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

The Way It Is

This song was great on “The Great Radio Controversy” and it was even greater on “Five Man Acoustical Jam”, the surprise hit album which was the inspiration for MTV “Unplugged”. But then again, so many other artists claim that “Unplugged” title as well.

It was the “Five Man Acoustical Jam” and their cover of “Signs” which got Tesla some mainstream press here in Australia and made us early fans say, “I told you so” to all of the detractors who called them Aerosmith copycats.

For me, “The Great Radio Controversy” is a special album. I learned every riff and every lick on it and one of my favorites to play was “The Way It Is”.

I love the movement of the major chords, the D major chord with the F# note then moves to the F major chord, so it has this cleansing chromatic effect and then it moves to the G major chord before it comes back to D major chord. It’s very Credence Clearwater Revival and Southern Rock”ish”.

The simple solo to kick it all off in the intro which is repeated again in the main solo.

The way it is
The way that it goes
Happening day after day
The way it is
The way that it goes
Working in the strangest ways

Right know we can’t leave home unless it’s for something essential. That’s the way it is.

Taking it day by day in a strange new world.

And the song is full of little lead breaks and the outro has the guitars wailing while Jeff Keith keeps singing, do you believe.

And I did believe.

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

Lazy Days, Crazy Nights

It pisses me off that “The Great Radio Controversy” has been removed from Spotify Australia but “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights” is still available via the “Gold” compilation album. But so many other good songs are not available.

How good is the intro?

It’s a simply Amadd9 to Cmaj7 chord progression over a static and ringing fretted E and open B note. It sounds heavy, because of its dirgey groove. Bands like Alice In Chains built a career with grooves like these.

I’m feelin’ so much better, but not quite feelin’ fine

We are unique creatures. overwhelmed by choice. The internet keeps us connected forever. We see a feed or a post on social media and we think someone is having or living a better life than us. So we sit down, set goals for ourselves and we feel great. And then we achieve what we set out to do and then set new goals. The cycle keeps repeating and we think we are so much better, but we still feel a bit uneasy.

Now, I’ve got to get my shit together,

Do we ever get our act together?

We like to think so, but in reality all we do is replace one thing with another. One paid debt is replaced by another. One relationship is superseded or replaced by another. One addiction is replaced by another. Knowledge we accumulated 10 years ago is replaced by new knowledge from now.

Then the Chorus riff rolls around and it’s a 101 lesson in how to write hard rock riffs, as it boogies between the A to G notes that so many songs of the era used.

But I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

I like the night. I am in my element and I feel creative when night rolls around. When I was unemployed, I used to sleep in. It’s why Slaughter’s “Up All Night” resonated with me.

The problem for me now, is that my days are not so lazy anymore. They are so crazy that my nights start to become a snooze fest because of tiredness. Getting older it’s more like “crazy days and sleepy nights, it’s my way, it’s my life”.

Regardless, hearing those lines when I was younger, it made me want to sing-along and scream those words at the top of my lungs.

I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

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

Love Song

Tesla followed up their debut album “Mechanical Resonance” with “The Great Radio Controversy”. And there isn’t a song on the album that I wouldn’t listen to today. It’s consistent with some big songs thrown in the mix. “Hang Tough” brings the metal, “Heavens Trail” brings the acoustic slide guitar, “The Way It Is” brings the Southern Rock, “Paradise” brings the progressive 70s style of song writing to the fore and then there is “Love Song”.

