A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Music Business Rules Found In Songs

On Motley Crue’s 2008 song ‘Welcome To The Machine’ they provided a few general rules about the recording business and the machine that is the music business.

Rule Number 1: “Sign on the x to sell your soul”.

Yep, if you want a major record deal, prepare to sell out. Major labels want hit acts. Hit acts need to play to a formula. The labels are not interested in the Mumford and Sons or Kings Of Leon outliers. They want the acts that will sing the songs written by a committee.

Rule Number 2: “It’s so automatic, Hocking broken plastic, Royalties you’ll never know”.

Yep, the good old measure of success. Record sales. Still used by the labels as a barometer of success in 2014. And the labels still employ creative accounting when it comes to royalty payments. Dollars for the label, pennies for the artist.

Rule Number 3: “Give your ass like a whore, Once you take a hit, You need more more more”.

Once an artist tastes success, they will go back to the same restaurant over and over again. Because we all want to be loved.

Rule Number 4: “Welcome to the machine, Once it sucks you in you’ll never leave, Grind you up spit you out, After all you’re just a piece of meat”.

You can make a memorial wall as big as the Great Wall Of China that has the name of artists who the recording business used and discarded.

Rule Number 5: “Sell out to the rats, Make em rich make em fat”.

Record label executives earn a lot more than the artists that actually make them that money. Is this the way it should be?

On Motley Crue’s 1999 song ‘Fake’ they seem to provide a few more general rules about the recording business.

Rule Number 6 (supporting Rule Number 1 and 2): “Sold my soul while you sold records, I have been your slave forever.”

Yep, when you sign away your copyrights to the record label and then they lobby hard to have those copyrights extended 70 years after your death. It sure sounds like a slave forever.

Rule Number 7 (supporting Rule Number 5): “What are you fat cats doing anyway?, Take our money and flush it down the drain.”

Yep, fat cats fly private and make the Forbes Rich List.

Ugly Kid Joe asked “Mr Recordman” if he knew who they were or if he gave a damn about them or if he was purely there for the dough. Based on their career trajectory, the answer was obvious. Mr Recordman didn’t give a damn about them once they stopped being “commercially viable”

Rule Number 8 – Mr Recordman doesn’t know who you are. Look at the band “Winger”. When Reb Beach called the label after the Beavis and Butthead episode hit TV screens, the label claimed they never knew a band called Winger.

Rule Number 9 comes from Disturbed and their song “Sons Of Plunder”.

Rule Number 9: “You say you’ve found yourself a new sound, one hundred more all have the same sound”

Yep, like the thousand of hard rock bands that came out in the late nineties. Yep, like all the alternative/grunge bands that came out towards the end. Yep, like all the metalcore bands that are out right now and all of them claim to be different, yet they all sound the same.

The song Chainsaw Charlie from WASP is littered with music business rules. The first three lines, “Will you gamble your life?, Sign right here on the dotted line, It’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life” fall into Rule Number 1. Then the lyrics of “And tomorrow when I’m gone, Will they whore my image on?” brings us to Rule Number 10.

Rule Number 10: The record label will forever whore your image on after they have dropped you or after you have departed this Earth. There is a lot of money to make in death.

Rule Number 11: “We’ll sell your flesh by the pound you’ll go, A whore of wrath just like me, We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul, Strap on your six string and feed our machine.”

This is relevant today when even the image of the artist is owned by the record label in 360 degree contracts.

Rule Number 12: “Welcome to the morgue boy, Where the music comes to die”

Songs written by a committee. It’s soulless, however it sells.

Rule Number 13: “Ah, trust me boy, I won’t steer you wrong, If you trust me son, You won’t last very long”

Remember the advice by Ugly Kid Joe in Mr Recordman.

Rule Number 14: “The new morgue’s our factory, to grease our lies, Our machine is hungry, it needs your life”

The definition of the recording business.

Rule Number 15: “I’m the tin man, I’ve never had a heart, I’m the tin man, But I’ll make you a star”

The Record Label CEO. All promises and that tin heart doesn’t care if those promises are broken.

Savatage is another band that covers the music business in a bit of detail. Rules 16 to 18 are from the song “Jesus Saves”.

Rule Number 16: “You know Jesus he started changing, Things got really strange, He saw his tee shirts everywhere, He started missing shows, The band came down to blows, But Jesus he just didn’t care.”

Yep, it’s a tough gig keeping a band together, especially when a band member becomes the idol that the fans latch onto.

Rule Number 17: “Things got out of hand, And so he quit the band, Still the critics they would rave”

The uncontrollable egos get in the way of a great band.

