Music

2019 – Part 4

“In 2019, we worked harder and got more done than maybe we thought was possible”

Our management team started off their final email blast with that opening line.

And to paraphrase, in 2019, I listened harder and got through so much music that I thought was possible.

Here is Part 4.

Nails In The Coffin
Jared James Nichols

Jared James Nichols is a hell of a good guitarist and singer and songwriter.

“Nails In The Coffin” reminds me of some of the songs which topped the pop charts like “Take Me To The Church” from Hozier, with a twist of Jared and a twist of blues and a twist of rock.

Last Day Under The Sun
Die To Live
When We Were Kids
Sorry Sack Of Bones
Leviathan
The Everlasting
Under The Influence
Volbeat

Volbeat’s take on 60’s rockabilly and pop merged with metal and thrash can ever get old for me, as there is so much diversity on each album.

A song like “Die To Live” (which is also my favourite, the full 3 minutes of it) is a 60’s rocker with honky tonk piano and everything else which is rock and roll, while “Last Day Under The Sun” and “When We Were Kids” show a very progressive style of song writing and songs like “Leviathan”, “Sorry Sack Of Bones” and “The Everlasting” show the metal side and “Under The Influence” is a modern take on an old sound.

Unleashed
I Am Broken Too
I Can’t Be The Only One
Take Control
Killswitch Engage

From the “Atonement” album.

One of my favourite bands for aggressive and abrasive vocals which then morph into a waterfall of melodicism. And the music, connects with me on so many levels. These four songs cover the diversity of the band musically and lyrically.

I keep making the same mistakes, just to feel alive again
It’s the only way to break on through

The above lyrics are from “I Am Broken Too”.

To be human is to feel pain, to make mistakes and to keep on trying, because all of the small wins and losses define who you are and the character you are.

Look within your soul and take control

Easier said than done, as we let ourselves be controlled by so many forces instead of focusing on what we can control, like our emotions, our attitude, our intensity and the words we say.

Light In Life
Silvera

I know nothing about this band, but what I do know, is that “Light In Life” is a good song and that it is on quite a few Spotify generated playlists, so I expect the song to have a decent number of plays.

Which it does.

Wouldn’t You Rather
Godspeed
Take The Crown
The Bitter End
Pay No Mind
Forever Falling
Walking On The Sky
Tear Us Apart
Dying Light
Alter Bridge

Alter Bridge again deliver a diverse album loaded with metal riffs, rock riffs, ballad arpeggios and arena rock choruses.

Wouldn’t you rather, live from the heart

From “Wouldn’t You Rather”.

Who wouldn’t want to live from the heart but we spend more time trying to figure out what our heart really wants. That person we loved at 15, isn’t the same person at 30 and suddenly we are in and out of love because we’ve changed as well. That occupation we wanted to do, we don’t want to do it anymore, and that college education in Accounting led to a job in HR because it paid better.

The ideal is nice, but life and the social class structures we live in, are much more complicated.

“And then the days, they ran out”.

From the song “Godspeed”.

Our lives are short, so why are we wasting our days doing things we don’t want to do. Why do we waste our days giving in to our lizard brains and allowing hate and rage to rule instead of common sense.

Wouldn’t we rather live from the heart because the days will run out. And then there is no more living.

But this much I know, somehow we’ll be alright
Cause it’s never too late, to learn how to start living right

From “The Bitter End”.

Damn right.

Humans flourished from the tribe to the cities because we had each other’s backs. The bigger enemy was death by predators. Then the predators got removed by us. And then the biggest enemy became ourselves and our need to conquer.

So entitled since the day that you were born
Still we hear you screaming, “give me more, give me more”

From “Pay No Mind”.

There is a status gap.

A child from a family of money and influence does 180km on their provisional licence and escapes with just a small fine while a child from a family with no influence and living from pay to pay, does the same crime, gets a driving ban that goes into years, pays a fine in the thousands and needs to do community service.

Yeah it’s not fair, but no one said life is fair. And the ones who we see as entitled, well how much more zeroes do they want at the end of the billion dollar zeroes.

At least you’ve lived, your own way

From “Walking On The Sky”.

