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

Forgotten 2

The Playlist

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)
Twisted Sister

How fortunes change for artists?

Twisted Sister was the top band in 1984. Dee Snider was everywhere, on the cover of magazines, newspapers and even hosting a show on MTV that would go on to become “Headbangers Ball”. For a band that toughed it out for a decade, success came and went in half of that.

Who cares if “Love Is For Suckers” was meant to be a solo album?

Who cares if Mark Mendoza and Jay Jay French hate the album?

Who cares if studio musicians contributed to it?

It’s listed as a Twisted Sister album, it sounds like a Twisted Sister album and like all Twisted Sister albums, Dee is still the main songwriter and it should be given its dues as a Twisted Sister album. That means, playing the excellent “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” live.

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

Dee was always good at writing the anthem of the SMF’s vs the world. “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” is no different. The WE in the song is the fans, the black sheep, the ones that everyone was calling devil worshippers in 1984.

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

It’s the war cry against the censorship taking place against heavy metal and hard rock music. 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 boss’s fault because we are not making our mortgage repayments. If only we earned more.

It’s our leaders fault because we have our rights taken away a little bit at a time.

We like to have someone else in control.

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.

Snider’s message is good. It’s right, but the SMF misfits had grown older and they had responsibilities. Rising up against the institutions wasn’t their mission anymore. It changed to performing duties and keeping a roof over their head or their own families head.

The more metal inclined fans of Twisted Sister moved their loyalties to the thrash and metal movements and the more pop rock casual fans moved their loyalty to Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” and Whitesnake’s 1987 release. And in that climate, the album couldn’t compete.

Magic Touch
Aerosmith

With “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Rag Doll” and “Angel” taking all the attention, this little classic had no chance. Which is a shame, as the song is up there when it comes to Aerosmith. It’s got the classic bluesy groove the band is well-known for and a wickedly good vocal melody. Plus Joey Kramer sounds louder than hell on the drums.

It’s written by Tyler, Perry and Jim Vallance (yep, that same Jim Vallance who co-wrote “War Machine” with Bryan Adams, plus the majority of Bryan Adams catalogue).

Don’t need no wedding with a shotgun, shotgun

Ahh, the problem with the male species is our basic load control. An innocent moment of explosion and that accidental shotgun wedding might be very real. Then again, that’s how it was in the past. In today’s age not so much.

Dancing On Glass
Motley Crue

Man, that riff from Mick Mars, is sleazy and dangerous. You can safely call “Dancing On Glass” the prequel to “The Heroin Diaries”.

In 1987, Nikki was asking if he is in Persia or just insane. In 2005, Nikki via Sixx A.M was reminiscing about how a girl with golden eyes talks to him in Persian, telling Nikki, she loves him.

There are plenty of other auto biographical lines about Sixx’s drug life.

“Valentines in London, found me in the trash”
“One extra push, last trip to the top”
“Silver Spoon and needle, witchy tombstone smile
“I’m no puppet, I engrave my veins in style”

“Wild Side” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” sold the album but to me, the third track is just as good.

Breakin’ All The Rules
Ozzy Osbourne

I know there was a film clip for it and it was a single, but “Miracle Man” was that strong and Ozzy’s earlier catalogue was still selling well, “Breakin’ All the Rules” was just ignored.

But what a riff to kick it off, under a rumbling Randy Castillo groove.

Nobody thinks the way I do
I guess that nobody dares

I read an article about a computer scientist guy who took all the google searches people make and found that we basically lie when it comes to everything public. The only place we don’t lie is within our Google searches because we believe we are alone and they are private. And Google Searches show what we really think and really like. And guess what, Google sells this data to marketeers.

And I know
That you would love to know the answers
But to you
The truth is just another lie

Some people don’t care about reason or a different point of view. With Ozzy being the whipping boy for all the religious institutions, you can see where Bob Daisley was going with the lyric. Funny how the religious entities classed Ozzy as satanic when his whole house is littered with crucifixes.

Rising Power
AC/DC

It’s a solid album, coming out after the holy trinity of albums, their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”. Some personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair, replacing Phil Rudd. The producer of their holy trinity albums, Mutt Lange was also out. Their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

Angus and Malcolm stepped up to give the world a live and raw version of AC/DC and the result is a lot of groove and swagger but no classics.

My body’s blown a fuse
Rising power
We’ll raise the night
Rising power

Rise/Rising = hard on. Blow a fuse = climax. Johnson is rolling out the metaphors.

Rocket Queen
Guns N Roses

The closing track to the epic “Appetite For Destruction” album. It was never a single, but the audience knows the lyrics. It’s just one of those songs on an album full of audience classics.

I’ve got a tongue like a razor
A sweet switchblade knife
And I can do you favors
But then you’ll do whatever I like

Ahh, yes, Axl and his tongue… Guess someone is going down.

Here I am
And you’re a Rocket Queen

The opening lines of the Chorus. Every Gunner’s fan knows it.

I’ve seen everything imaginable
Pass before these eyes
I’ve had everything that’s tangible
Honey you’d be surprised

The rock and roll debauchery and decadence summed up in four lines.

And then that outro. It’s basically another song within a song. First the power chords and then the open E and B string arpeggios over shifting notes on the G string, mapping out the E major scale.

I see you standing
Standing on your own
It’s such a lonely place for you
For you to be
If you need a shoulder
Or if you need a friend
I’ll be here standing
Until the bitter end

You think you have friends and lovers when you’re a star and then when the lights go away, who is left.

Or think I, I mean you harm
Of those that take you
Leave you strung out
Much too far

Law enforcement efforts to stop cocaine and heroin increased the narcotic production ten-fold. The use of narcotics today is high and the war against drugs is 50 plus years old. And it’s the vulnerable/lonely people who turn to it. And the most vulnerable are our heroes, on the road, playing theaters or arenas and surrounded by people who profit from them.

Good Enough
Get Up

Van Halen

Any album (especially a Van Halen album) that kicks off with “Hello Baby”, you know you’re in for a ride. In “Good Enough” Sammy Hagar compares a great looking woman to a premium cut of beef. I’ll have another cut please.

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

“Get Up” is basically a speed rock song. And EVH breaks out some excellent riffage in this one as well.

Feel like throwin’ in the towel?
Don’t be a fool
They’re out to knock you out
And put you down for the count

I feel like throwing in the towel a lot of times. Some days feel like a battle against the forces of society. Making people believe that working hard and paying things off will get you freedom is a dream promoted by the banking sector and the 1% that control it.

Ah, there’s still some fight in me
That’s how it’ll always be
Hold your head up high, look ’em in the eye
Never say die

It’s the human spirit. Never say die, never give up. The thing with “5150” is the pop rock songs got so much attention. I’ll be honest, all of the pop songs are excellent, however it was a shame the real heavy rock songs like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” got lost in the noise.

Blindman
Aint Gonna Cry No More
Looking For Love
You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

Whitesnake

Coming into 1980, Whitesnake was putting out an album a year and touring consistently. Then the Martin Birch produced “Ready an’ Willing” dropped, launching the song “Fool For Your Loving”, a piece written by Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and David Coverdale.

To me, “Ready an’ Willing” is the album that started Whitesnake’s rise which culminated in the 1987 self-titled album selling millions around the world.

My two favourites are “Blindman” (which is a derivative version of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Soldier Of Fortune”) and the very Led Zeppelin sounding, “Aint Gonna Cry No More”. Those songs also nail it lyrically for me. Talk about completely forgotten, no one under forty would know these songs.

“Chasing rainbows that have no end, The road is long without a friend….” from BLINDMAN
“Like a Blindman, I can feel the heat of the sun, But like a Blindman, I don’t know where it’s coming from…” from BLINDMAN

“Aint Gonna Cry No More” is White Led Zep Styx Snake and I swear Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades built Damn Yankees on the backs of songs like these. Influences aside, it’s a track that’s good enough to stand on its own

“Memories of broken dreams, As distant as the sun, Are drifting like an echo in the wind….” from AIN’T GONNA CRY NO MORE

Then fast forward to 1987 and two of the best tracks didn’t end up on the normal world-wide release.