Rule Number 18: “Her Him cut through the night, On those late night radio waves”

Eventually, we get old and we become “classic rock”. There is no way around out. Embrace it and play to your core audiences.

The final two rules are from the song “When The Crowds Are Gone” from Savatage.

Rule Number 19: “I don’t know where the years have gone, Memories can only last so long, Like faded photographs, forgotten songs”

Rule Number 20: “The story’s over, When the crowds are gone.”

Pretty self-explanatory.

If you’re looking to embark on a career in the game of music, then use the above as a blueprint to get you going.

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The Development Of Zoltan Bathory – Grit and Determination

Raw talent has to mature. So what we have is the artists that stick with music and mature themselves. All the other wannabes got out when they realised that there sole purpose of being involved in music was driven by money and fame. So when those artists that do stick around break through, guess what happens. The majors come knocking with big money.

It is interesting to hear or read about an artist’s development and the things they did to get to where they are today.

If you look at the Wikipedia page for Zoltan Bathory, the earliest musical output you get is from 2004, where he played bass in the band “U.P.O”. However his story begins a long time, in communist Hungary.

So he grows up in a country where the average person is making pennies. In dollars speak it was like a hundred dollars a month. It doesn’t leave a lot of money lying around for guitars, amplifiers and record purchases. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist, however that music is censored. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist but he doesn’t speak English. He is basically trying to succeed in a genre that doesn’t technically have a voice in communist Hungary.

You can see already the grit and determination exhibited by Zoltan just to even get to America. Compared that with people who are cruising on sub-standard effort and constantly told that everything they do is great. You can see that an edge exists in Zoltan’s corner.

Determination has been part of Zoltan’s mindset since childhood. I remember reading an interview that his parents enrolled him in judo classes in an attempt to temper his schoolyard aggression and how that discipline has served him well as he got older.

So he puts together a band that would become Five Finger Death Punch. The band is his first thought in the morning and his last thought at night. He lived and breathed the band. Even the style of music that Five Finger Death Punch produce wasn’t very popular at the time. It was Hard Rock, merged with Thrash Metal, merged with Death Metal and classic Euro Heavy Metal.

I have heard bands like Accept, W.A.S.P., Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Possessed and Annihilator mentioned as early influences.

It was all underground. They had no label but they had people connecting with them on MySpace in the thousands. The record labels started to take notice as this underground band where getting more views and plays than their major label artists.

The first album was recorded on their own. They produced it and paid for it. The version that we all got to hear was the Five Finger Death Punch version. The label at the time just picked it up and released it.

If you look at Five Finger Death Punch in 2013, every single member came from bands that had some level of recognition before. Jason Hook goes back to the late Eighties and early Nineties, with ties to hard rock bands, plus various session work and backing bands for pop stars.

Ivan Moody goes back to the mid Nineties before achieving some recognition with Motograter and his side project Ghost Machine.

Drummer Jeremy Spencer has a similar story to Jason Hook. Hard Rock bands are attached to their stories.

Bassist Chris Kael was doing the Las Vegas circuit with various bands and had made enough contacts to vouch for him when the Five Finger Death Punch bass auditions happened.

They took a risk on their music. They gambled. They didn’t know it would resonate and connect with people the way it did. If the music is good, there’s a ton of money to be made. Not all of that money would be on recorded music.

Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they DID THE WORK…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they kick ass…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they rock each place they visit…

That’s the way rock and roll works.

Life is tough and no one is owed nothing.

People want bands to make a living because we all want to be involved in some way. It makes us feel good on helping artists by going to a show, buying some merchandise or by purchasing their recorded product.

Remember that all of the music that Five Finger Death Punch has released is available on line for free to either stream, view or illegally download. Yet, they still sell. Funny that.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Derivative Effect In Action with Avenged Sevenfold and Hail To The King.

All hail. The King has arrived. Good artists copy, great artists steal is the saying. I am really digging the new Avenged Sevenfold album. A7X said they wanted to make a classic rock/metal album in the vein of AC/DC – Back In Back, Metallica – Master of Puppets and Black, Megadeth – Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction, Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz, Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast and Powerslave, Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance, Vah Halen – 1984, Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction, Dio – Holy Diver and Black Sabbath – Heaven And Hell.

On release, it went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Once upon a time going to Number 1 was important, however these days, it is a fad. Longevity is the new importance. Does the album have the longevity? Will it be streamed forever and a day? My answer is YES it will.