Easier said than done. Life is so complex from relationship ties to financial ties to social ties and they all intertwine into a crazy complex web.

As soon as you get that loan, you are living a life on someone else’s way. And if you lose your job, anxiety will set it, because you need to find another job quick.

For a lot of us, it’s too late, but we can raise our children to be smarter and not be reliant on credit and loan.

We have to face
And learn from mistakes to grow

From “Tear Us Apart”.

So true.

Nothing is achieved without failure or making mistakes. It’s like all of those interviews you see from inventors and sporting people and how mastery comes from failure.

We are lost in the swarm
From the moment we’re born

From “Dying Light”.

The world is there to turn any heart of gold, cold.

And that little child, becomes a number.

For governments, it means, how many prospective tax payers would we need to sustain our lifestyles and revenues. For schools it means how many new starters do they get.

Oh My God
Hellyeah

Hellyeah always has a tune which gets me interested and its always due to the lyrics. Check out these;

Oh my God
I made a deal with the Devil, now the Devil’s in my blood
I’m the bullet, he’s the gun
Now the targets on your back, and here I come

Our society is built around a battle between good and bad. If we have depression or dark thoughts, there is no greater enemy than the devil. And this baddy sure gets around.

Only Way Out
Empyre

I have no idea who the band is, but the song is a melancholic and moody piece which gets me interested and then keeps my interest going for the duration.

Holding On
Solid Gold
Caleb Johnson

From the “Born From Southern Ground”, I came across Caleb Johnson from a review over at the excellent blog, “2loud2oldmusic”.

And these two songs, with the gospel like background vocals, grabbed my interest straight away. Plus “Solid Gold” has this swampy, delta blues rock riff all fuzzed out and ready for rock and roll.

And while I was listening to the album, it kept on reminding me of another artist I like, and the band that came to mind was “Black Stone Cherry”.

The Hunted
Saint Asonia

Adam Gontier is one hell of a rock singer and songwriter and to me one of the best singers in the last 20 years with his work in Three Days Grace and Saint Asonia. When you add Sully Erna to the track, who also is one of the best rock singers as a guest, you get a pretty awesome track.

And on guitars is another underrated musician in guitarist Mike Mushok from Staind.

Counting Stars (A Parallel Universe)
SixForNine

At 9 minutes long, it’s just a cruisy song, slowly percolating until its ready to explode.

What Gives You The Right
Light Shine In
Religion
Wilder Woods

Another artist which came to me from the “2loud2oldmusic” blog. The review is here if you want to read it.

Unbroken
The Butterfly Effect

One of my favourite Australian bands at playing a brand of progressive rock I like. They have been away for a while, but reformed, started to do a tour and now have new music.

And “The Final Conversation” from their last full album around 2006/7 is still in my lists for songs I listen to. You will find it in my overall Spotify 2019 list.

Rise
Waiting On The Demons
All Amped Up
Tom Keifer

Tom Keifer is back in a good way, and these three songs capture everything I like about his style of song writing and his voice. Soulful, abrasive and rockified.

Never Die (Forever Wild)
Crazy Lixx

In the Maze
Reptile
Crashdiet

A bit of Scandinavian Melodic Rock to finish off the post. Two bands who have been at it for at least 20 years. It’s a long way to get to the top, but everyone can rock and roll these days and get an audience via the internet and streaming services.

Both of these bands came into my life because Amazon recommended them as artists I might like based on my purchases. And although I haven’t purchased any of their CD’s, I do stream them.

If you like a new take on an old sound, these two bands will suffice.  

The final post for 2019 is coming.

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

The More Things Change – Cinderella

Turned on my radio to the same old song
Some big mouth talking trying to tell us where the world went wrong

You can replace the radio with Twitter or Facebook or any other platform which gives people a voice. Remember the Fyre Festival. It was the big mouths (social influencers) via social media who spread the word and suddenly people are getting ripped off to the tune of $50K for 4 tickets.

And if it’s not social influencers, it’s other powerful people. Or people who had some popular appeal and want the attention back again.

But all this talk of peace and love
It’s only for the news
Cause every time you trust someone
You end up getting screwed

You live long enough you get to see that the world is not very nice. Nature alone wants to have balance in its ecosystems and unleashes destructive forces to keep it that way. As humans, we are fighting to stay alive from our first breath against nature and then against the evils of the world created by humans.