I didn’t hear “Looking For Love” until many years later. It’s better than “Is This Love” however at over 6 minutes long, it wasn’t a commercially viable song. David Coverdale was shocked when he heard that John Kalodner would be cutting the song from the final album release.

The candle is burning, it’s way down low
I just need someone
To show me the way, the way to go
Which way to go

Isn’t life like that. We are always looking for some guidance. That’s why tarot card readers, astrologists, clairvoyants, psychologists have a career.

“You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”, “Don’t Break My Heart Again”. David Coverdale was the master song title re-user.

How huge is the riff in “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”.

Sykes goes to town on this song, a derivative version of “Children Of The Night”. It’s got all of his uniqueness in it, from fast palm muted staccato runs, a shredelicious and melodic lead and to using thirds and minor chord inversions instead of the standard power chords.

Perfect Timing
Knucklebones

David Lee Roth

“Perfect Timing” is written by David Lee Roth and keyboardist Brett Tuggle, so it’s got that melodic rock vibe happening.

I’m thinkin’ this is the right time
I’m hoping you feel the same
‘Cause that light at the end of the tunnel
Is the front of an oncoming train

It had to be David Lee Roth that linked love to standing on the train line in front of an oncoming train. Then again, he always had a way with words.

“Knucklebones” is written by Gregg and Matt Bissonette along with David Lee Roth.

So we’re hittin’ the road
And we’re pumpin’ thunder
Mama look out for down below
Get the show on the road
It’s the feeling we’re under
You can feel it right down to your knucklebones

One of a million songs about the rock and roll show.

One of these dark nights, as the saying goes
There’s some dirty work
To be done down by the crossroads
And I know it’s true

Always love a supernatural tale at the crossroads. There’s some dirty work to be done.

Livin’ For The Minute
Poison

It wasn’t even on the album. A B-side on the “Nothin’ But A Good Time” 7 inch single.

“Open Up and Say…Ahh!” was huge for Poison. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and “Fallen Angel” took all the glory. Hell, even a cover of “Your Mama Don’t Dance” charted okay. But “Livin’ For The Minute” is just perfect.

Magazine covers always shootin’ poor Billy’s face
He kept a score of his ladies chalked up on his guitar case
He was a bad-ass rockin’, baby, always rollin’ out the sounds
Like some freight train come and did a six-string strut and just tore the damn place to the ground

It’s a character driven story about a guitar slinger called Billy, who kept a groupie monument in his guitar case and man, he could play. Sort of like Johnny. There is no doubt the song is influenced by “Johnny Be Goode” in the lyrical department. Quick! Call the lawyers.

Slave To Love
Quiet Riot

A great piece of melodic pop rock, however like many other bands that broke through in 1983/84, by 86/87 they became old news. Forgotten.

We made a slave to love
That’s what I’ll always be
A victim of your touch
You stole my soul and now I’m just a slave to love, yeah

DuBrow was never known as a great lyricist and I suppose that became his downfall. There are only so much clichéd and generic rhymes a fan could take. But for some reason AC/DC seemed to get away with it.

All The Fools Sailed Away
Dio

Music is written by Dio and Goldy, while lyrics are all done by Dio.

What can I say about this song that I haven’t said before about classic Dio songs?

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.

There’s perfect harmony
In the rising and the falling of the sea
And as we sail along
I never fail to be astounded by
The things we’ll do for promises

If our ancestors never set sail to find new lands, who knows what the world would be like. Our sense of adventure is the backbone of the human psyche.

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 haves and the have-nots. The divide is only getting bigger.

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.

They say you’re beautiful
And they’ll always let you in
But doors are never open
To the child without a trace of sin

I watched “Split” recently and the James McEvoy split personality character wouldn’t kill a person that was as beautiful as him (which meant scarred from some past abuse). And I suppose sin is what makes us who we are. How can we learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others if we don’t make them or don’t believe we make them?

Stand Up And Fight
Fantasy

M.A.R.S

Putting this band, supergroup, one-off project together proved to be one of the best decisions ever made by Shrapnel Records supremo Mike Varney.

You have hotshot newcomer Tony MacAlpine on guitars. Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge are on bass/drums. Another newcomer in Rob Rock is on vocals. The potential is unlimited. The melodic rock is amped up to 11. Yeah, the lyrics are clichéd and some of the melodies and rhymes are overused, however don’t let that get in the way of a good listen.

The big X-factor, star quarterback, star centre forward is Tony MacAlpine. He’s a virtuoso keyboardist and guitarist all rolled into one. He churns out brilliant riff after brilliant riff. Craig Goldy was their original guitarist, but he left to join Dio and I think Tony MacAlpine had a better and more creative musical career than Goldy.

Isn’t it funny how a no-brainer decision in the past, in hindsight maybe didn’t pan out to be such a great decision?

“Stand up and fight for your rights, stand up and be free”

Prisoner
Dokken

From the excellent “Back For The Attack” album and it’s sequenced straight after “Kiss Of Death”. And it works. The basic Am to F to G chords underpin the song, while the double stop bends in the intro lead make it sound unique.

Then it slows down in the verse, only to build it all back up to the arena rock chorus. A great piece of song writing.

“I’m a prisoner chained by love”

Long Cold Winter
Cinderella

Blues music is simple however to make it sound simple is a challenge. In this case, Keifer and Co. show the hard rock MTV world how to play the blues and they make it sound simple.

“A long cold winter without your love”

Winds Of Change
Y&T

1981’s “Earthshaker” started Y&T’s rebirth. “Black Tiger” released in 1982 would enhance and refine their signature sound. The album was recorded in England and produced by Max Norman. At that time, he had just finished working with Randy Rhoads on two career defining albums, so he knew how to work with excellent Californian guitarists.

Winds of change
Blowing strongly

The song has this “Kings and Queens” Aerosmith vibe. I dig it.

Far From Over
Frank Stallone

Sly Stallone’s nepotism to family members is evident here. His brother Frank is singing one of the signature songs from the “Staying Alive” movie, which is the sequel to “Saturday Night Fever”.

I dig this song a lot. It’s written by Frank Stallone and Vince DiCola.

I’m diggin’ in,
I want it more than anything I’ve wanted

How bad do you want it and how far are you prepared to go to sacrifice to get it.

I am down but I am far from over

An unwritten rule of life.

On The Line
Tangier

After doing the Philadelphia scene for 5 plus years, the band finally got a chance to showcase for a few labels. ATCO head, Derek Schulman was successful in getting their signature and he got producer Andy Johns from Led Zeppelin fame on board for “Four Winds.”

“On The Line” has a good feel and groove, but man the lyrics about a stranger waiting in the alley way to take your life just don’t do it for me. Only Dee Snider could get away with lyrics like that.

Free’N’Easy
Devils Toy

The Almighty

Ricky Warwick is known today as the lead singer/guitarist for “Black Star Riders” but back in the 80’s/90’s he had a pretty cool band called “The Almighty”.

They were signed by Polydor in March 1989 and recorded their first album, “Blood, Fire and Love” the same year. These songs are from their second album “Soul Destruction” which was released in March 1991. I know I cheated by chucking these ones in the list.

“Everything is so Free ‘N’ Easy”

The modern-day slogan.

Love, only love,
Love is the devils toy

Yes, something so pleasurable has to be evil.

Driving Wheels
Last Frontier
Too Much Ain’t Enough Love
Walk On

Jimmy Barnes

I bet a lot of Journey fans would have no idea the influence of the Journey songwriters on this album. “Freight Train Heart” is the third studio album by Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes.

“Driving Wheels” is written by Barnes, Jonathan Cain and David Roberts. Yep, the same David Roberts who wrote songs for Bad English, Lee Aaron, House of Lords, Signal and Starship.

“Too Much Aint Enough Love” is written by Barnes, Cain, Neal Schon, Randy Jackson (bass player and recently known for his work on American Idol) and Tony Brock (drummer for The Babys and Jimmy Barnes).

“Do or Die” and “Last Frontier” are written by Barnes and Cain.

“I Wanna Get Started with You” is written by Barnes, Cain and Schon.