The album was on Spotify Australia, and when 2020 started, it was off. I don’t understand why artists or their labels would remove or even withhold their music from streaming services. And “Psychotic Supper” has never been on Spotify Australia. At this point in time, this is the Tesla catalogue on Spotify Australia;

  • 1986 – Mechanical Resonance
  • 1990 – Five Man Acoustical Jam
  • 2001 – RePlugged Live
  • 2007 – Real To Reel Vol.1
  • 2007 – Real to Reel Vol.2
  • 2008 – Forever More
  • 2008 – Gold
  • 2010 – Alive In Europe!
  • 2011 – Twisted Wires
  • 2014 – Simplicity
  • 2016 – Mechanical Resonance Live
  • 2019 – Shock

Yes, there is a lot of music there, but my favourite albums are the first four, which I have on vinyl and CD, but when you are out and about, those two mediums don’t cut it. YouTube has them, but not Spotify Australia. It’s insane.

Anyway, my 13 year old has been playing “Love Song” on the acoustic guitar for a while (he’s been listening to it on Spotify because the song is on the “Gold” compilation) and I’ve overdosed on it again, in the same way I did when the song came out. I spent time learning the song and its Randy Rhoads inspired acoustic intro.

Its written by Jeff Keith and Frank Hannon.

Actually Frank Hannon is one of the most underrated guitar heroes ever. Hannon’s grasp of 60’s Rock like The Beatles and Rolling Stones, 70’s rock like Aerosmith and Styx and Kiss, Southern Rock like The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet and Lynyrd Skynyrd, 80’s rock and metal, rhythm and blues, plus technical shredding is impressive and makes him a complete player. An MVP to have in your team.  Of course there was also Tommy Skeoch who could also play.

Once that acoustic intro is over, there is a D pedal point ringing throughout, while Hannon plays diads on the high B and E strings.

So you think that it’s over
That your love has finally reached the end
Any time you call, night or day
I’ll be right there for you when you need a friend, yeah

You see, love is not just what you do in bed. It’s a person to laugh with, a person to challenge you and offer different viewpoints, a person to share experiences with, a person to be there for you, a person to listen and a person to help you be a better version of who you are.

Love is all around you, yeah
Love is knocking’ outside your door
Waiting’ for you is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I know

Damn right, but people don’t know it or refuse to see it, because they have seen love involving roses, fancy trips and so many other dollar crunching events. But the truth is, love is free. It doesn’t really cost anything. And if you are alone in your house, feeling lonely, well guess what, there is another like you, looking for a connection.

So ignore all the social media friends who boast about how great their life is, because the cold hard truth is this, every single one of us in insecure.

Then the first guitar solo begins. A lot of people talk up the “November Rain” solos from Slash, but goddamn, Frank Hannon delivers here a solo full of emotion, vocal melodies and perfect phrasing.

And the ending begins about love finding a way back to you. It always does. Then another solo begins under the vocal melody. It doesn’t take away from it, it supplements it.

And this song keeps finding a way back to me.

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

The Pirate Vault #7

Twisted Sister – Love Is For Suckers
Whitesnake – Whitesnake

This was my favorite cassette for a long time.

The Whitesnake album is so ear pleasing with its guitar heaviness and as much as “Love Is For Suckers” gets ignored by Jay Jay French and Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, as no songs appeared in a live setting after Twisted Sister reformed, the opening track, Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant) is as good as all of the big songs from the previous albums.

Tesla – The Great Radio Controversy
Stryper Mix to fill up B side

This tape got played to death because I had so much fun learning the Tesla album, especially songs like “Hang Tough”, “Lady Luck”, “Makin Magic”, “Love Song”, “Paradise” and “Flight To Nowhere”.

Bon Jovi – Live On Tour plus Roxus and Paula Abdul
Babylon AD – Babylon AD

Side A had many re-tapes and I can’t even remember what I dubbed over.

And I don’t know why I thought I needed the “Live On Tour” EP on a cassette, “Stand Back” from Roxus was copied from a single I had to fill out the side and the Paula Abdul tracks were copied because a band I was in, wanted to rockify the songs and cover em. But they sounded lame so they never went past the first rehearsal.

And the debut Babylon AD album is a great album, full of riffs, melodic leads and great melodies which lift with the arena rock choruses. It’s commercial performance didn’t match the performances on the tape.