We get to experience school and all the things that come with it. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends. And we experience sports, holidays with families and when you get older, even our brothers or sisters betray us on some days. But we still hope, we still trust and we move on, to another day, to a better day. But some don’t move on to another day.

The more things change
The more they stay the same
Everyone’s your brother till you turn the other way

People get jealous towards each other. They feel like someone is stealing their thunder or their just dragging them down. Friendships go bad and relationships go sour. People in a romantic relationship couldn’t keep their hands off each other once upon a time and then over the course of time, they can’t stand to be around each other.

What changed?

The more things change
The more they stay the same
All we need’s a miracle to take us all away from the pain

Its why self-help books, improvement books, behavioural science books have become a billion dollar industry. And if those kind of things don’t do it for you, then religion is there to fill in the gap. Or if any of those things don’t do it for you, there is exercise, opioids, narcotics, cigarettes and various other addictions like social media.

Either way, there is some miracle there waiting to take away the pain. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

It was a combination of events that cemented Cinderella as superstars.

The main event was the supporting slot on the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour. Bon Jovi had just broken through and started selling out all of the arenas. Apart from opening all the North American dates, Bon Jovi had a little jam session during each gig where the Cinderella guys would come out and do a song with them. Sort of like how in the recent Sydney show, Jon Bon Jovi brought out Kid Rock, his sax player and his back up singers for a version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock N Roll”.

Jon Bon Jovi even had a hand in getting the band signed with Polygram, by convincing Derek Schulman to check them out. By 1985, Schulman was four years into his A&R gig with Polygram and he was slowly proving himself at signing great talent. Of course he would also go on to sign such important acts like Pantera and Dream Theater in the years to come.

This is how Tom Keifer told it in a “Screamer Magazine” interview;

“We barely knew who he was because this was before Slippery When Wet. He was in Philadelphia making the 7800° Fahrenheit record, their second record, so we had no idea he was going to be there” stated Keifer. “He came back to the dressing room afterwards and introduced himself, Runaway was a hit, and he had a video on MTV so we knew who he was and for us at that point in our career, it felt like a big deal.”

“He was very complimentary, he really liked the band and enjoyed the show, nice to meet you and on his way he went. And we had no idea that he was y’know gonna get back to Polygram and he put in some very nice words to his A&R guy Derek Shulman who signed him. Derek had already had our demo tape as our manager had given it to him; and he was riding the fence. I don’t blame him because our demos were just god awful. We were pretty young and green and didn’t know how to record music. We didn’t really have much guidance. It’s a whole different thing to walk into rehearsal room or onto a live stage and blast out what you do, and then it’s another thing to walk in a recording studio and try to capture it!”

“So Derek’s riding the fence and basically what Jon did was, he said forget the demo tape, I just saw them live, and you should go down check them out.”

So the Bon Jovi tour gave Cinderella real exposure. Of course, they had the songs to capitalise on that exposure. While, lead off single “Shake Me” failed to make a dent, the second single “Nobody’s Fool” went nuclear, pushing the album to move 50,000 units a week. MTV put it in rotation and Cinderella became the new platinum darlings.

“Night Songs” was originally released in June 1986. In October 1986, the “Nobody Fools” video hit MTV and by December that same year, the “Night Songs” album is certified platinum. By February 1987, it was certified double platinum. So when it came time to record the follow-up, the pressure was on for the band to deliver.

Deliver they did. Within two months from when it was released, “Long Cold Winter” was certified platinum. “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)” certified Tom Keifer as a serious songwriter. Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album. Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Andy Johns kept on finding timing issues. The album is a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company and it celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

It’s got that piano riff that’s instantly memorable and secondary to Tom’s raspy voice. The song had everything that all the glam rock/metal bands where selling, but at the same time it was different enough to be stand out amongst the noise.

“Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long”

That’s what being an artist is all about. A need to express yourself. This is something that songs written by a committee cannot really achieve. The real stars of the Eighties wrote and performed their own material.