“I’m Still on Your Side” is written by Barnes, Cain and Jim Vallance. Yep the same Jim Vallance from Aerosmith and Bryan Adams fame.

“Lessons in Love” is written by Barnes, Vallance, Cain and Jeff Neill (Canadian guitarist who had success with Shama and Streetheart. He toured with Jimmy Barnes before dedicating his time to song writing and producing.

“Waitin’ for the Heartache” is written by Barnes and Desmond Child. Yep the same Desmond from Kiss, Jovi and Aerosmith fame.

“Walk On” is written by Desmond Child and Joe Lynn Turner. Yep the same Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow fame. The track also appears on a Sunstorm album from 2009.

“Seven Days” is a track Bob Dylan wrote for Ronnie Wood.

Jonathan Cain was on hand to produce, however due to interference from Geffen Records and Cain’s creative vision being different to Barnsey’s vision, the album production was brought back to Australia, with Mick Stone producing and a supergroup of musicians playing on it.

It’s the rhythm of the highway
As he rolls on down
And city lights as they fade from sight
Drives the man behind the driving wheels

Truckie lifestyle, hell in the modern world it’s the morning two-hour commute to work for a lot of people.

Well he’s thought about settling down
A little diner on the edge of town
But in this world of push and shove
He’s still got freedom in his blood

The corporations, the banking industry and our leaders don’t like people like this. Hard to control and bring into the system.

The below is from “The Last Frontier”.

The lawless and the brave, searching for a dream
When all they found was sand and stone
Where rivers once had been

Australia was populated by the convicts and the ones who had dreams of a better life outside of the UK.

And suffered in a sunburnt land
Down in the last frontier

Australia is known as the sunburnt land.

And they sent them to another land
Into the greatest fear
To fight and die for freedoms cry
And for the last frontier

The U.K goes to war and their front lines are made up of soldiers from their colonies.

You Won’t See Me Cry
Signal

And if my world should end tonight
When you walk out of my life
You won’t see me cry

And that’s the end of another Forgotten playlist from the 80’s with an exception for “The Almighty” who even though the album was released in 91, it feels like it was heard in the 80’s.

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Dues To Pay

Don Brautigam didn’t get the Metallica “Master Of Puppets” or the Motley Crue “Dr Feelgood” cover design gig because he just graduated from drawing school or he had the digital tools at home to create art. Brautigam had spent 15 years doing book covers, sci-fi art and album covers for over artists. He got recognition for his Stephen King book cover design in 1980. He was paying his dues every single day.

Twisted Sister didn’t just write a multi-platinum album out of the blue. It was a long hard road, with some great live moments and record label rejection. While they had the US Tri-State scene covered, to the rest of the world they were unknown. As far as the person in Australia was concerned, they laboured in obscurity. But they kept on doing the great work for a lot of years before most people heard them.

Dream Theater’s “Images And Words” was seven years in the making from when the band got together in 85. All of those choices made in the past led to this album. And once you add the years of individual practice and listening before Dream Theater formed, you can see that “Images and Words” didn’t just write itself.

John Sykes didn’t just come out of the blue and join Whitesnake and then go on to co-write one of the best albums from 1987. His journey involved local bands in the UK, then Tygers of Pang Tang, Thin Lizzy and finally Whitesnake. David Coverdale started off with local bands in the UK, then Deep Purple and finally Whitesnake. The accumulation of years paying their dues led to a perfect synergy/chemistry which resulted in the 1987 album.

Recently I got into the instrumental music of Andy James. A great melodic guitarist and what a shredder. When you look at his past, you can see a high work ethic, writing, recording, touring, doing transcriptions, magazine work, sessions and what not. I am sure, many nights/months passed labouring in obscurity, but he kept on doing great work, years before most people realised and recognised his work.

Hate em or love em, but Five Finger Death Punch is no accident. They are a good example that it takes years, over a decade to find the right formula that works, to keep on working on the music, the message in the lyrics and taking chances. The band members themselves have roots that go back to the early 90’s.

The past is the forerunner to the future and any success that might follow. That rocket ship to success that MTV sold everyone, no longer exists. No one will ever be as big as they’d dreamed they’d be. If an artist is lucky, they will have established a following that pays their bills.

And today, the past is even more important. We live in an era where people don’t realize how hard it is to rise above the noise and connect with people. We do it socially, but artistically it’s difficult. And our past stories and experiences are there to build connections. The right or wrong choices we made in the past, shape who we are today.

But the world moves so fast.

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

1983 – The Holy Roller, The Devil Rocker, The Synchronised Eliminator and The Moon Rebel

From May 29, 1983 up until sometime in 1992, metal/rock ruled and it all started with the US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack). For the bands involved it was a pivotal moment. For the movement as a whole, it was massive. For a fledgling TV service called MTV, it showed them a market to tap into.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded. I will talk more about this album in one of the other installments of my 1983 saga.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival in May, helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, you heard those songs and you wanted them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. You can easily conclude that the festival had a hand in boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. This success didn’t come instantly either, working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. However the visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Anyway, enough of the U.S. Festival and time for a look at some albums.

Dio – Holy Diver

Ronnie James Dio success came from hard work and a commitment to stay the course. Check out his release schedule.

From when Elf’s self-titled debut album came out in 1972 he was constantly writing, releasing and touring. In 1974, “Carolina Country Ball” came out and in 1975, “Trying To Burn The Sun” came out.

Also in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was released. In 1976, “Rising” came out. In 1977, “On Stage” came out. In 1978, “Long Live Rock N Roll” came out.

With Black Sabbath, he was involved with the “Heaven and Hell” release in 1980. In 1981, “Mob Rules” came out. In 1982 “Live At Last” came out.

By 1983, he was about to release his eleventh album in 11 years.

While much of the talk these days is on Dio hiring Vivian Campbell, it was actually Jimmy Bain who had a larger influence on Holy Diver. It was Jimmy Bain that was hired first. It was Jimmy Bain who contributed musically to “Stand Up And Shot” and “Rainbow In The Dark”. It was Jimmy Bain who saw Vivian Campbell play with Sweet Savage.

Actually, if you look at the song writing credits you will see “Holy Diver” was written solely by Dio and “Stand Up And Shout” was written by Dio and bassist Jimmy Bain. Vivian Campbell’s contributions are “Gypsy” (with Dio), “Caught in the Middle” and “Invisible” (with Appice and Dio), “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Shame on the Night” (with Appice, Bain and Dio).

So have a drink for an unsung departed hero in  Jimmy Bain.

Stand Up And Shout
You’ve got the power, stand up and shout

The opening song and it’s a call to arms right off the bat. Written before Vivian Campbell joined the band, the opening riff was used again to great success by Iron Maiden in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. Quick, get the lawyers involved.

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Diver
The lead single.

How good is that groove from Appice and Bain under the iconic riff. It’s the selling point of the song. Vocally, Dio is fantastic and the guitar solo from Campbell is shredalicious.

Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he’s clean

Only Dio knows what those lyrics mean however if you are looking for an explanation then go to SongMeanings. A user called “Nightrain50” posted the following;

“Holy Diver is about Jesus Christ’s descent into Hades after being crucified”.

Once you read the users lyrical breakdown, it sounds plausible.

The “Holy Diver” riff is that good, that the Foo Fighters used it in the pre-chorus of their song “Something From Nothing”.

Between the velvet lies
There’s a truth that’s hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life’s a never-ending wheel

The below is an example of the SongMeanings users break down of the above verse.

“Between the velvet lies” = velvet is gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination and a profit or gain beyond what is expected or due. Jesus is the velvet lie. His intentions are not clear. Satan has been fooled, he thought he had won when he had Jesus crucified, in fact he has sealed his own fate. Jesus is here to claim what’s his. All the souls of the fallen that will but believe in him can now be saved from Adam until now. Remember all fell short of the glory of God but one (Jesus), this means that all the prophets of the Old Testament were not reaching heaven. Not yet, but they are now.

“There’s a truth that’s hard as steel” = Truth is the word of God. Steel is the sword of Jesus’s mouth Rev 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

“The vision never dies”= The vision is the law, Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. The law will never die because Jesus has finally fulfilled the law, allowing us to have eternal life with God through him.