On first listen you will hear influences (and on some tracks it is really obvious) from quite a few of the albums and bands mentioned above. They do it so well, it is hard to not like it. The lead breaks are brilliant and very Maiden like. They have gone for that sing along lead break. It will be interesting to see how those lead breaks translate to the very passionate and vocal South American fan bases. Overall, all the songs will work well in a live setting.

In the end A7X has definitely given a “popular band’s feel” to all the songs along with their own A7X bits and twists in between.

All metal and rock music and popular music in general has come to exist because of evolution, because of progress being derivative. It is never the result of creating something out of nothing that it is so original, it would blow everyone away.

“Live Wire” from Motley Crue released in 1981 borrowed from Girlschool’s “Yeah Right” also released in the same year.

“My Sanctuary” from Unisonic released in 2012 has a vocal melody that is very similar to the A Flock Of Seagulls song called “I Ran (So Far Away)” that was released in 1981.

“The Ghost Inside” from the band Vendetta released in 2012 is very similar to Michael Schenker’s “Desert Song” released in 1981. “Desert Song” is then very similar to what Michael Schenker did with UFO on the song “Love to Love” released in 1976.

“Hey Hey My My from Neil Young, released in 1979 is very similar to the song” I’d Love To Change The World” from Ten Years After released in 1971. In addition the riff to Tom Petty’s “Refugee” is also very similar to “I’d Love To Change The World.”

“Ten Black Roses” from The Rasmus released in 2008 borrows from Muse’s “Showbiz” released in 1998.

“Life is Beautiful” from Sixx AM released in 2007 borrows it’s Chorus from Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” released in 1993. The song “Beautiful” from the band Since October released in 2006 has a verse that is influenced by “Come Undone” from Duran Duran. The chorus riff also borrows from the same song. In addition, the song Come Undone is a derivative work from an earlier Duran Duran song called “First Impression” released in 1990.

The song “This Is It” from the band Staind released in 2011 has the chorus vocal melody that borrows from The Offspring’s “Gone Away” chorus melody.

Anyone that listens to the above examples, will be able to note the similarities from beginning to end. This is what I mean by the term progress is derivative.

By taking similar phrasings and chord structures, A7X was able to reinvent a past work with a fresh perspective. They have created new songs that are rooted in the past. That is why we as fans appreciate music so much. It is all built on something that came before. What makes the song unique and great is the musicians ability to express it and play it. If James Hetfield was a flawless virtuoso, I am sure the Metallica songs would have sounded a touch different, maybe less personalised and more sterile. If Motley Crue was a bunch of virtuosos then I am sure it would have been a different band. Good or bad, we will never know, however what we do know is that musicians sound the way they do because they are influenced by emotions and by their technical ability on the instrument.

It is produced by Mike Elizondo. Mixed by Andy Wallace and Engineered by Adam Hawkins.

Management is Larry Jacobson and Alex Reese for World Audience.

Shepherd Of Fire

The rain and the bell at the start and the feedback riff with the evil tri-tone is influenced from the song “Black Sabbath”. The main riff is very “Enter Sandman” like and it also has touches of Megadeth like the songs “Disconnect” from “The World Needs A New Hero” and “Trust” from Cryptic Writings. Since Metallica got the “Enter Sandman” riff from a band called Excel, we can safely say that progress is derivative. The drumming in the Intro, After The Solo and Outro is very “Enter Sandman” like, which Lars Ulrich said is based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track:
“We intentionally wrote it as an intro track. The idea was that the arrangement would evoke a sense of imagery with the tribal yet primordial drums. It seemed to resonate from Hell almost. It’s something of an apocalyptic call to arms. I love the arrangement. We wanted to set up the album and foreshadow what was to come, being that it’s a groove-based, riff-oriented record. We haven’t really done Zeppelin-style or Sabbath-like riffs before, so this is our version of an album that’s along those lines.”

Hail To The King

From the outset this song has that Iron Maiden vibe. The intro reminds me of “Wasted Years” from the “Somewhere In Time” album. The chorus reminds me of the song “Sign Of The Cross” from “The X Factor” album. Synester Gates said that he was playing a lot of “gypsy jazz guitar – Django Reinhardt and a few others”, so for the intro, he took those techniques and metalized it. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track:
“The whole solo is based on minor blues changes. I like it when it transfers to that regal feel, which aligns with the lyrics. A lot of people get confused and think that it’s neo-classical, but it’s really gypsy jazz.” 

Doing Time
This song is a Guns N Roses merged with WASP. The whole intro has got that “You Could Be Mine” / “Welcome To The Jungle” vibe. The vocals in the verse remind me of GNR and The Cult. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website for the track;

“This was a Mike Elizondo suggestion. He was hearing a kind of low vocal, swagger-based rock song, sort of a quintessential ‘80s or ‘90s vibe but with a very modern approach. It’s a bad freight train that never stops.