Mix Tape With No Name

I always enjoyed doing these kind of mix tapes.

Side A

Aimee – Ozzy Osbourne (B side)

The Ozmosis album had so many writers and false starts, it was no surprise that Ozzy had a lot of songs left over. This is one of them.

Love Will Keep Us Alive – The Eagles

This from the “Hell Freezes Over” CD. Timothy B Schmidt nails the vocal.

Mother Mary – Heydey

Ross The Boss left Manowar and formed a hard rock band with heaps of melody, but it was too late as the marketing teams and labels abandoned the genre.

Can’t Stop Loving You – Van Halen

Yeah I know it’s pop rock all the way, but it’s EVH which makes the difference and his unique take on simple progressions.

Until It Sleeps – Metallica

The power in this song is undeniable. You don’t need super distorted guitars to sound heavy. The melancholy verses with the abrasive choruses blend perfectly, a reversal of what they did for “The Unforgiven”.

Under A Mourning Star – Conception

From Norway, I got into them because the record store guy told me they are similar to Dream Theater.,

Eve – Dream Theater (B side)

An instrumental full of moods and melancholy which never gets boring.

Deliver Me – Def Leppard

“Slang” gets no love, it’s like it doesn’t exist. But it’s a good album.

Disarm – Smashing Pumpkins

I love this song in its simplicity and delivery.

Side B

While Side A was more 90s releases, side B is more in line with the 80s and 70s.

The Final Countdown – Europe

That keyboard riff.

Out In The Fields – Gary Moore

A duet with Phil Lynott and the guitar lead during the Chorus.

Limelight – Rush

The guitar solo from Lifeson is worthy.

Speak For Yourself – Gary Moore

The speed of the riffs and the lyrical references to being true to yourself.

Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas

This song will never get old. And those riffs in the intro make me pick up the guitar to play along.

Holy Diver – Dio

Ronnie James Dio. Enough said.

In The Beginning – Emerson, Lake, Palmer

For all of their intricate and progressive songs, their fan base was built on the backs of their simple songs.

Manhattan Project – Rush

A song about the US building the atomic bomb getting the Rush treatment.

Wishing Well – Free

So many bands covered it, but no one got the swingy R&B vibe of the original. Paul Kossoff died way too young and the world lost an unbelievable guitar talent.

Angra – Holy Land
Angra – Angels Cry

A band from Brazil that featured the future Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who also co-founded the band.

And their music is more Dream Theater like the “When Dream and Day Unite” album, focusing on progressive time signatures in a power metal setting.

King Diamond – The Dark Sides
Metallica – Creeping Death (EP)
Ratt – Detonator

I really like “Detonator” from Ratt. It’s such a good album and a perfect evolutionary step for the band. But like all things in the 90s, too little too late.

And King Diamond just kept on appearing in my collection because of the guitar playing of Andy LaRocque.

Metallica – ReLoad

My neighbor purchased it and copied it for me. It’s his writing you see here.

And I didn’t know if I liked it but I kept on playing it because it’s Metallica and suddenly songs like “Prince Charming” And “Fixxer” hooked me.

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

2019 – Part 2

The year in review continues.

The “Feral Roots” Album
Rival Sons

Album number six. They started off the release cycle in 2018, by dropping four or so songs that got me interested.

And after the album dropped I started saving songs like “Do Your Worst”, “Sugar On The Bone”, “Back In The Woods”, “Look Away”, “Feral Roots”, “Too Bad” and “Shooting Stars”.

In other words, the majority of the album, took me by the throat the same way the dog on the cover would if it got a hold of me. And the earlier Rival Sons albums didn’t grab me like this one.

It’s like they did a deal with the devil at the crossroads. Even the opening lyric to “Do Your Worst” introduces the devil by saying, “see that stranger coming up the hill, though you don’t recognize him, I know your preacher will.”

