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

Brian Wheat on Lefsetz

Here is the link to the Spotify podcast.

We are all flawed. As fans of music, we used to see our favourite artists as indestructible and confident, free of any issues and ailments and worries.

And then the books started coming and we started to read that was never the case.

They all suffer from confidence issues, fearful of their next step and they cope with various health and growing up issues by medicating themselves via illegal drugs, alcohols or prescriptions.

Brian Wheat has health issues and he’s had them for a long time. And you wouldn’t even know he had any issues. On stage, he always smiled and rocked out.

A lot of ground is covered.

Wheat talks about how Tesla make more money now than what they did on Geffen Records. “Mechanical Resonance” sold a lot and they didn’t make no money, because they were naïve.

They thought that when David Geffen and his team did something for them, it was out of the goodness of their hearts. But the labels don’t do anything without charging for it and the band was in debt.

He talks about Cliff Burnstein, Peter Mensch and Tom Zutuat and how Tesla wouldn’t be where they are today without them, but Burnstein didn’t want to work with them after they reformed, calling them a nostalgic act, in the early 2000’s.

Burnstein, Mensch and Zutuat didn’t want to put “Love Song” on the album. According to them, it was three songs in one song and it didn’t belong. The band stood their ground and they threatened to drop “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights” which was Burnstein’s favourite song.

But “Love Song” blew up (there was also a story there, about how the band and Burnstein had to go to Zutuat to get label budget approval to release another single as the first two singles bombed and the label was preparing to stop pushing the album).

And the band made sure they reminded management and the label about “Love Song” whenever they disagreed on things.

Wheat said that Tesla was difficult for Q Prime to manage because they were sort of a B Level band, as Tesla never got to the level of success of Def Leppard, Metallica and Guns N Roses.

The Tesla break-up is discussed which was strange to listen to as they just made a new deal with Geffen, released “Bust A Nut”, they toured hard and it went Gold, but it wasn’t platinum and they heard along the grapevine that Geffen was going to drop em. Burnstein even said to em, “that they are done. Their career is over.”

And I’m like “wow”. Even though there’s a cult like fan base for the band, the label and management decided that it’s over. Tesla is a working band. They make their money, on the road.

But the band already had some issues with each other and as soon as they lost label and management support they went on hiatus for 5 years.

And during that time Wheat had no money.

He got some publishing money but in order to survive he had to mortgage his house and hustle with others to produce bands and do demos. Jeff Keith even got a job as a DJ in a strip club, Frank Hannon was landscaping and Troy Lucketta was roofing.

Because Tesla’s bread and butter is the live arena.

Wheat talks about his relationships, his friendship with Ross Halfin, his small label to help young bands, his recording studio and actually being the son of the milkman.

Give it a listen.

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

Modern Day Cowboy

The cowboys were alive and well in the 80’s.

Hard Rock bands really went to town with the cowboy spirit and swagger. Their motorbikes became their trusted horses.

It all started a decade before.

Bad Company told us how bad it was to hang with misfits who would ride into town and shake things up. Thin Lizzy wrote “The Cowboy Song” and the Eagles wrote “Desperado”. Aerosmith showed how easy it was to get “Back In The Saddle”.

Stephen Pearcy told us he was a “Wanted Man”. And in 1986, Bon Jovi was “Wanted Dead or Alive”, a cowboy analogy for life as a touring musician and the piece d resistance came from the modern day cowboys known as Tesla.

“Modern Day Cowboy” is from their debut album “Mechanical Resonance”.

It didn’t really make an impact in Australia however it’s totally solid. If you want to go deep into the album, listen to “Changes,” “Little Suzi” and “Cumin’ Atcha Live.” Actually listen to the whole damn thing.

Jeff Keith is a good singer. He probably didn’t have the rap sheet or the dealer sheet as some of the other vocalists from the bands of his era nor did he have the three octave ranges of other vocalists. What he had was life experiences and musicians who could move between southern rock, classic rock, classic metal and hard rock effortlessly.

The quick hammer on licks to kick off the song is Randy Rhoads, similar to a solo lick he does in “Mr Crowley”, but Hannon and Skeoch morphed it into a riff.