“For this solo – and for all of them, actually – I tried to just jam with the songs instead of being overly analytical about what I was doing. I sat with Mike and the rest of the guys, and I would play until everybody was on board with the way it was going. The main thing was that I wanted the songs to influence my playing rather than me imposing a signature style on the music.”

This Means War

Three words. “Sad But True”. With each listen I keep on enjoying the album just a little bit more. The songs flow well together and with similarities aside (seriously “This Is War” is a very ballsy song to release due to how similar it sounds to “Sad But True”) the album has a pretty epic feel to it. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

Synester Gates said the following on the Music Radar website about the track;
“We wanted a really impactful, riff-based intro but one that would also feature our dual lead harmony approach. It’s pretty cool how it fits into the slow groove of the track and just hammers through.

“This song is becoming one of my favourites. I’ve been really enjoying watching people listen to it because it so fits the vibe of the album. When they hear it, they start moving, and they don’t stop. Sometimes, with more progressive songs, you lose that feel somewhere along the line, but This Means War never quits – the energy is always there.”

“All of my solos were improvised initially – I would go in and get my bearings and see what I came up with. I was hearing something chaotic in the intro, a machine-gun spray that would build into something more melodic.”

Requiem

This is classic Euro metal. It has that vibe. It’s got that Yngwie Malmsteen / Swedish metal influence. The choir at the beginning reminds of Carl Orff “O Fortuna”. The Metal Sucks website calls this song a “Kashmir” rip off and while I get that aspect, this song is one of those songs that is a little harder to pin down. The vocal part were Shadows screams “In Flames” reminds me of “No More Lies” from Iron Maiden, that came out on the “Dance Of Death” album in 2003. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Rader website;

“The choir in the beginning is great. I’m very excited about how this song turned out. We wanted the foundation to be a metal band’s approach to classical orchestration.”

“Matt’s vocal is more like a lead violin part, and when my guitar chugs underneath the riff, it’s almost like what low brass would do. We layered each element very carefully, and the result is one of the more cinematic tracks on the record.”

“The solo was a fun one. I don’t do a lot of wah stuff, so I had a great time playing around with that. The wah gave it an added dimension and colours, some new life.”

Crimson Day

This is what Synester Gates had to say about this song on the Music Radar website.

“That’s a clean-sounding electric guitar on the opening, not an acoustic – there were no mics on the guitar involved, just on the amps. It’s one of my favourite clean tones I’ve ever fucking heard.”

 “We stumbled onto it by accident, actually. There were a few secrets in getting it, mainly that it’s a baritone guitar with a capo on it so I could play it in open E standard tuning. It has a really sick, rich, sparkly sound. Seriously, I’m so proud of how it turned out.”

“We wanted the song to have huge drums and be an epic rock ballad. It has a sombre vibe, but it doesn’t make you fucking sad all the way through. We were listening to a lot of Elton John, some Ozzy ballads and some Zeppelin. Actually, the lyrics are inspired by my nephew, so the song has a very personal meaning to me.

Heretic

Like This Is War, the song is very ballsy as it is like Megadeth’s – Symphony Of Destruction. Overall it has that Megadeth feel to it and yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates said on the Music Radar website:
“This was probably the first song that we wrote for the album, so there’s a bit of a throwback to the old, traditional Avenged stuff. It’s a little progressive, but we wanted to maintain some space in the arrangement so the drums could shine and the riffs and vocals could breathe.”

 “That’s a pretty important point, really, because we tend to fill things to the brim with guitar harmonies, vocal harmonies, lead things going in and out. Leaving a feeling of air made a big difference in how all of the parts stood out.”

“This is a lot of guitar, though, some big moments. If you’re not the biggest groove fan – and it you’re not, you should be – there’s still a progressive element. So it’s a mix, this song, and it worked out really well.”

Coming Home

This song is weird. I am getting an overall Iron Maiden feel but its hart to pin point exactly what. I’m sort of getting “Ghost of Navigators” for the verse but there is something else, which might not even by Maiden, maybe WASP? I am starting to sound like a psychic. The Harmony guitars at the end is Megadeth, “A Toute Le Monde.” Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates said about the song;
“Another Mike suggestion. He wanted us to do something upbeat, but we wanted to make sure that it didn’t get hokey – we’ve done upbeat before, and sometimes things can get a little too cutesy and sugary. Our goal was to have a darker, more serious tone, which can get lost when you increase the tempo.” 