“Life’s a never-ending wheel” = Death has been defeated. 1st Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans *:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It’s funny how a biblical interpretation has been made on “Holy Diver” that is pro-Jesus, and the person that wrote the song is known as the creator of the devil horn salute. Metal all the way is what I say.

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

So depending on who you ask, it is pretty clear that a rainbow cannot exist in the dark, as rainbows require light. So is Dio using the term rainbow as an analogy for a “light” in the dark. Also, think of a rainbow as an entity and it found its way into the night. Is it lost? Is it lonely? Did someone abandon it?

It’s typical Dio, where the meaning can take many paths. Each verse line deals with a certain emotion.

When there’s lightning
You know it always bring me down

It’s about feeling down.

Do your demons,
Do they ever let you go?

It’s about giving in to our vices because they are always there.

We’re a lie
You and I
We’re words without a rhyme

It’s about a relationship going sour.

No sign of the morning

It’s like the light will never return into his life.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” and “Shame On The Night” musically are fantastic songs, but lyrically they are terrible.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Dee Snider wrote the tracks for “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” while “Under The Blade” was getting mixed. At that stage, Snider was a 10 year vet in the music business. He didn’t rely on sales of recorded music to provide him with a living. He earned his coin by delivering the goods on stage, night after night.

The band was a consistent crowd puller on the live circuit. You would think that would get them signed, however it didn’t. All the labels rejected them, until an independent label in Europe called “Secret” signed them. This in turn eventually led to Atlantic’s European division signing them for the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” album which in turn led to the U.S arm of Atlantic picking them up, once imported versions of the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” LP started selling in the U.S.

And if you want to hear about record label mistreatment look no further than Dee Snider.

The Kids Are Back
The opening track.

My cousin Mega is a hard-core Twisted Sister fan. He is the one that got me into the band. He even has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder. This was my first exposure to the band. The sound of the marching feet. It was perfect for the time.

We walk the streets
In tattered armies
We got the lion in our heart
We’re not lookin’ for trouble
Just for some fun
But we’re all ready if you wanna’ start

How can I put in words the trueness of this verse?

We just wanted to have fun, but man, if someone wanted to roll with us, we didn’t take a backward step. You can hear the anger build in Dee’s vocal delivery. It’s raw and it is honest. It is not auto tuned like all the other crap released today. It has a certain life to it.

I Am (I’m Me)
It’s a song that needed to be written, so that Dee could go on and write, “S.M.F”, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. To me, it is like a back story to the main movie. It’s message is one of standing up for yourself.

Who are you to look down
At what I believe?

Notice how most of the lyrics have a certain trend showing. If you don’t believe me, compare the lyrics between these songs;

“Stand Up And Shout”, “The Kids Are Back”, “I Am (I’m Me)”, “Your No Different”, “Rock And Roll Rebel”, “Red Hot” and “Rebel Yell”.

The eighties were a time when the youth didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of what their fathers did. I didn’t want to work in the steel mills. I wanted something different, but I didn’t know what. For too long I had been conditioned to want something else.

We’re Gonna Make It is another song that needed to be written so that Dee could go on to write the classics.

The power of the people
Ain’t been showin’
It’s never what you know
It’s who you’re knowin’
Sure it ain’t right,
But as the saying goes its might
That decides who stays behind
And who’ll be goin’

It’s the A to Z in making it.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

Lift up your hands in praise
You can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll

You know, those words are so true because rock just keeps on evolving. Even when hard rock stopped being a dominant commercial force in the Nineties, another form known as Grunge Rock took over with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Then Alternative Rock took over with Foo Fighters and a renewed Pearl Jam. Then Modern Rock took over with Matchbox Twenty and Tonic. Nu-Metal came and it morphed into Heavy Rock. We had Rap Rock, then Pop Rock and Glam Rock came back again via “The Darkness” and we even had Industrial Rock via “Filter”, “Stabbing Westward” and others of that ilk.

It’s an angry steed,
On a never ending course

Damn right.

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

There is a lot of septic crap around this album especially around the politics of the song writing.

By 1983, Ozzy had lost the momentum that the Blizzard Of Ozz band started. From the original crew, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired and Randy Rhoads died tragically and if the tragedy didn’t happen, Rhoads was putting plans in place to leave Ozzy.

Ozzy’s saving grace was the US Festival. After the US Festival, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. It could have been George Lynch instead of Jake E. Lee. Maybe on Earth 2, there is a version with George Lynch replacing Randy Rhoads.

For Daisley, coming back into the Ozzy camp meant certain conditions. He wanted to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. He wanted bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came.

Writing by Daisley and Lee continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman engineering again. Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio. Sharon Osbourne was constantly on his case as to why the drum parts took so long to record. Time is money. After Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. If you see the “Bark At The Moon” video, Appice is on drums. He had a contract to do the tour and he got fired as well, because he was sneaking off and doing drum clinics.

Bark At The Moon
What a way for Jake E. Lee to introduce himself to the fans of Ozzy Osbourne. Jake E. Lee came up with the riff, Ozzy with the title and Bob
Daisley wrote the lyrics based on a Hammer Horror film story.

But Lee or Daisley are not credited as songwriters. Only Ozzy is.

With so much talk these days about plagiarism and other people taking credit for something they didn’t do, this is exactly what Sharon orchestrated for Ozzy. As it stands, Ozzy is listed as the sole songwriter and by default taking full credit for someone else’s work.

Bark at the moon
Ha ha ha ha ha…

One of my favourite lyrical lines is;

He finds his heaven
Spewing from the mouth of hell

There are a lot of people like that, who find their happiness by putting others down. Hell, the whole bully system is designed in this way. Internet trolls are exactly like this.

And if there was any doubt to the guitar mastery of Jake E. Lee then just listen to the outro solo.

“You’re No Different”
A lot of hate for this song because;

a) it’s a ballad,
b) it has keyboards,
c) it’s a ballad and
d) it’s a ballad with keyboards.

But man, coming off the stellar opening title track, it was a WTF moment, but it’s still a good song and there is no denying the lyrics from Daisley that deal with how people judged and perceived Ozzy.

Everything that I say and do
In your eyes is always wrong
Tell me where do I belong in a sick society

Where do we belong when everyone has their own thoughts and ideas? And why should our thoughts, ideas and words be so wrong, just because we are lower in the status chain.

Your’re no different, no different to me

Last time I checked, we all have a mortality of about 80 years and we all end up in the same place when it all comes to an end.

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes reflecting jealousy

I’ve said sorry many times when I never should have. It was purely an attempt to put a situation to rest and move on.

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try and understand
Is that blood that’s on your hand from your democracy?

Is there such a thing as pure truth as what I see from my point of view and my cultural upbringing is different to what another sees.

And again that outro has a lot of cool Jake E. Lee’isms.

“Rock And Roll Rebel”
It needed to be written so Jake could go and write “Lightning Strikes” because the riffs are identical except in different keys.

I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel
I’ll tell you no lies
They say I worship the devil
They must be stupid or blind
I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel

It’s a national anthem for us metal heads. “I’m a rock and roll rebel” was my favourite comeback line to my school teachers.

They live a life of fear and insecurity
And all you do is pay for their prosperity

Damn right, it’s called tax and mortgages. The best way to ensure that the majority still serve rich masters like in ancient empires is to create wages, income tax and credit loans. That way, the rich will get even richer and the rest of us will just pay for their prosperity.

That lead break from Jake again is brilliant. Arpeggios, bluesy pentatonic lines, fast legato lines and anything else he could fit in, he did.

“Waiting for Darkness”
The excellent album closer. It’s how Jake E. Lee decorates the song by palm muting and double-picking each note to create a staccato style effect. It’s very similar to how Andy Summers from The Police decorated songs.

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 I’m not free. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”;

“New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Motley Crue is another band that benefited greatly from the U.S Festival. 1983 is when the LA Sunset Strip Scene broke out as a commercial force.