Then the main riff is classic “Sunset Strip” and a big reason why it resonated with punters. It’s simple in its structure, moving from A5 to F5 to G5.

Then that acoustic Am riff in the verses is inspired from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Whitesnake would incorporate a similar Am riff for “Judgement Day” a few years later.

Then when the verse riff picks up to hard rock, it’s got this Dokken feel. And we get to hear about a stormy night under jet black skies as Billy pulled into town, looking for a fight and of course there was another man, also feeling the same way. Bang, bang…

It’s a showdown, in a no-man’s land
For the cowboy of the modern day

The solo starts off with a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, (I know, leave it to musicians to have a guitar term associated with sex). And then it goes into this Am to F to G arpeggio lick, which is very Randy Rhoads like in its structure and composition. Then it moves into Joe Perry style bends before coming back to some Ritchie Blackmore style of phrasing, more shred, some classic rock soloing and some more hammer ons and pull offs to finish off the solo section I didn’t want to end.

And then we are told about foreign lands with their terrorist demands pushing their useless cause which makes good people hurt. And the USA and the USSR still tried to out talk each other with who had the biggest penis (missiles) size.

Bang Bang.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Forgotten 80s List Part 3

Here is the playlist.

Forgotten songs from the Eighties are still on my mind. Here is another list of songs that should end up on your playlist one way or another.

The problem with the below songs is they were dwarfed by other “MTV” single songs or just bad promotion from the record label.

Out On The Streets
King Of The Fools

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister knew which road they needed to take to make it. Now that they made it, what was next? Which road should they take? Bob Ezrin was approached to produce the album and after hearing the demos he didn’t hear a hit, so he passed. Hindsight and the passage of time points to Dee losing his way and anger at the world, but to me, the songs on “Come Out and Play” (except for “Leader” and “Be Cruel”) are as strong as the songs on “Stay Hungry”.

I believe it was poor record label decisions to release “Leader of the Pack” as the opening single. And to be honest “Be Cruel to Your School” is one of the weaker tracks on the album for me and never should have been a single.

“Come Out And Play”, “The Fire Still Burns” and “I Believe In Rock’N’Roll” are favourites of mine from the album and they got played live. “Out On The Streets” and the bonus track “King Of The Fools” do not get any love, hence they are on this list.

I’ve always dug a song that starts off with bass and drums. Then the vocal melody kicks in and then the guitars. “Lost Behind A Wall” from Dokken also comes to mind.

Searching for something in this human zoo
Kaleidoscope of faces, maybe, it might be you

I had to look up “kaleidoscope” in the dictionary. I had no idea what it meant. After I digested the meaning, it made the lyric even better.

Someone listen to my prayers
Can’t help feeling no one cares

The biggest fear is loneliness. We want someone to care for us, even more so for people who reached the top in their chosen field.

You’re out on the streets, living on your own

I’ve always taken this lyric to mean; away from home and the comforts of our loved ones. Look at any lyric from a rocker who spends a lot of time on the road touring and you will see how much it pains them. They turn to drugs as a supplement and sometimes when they are alone in their hotel room, away from everyone, their thoughts get the better of them.

My cousin Mega is a huge Twisted fan. He even tattooed the logo on his shoulder. So Mega had the album upon release, plus the VHS video. So I dubbed the LP on cassette and I also dubbed the VHS video onto a blank video tape until I had enough funds to purchase the original. So a few months after release, I purchased the LP. Many years later, well into the 90’s I came across a CD version of “Come Out And Play” via the second hand record shops. The almost faded sticker of “Bonus Track” was enough incentive. And “King Of the Fools” is that bonus track and man what a track it is.

The harmony guitars to kick it off, remind me of “Bringin On The Heartbreak” by Def Leppard. They sound epic, grand and they set the tone for a monster of a song that for some reason, the guys in the band nor the record label didn’t see fit to put on the normal album release. Sort of like how Bon Jovi left “Edge Of A Broken Heart” off the “Slippery When Wet” album and left “Social Disease” on it.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

We strive to make it, to be successful. And when we get there, we suddenly have people waiting to see what our next word will be, our next song and so forth. Suddenly doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. We turn to addictions to numb the pain. We want to be on the road, we want to be adored, we want to play shows, yet we don’t want to be away from our families.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (the institutions, the government, the mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the institutions. If the institutions see us as fools, then our idols are our Kings’.