“It’s very adventurous, but it maintains that upbeat vibe. There’s some great drumming on it, and I’m really excited about the guitar work. The solo is big. Instead of doing a vocal bridge, we decided to do one with the guitar and have it take you places. I think it fits with the imagery of the lyrics, which are very personal but still presented in a way that people can relate to it. The words are very ‘storytellery,’ concerning travel and endeavours, but they’re not necessarily concerned with present time. The guitar stuff goes hand-in-hand with all of that.”

Planets

The way the drums are in the Intro it reminds me of a song that I cant put my finger on. Kiss comes to mind, something from the Psycho Circus album. Also the riff. Yep familiar, not sure what like though, riff is similar to the outro of “Broken” except heavier, Bridge bit is Pantera: “Mouth of War” for the drums. Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Radar website;
“To me, the last two songs, in addition to being my favourites, make up the best ending to a record we’ve ever had. Lyrically, Planets is the precursor to Acid Rain; it’s about a meteoric, intergalactic war that results in an apocalypse and the human species aligning together to go fight something much better than us, our individual trials and tribulations.”

“Musically, the song was incredibly difficult to write and pull off – the elements of dissonance, tension and resolution. We wanted to have that friction throughout, but it still had to be palatable; it couldn’t be like listening to Penderecki or Stockhausen. There had to be a relate ability and connect ability to it.”

“We really toiled over the track, but it turned out great. I’m so fucking excited about it.”

Acid Rain

This is Gary Moore – “Still Got The Blues/Parisienne Walkways” merged with GNR – “November Rain”. The Solo is definitely “November Rain’ish.” Yep, it’s perfect and it is the derivative effect in action.

This is what Synester Gates had to say about the song on the Music Radar website;
“It’s a cool way to end the record – not a typical ballad, but it’s not soft or sugary, either. The song takes you to an emotional place, especially if you pay attention to the lyrics, which are some of the best Matt has ever written.

“The song is about coming to the realization that you’ve lost the battle, but at least you’re with that one special person who matters. It’s something of an apocalyptic love story, which is pretty unique for us.”

In the end what we are hearing is a mish mash of different artists, a verse from one artist, a chorus from another artist, an intro riff from another and with the A7X little elements chucked in.

Of course, it’s not a bad form to go with, the only issue here is that some sound so close that they are unmistakably obvious, or perhaps that was the point. I wonder if they are going to see some action over it?

When I first heard the album, the first thing I did was Google, “Avenged Sevenfold copied” and heaps of pages come up. To me, it all comes down to this. Music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music can say that what they created is original as they have not heard anything else before that. However for all of us, music is a sum of what we have heard, mixed in with our style and ability to play those influences.

So will there be any action of these “similarities.” I see it as a double edged sword.

Because the bands they are “ripping off” are popular I don’t see how those bands can bring some action against A7X. They haven’t taken anything away from the original versions of those songs. If anything it’s made me interested to go back and listen to those songs to see if I can pick up more similarities. Those bands should be posting things like, “Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold for bringing attention to our song Symphony Of Destruction on the song Heretic from their new album Hail To The King. Check out the Megadeth version here.” That is what they should be doing.

However, if they borrowed or where influenced from unknown bands, like how Metallica and Led Zeppelin did, then I am sure that the unknown band/artist would be bringing action to the band, however I still believe it is a stupid idea. Use it to your advantage in other ways. Point to it. Market yourselves like the example above.

In the end Avenged Sevenfold released an album that has people talking about. We are engaged with it, talking about the influences we hear on it and the similarities to other artists. Some are negative, some are positive. In the end we are engaged with the product and we are forming a relationship with it.

For the record, I ripped the CD of the album and then I gave the CD to a few friends to rip on their own computers so that he can listen to it. WHY? I wanted them to listen to it so that we can talk about it.

Nah, people are talking about it on the web. The first thing I did was Google, “Avenged Sevenfold copied” and heaps of pages come up. To me, it all comes down to this. Music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music can say that what they created is original as they have not heard anything else before that. However for all of us, music is a sum of what we have heard, mixed in with our style and ability to play those influences. Show me someone who says what they wrote is “original” and I’ll show you a liar. Everything has been written, we are just a sum of our influences and how we interpret those influences through our own individualism, and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

For action against them it’s a double edged sword.

Because the bands they are “ripping off” are popular I don’t see how those bands can bring some action against A7X. They haven’t taken anything away from the original versions of those songs. If anything it’s made me interested to go back and listen to those songs to see if I can pick up more similarities. Those bands should be posting things like, “Thanks to Avenged Sevenfold for bringing attention to Symphony Of Destruction on the song Heretic.” That is what they should be doing.