Burn
Testament
War
Corroded

Another band from Sweden who write music in a way that I like and can easily relate to. And they have been doing this since 2004 and releasing albums since 2009.

The “Bitter” album is basically loud, aggressive and heavy and people who read this blog know that I have covered Corroded previously.

The Gathering
The Runaway
Gathering of Kings

The “First Mission” album is like a who’s who of melodic rock artists around Europe and “The Runaway” stands out to me because of Bjorn Strid doing some impressive vocals.

Home
Horizon Ignited

From the album “After The Storm”.

I haven’t heard the album yet and I probably won’t at this point in time, however “Home” did come up on a Release Radar playlist and it was good enough to get added to my 2019 list. And I’ve been listening to this song for most of the year, but I know nothing about the band.

So Google tells me they are from Finland, with melodic and death metal influences.

There’s no light beneath the waves, the silence feels like home

Evergrey’s Tom Englund is very big on using water as a metaphor or analogy to convey a feeling and Horizon Ignited are no different, finding comfort at the bottom of the ocean.

Fall Into The Light
Dream Theater 

From the “Distance Over Time” album

It’s probably my least favourite Dream Theater album, but this song has all the things I like about Dream Theater. Killer riffs, frantic drumming, emotional guitar solos and that outro solo with its sweep string skipping is finger breaking.

Never Let You Go
DeVicious

From the “Reflections” album. They are a band based in Germany with German and Serbian members. This song is a duet with Norwegian singer, Age Sten Nilsen from melodic rock bands, Wig Wam and Ammunition.

Mettavolution
Battery
Rodrigo y Gabriela

From when they released there self-titled album in 2006, I have been a fan. I enjoyed their “11:11” album in 2009, their Area 52 band style project in 2012 and their “9 Dead Alive” album in 2014.

Basically I like the shit they create.

And “Mettavolution” is the title track of an album that has them covering Pink Floyd’s 19 minute “Echoes” song plus there is a bonus cover of “Battery” from Metallica. If you are fan of Metallica, you will be pleased of the acoustic rendition, because Gabriela is so percussive in her style, she covers the drum feel along with the rhythm guitars so easily, it allows Rodrigo to flourish the song with the vocal melodies and everything else melodic.

Break These Chains
The Brink

From England and signed to Frontiers “New Breed” roster. And their sound is like the glam rockers of the past and their names mimic the past names as well, like Izzy Trixx, Lexi Laine and Tom Quick.

Break the chains that bind you I say.

Radio Song
Buckcherry

Buckcherry have been going since 1995.

Each album has a song or two which gets me interested and on the “Warpaint” album, “Radio Song” is a ballad about time slipping away and looking for you’re an escape, while you hear the radio playing your favourite song, so you turn it up and have some fun.

Shock
Tesla

One of my favourite acts. Their first four albums became so influential to me, in my song writing, plus the interviews of Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch spoke of influences I didn’t really know of, so based on their recommendations, I brightened my musical horizons.

Blood In Blood Out
Mustasch

Another band from Sweden, which I have mentioned before in my yearly write ups. They are basically dudes wearing moustaches with some serious musical ability to craft aggressive, abrasive, metallic and melodic rock songs.

I was born to be defiant

It’s the lifestyle of a metal head.

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

The Pirate Vault #1

Remember when the Recording Industry spent money on advertising stating that “home taping would kill the industry” and they wanted cassettes removed from sale, only to realize that once they started producing music onto cassettes, another revenue stream became available.

Sound familiar. Streaming is bad. Let’s ban it. Wait a minute, let’s work with it and wow, look at our profit lines.

Cinderella – “Night Songs” and Pearl Jam – “Vs

There was another band on Side 2 which I overdubbed for Pearl Jam’s second album. I can’t even remember the name of the band.

And I couldn’t have overdubbed Cinderella because I didn’t buy the “Night Songs” LP until the 90s, via the second hand shops.