Fight For Your Rights
Motley Crue

Sometimes it makes you wonder how a band with so many addictive personalities can get it together to churn out an album. “Theater of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” have a certain reputation as the “more filler” albums in Motley Crue’s 80’s output. It comes as no surprise that these “more filler” albums occurred at the height of the bands addictions.

But putting aside people’s viewpoints, each album has a few cult like gems. On a previous “Forgotten” post, I sang the praises of “Dancin On Glass” from the “Girls” album. On this post, “Fight For Your Rights” from the “Theater” album gets some love.

How good is the intro/verse riff?

Who wrote the Bible?
Who set the laws?
Are we left to history’s flaws?

We live in a world created by the religion institutions’ and the ones who control the wealth. And throughout the ages of times, documents got produced on how people should live. Eventually those documents became important to the detriment of any other document that challenged it.

Fight (fight) for your rights

Dee Snider turned up to the hearings against censorship, others wrote songs about it.

Martin Luther
Brought the truth
The color of our blood’s the same

So true. We all bleed red.

So break the chains
And solve the pains
And we all become one race

It’s easier said than done. These days it’s everybody against everybody. People of the same colour are against people of their own colour as well as people of different races. Then you have people against people because of religious beliefs or relationship preference. Then you have people against people because of social status. In my view, money is a bigger evil today.

Waiting For Darkness
Ozzy Osbourne

Even though Ozzy Osbourne is listed as the only songwriter, it’s well known that Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and Jake E. Lee along with Daisley wrote the music. The guitar playing is what hooked me onto this song. The palm muted staccato lines in the verses from Jake over a syncopated bass/drum groove is just brilliant. So once I unpacked the riffage, I started listening to the lyrics and the vocal melodies.

Waiting for darkness
Why doesn’t anybody see now?
Deafened by silence
Why doesn’t anybody hear?

It’s easy to place this lyric with the lifestyle of Ozzy. Due to his addictions and constant toxic state, you can imagine many days and nights spent in a drug induced darkness. Deafening silence means a lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm from those who surround you or love you. So you have Daisley writing about a darkness to come, and everybody is too busy to care. Sort of like how people don’t care how their private data is gathered and sold by the large internet corporations. Sort of like how people don’t care about net neutrality. Until it’s too late.

We’re hardwired to believe and understand the things we experience, so we experience the internet and we like it. But there is a battle happening over the control of the internet and people just don’t care.

I know what they’ll find
It’s in their mind
It’s what they want to see
Spare me from the light
Here comes the night
And here I’ll stay waiting for darkness

This is all about people who don’t care to see the truth. What they’ve been told from birth and from their tribe is what will remain with them forever.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how free I’m not. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”, “New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”.

That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll
AC/DC

From 1988’s “Blow Up Your Video” album. It was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Party gonna happen at the union hall
Shaking to the rhythm ’til everybody fall
Picking up my woman in my Chevrolet
Glory hallelujah, gonna rock the night away

The scene is set. We have Brian picking up his woman, to take her to a party at Union Hall and rock the night away until they fall.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again. The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” call to arms. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us.

Young Lust
Aerosmith

Like “Permanent Vacation” before it, “Pump” had some monster songs that stole all the glory like “Love In The Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “The Other Side” and “What It Takes”. And when that happens, it’s easy for songs to get lost or become forgotten. But “Young Lust” is the opener. In the minds of Tyler and Perry, it was good enough back then to open the god damn “Pump” album and today it gets no listens. To me, it’s just a pure party rock and roll anthem and Joey Kramer again goes to town on the drums, with his double kick underpinning the groove and tempo of the song.

A little bit o’ nasty
You look a little sleazy
But don’t get any on you

Is that what Bill said to Monica?