However, if they borrowed or where influenced from unknown bands, like how Metallica and Led Zeppelin did, then I am sure that unknown band would be bringing action to the band, however I still believe it is a stupid idea. Use it to your advantage in other ways. The same way the big bands should use it. It’s always better to enforce positive approaches in order to take advantage of whatever scenarios are encountered.

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Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Piracy Was Rampant Even In The Eighties

Back in the Eighties, piracy was rampant. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music taped onto blank cassettes. My “wealthier” older cousin in Sydney always seemed to have his finger on the pulse on the latest releases and every time I visited, I was armed with blank cassettes and proceeded to copy (download) albums that he recommended to me. There was also another shadier character locally that used to sell dubbed cassettes from 50 cents to $1 dollar. He then used the money obtained from his buyers to purchase more albums that he would sell to us on dubbed cassettes.

I was not alone in doing this, nor was I the first. Most of the music from the seventies that was passed down to me by my brothers was in the same format (blank cassettes that got filled with music).

So what did my brothers do in the Eighties, when they were old enough and had their own incomes. They started purchasing the music they listened to in the seventies. It worked like this; for example, they would purchase “Destroyer” from Kiss on LP or CD and once they did that I would get the cassette copied version that they had.

Another interesting thing in the Seventies was that while we all lived together, we only needed one version of the album to listen to the music. So what happens when family members move out. One brother purchases the album, the other brother purchases the album and then I need to purchase the album and so on. You can see the exponential growth here when children grow up and move out.

So what did I do in the Nineties, when I had more cash at hand. I purchased every album I had on dubbed cassettes on CD. I re-purchased every LP I had on CD. I went to second hand record shops and purchased LP’s from the Eighties and Seventies very cheap. If I found a real gem in those purchases, I then purchased that album on CD.

I went to the Record Fairs and Collector Fairs that started to gain traction during this period. Again, I purchased a lot of LP’s very cheap at those Fairs. I saw it as a try before you buy. If I found a real gem, I then purchased that album on CD.

I was not the only one that did the above. Based on sales figures during this period, the Record Labels had their largest ever profits to date. Everything that came after 1999 has been linked back to the unbelievable profits the record labels made during 1998 and 1999.

In the end, did all the piracy from the Seventies and Eighties hurt any of the bands that I supported. These are the bands that where pirated heavily on cassettes (from a list of the shady dealer selling them for 50 cents to $1 dollar);

Motley Crue
Bon Jovi
Iron Maiden
Metallica
Megadeth
Guns N Roses
Van Halen
David Lee Roth
Poison
Warrant
Skid Row
Twisted Sister
Kiss
Dio
Europe
Def Leppard
Dokken
Whitesnake
Judas Priest
Yngwie Malmsteen
Night Ranger
Queensryche
Ozzy Osbourne
Rush
Savatage
Stryper
Scorpions
WASP
Y&T
White Lion
Fastway
Joe Satriani
Loverboy
Meatloaf
Queen
Slayer
Survivor
UFO
Michael Schenker
Quiet Riot
Black Sabbath
Rainbow
Deep Purple
Anthrax
Motorhead

The answer is a resounding NO. All of those bands mentioned above are still around today in some form or another. All of those bands are part of pop culture in some form or another. They still have a loyal cult following and that cult following happened because of piracy.

If it wasn’t for cassette piracy, I never would have heard the full length albums of bands that did the rounds on MTV. I never would have heard “Master Of Puppets” from Metallica (I know own “Master Of Puppets” on CD, mp3 and LP).

The real hurter of bands was the Record Label. It was never piracy. Due to the labels having all the power in breaking a band, plus having all the control over the distribution, they would offer bands an unfair deal that stacked the deck in the Record Labels favour. For any musician that wanted their music exposed to a greater audience, it was the only option they had.

A lot of studies have come out stating that “pirates actually purchase the most.” I know it is a cliché statement at the moment however back in the Eighties I went to an Iron Maiden concert without actually owning an original copy of any of their albums. I went to a Megadeth concert without owning an original copy of their albums. The same with Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, Guns N Roses and Stryper.

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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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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

iPod Shuffle – Classic Songs To Be Discovered

When the iPod shuffle gets it right, it gets it right. Driving into work this morning, the shuffle made 6 random songs from different bands, sound like one fluent album sequence.