On the backs of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot, suddenly the labels were looking for bands that looked and sounded like Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. Ratt, Dokken WASP, Kix, Krokus and Mamas Boys are a few bands that benefited from Motley Crue breaking out of the L.A Sunset Strip scene.

Other labels that had established bands made their bands look like Motley Crue. Y&T, Accept, Fastway, Whitesnake, Helix, Saxon, Kiss and Tygers of Pan Tang are a few bands that had a look and feel change to their wardrobes. But for the Crue, their changes had a lot to do with what was popular at the time. Metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were riding a wave of commercial prosperity. The Crue had the metal look and all they needed was the metal sound.

Enter the pentagram.

The “Shout At The Devil” album was primarily written while the band was still unknown and striving for success. You can hear the angst, rebellious youth and aggression in the music. You can hear the kilos of cocaine and decadent lifestyle in the music.

Tom Werman is on hand to produce. There is no denying the fact that Werman had a certain touch to get the albums sounding radio friendly.

Around this time there was a satanic backlash happen in the U.S. Motley Crue played into the controversy and as Vince Neil once said, they did anything that would get them attention.

Werman advised them that they could record their tracks separately and then fix up any mistakes after. This in turn led to a lot of down time. Down time equals partying. In the end, the Crue managed to get it together to record an album that was a product and snapshot of 1982/83.

“Shout At The Devil”
The funny thing is the band is accused of being satanic however they had the most Christian sounding title in “Shout At The Devil”. It is no different to “To Hell With The Devil” from Stryper. The main riff is a bluesy classic, in the vein of ZZ Top’s if played with a boogie feel.

But in the seasons of wither
We’ll stand and deliver
Be strong and laugh and
Shout-shout-shout
Shout at the devil

Nikki is channelling his love of Aerosmith and his rebellious street punk nature in the lyrics. He is part of the disenfranchised generation.

“Looks That Kill”
The L.A sound is all over this. The opening riff of “Looks That Kill” was copied from somewhere and then all of the LA bands copied each other with different variations. If you don’t believe me, check out Ratt and Dokken. The “Breaking The Chains” album has a song with a very similar riff and so does ”Out Of The Cellar”.

As good as the riff is; it’s the foot stomping beat from Tommy Lee that gets the song going. It’s metronomic and G-string tight.

Now listen up
She’s razor-sharp

Now she’s bulletproof
Keeps her motor clean
If Nikki was channelling Aerosmith in “Shout At The Devil”, well for “Looks That Kill” he was channelling Brian Johnson and “Back In Black”.

“Bastard”

Bastard
Won’t get screwed again

Written about their manager who funded their debut album and then split with the Elektra advance.

“Red Hot”
Tommy Lee is channelling “Overkill” from Motorhead with the drums.

Shout at the devil
We’ve laughed at your wars

The title track appears again in another song. It’s such a strong statement.

“Too Young to Fall in Love”

Again, it’s Tommy’s foot stomping and metronomic drumming that gets the song rolling and grooving.

Run for the hills
We’re both sinners and saints

“Knock Em Dead, Kid”
That intro riff from Mick Mars and the build-up from Tommy Lee is a foot stomper. It’s a call to arms.

In the heat of the night
You went and blackened my eyes
Well now I’m back, I’m back, I’m back
And I’m coming your way”

Lyrics about a fist fight. Nikki took a few hits and now he’s back for retribution. Brilliant

“Ten Seconds To Love”
Touch my gun
But don’t pull my trigger
Let’s make history
In the elevator
Or lock the door
Shine my pistol some more
Here I cum
Just ten seconds more

Sixx is a master at the tongue and cheek bubblegum sexual lyrics.

Bring a girlfriend
Maybe bring two
I got my camera
Make a star outta you

The Crue guys made stars of themselves and others with those camera’s many years later. How prophetic.

“Danger”
This one is one of those gems that is forgotten, telling a story about the bands early days.

“Danger, you’re in danger when the boys are around”

The Motley Crue lifestyle. It was danger. Hotel rooms got destroyed, cars got destroyed, Razzle died, Nikki Sixx died.

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

“Rebel Yell” is written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens.

Steve Stevens is merely a footnote in the pages of rock/pop and Digitech whammy noises. Tom Morello is seen as an innovator for doing the same thing that Steve Stevens was doing a decade before. Stevens only crime was big hair and big hair is not in to the people who write pop culture history.

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more, wow!

The Police – Synchronicity

It goes to show how one great song and two good songs could move millions upon millions of albums. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are the ones.

“Every Breath You Take”
The big one. The songwriting credits state it was all Sting, however the way guitarist Andy Summers plays the stock A – F#m – D – E progression is what defines the song and sets it apart from all of the other pretenders.

“King Of Pain”
Gotye took the feel and chordal structure of this song and made it a hit again almost 30 years later. Quick, call the lawyers, we have plagiarism at its best.

There’s a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt
There’s a rich man sleeping on a golden bed
There’s a skeleton choking on a crust of bread

I’ll always be king of pain

Brilliant lyrics. All of those characters could have been Sting.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
Again, Summers takes centre stage with his intricate, melodic and delicious sounding guitar lines.

I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

ZZ Top – Eliminator

“Gimme All Your Lovin’”
It kicks off the album that turned ZZ Top into superstars. And as all things to do with the Eighties it was on the back of MTV and their stylish videos that all kept the same theme going throughout.

You got to whip it up
And hit me like a ton of lead
If I blow my top
Will you let it go to your head?

Are the lyrics dealing with cumming on her face.

“Got Me Under Pressure”
All the trademarks of classic ZZ Top are here. The riffs, the solos, the jam like structures.

I’m gonna give her a message,
here’s what I’m gonna say:
“It’s all over.”

Man, it’s good the ZZ Top guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Premature ejaculation gets a verse.

“Sharp Dressed Man”
If “Gimme All Your Loving’” and “Got Me Under Pressure” were the combinations, then “Sharp Dressed Man was the knockout.
It’s a technological refined Southern Blues Rock boogie merged with a lot of pop sensibilities.

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

“Legs”
Six songs would have been enough for this album.

She’s got legs, she knows how to use them

The immortal lyric that everyone knows. But what about this one;

She’s got hair down to her fanny
She’s kinda jet set, try undo her panties

Fanny makes it in a hit song. Brilliant.

And based on the above, here is a sequenced list of songs for a 20 song double album. All killer, no filler.
Side 1
1. Bark At The Moon
2. Stand Up And Shout
3. Looks That Kill
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. Every Breath You Take
Side 2
1. Rebel Yell
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Legs
4. You Cant Stop Rock And Roll
5. Holy Diver
Side 3
1. Red Hot
2. I Am (I’m Me)
3. Too Young To Fall In Love
4. Gimme All Your Lovin’
5. Waiting For Darkness
Side 4
1. The Kids Are Back
2. Wrapped Around Your Finger
3. Sharp Dressed Man
4. King Of Pain
5. Got Me Under Pressure

Stay tuned for Part II.

In case you didn’t get the title;

  • The Holy Roller is a combination of “Holy Diver” and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”.
  • The Devil Rocker is a combination of “Shout At The Devil” and “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll”.
  • The Synchronised Eliminator is a combination of “Synchronicity” and “Eliminator”
  • The Moon Rebel is a combination on “Bark At The Moon” and “Rebel Yell”.
Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1982 – Part 2 – The Day Of The Rock-Rock-Rock-Rocker

Twisted Sister – Under The Blade
In April 1982, Twisted Sister landed a contract with UK punk-rock label Secret Records.

In June 1982, the group released its first EP, “Ruff Cuts”, with Toni Petri on drums. A.J Pero joined soon after. This was followed in September with “Under the Blade”, produced by Pete Way of UFO and featuring a guest appearance of “Fast” Eddie Clarke on the very sounding Motorhead song “Tear It Loose”.

I will go out on a limb here and say that “Under The Blade” was an inspiring metal album for a legion of death and black metallers.

With all things musical, Secret Records then goes into bankruptcy. However it gave the TS machine enough momentum to appear on “The Tube” (they paid $22K for the appearance) which in turn led to Atlantic Records Europe approaching the band and signing them. Plus who can forget the support of the mighty Lemmy (RIP), who introduced the band at certain gigs in the UK.