Young lust
Once you had it you can never go back

It’s totally wrong this lyric.

Checkin’ out the ladies
Who didn’t bring their boyfriends
Who love to get in trouble
I got to say I’ll see you later, meet me in the elevator

Tyler’s elevator fetish gets a prequel.

Young lust
I’m a-pushin’ and a-shovin’ it

Only Tyler can get away with lyrics like these.

One In A Million
Guns N Roses

This one is from the “Lies” EP released I think in 1989. I can Wikipedia it, but screw it, I’m running on fumes at the moment. I remember reading the stories about the “controversial” lyrics, especially the lines around “Immigrants and faggots” and “police and niggers”. But really, are the lyrics that controversial. There is always someone who gets upset at something. Basically, there is just no way one person/artist can make every single person in the world love them. It’s impossible.

Police and Niggers, that’s right
Get out of my way
Don’t need to buy none of your
Gold chains today

Is Axl a racist?

Maybe.

Is he trying to address some social ills with the verse above about a class divide?

Maybe.

You need to remember, this song came out in 1989 and there is a good chance the lyrics were written sometime in the 80’s. The L.A police during this period made a name for themselves as being pretty heavy when it came to dealing with citizens. And from the stories we kept seeing on the news, the police in L.A didn’t do themselves any favours. NWA wrote a cult classic about doing something with the police in LA. All of this bubbled to the surface when a video was released of the police beating Rodney King with clubs. What happened after that? Riots in L.A. A “Hooligan’s Holiday”. The nigger part is playing to a stereotype and a better word could have been used, but Axl was never about conforming.

You’re one in a million
Yeah, that’s what you are
You’re one in a million, babe
You’re a shooting star
Maybe someday we’ll see you
Before you make us cry
You know we tried to reach you
But you were much too high

The Chorus didn’t make much sense due to the extreme nature of the verses, but many years later it does. It’s basically saying, if you want to be a star, you are one of many in this world. And if you want your 15 minutes of fame, you are in competition with all of the problems of the world for people’s attention.

Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they’ll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran,
Or spread some disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It’s all Greek to me

What a verse?

Talk about moving a conversation forward. I remember reading how ignorant Axl is and what not because of this verse, but in the end he was speaking a truth that he saw.

Isn’t that the artists credo, to knock down doors and be yourself.

I am sure millions will agree with what Axl meant about “starting a mini Iran”. Each race has a small faction of people who are so far removed from the conversation, their ideology is the only way. The problem is when that race has 100 million people worldwide, 10% is a small faction as a percentage, but in people numbers it’s large. And I always wonder. People come to democratic countries to escape the horrors of their own home and then they try their best to turn the streets of the democratic country that took them in, into the war torn streets of their homeland.

Radicals and Racists
Don’t point your finger at me
I’m a small town white boy
Just tryin’ to make ends meet
Don’t need your religion
Don’t watch that much TV
Just makin’ my livin’, baby
Well that’s enough for me

If we want a better future, it helps to be able to see the world as it is. Watching a news program is seeing the world as the news program wants you to see it. Reading a news article is seeing the world as the writer of the news article wants you to see it. Seeing a Travel video is seeing the world as the people who made the travel video want you to see it. You need to get out and see with your own eyes the world. Just don’t get run over by a mad man in a van.

Mine All Mine
Van Halen

I know it was a single, but in all seriousness, a lot of the singles from “5150” were still on the airwaves along with “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” from “OU812”. “Jump” and “Panama” also had traction. So “Mine All Mine” just percolated outside the Van Hagar Halen hit factory.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

The problem with the world summed up in three lines. And it all boils down to a belief system.

Stop lookin’ out, start lookin’ in
Be your own best friend
Stand up and say, “Hey! This is mine!”

There it is in a nutshell. Stop looking out and start looking in. Don’t worry about what the person next door does or what they have. Focus on what you have and focus on what you can control. In the end, if you don’t like the state of the world, with the whole world at your fingertips, you will be able to find other voices to stand up with you when the time comes to raise your voice.

How good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Sometimes he goes all crazy and plays leads with reckless abandonment and sometimes he delivers melodic gems within his own theatrical style.