“Night Songs” came from my cousin Mega around 1987 and “Vs” came from a drummer in a band I was in.

WASP – “The Headless Children” and Twisted Sister – “Ruff Cutts”

My cousin Mega was again my point of reference here. “The Headless Children” is a massive album from WASP, one of their best.

And Mega has the TS logo on his arm.

At this point in time he also found the very rare and hard to find “Ruff Cutts” from Twisted Sister so it was a no brainer to tape that, purely for the rawness of the sound.

And the beauty of a 90 cassette meant that I had 45 minutes available on each side.

Which I filled up by other artists at separate points in time.

In this case I added “Out In The Fields” by Gary Moore, then at some point I added “Anybody Listening” the band version by Queensryche and “Seasons” from Badlands.

Tesla – Mechanical Resonance And Kansas – Point Of No Return

I taped these ones myself from the LPs so I could play the cassette on the Walkman. Remember those.

And I added a couple of Kansas tracks from the 80s at the end.

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

Daily Mix

My Spotify daily mix was full of niceties today. It started me off in 1994 (Motley Crue), went back to 1986 (Van Halen), then to 1987 (Whitesnake), then back to 1986 (Tesla), then back to 1988 (Europe), then back to 1987 (Dio and Twisted Sister), 1991 (Skid Row) and back to 1987 (Great White)

Power To The Music

The Motley Corabi line up kicks off my day. Tommy Lee kills it behind the kit as he grooves this song to perfection. The self-titled album is the forgotten album in the Motley Crue revisionist history. It’s like 1993 to 1996 never happened.

Power To The Music
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
They gotta put a bullet in my head if they want to keep me down

When I first heard this song, the message was load and clear. The record labels might have put their support behind new musical movements, but rock music was far from dead.

Good Enough

“Hello baby”, screams Sammy, before the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony thunder in and Sammy starts singing about how a fine woman is like U.S prime grade beef. Totally 80’s and totally male.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

Don’t Turn Away

It’s a forgotten song from the mega selling 1987 album. I love it because of the up tempo ending. It reminds me of the ending of “Still Of The Night” and you don’t want it to end.

Rock Me To The Top

Tesla’s music to me is timeless. It doesn’t sound dated or tied to a particular era. Yeah, I know they got lumped in with the Sunset Strip bands, but Tesla was so much more. And they proved it in the 90’s, when all of the Sunset Strip bands got dropped, Tesla continued to make records and tour to great success. They took risks and backed themselves to deliver acoustically. Not a lot of bands could have done that to the quality Tesla did.

“Rock Me To The Top” is written by vocalist Jeff Keith and estranged guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The riff is foot stomping hard rock to a tee.

I’ll take command, take control
Now I see you comin’ back for more
I see you like it, but you don’t need it
Ooh you wanna feel it

Yep, I’m pretty sure Jeff Keith is singing about driving a car.

Sign Of The Times

That keyboard riff is as iconic as “The Final Countdown” riff. It’s a tragedy the song is not well known.

All The Fools Sailed Away

What a voice? Rest in peace Ronnie James Dio, you’ll be forever missed.

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals; it’s time to sing along.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the have and the have nots.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)

It’s another anthem for the SMF’s, the black sheep and the down trodden to wake up and stand together against corruption and oppression.

Who the hell are they to say?
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

It’s the war cry against censorship. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Slave To The Grind

It’s the thrash metal title track from album number 2, which went straight to number 1 on release. Skid Row could do no wrong musically, even though the internal politics and bickering between Bach and Bolan/Sabo had reached Don Dokken/George Lynch volume levels.

Rock Me

After a few verses, I was thinking what’s next and then the Chorus kicked in. I became a fan instantly.

Rock me, rock me, roll me through the night

Today two versions exist, Jack Russell’s Great White and Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. And unfortunately, they are more remembered recently for the Station nightclub fire in 2003 that killed a lot of their fans when pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

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