I purchased the remixed re-release by Atlantic Records many years later, after I purchased “Come Out And Play”. “Under The Blade” is a classic album from a well- seasoned live unit. All of the songs are designed and meant for the stage.

The opening track “What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You)” is a perfect example of a song designed for the live arena. Make sure you listen to the 5.32 version from the original. It’s better and it’s raw and gritty, just like Rock and Roll should be.

It’s that screechy, whiny, thin guitar intro that sets the tone and the way Dee Snider sings “Good Evening” with all the bravado of a circus MC, sounds like something dangerous is about to happen.

Good evening! Ha ha ha, welcome to our show

The welcoming line into the Twisted Sister world. I was intrigued.

Hit it! We’re no overnight sensation, no Cinderella fantasy
Please no plaudits or ovations, I’ve heard it all before you see

Bon Scott sang “It’s A Long Way To The Top, If You Want To Rock And Roll” and Twisted Sister is living proof of that journey. Indie bands are a common term for cool these days and there is no one more cooler than the TS Machine. For an indie band, they were way ahead of their time. Bands these days, with the world at their fingertips are unable to connect with people like the TS machine of old.

In the longer cut, the solo is extended at the 3.34 mark. It’s more melodic and it definitely grabs me.

How do you like it so far, say ain’t we quite a show?
There’s no one else quite like us, the others all get up and go

An intermission in a song is a brilliant piece of song writing.

“Bad Boys Of Rock N Roll” is the glam rock of Slade and Sweet cranked to eleven.

So we look kind of weird to you, well, how do you look to me?

You can just imagine how the TS look went over as the musical climate shifted from glam rock in the early Seventies to Punk and Disco in the late Seventies to New Wave in the Early Eighties.

Bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll
How bad can a bad boy be if he sets you free?

It’s about people who judge and condemn you while also enjoying what you have to offer.

So you say we’re offending you, what’s wrong, is it something we said?

Dee Snider doesn’t get enough respect. He was a spokesperson for a generation. Twisted Sister’s music was sold by the message in the songs. How different from today where everybody just oversells.

How heavy and doomy is “Run For Your Life”?

My favourite cut from the album! It’s all about the groove. The verse riff has the feel and power of AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock”.

Through abused intentions
You misused my trust
Now’s the time for redemption
You’d better run for your life

It’s the embryo of “Burn In Hell” that came after.

“Sin After Sin” is a metal classic in the same vein as Judas Priest.

I had to hear this to remember it.

Funny how something so dated sounds so modern, especially around the lyrical message.

The lie you’ve been leading
Has you up to here in sin
You never like to think about it
Now you just can’t win

In today’s “Facebook” culture, everyone is putting their lives out there, for the whole world to stalk. But just how perfect and true are those photographs and those stories that people put up. Hell, when the GFC happened, all the banks lies got exposed, Ponzi schemes from Madoff got exposed and every single financial lie that was told was exposed.

You’re committing
Sin after sin

When you start with one lie, you are bound to tell another lie and then another, until you are so far removed from the truth, you don’t even know what the truth is anymore.

“Shoot Em Down” is classic AC/DC style of rock. Dee Snider showed respect to his influences, taking the attitude and intensity of glam rock and heavy metal and making it his own. Soon all of us would have the same attitude.

How heavy is “Destroyer”?

This one is the style of Judas Priest.

Anthrax with Jon Bush on vocals covered it for the Twisted Forever disc in the mid-nineties and down tuned it even more. It sounded Pantera like. Brutal.

He spent his life
A silent sentinel
For all to fear
He walks, he talks, he thinks, he feels,
But no one dare go near

Destroyer, Destroyer, Destroyer
He’s in town

When I was young, I thought it was impossible to get old. And now that i am older, my viewpoints mean nothing to the young ones, with their youth and know it all attitude. Exactly the same way I was when I was their age.

Although Dee is singing about some being like the maker/undertaker who is coming to collect, the lyrics to me have a meaning about getting old and how when you get old, no one gives a crap about you and about what you have to say.

“Under The Blade” has this haunting/metallised “Friday on Your Mind” vibe in the intro. That’s the power of music, it sets a mood instantly, and then it goes into overdrive.

You can’t escape from the bed you’ve made

Many years later, Dee Snider said the song is about him going “Under the Blade” for a surgery, however the lyrics definitely paint a picture of a person cornered in the alley way and then stabbed in their side. It’s pretty graphic and the scene setting lyrics are brilliant. But that lyric, “You Can’t Escape From The Bed You Made” is it. You drive drunk, there is no escape from the bed that you made. You scheme and steal, there is no escape from the bed you made.

“Tear It Loose” is a more commercial sounding “Overkill’ from Motorhead merged with a rockabilly drumming feel in the verses. The funny thing is, I never dug “Tear It Loose” back then but it resonates with me now more than the other songs. It’s all about the message in the lyrics, the double bass drumming, the riffs and I’m banging my head to it.

There ain’t no way I’m gonna wait for Saturday Night
I worked all day, I slaved away, I gotta set it right

That is what music gave me. A release; a place away from the normal grind. While Loverboy was singing “Working For The Weekend”, the TS beast was working for the night. Every minute is precious, so enjoy it.

Gonna tear it, gonna tear it loose
Gonna shout it from the roof
Blast my way into the night
I’m gonna live my dream, shout and scream!

Tear it loose doesn’t mean to destroy things as some people believe. It means to break away from someone or something. It could be anything, a job, a relationship, an ideal in your mind, a bad situation, and so forth. Or in some cases, it just means to break shit.

I’ve been brutalized, computerized, punched in and punched out
Here comes the night and it just ain’t right to be shut in or shut out
So I’m breaking down the barricades, gonna slow the hands of time
Cause to waste away the rest of the day is such a f***ing crime!

Kids from the Nineties don’t understand the clock cards. It’s a different world and in my view a better one. Time is short, don’t waste it. You are a short time alive and a long time dead. As Bon Jovi said, he’ll sleep when he is dead.

“Day Of The Rocker” is a foot stomper. The main riff is a cross between AC/DC and “The Strippers Anthem” while the verses have a bass feel from “Heaven And Hell”. But the vocal delivery is a tribute to Bon Scott from AC/DC.

Our numbers growin’
Soon we’ll be showin’
We’ve got the right to rule
We won’t be denied
So raise your hands in the air
And I want you to tell the world all about

A call to arms for all rockers to unite. A rock and roll and heavy metal invasion, stomping their way to wipe the slate completely clean.

The day of the rock-rock-rock-rocker

Simple and effective chorus lyric.

It’s like Twisted Sister is figuring out where they stand as they go along. They were following Judas Priest, Motorhead, Slade, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Free and writing their own songs. And because of these foundations, everyone at home was forming bands, the same way everyone at home today follows technology.

Night Ranger – Dawn Patrol
It was a super group. Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy all did time with Rubicon, who had chart success and were a constant on the touring circuit. Brad Gillis also had the high-profile replacement job for Randy Rhoads after his tragic death. Alan Fitzgerald did time with Montrose and Sammy Hagar. Jeff Watson had local radio air play and record label interest.

“Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”
It’s classic Jack Blades. The lead break was a wow moment for me, especially when the eight finger tapping comes in from Jeff Watson.

It’s taken miles and lines to learn the right from the wrong

From living and experiences we learn. It takes years. Relationships and love is one of those beasts that takes a lot of time to get right, and even then it is not perfect.

“Call My Name”
Another Jack Blades composition.

Your silhouette always appears in my window
I close my eyes and hear
The applause of at least a thousand different strangers
And everyone seems sincere

The adulation of being in a band, having people worship you. How do you come down from that high?

For Nikki Sixx, he started to take drugs.

“Eddie’s Coming Out Tonight”
Another Jack Blades composition. Stupid title but a fantastic song. It has enough guitars to make it heavy and the keyboards just add to the melody. Plus Eddie likes to rock and roll all night long and in the Eighties that is what we all wanted to do.

How cool is that outro solo section, a four bar climbing click repeating over a climbing ascending riff.