Standing In The Shadow
Guilty Of Love
Kittens Got Claws
Wings Of The Storm

Whitesnake

Is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

“Standing In The Shadow” is from 1984’s “Slide It In” album and it’s written by Coverdale.

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Too many people
Standing in the shadow
Standing in the shadow of love

It’s like sitting on the sidelines and assessing the situation for the right time to re-join the game.

“Guilty Of Love” is from the same album and how cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by Coverdale.

I believe my love for you
Is a love that will last forever?
And I’m here to testify
I’m a prisoner of your heart

When you fall in love, your heart becomes a captive to the other half. And when the relationship ends, it hurts.

Baby, don’t you believe when I tell you I love you
That I really mean it
Don’t you walk away?
Don’t you turn your back on me?

I guess we don’t really know what we got until it’s gone.

“Kittens Got Claws” is from “Slip Of The Tongue”, the follow-up to the mega 1987 self-titled album. Coverdale selected Adrian Vandenberg as his co-writer for this album. It would have been interesting to see how the songs would have sounded if Coverdale used Vivian Campbell as well, but it was not to be. Regardless, Vandenberg as co-writer is involved in some epic songs. Let’s not forget the title track “Slip Of The Tongue”, “Judgement Day”, “Sailing Ships”, “Now You’re Gone” and “The Deeper The Love”. But to me “Kittens Got Claws” is just a fun track to listen to and tap your foot to.

Walking down the street
You’re the center of my universe
You got the world in your pocket,
My manhood in your purse
You ain’t a bad girl, honey,
No matter what the neighbours say,
It’s just that you were those skin-tight dresses
With your G-string tuned to “A”

How good is the “G-string tuned to A” line?

Brilliant.

“Wings Of The Storm” is another little gem largely forgotten. It’s heavier and speedier and far removed from the blues based Whitesnake but man it’s a pretty good listen. It’s pedal point heaven for a guitarist.

On an’ on, the road goes on,
An’ it’ll go on forever,
Time will show if you and I
Will walk that road together

Almost 6 years later, Coverdale is still in a spot of bother when it comes to his love life.

It’s unfortunate that Geffen Records became a label that focused more on the results, totally ignoring the community and what customers of their artists could like. David Coverdale built a community around Whitesnake and a trust with the fans. And the labels just abandoned the artists at will. To me community and trust is more important than results, hence the reason why Whitesnake still rolls today.

Rock Me To The Top
Before My Eyes

Tesla

“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 the original meaning of rock and roll and not the musical form.

“Before My Eyes” is written by guitarist Frank Hannon, along with Jeff Keith, Tommy Skeoch and drummer Troy Luccketta. To me, it’s the feel of the song that captures my attention more so than the lyrics. It reminds me of Y&T and it feels sad and spacey. Lyrically I’m not a fan, but musically I am all in.

Tomorrow
Naked City
Exciter
I’ve Had Enough
King Of The Mountain
My Way
Silver Spoon

Kiss

Kiss didn’t sell a lot of recorded music product compared to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other large 70’s acts. But they are still seen as one of rocks biggest groups in the 70’s and maybe the entertainers of that decade. But by the end of 70’s and the start of the 80’s they got eclipsed by Disco, New Wave Pop, the NWOBHM and the L.A scene. Suddenly it looked like the band was in the rear view mirror. Original band members “officially left” even though they really left recording new music with the band a long time again. But with each album they dropped in the 80’s, they continued their evolution. “Lick It Up”, “Creatures Of The Night”, “I Still Love You”, “I Love It Loud”, “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “War Machine” are concert staples.

Here are a few gems a bit outside of Kiss’s comfort zone which had enough rock in em to keep me satisfied.

“Tomorrow” and “Naked City” come from the “Unmasked” album released in 1980. Both tracks merge the current pop trend with the distorted rock they are known for. I was late to the party on this album, hearing it in its entirety in the early 90’s.

“Tomorrow” is written by Paul Stanley and Vince Poncia and Stanley even plays bass guitar. You need any more evidence of dysfunction, here you have it.