When you hit bottom, the first thing we turn to is music. Tom Keifer’s raspy voice brings the emotion out and connects on all levels. Truer words have never been spoken especially when in a few years, Tom Keifer would be diagnosed with a collapsed vocal chord. That still didn’t stop them from delivering “Heartbreak Station” and it would be another 4 years until “Still Climbing” hit the streets to a hostile musical climate. It quickly disappeared and their next project ended in a legal mess.

In an interview with Metal Sludge dated June 12, 2001, A&R Guru John Kalonder had this to say about Cinderella;

“Tom Keifer is a very talented musician and has always taken a long time to write a record. In two years, he demo’d some songs, only one of which I thought was good enough to be on a new album after so many years away. Just before we attempted to record some material last winter, I dropped them due to the lack of support from people at my company. Cinderella is one of my favorite bands and I hope they record a record and have great success with it.”

This is what Tom Keifer had to say on it on the matter of new music on Blabbermouth.

“We attempted that in ’98 with Sony and [former A&R executive] John Kalodner and it turned into a big legal hassle and lawsuit, which prevented us from recording the material that they claimed they owned, for five years. . . . Even though they didn’t want to record it. It’s typical in recording contracts. It’s called re-record rights. Once they claim they own the songs, you can’t re-record it for five years. They claimed ownership and decided not to make the record. It was like two years of writing and demos of material that we weren’t allowed to record. Needless to say, we had a slightly bad taste in our mouth. . .”

That’s the music business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When the history of hard rock is written by the winners, Cinderella needs to be there. Their first three albums are all masterpieces. Tom Keifer’s vocal style is his life style. When everyone was going for high range vocals in the Eighties, Cinderella brought it all back to basics. With each album they became rawer and dirtier, which was the opposite of what their contemporaries where doing.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

1986 vs 2013

BON JOVI

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

Now, Jon Bon Jovi is all about the money. The band Bon Jovi released their biggest dud, in What About Now, Richie Sambora has been booted because of money and Jon Bon Jovi cancelled a New York Fair concert for an intimate Government concert that paid more.

 

BLACK SABBATH/OZZY OSBOURNE

In 1986, Black Sabbath released Seventh Star with Glenn Hughes on vocals and Ozzy Osbourne released The Ultimate Sin.

Seventh Star was originally intended to be the first solo album by Iommi, but due to pressures by Warner Bros. Records and the prompting of band manager Don Arden, the record was billed as Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi.

The Ultimate Sin featured songwriting contributions from Bob Daisley and Phil Soussan, however due to Sharon Osbourne (Arden) trying to keep as much money as possible in Ozzy’s corner, Bob Daisley was not credited on the initial release and Phil Soussan had an accounting disagreement with Sharon. Everyone got shafted by an Arden.

In 2013, Black Sabbath released 13, their first album with Ozzy since 1978, that also featured the talents of Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk. Bill Ward said he would not participate until he was offered a “signable contract.” One B.W is out and another B.W is in. Again, someone was shafted by an Arden.

RECORD LABELS

The major labels wanted their artists to have careers. They spent a lot of money to convince the public that they should pay attention to their new artist or the latest release of an existing artist.

The marketing was from the label down to the streets. The labels had so much power and they set the bar. Either a band was signed to a label or they didn’t matter. Major labels were plentiful and the most powerful person in the music business was the Record Label head. Artists could live off the money from their record deal as people had to buy the expensive record to listen to it. Because it was expensive, we played it over and over and over again and eventually became a fan.

Now the marketing is from the streets and the record labels want the hit singles. They have shareholders to please, a board to please and all the label heads are interested in bonuses and short term profits. There is no long term vision anymore as the Record Labels do not have the same power.

The major labels have been reduced to 3, with Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.

In 1986, record companies were cool. In 2013, HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Facebook, Apple, Samsung, Twitter and Amazon are cool. 

 

LIVE

In 1986, all the acts did the arena and stadium tours because demand was high. If a band opened for a major act, they believed they had made it. The public discovered new acts when those acts opened up for our favourite bands. Look at the list below;

Metallica and Ratt opened up for Ozzy Osbourne.

Anthrax opened up for Metallica.

Marillion opened up for Rush.

 

Loverboy opened up for Van Halen.

King Kobra, White Lion and W.A.S.P opened up for Kiss.