He lives beyond his means
He wear Italian shoes

Ain’t that the truth! Eddie is well-known to all of us. I know I live beyond my means. Each pay check goes out to the banks for the home loans and credit cards.

“Can’t Find Me A Thrill”
It’s a sleeper hit. The lead breaks alone are worth the investment. Steely Dan and Toto influences are all over this one.

Chasing the spotlight
It’s all part of the game
I’ve been to so many places
And they all look the same
I rock for my money
Some say it’s a suicide game

The lyrics are brilliant. You see, even back in the Eighties when the record labels had power and money and bigger budgets to sign acts and develop acts, it was still a lifer game. You had to check out of society and reality to become a rocker. The only way bands made money is from the stage.

I love the music and the vocal melodies to “Young Girl In Love”, “Play Rough”, “Penny” and “Night Ranger” but really, really, really hate the lyrics. All four songs could have been crossover hits if the lyrical message was better, not derivative and maybe a bit more socially aware.

UFO – Mechanix
I am a Michael Schenker fan, so the UFO records I purchased in the Nineties via the second-hand record shop and various music fairs were the albums that Schenker played on.

However, for $1, I purchased “Mechanix”.

Released in 1982, it was studio album number 10. Pete Way would leave UFO and form Fastway with “Fast” Eddie Clarke who also left Motorhead.

I love the classic UFO releases with Schenker, so of course I was disappointed with this album. Back when I purchased it, I never gave it a chance. Paul Chapman never had a chance following in the footsteps of Schenker. Even Vinnie Moore these days, is ridiculed for being in UFO, however Steve Morse is all cool for taking Blackmore’s place in Deep Purple. Go figure.

But Paul Chapman is a star on “We Belong To The Night”. It is the stand out track by far and it deserves a place in UFO history as a guitar foot stomper. It’s like Night Ranger took this song, sound and feel and built a career on it with the “Midnight Madness” album that came in 1983.

But the lyrics make me cringe. And many years later I realised that was the problem with UFO after Schenker left. It wasn’t Paul Chapman, he was excellent. Musically the band was excellent. It was the lyrics of Phil Mogg. They just didn’t grow up with him. He didn’t become a voice for a new generation.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Branding

“Initially when we put the band together in ’89, like all bands, I guess, our intentions were to put it together to keep it together. Man, we’ve had such a revolving door… I think this is really the final version of the band that has the same elements that it initially was conceived to have in 1989; it just works, the chemistry works. I haven’t had that in a long, long, long time.”
George Lynch on a revolving door of members

“If people are still in the band it either means they wanted to stay or I wanted them around. If they’re not, it means they didn’t want to stay or I didn’t want them around. It doesn’t mean they’re not good players or that they’re not nice people. Sometimes things run their course — sometimes things are meant to be, and sometimes they’re not.”
Dave Mustaine on departing members

As much as we want our bands to tough it out and stay together, the reality is very different. On some occasions, a record deal and immediate success would make some tough it out, but it would also make people argue over money splits and what not.

So was Dokken really a band?

It’s been a debate I have been having with people for a while now.

Think about it for a second.

The “band” was made up of veterans from different scenes. When Dokken started to get mindshare in 1983 and 84, and mainstream success by 1985, the band members had been trying to “make it” for over a decade in separate bands. In the end, it took Don Dokken (who was tapped to replace Klaus Meine in the Scorpions once upon a time) to get a European recording contract by using songs that George Lynch and Mick Brown had written in Xciter. So the marriage of convenience was already seethed in resentment, which would lead to their break up in 1989 at the peak of their commercial powers.

“Of course, everything we (Lynch Mob) release is always compared to the benchmark “Wicked Sensation” – and that’s a pretty high mark. That record took probably at least a year or more to make, and about a half a million dollars or more.”
George Lynch

George Lynch via Lynch Mob went first with “Wicked Sensation”. Meanwhile, Don Dokken was holed up in a studio with a supergroup of musicians recording “Up From The Ashes”. But he had the backing of Geffen Records and the large advance.

But Lynch was marketable. He was in Guitar Magazines and normal music magazines. Oni and Mick were also in the mags.

Meanwhile, Don Dokken had a supergroup of musicians, however, the magazines didn’t want to interview them. John Norum is a fantastic guitarist, but in the U.S he was virtually an unknown. Most of the public at that time believed Kee Marcello played on “The Final Countdown”, much in the same way, the majority of the new Whitesnake fans had no idea who John Sykes was.

Don Dokken is a great singer, but he wasn’t a marketable singer in 1990. At the time, the magazines glorified, Sebastian Bach, Jani Lane and so forth. He couldn’t use the Dokken name for the new band, because Lynch and Co.. wouldn’t let him and even took him to court.

In the end, a combination of riffs and melodies would sell the “Wicked Sensation” album. The guitar magazines dissected the songs, devoting pages to the makeup of the riffs and the leads. These articles alone sold the album to the legion of guitarists. None of that PR happened with Don Dokken and his supergroup.

That’s not to say that the Don Dokken album is terrible. It is good, but it was no different to the thousands of other melodic rock releases that came out in 1990. In the end, the brand of the “band” Dokken, wasn’t tied to Don Dokken. It was more tied to George Lynch than anyone else. He was the one selling the brand Dokken because everyone wanted to interview him.

When it comes to Megadeth, did anyone know that ex-members of Megadeth formed a band called “Act Of Defiance” and released an album. As a fan of Megadeth, and based on the two songs I have heard so far, I am officially back on the band wagon. Chris Adler on drums is a machine. The songs are proggy which is so early Megadeth and exactly what a Megadeth song should be.

Did it matter that Mustaine had an ever revolving door of musicians?

Of course it doesn’t matter, because the brand of Megadeth is Mustaine.

And if you are an artist, the brand is where it’s at.

“So much of branding is repetition: Repeat, repeat, repeat. I understood why they (other Twisted Sister band mates) wanted to change it up, but they didn’t understand why I didn’t. My face became the face. I carry the legend of Twisted Sister. Nobody knows who the other guys are.”
Dee Snider

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Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1985

Coming into 1985, Quiet Riot, still had constant MTV rotation with “Cum On Feel The Noize” released in 1983. Judas Priest was also all over the channels with “You Got Another Thing Comin”. Twisted Sister’s anthems “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” along with Ratt’s “Round and Round” also had constant rotation. Scorpions and Motley Crue also had constant MTV rotation with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Looks that Kill”. Meanwhile, Van Halen’s “Jump” crossed over into the mainstream.

So it was safe to say that metal and rock bands were showing the music world that metal works well in a singles orientated format.

Music videos became the new tool to sell music. Suddenly we listened with our eyes and ears. “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” music video became another MTV favourite. It went under the radar from PMRC and it also kept with the mid-eighties theme of metal/rock music as a liberator to teen oppression.

The follow-up “Home Sweet Home,” showed that rock and metal was really a singles games. When the song blew up on MTV, the sales of the “Theatre of Pain” album, went through the roof. Yep, a single was selling the album.

That’s not to say that the “Theatre Of Pain” album is a bad one, it’s just that the other songs on the album where either not as good as the songs that came before or the message/tone of the songs were too deep or dark at that point in time.

Tonight (We Need a Lover)”,” Save Our Souls”, “Louder Than Hell” and “Fight for Your Rights” proved that the “Shout At The Devil” metal vibe was alive and well in the Crue. “Raise Your Hands to Rock” should have been a crossover smash but it wasn’t as the Crue was told to go back into the recording studio and capitalise on the interest that MTV had brought to the band.

“Who wrote the Bible, Who set the laws, Are we left to history’s flaws” ….. from “Fight For Your Rights”

The ones in power did. Otherwise, who the hell gives a bunch of politician housewives a say as to what should be allowed or banned. In case you lived under a rock, 1985 was also the year that a lot of different sporadic events came together in a big way.

The PMRC Satanic Panic was in full swing, with the Filthy Fifteen List and the Senate Congressional hearings. More than anything, this brought metal and rock music even more to the masses. While artists did fight for their rights, a lot of other artists had no idea what was happening.