I didn’t know just what to say
When you turned and you looked my way
It doesn’t happen to me every day
Can we talk a while?

I used to think that all of the rock stars had all the lines and moves covered when it came to love. In the end, they are all tongue-tied and error prone like all of us when it comes to love.

You didn’t have to say a word
I tried to tell you, but I lost my nerve
You know I wanted just to slip away
For a little while

An opportunity missed. Who hasn’t been there?

“Naked City” is written by a song writing committee of Gene Simmons, Vince Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro. This one is an interesting track. It’s got a super heavy bass riff and that riff continues throughout the song. However the guitars set the vibe. In the Chorus its all “Arena Rock” and in the intro/verses it’s a “reggae shuffle”. And when it comes together it all works.

In the naked city (in the city)
There are ten million stories (naked city)

Once upon a time, stories travelled by word of mouth and the press. Now stories travel via a cable all around the world in a matter of seconds. It each city, millions of people live their lives and a new story is created every second.

Lonely people looking’ for someone
Lonely people going’ their way

It sums up life to a tee. We are all lonely people looking for someone to be with us to the end. We are all lonely people trying to find our way in life. Hopefully with someone.

“Exciter” is the opening track to the “Lick It Up” album in 1983. It’s a speed metal song and Vinnie Vincent brings out the metal and the shred and the delay. Actually what a waste of a great talent the Vinnie Vincent story is. His ego burned so many bridges; eventually people just turned away and refused to work with him. Even his record label turned him down and dropped him.

Passion and fire, lust and desire
Exciter
Pleasure and pain, this is my name
Exciter

Enough said. The lyrics are a waste and fail to deliver justice to the riffage.

“I’ve Had Enough” is also the opening track from “Animalise” released in 1984. It’s written by Desmond Child and Paul Stanley. Stanley was always an underrated guitarist who actually churned out some killer riffage in his 40 plus years creating music. Mark St John (RIP) just copied what Stanley wrote and played it on the album. Or maybe Mark just did the leads, while Paul did all the rhythm, sort of like how James Hetfield does all the harmonies and rhythms, while Kirk does all the solos.

How many times have they lied with the truth in their eyes?
Treat you like dirt, wasting the days of our lives
They try and deny it, ain’t gonna buy it, just look around
Before it’s all over, it’s gonna get rough
I’ve had enough

I always assumed the “they” in the song are people who abuse their power, people who put you down, people who make your life hell, people who you trust the most talking crap about you behind your back and so forth.

(Out of the cold, into the fire)
Nothing and no one is stopping me now

Attitude is the most important choice we have to make every single day. We have the choice to be optimistic, the choice to participate, and the choice to challenge the powers that be and find hope when fear and uncertainty is rampant. We select these attitudes. It’s our choice and when we do, nothing can stop us.

Wishing’ and hoping’ won’t get you nothing’
Praying’ and scheming’, no time for dreaming’
I’ve got the power, this is the hour now

You need to take action. If you don’t take action, nothing will transpire. A small change today leads to a large change in the future. Are you ready to make the change?

“King Of The Mountain” is the opening track from “Asylum” released in 1985 and the first album to feature Bruce Kulick. Kulick actually co-wrote the song with Desmond Child and Paul Stanley and the music is very close to “Creatures Of The Night”. It’s funny how a simple guitar riff sounds so heavy because of the drum groove laid down by Eric Carr.

I’m gonna climb the mountain
I’m gonna hit the top
I wanna go where nobody’s ever been
I’m never gonna stop

Isn’t that the spirit of human adventure? Reach the top, go where nobody’s ever been.

I’m the king of the mountain
And the winner takes it all

The bane of any existence is laziness and fear, the belief that we can’t make it so were better off not trying. We can make excuses because we are surrounded winners doing everything. In reality, nothing in our daily lives is a winner takes all competition. Yeah, there always be someone smarter, faster and more popular than you. And you will be smarter, faster and more popular than others. And those others you are far ahead are far ahead of others and so forth. The difference is how high is each individual mountain?

How good is the lead break from Kulick?