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
By WASP, from The Crimson Idol (1991)

I have no excuse for not attending the WASP concert, when they came to Australia. The Crimson Idol album was going to be played in its entirety. I remember walking out of the Iron Maiden shows (I went to both of those shows) on the Caught Somewhere Back In Time tour, and people where handing out flyers for the WASP shows. I took one, spoke about it with the people I was with and then did nothing. Maybe I was just burnt out from the Maiden shows and wasn’t interested in going or maybe I was broke. I don’t even remember the reasons. The people I was with, have heard of WASP but never heard The Crimson Idol. I was amazed.

Blackie covers the recording business in this song. Chainsaw Charlie is the “the president of showbiz” who is just looking for the next raw talent that he can exploit. Back in 1991, you never really got to hear stories about the labels and how they treated artists. The bottom line was that if an artist wanted to be heard, they needed a label behind them.

“Sign right here on the dotted line, it’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life”

That is how it was. Artists worked hard to get a record deal. In The Crimson Idol story Charlie (the record label honcho) is saying that to Jonathon (the wannabe Idol).

“We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul
Strap on your six string and feed our machine”

It’s basically the hidden fine print in the deal. The labels owned the artist. They owned their image. They owned the music. They would do whatever it takes to make as much money from the artist as they could. As our access to information has become greater with the rise of the internet, we are now seeing more and more people talk about the creative accounting of the labels.

Def Leppard are doing forgeries of their own songs, in order to circumvent a blockade put up by their label due to a breakdown in the negotiations to the digital rights of the back catalogue.

Eminem took his label to court and won, over the way iTunes payments are treated compared to album physical sales.

Don Henley is going to Court against his old label, to reclaim the Copyrights to his songs due to a clause that the labels are trying to remove, that states after 35 years, the Copyrights of songs are transferred back to the original creator.

California Morning
By The Night Flight Orchestra, from Internal Affairs (2012)

I love this song. It’s got that Deuce feel from Kiss, which was a Rolling Stone bass riff played backwards, so you can say it has that Rolling Stones feel as well. I really like what The Night Flight Orchestra did with their 2012 release. Bringing back the seventies style of music into the NOW.

It’s that slide guitar at the end, that makes me feel like I am catching a wave on a hot summers day. It reminds of Fox On The Run by Sweet and Do Ya from Electric Light Orchestra. It comes in after the lyric line, “I left my heart in L.A.

Even the name The Night Flight Orchestra is a combination of a Led Zeppelin song called Night Flight and the Electric Light Orchestra band name.

The retro style vibe captured by modern recording technology fitted in perfectly as song number 2 behind Chainsaw Charlie from WASP.

We never said a word about it
We knew it wasn’t meant to be

Crazy Train
By Ozzy Osbourne, from Blizzard Of Ozz (1980) – Remastered Version

I’ve listened to preachers
I’ve listened to fools
I’ve watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules

Randy Rhoads wrote my bible. The Tribute tab book that I purchased was my bible. I learned every note, every lick and every riff. It’s impact was monumental to my guitar playing. It’s funny how history has been rewritten to show this as an Ozzy Osbourne solo album. However, the guys in the band at the time, always believed that it was a band called Blizzard of Ozz.

I grew up listening to people tell me what I need to do. Teachers, instructors, parents, friends or brothers, always leading me onto a path that they want me on. It was a push and shove society. That is why I fell into rock and metal music in general. They wrote the anthems that I could relate to. We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock from Twisted Sister are two songs that come to mind immediately.

Then as time goes by I see all the drop kicks, the ones that everyone said would be unemployed, working for themselves. Some went into the entertainment business and began changing the world with the music/movies they create. And here I am, woodshedding 24/7 to become a guitar god on a music style that killed itself.

Caught In The Middle
By Stryper, from Against The Law (1990)

You’ve been working hard
Trying to make your life appealing

Two simple sentences. That is why we are slaves to the system. We believe that by working hard, we will get richer, we will get promoted and that we will have a better life. What a load of B.S.? My father worked his whole life at the steel mill, and he worked hard. The job was enough to pay the mortgage, pay the bills and keep the wheels turning in everyday life. So my father worked a second job, so that he can make his life appealing. Then when it came to retirement, he was forced into it, by his loving employer.

Cardiff
By Stone Sour, from Come What(ever) May (2006)

This fluid feels like pain
This stoic mood is all in vain
I reach into the dark
I tear the sun and me apart
How many years ago
How many deaths I can’t let go
My flesh is temporary, my God extraordinary

Corey Taylor had a past that involved alcoholism and drug overdoses. These lyrics are depressing as hell. In the end, we are all our own worst enemies. We put so much pressure on ourselves, it’s no wonder that we all break down and end up overdosing on something. How biblical is the last line, the flesh is temporary but our legacy will live on forever in the people that speak it.