“I was Young and restless, Living on the edge of a dream, When someone somewhere said, Ya just gotta believe”….. from “Raise Your Hands To Rock”

That is what the metallers did. They believed in their music, their songs and their lifestyles. The below quote is from “The Guardian”;

“By the time 1985 hit, thrash metal itself was off to a healthy head start, beginning several years prior with the rise of the Bay Area titans-to-be Metallica, Exodus and Megadeth, LA’s Slayer and New York City’s Anthrax. That year saw Exodus release “Bonded by Blood”, which remains their most hallowed work. Anthrax released “Spreading the Disease”, their first album to feature legendary vocalist Joey Belladonna. Slayer unleashed “Hell Awaits” upon the unwitting masses. Megadeth released their brazen debut, “Killing Is My Business … and Business Is Good!” while frontman Dave Mustaine’s former bandmates in Metallica were holed up writing the follow-up to 1984’s “Ride the Lightning”, an album that would become 1986’s watershed “Master of Puppets”.

It was a shame that in four years’ time, it would get so commercialised, conformist and fake, that it managed to relegate itself into the back ground by 1994.

Continuing on with 1985 releases, how do you follow-up a multi-platinum album and two iconic MTV video clips?

That was the predicament Twisted Sister was in when Dee Snider sat down to write the songs that would be released on “Come Out And Play”. Bob Ezrin was interested in producing and after hearing the rough versions, opted out. Dieter Dierks from Scorpions fame was brought in instead.

Now, I need to get this out in the open. The two worst songs on the album are “Leader of the Pack” and “Be Cruel to Your School” (screw the misspelling). I wasn’t even going to buy the album and then my cousin “Mega” played me “The Fire Still Burns”, “Out On The Streets”, “I Believe in Rock N Roll” and the title track “Come Out And Play”. I was sold and laid out my hard-earned dollars.

What an album?

What was the label and Dee thinking, leading off with two gimmicky tracks, especially in a time when metal music started to fragment into different genres?

Seriously, the three singles from the album had to be, “Come Out And Play”, “I Believe In Rock N Roll” and “The Fire Still Burns”. It would have satisfied all of the genres.

“Come Out And Play” was already set up to have a Warriors themed video clip in my opinion, while “I Believe In Rock N Roll” in my eyes was set up to have a court inspired PMRC theme. And finish it all off with a live rendition of “The Fire Still Burns” and ka-chow.

But it wasn’t to be.

“When you laugh and put us down, you’re tryin’ to cover up your fears”….. From “You Want What We Got”

“Every day, I work so hard, Every day, I’m dealt the cards, Every day, I’m told exactly what to do”….. From “I Believe In Rock N Roll”

Success really is addictive and once your personality is consumed by your value of ‘what you do’, instead of ‘who you are’, you are most likely to continue to follow that intoxication and believe that you are invincible.”
Jay Jay French

If you are a fan of Twisted Sister, you would know about the “invincibility” of Dee Snider after “Stay Hungry” crossed over.

“I’m just another number, Somethin’ just ain’t right”….. from “Out On The Streets”

A decade of struggling to make it led to a burnout. Dee Snider would quit and go solo in 1987. In the end he was just a number to the record label machine. Another rocker used up and spat out down at “Chainsaw Charlies” morgue.

“They always told me I must try to be, like everyone in the nation”…. From “Lookin Out For Number 1”

Conforming leads to expectations and in my opinion, expectation is a burden that kills creativity. Dee always wrote the draft of the next album, while mixing was happening on the previous album. For example, during Under The Blade mixing, Dee wrote the “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” album. During the “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” album mixing, Dee wrote the “Stay Hungry” album. During the “Stay Hungry” album mixing, Dee wrote nothing.

 

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

It’s Always Been About The Songs

“The biggest thing that surprised me about fame was that it was fleeting. You work so hard to get there and you just assume that it’s some sort of finish line, or you take a victory lap and maybe spike the ball, run around the field screaming ‘Goal,” I don’t know.”
Dee Snider 

It is pretty well-known how long and hard Twisted Sister worked at getting their sound and image out to the masses. It is also pretty well-known how short their fame was in the Eighties and how quickly they faded from the conversation.

You see, the biggest untold story in music is that when an artist hits a high with one album/song, it doesn’t mean that the next album/song will also hit that same high.

“Stay Hungry” sold over 2 million copies when “Come Out And Play” was released in 1985. At that point in time, “Under The Blade” was still selling, “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll” was still selling and so was “Stay Hungry”. Because when an album crosses over into the mainstream, the back catalogue of the artists suddenly become popular.

Then a new album drops and suddenly the sales are not as high as the previous album. It doesn’t mean the band is not famous or popular anymore, it just meant that a re-adjustment was going on with the fans.

A lot of fans were still digesting the back catalogue and a lot of fans moved on to the next flavour of the year.

So instead of Twisted Sister’s management team booking a normal theatre and shed tour, they booked an arena tour for “Come Out And Play”. And when the arena shows failed to sell out, the tour got canned which cost the band money. The merchandise agreement for the tour became null and void which cost the band money.

“The reality is that rock and roll, in the mainstream, it’s in a difficult place right now. People don’t buy music, and they certainly don’t buy rock bands’ music in the way that they used to. And so, for our genre, it’s kind of… We’re limping along when it comes to public appeal. I believe that rock and roll is alive and well. I just think that people need to show their support and let the genre keep thriving.”
Andy Biersack – Black Veil Brides

People never wanted to buy music. I know I never did. I wanted to listen to music. However, corporations got involved with music, and a big business was born from it. Guess how many records Kiss sold from their first album, before they started to record their second album.

If you answered 70,000 units, then you are correct. If you don’t believe me, read Paul Stanley’s “Face The Music”. Metallica’s “Kill Em All” didn’t set any sales records when it came out either. Nine months after the album’s release, Metallica went back into the studio to record “Ride The Lightning”.

But today, bands want instant success. They want their first album to sell like Metallica’s “Black” album or Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet”.

“Metal was really strong in the 80s and kind of had hard times in the 90s. I think we treaded water and kept alive and kept focused on being Testament, and writing songs that we wrote without thinking or trying to change and play with what’s current at the time. It really hurt a lot of bands trying to do that. Fortunately, we didn’t do that. We went opposite. We went a little darker and heavier at that time. Then the metal got healthy again, and coming out the other end, we were in the right spot with the direction we were going, and the history we had, it just carried through. Metal has been real strong since the early 2000s. It’s been gradually picking up. I see the generation changing with a lot more younger fans coming to shows now over the last ten years.”
CHUCK BILLY – Testament

The crux of longevity is the replenishing of your fan base, year after year. And you do that by being in the game. Each album release will do some of the following;

  • Pick up new fans and keep all of the old fans
  • Pick up new fans and lose some of the old fans
  • Pick up new fans and lose all of the old fans
  • Keep all of the old fans
  • Lose some of the old fans

It’s just the way it is. You see for me, I lost interest in Testament after Alex Skolnick left. My cousin Mega, still purchased their albums, I heard them and forgot them. It was just part of getting older. Musical tastes changed for a while. That is why in 2015, my music collection has everything from folk, blues, classic rock, metal, hard rock, glam rock, thrash metal, death metal, metalcore, progressive rock, etc…

So in 2015, the album is just not as important as it was once was. With streaming it is all about the songs. For all the artists that complain about sales, the truth is if you’re popular, people want to listen to your music and they want more of it, if it is good. My kids don’t even care if the songs all came from the same album.

Today, the artists get paid every time we listen.

Elektra sold Metallica’s self-titled album and the band only got paid once for the sale. Today, Metallica is cleaning up, as fans are streaming their tracks over and over again. They are getting paid continuously. And right now payments are low, but they will grow as more people subscribe. And if we are listening to our favourites music, they will get paid forever.

So it all comes down to listens and good songs have a long listening life, a long time to make money.

And it’s always been about good songs.

Metallica did not break big until “Enter Sandman” crossed over. Twisted Sister did not break big until “We’re Not Gonna Take It” crossed over.

We all want more if the artists are great and the hard truth is that very few are.

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