Man he shreds tastefully. Still his moment of guitar hero glory came on the much hated, or tolerated or loved album (depending on which side of the fence you sit) “Crazy Nights” which came two years after “Asylum”.

“My Way” is written by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley and Bruce Turgon (he played bass in Warrior, played bass and co-write most of the songs on Lou Gramm’s solo releases plus Shadow King’s 1991 release and Foreigner’s 1994 album) and it comes from the keyboard heavy “Crazy Nights” released in 1987. Depending on your point of view, this album is hated, tolerated or loved. And this song is also hated, tolerated or loved.

Oh the heat is on
And my back’s against the wall
You know it’s tough to be strong
In a world that makes you crawl

Clichéd. Yes. Original. No. Commercial. Yes. Sounds like Kiss. Umm, it sounds like Kiss in the 80’s. The lyrical message has been done to death about being strong and being yourself in a world that’s controlled by institutions who want you to be something else.

I’m gonna talk like I talk
Walk like I walk my way
I’m gonna go where I go
Ain’t takin’ no, my way

It’s easy to silence your voice. We’ve been battered by all the noise, problems and hassle that come with raising our voice. So sometimes we just sit back because it’s easier. Eventually, we find our voice again and as the Chorus goes, we will talk like we talk and walk like we walk and we will do it on our terms and our way.

What about Stanley’s highs in this one. Do you reckon he had someone in the studio squeezing his balls to hit those highs?

“Silver Spoon” comes from 1989’s “Hot In The Shade” and Paul Stanley had come full circle writing with Vince Poncia again. Like “Crazy Nights” this album is hated, tolerated or loved.

In a city where the buildings rise
I was just another face
But mama told me when somebody dies
No one else can take your place

It’s a really cool verse. I don’t know who came up with those lines but they are pretty solid and full of truth. In cities that have millions of people, we are all just bodies and faces in a sea of faces. But each person is unique and they bring their own light to this world. Our thoughts are all different and when we pass, our light goes out and no one can replicate it.

It’s a shame the rest of the song didn’t follow a similar lyrical thread. Instead it went to a girl, with an attitude because she was born with a silver spoon.

Had Enough
Mr Big

It’s the feel of the song. It’s like a ballad but it’s not a ballad. Having super shredders like Gilbert and Sheehan colouring the song with some great rhythms is great to hear.

Ain’t like any other day
Finally comes a time to decide
I won’t spend another day
Stuck here in the same old bind

The first two verses could be about any life situation and then the song devolves into a relationship situation. Missed opportunity to connect much wider.

What’s It Gonna Be
Ratt

It’s from 1988’s “Reach For The Sky” album and it’s written by Robbin Crosby, Juan Croucier, Warren DeMartini, Beau Hill and Stephen Pearcy.

The promises were empty and your blood runs cold
So tell me
What’s it gonna be, sweet Elena
Just give it to me straight, is it him or me?

I can’t remember if Elena was Peacy’s wife, but the question is simple, what’s it gonna be?

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World
Y&T

Y&T is one of those bands that just hook me with their sense of melody and feel. “Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save The World” is from their 1984 album called “In Rock We Trust”.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Gutter Ballet
When The Crowds Are Gone
Hounds
Summer’s Rain

Savatage

All the songs are written by the holy trinity of Criss Oliva (RIP), Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill (RIP).

Another sleepless night
A concrete paradise
Sirens screaming in the heat
Neon cuts the eye
As the jester sighs
At the world beneath his feet

It’s that click track piano that makes it unique as Jon sings about the way of the streets in a circus setting.

Another death to mourn
Another child is born
Another chapter in the play

The cycle of life, a death, a birth and a new story to tell.

How good is the instrumental lead break section in the song?

“When The Crowds Are Gone” is the song that sealed the deal, the song that made me love the album. It’s the vocal outro, the lyrics and Jon Olvia’s vocal delivery. The outro is that good, Savatage used it for other songs on future albums. It’s easy to get caught up in it.

I don’t know where the years have gone
Memories can only last so long
Like faded photographs, forgotten songs

Artists who have been on the road for a long time, miss out on so much from their personal lives. It’s a sacrifice.

