It could relate to anything, a terrorist attack, a war front, a natural disaster. The message here is to stick together. We can rise back up, but we can’t do it alone. We need each other. We need to do it together. Even though we are connected to each other 24/7, we are alone. We don’t stick together anymore.

I found spirit; they couldn’t ruin it
I found courage in the smoke and dust
I found faith in the songs you silenced
Deep down it’s ringing out in each of us

I know that this song is about the twin towers. When I listened to the song back in 2002 that was not how I related to it. Being from Australia, the Bali Bombings happened on the 12 October 2002, and the Bounce album was released on the 6 October 2002. This song to me is about Bali. I even wrote a song called Mourning Sun, about the two terrorist acts.

When people are hurting they turn to music. All the fund-raising is aided by musical benefit concerts and compilation albums. When I couldn’t make sense of what was happening in the world I turned to music.

Hearing this song again in this day and age, one day we will stand as one against the copyright maximalist, against the greedy politicians and the lobby groups that influence them, against crime and violence in the family. One day Bon Jovi will release another song as powerful as Undivided, instead of the C Grade elevator music they released with What About Now.

For those that don’t know, here it is

For those that know it, revisit it, put it in your mp3 player and spread the word on it.