Caustic Are The Ties That Bind
By Trivium, from In Waves (2011)

Can you help me find my way
I’ve been lost for so long
I don’t even know where it went wrong

When I first heard Caustic, I saw it as a cut down version of Shogun. It is a Trivium classic and a song that will be part of their set list for a long time to come. I woke up one morning, and I was in a place where I should never be. It was in a hospital room, with a busted eye and a shattered foot. Where did it all go wrong? Was I lost for that long, that I lost my way in life. It’s very easy to do, especially when you don’t believe that nothing is wrong. It’s a lesson learnt. What doesn’t kill me can only make me stronger.

How fitting that this song is like the album closer of this morning drive.

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Music

Guitar World – January 1986 – Part 2 – Dave Meniketti Speaks

Dave Meniketti shoots his mouth off.

That is the title of the segment by Bob Grossweiner.  And boy doesn’t he just do that.  It’s very hard to find anyone these days that is so honest in their views of other contemporary musicians.  You see everyone wants to be loved, so in order to be loved people pretend.  Not Dave Meniketti.

Who is Dave Meniketti I hear people asking?

Basically Dave Meniketti is the lead singer/lead guitarist of Y&T.  Y&T started out as Yesterday and Today in the late seventies where they released two albums that did nothing and then changed their name to Y&T where they started getting some traction with albums like Earthshaker, Black Tiger, Meanstreak, Down For The Count, In Rock We Trust, Contagious and Ten.  My own personal favourites are Meanstreak, In Rock We Trust, Down for the Count and Contagious.

It was due to this article that got me started in seeking out the music by Y&T.

Anyway let’s get to his views;

Dave Murray and Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden): ‘I don’t like them.  Both are poor to adequate guitarists”. 

Iron Maiden is coming off the mega successful Powerslave World Tour which resulted in the also mega successful Live After Death release and you have DM offering his own true opinion on them.    That’s ballsy.

Mick Mars (Motley Crue): “Not the greatest player but a great guy. He doesn’t play very well.  He’s not inspired and he’s very sloppy.  He sounds like he picked up a guitar two years ago.”

I think the Dirt sums up Mick Mars and where he was at with his life during this period.  DM got it spot on, with Mick not being inspired.  Mick likes the blues and along his path to Blues stardom he ended up in Motley Crue.  To be honest I saw the Crue live and when Mick Mars started doing his guitar solo, I felt like walking up on stage and pulling his guitar lead out.

Chris Holmes (WASP): “I don’t like him.  It’s bullshit guitar playing.”

I totally agree with DM on this one.  Holmes was rubbish; Blackie was the brains and the talent behind that outfit.  When he got rid of him, he created The Crimson Idol.  Enough said.

Matthias Jabs and Rudolph Schenker (Scorpions), K.K Downing and Glen Tipton (Judas Priest): “Guitarists to fill holes where solos are.  I don’t find them inspiring soloists.”

I think he is a bit harsh on the Scorpions and Judas Priest duo, especially when the Scorpions where coming off the success of Love at First Sting and Judas Priest where on a roll that started with British Steel in 1980.  Nevertheless DM was asked on his views and he gave them.

George Lynch (Dokken): “He reminds me a lot of a lot of Los Angeles guitarists.  Good and technical but relying a lot on the bar.  He gets boring after a while.”

Do we get this kind of honesty in 2013?  Hell no.  We only get this kind of honesty if someone breaks up and wants to vent their laundry to the world.  DM and his band Y&T were practically had traction on the West Coast of America, and it wasn’t until 1985 that they toured the Midwest of the U.S.  1976 was when the first Y&T album came out.  In 1972 the band was formed.  13 years later, they finally started to get traction around America and not just the West Coast.  How many musicians starting off these days, will put in this kind of effort?

DM also had kind words to say about other guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot), Eric Clapton, Van Halen, Gary Moore, Angus Young, Neil Schon, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Ted Nugent, Ronnie Montrose, John Sykes, Ritchie Blackmore and Billy Gibbons.

For Neal Schon he mention how he learned a lot from Neal, how Clapton is a master and not a clone, how Hendrix was his biggest influence, how Billy Gibbons is the ultimate in R&B influence in Rock N Roll and how Jeff Beck is an innovator.

 

Finally, Meniketti was respected by other musicians and he was even asked to join Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne’s new solo band before Randy Rhoads came on the scene.

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