Where’s the light, turn then on again
One more night to believe and then
Another note for my requiem
A memory to carry on
The story’s over when the crowds are gone

When the crowds are gone, the career of an artist is over. When the show is over and the crowds are gone, the night is over and the journey begins to a new city and a new show.

All my friends have been crucified
They made life a long suicide true
Guess we never figured out the rules
But I’m still alive and my fingers feel
I’m gonna play on till the final reel’s through
And read the credits from a different view

It’s about a clarinet player who chooses to retire from playing on his own terms. But in the song, his own terms are too late, because as the song goes, the crowds are no longer there.

I never wanted to know
Never wanted to see
I wasted my time till time wasted me
Never wanted to go
Always wanted to stay
Cause the person I am are the parts that I play
So I play and I plan
And hope and I scheme
To the lure of a night
Filled with unfinished dreams
And I’m holding on tight
To a world gone astray

The big ending and it works so well with the music, the vocal melody and the pain in Jon Oliva’s voice as the clarinet player finally understands it’s all over.

In “Hounds”, Criss Oliva becomes a guitar hero with some wicked riffage and wicked shredding.

Do you hear the hounds they call
Scan the dark eyes aglow
Through the bitter rain and cold
They hunt you down
Hunt you down

The word “hounds” is just another word for the predatory people in our lives. And if we are not too careful, eventually they will hunt us down. Of course the song is about hounds, but it’s very easy to interchange the two.

How good is that melody lead under the chorus vocal melody in “Summers Rain”?

Standing alone in a dream
Where nothing is real
But oh how real it feels
There were times I lost my way
I was alone, lost in a haze
Where are you now
I’ll find you somehow

A song about a relationship that doesn’t sound clichéd and lazy.

And do I stand alone
Like a fool out in the rain
Hanging on somehow
To an ancient vow
Where there’s nothing left to gain
And do you know
How it feels inside
To be all alone
A fool and his pride

When you don’t want to let go, even though the other half has already moved on. But life is more about doors closing, not opening. And when doors close and new opens open we are forced to go in a certain direction.

Metal Heart
Accept

It is 1999
The human race has to face it
They are confronted with the truth
It’s secret — mysterious

For Accept the truth is and always will be heavy metal. But in all seriousness, the human race needs to confront the truth and make some changes. Our planet is warming. There is no way people can deny it. The normal winds we get are more destructive and last longer than ever before. The rain that falls is a lot more destructive than ever before.

Downhearted
Reckless – Don’t Be So
The Boys Light Up

Australian Crawl

I left my heart back in the Orient
Down on Bali bays
It’s not the way that I should feel
But it’s the way I’m gonna stay
Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started

Holiday romances and the feeling of loneliness when you get back home. Back in the 80’s once you left, the connection was lost. Not like in today’s connected world. And Australian’s always go to Bali for a holiday. It’s seen as a cheap overseas holiday.

In “Reckless”, the band maps out the journey into Sydney from Manly via the ferry via the first verse.

Meet me down by the jetty landing
Where the pontoons bump and sway
I see the others reading, standing
As the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay

Anyone who has done the ferry journey can relate to the above.

So, throw down your guns
Don’t be so reckless

The iconic chorus lines. Don’t be so reckless to destroy a relationship that took years to build.

Finally, we have the pub rock classic. In steel city Wollongong, we always assumed “The Boys Light Up” meant lighting up a reefer. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I really unpacked the lyrics and found some brilliant lines.

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before the midday show
Her back is arched; those lips are parched, repeated blow by blow

Mmm, I wonder what mothers little helper is. Zzzzzzzzz…

Later at the party
All the MPs rave
About the hummers she’s been givin’
And the money that they save
To her it is skin lotion
Him promotion to
That flat in Surfers’ Paradise with the ocean view

For all of the political scandals that made headline news from the late Nineties onwards, the above verse seemed prophetic to say the least. Seriously, what a creative, tongue in cheek verse. And all Australians know Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The boys light up

I guess the boys lighting up is all about getting hard and coming alive.

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