 

W.A.S.P also opened up for Iron Maiden.

Cinderella opened up for Bon Jovi in the U.S and Queensryche opened up for Bon Jovi in Europe.

 

Queensryche also opened up for AC/DC.

Cinderella also opened up for David Lee Roth.

Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger opened up for Journey.

Dokken opened up for Accept.

Keel opened up for Dio.

Krokus opened up for Judas Priest.

Now only the classic rock acts of the Seventies and Eighties can sell out the arenas and the few modern superstars. The majority of acts play the club circuit. If bands have a small hard core fan base, they can raise enough money to make an album and own everything about themselves. No one cares who the opening band is.

RANDY JACKSON

In 1986, he played bass with Journey. He appeared on the Raised on Radio album and also toured with them. People judged him on his abilities.

In 2013, he is a judge on American Idol.

CHARTS

Back in 1986, the charts meant everything and albums sold in double digit millions. Slippery When Wet from Bon Jovi went to Number 1 for 1 week in October and then it re-appeared at number 1 for 7 weeks in 1987.

Now the charts are useless and artists are lucky to sell a million units. There are a few, like Adele that go into double digits. Bon Jovi’s What About Now went to Number 1 for 1 week and it didn’t reappear again.

ANTHEMS OF A GENERATION

In 1986, we had Addicted To Love from Robert Palmer, Sledgehammer from Peter Gabriel, Dreams from Van Halen, Livin On A Prayer and Wanted Dead Or Alive from Bon Jovi, Peace Sells from Megadeth, Battery from Metallica, Raining Blood from Slayer and The Final Countdown from Europe.

In 2013, nothing lasts.

THE MUSIC BUSINESS 

In 1986, it was all about the music and if a band was all over traditional media, it meant they had traction and that people would be hearing their music.

Now, our favourite bands are playing to the masses who just don’t care and now it is all about marketing. Look at the marketing campaign for the new Dream Theater album. It looks like the label is trying to monetize every little bit of it. If a band is all over traditional media, it doesn’t mean that they have traction and it doesn’t mean that people have heard their music.

In 1986, everything was expensive and the cost of music was different at every store. Due to the high prices of music, everybody had a little bit of it. We had to buy it to hear it, or we used to tape it of someone who purchased it.

Now, music costs the same everywhere, and it’s cheap and everybody has more than they want. Music is available to hear for free, whether on YouTube or streaming music services like Spotify.

In 1986, albums from our favourite artists would normally come out every two years. Due to this lack of new material, music was scarce, so when we purchased albums we played them to death. We became fans by over playing the music we purchased as it was all about the music.

Now, music is released constantly and it is plentiful. Due to these riches of new material, we don’t spend as much time with the albums we purchased. We become fans by looking for the song that grabs our attention on the first listen.

LADY GAGA

In 1986, Lady Gaga was born. In 2013, Lady Gaga is just Born This Way.

METALLICA

In 1986, Metallica released Master of Puppets and lost bass player Cliff Burton in a bus accident while on tour.

In 2013, Metallica will be released Through The Never a live/concert film and will be losing a lot of money when it doesn’t set the world on fire.

MEGADETH

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

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

KISS

In 1986, Gene Simmons from Kiss produced and co-wrote songs for the Black N Blue album, Nasty Nasty, that had a certain Tommy Thayer on guitars.

In 2013, Kiss released Monster, that has Tommy Thayer on guitars, as well as lead vocals on one song and a major co-writer of material.

STRYPER

In 1986, Stryper released To Hell With The Devil.

In 2013, Styper will release No More Hell To Pay. It looks they still have hell on their minds.

SLAYER

In 1986, Slayer reigned in blood.

In 2013, Jeff Hanneman’s reign ended. RIP.

QUEENSRYCHE

In 1986, Queensryche was one band that released the a superior album in Rage For Order.

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

The fans are screaming for order.

CINDERELLA 

In 1986, Cinderella released Night Songs and proved to the world that they are nobody’s fool.

In 2013, Tom Keifer the singer from Cinderella released The Way Life Goes, an album 9 years in the making with a song called Fools Paradise.

VINNIE VINCENT

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

In 2013, Vinnie Vincent is …..

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