Bands with Multiple Lead Singers

  • by Gitabushi

After going through Survivor’s discography (and mostly liking it), I have continued to explore other Jim Peterik bands.  I do not recommend World Stage, but I generally don’t like recordings of live performances, and that’s what World Stage seems to be.  But I digress.

I have started listening to Pride of Lions, and just like World Stage, it features Jim Peterik sharing lead vocal duties with someone else who has a higher voice.

Jim Peterik was the lead singer of the Ides of March, so that’s his voice you hear on “Vehicle.” When he formed Survivor with Frankie Sullivan, the intent was he would share lead singer duties with Dave Bickler, but Frankie put a stop to that fairly quickly. Still, it’s Jim’s vocals on “Love Has Got Me” (which sounds like it was a hit song you never actually heard of, but it never charted).

 

The singer-with-a-higher-voice in Pride of Lions is Toby Hitchcock, who quite often sounds like Dennis DeYoung of Styx.

Which made me think:

Styx was fairly unusual in that it had multiple lead singers, and all had major radio hits.  Most of the time, like Survivor, the band coalesces around a main front man, the face and voice of the band.  To the point that people don’t realize that, say, J. Geils was the guitarist, not the lead singer.

styx

That made me think: what other bands had multiple lead singers?

Roger Taylor and Brian May both sang some lead on Queen Albums.  Roger Taylor sang “I’m in Love With My Car,” which was a fan favorite, but wasn’t really a charted hit. Freddie Mercury was the lead singer for that band.

I’d heard a story that Hall and Oates started when Oates was leading a band and getting heckled by someone in the audience. Oates said, “If you think you can do better, come up and do it.” And it was Hall, and he did, and he became the main lead singer. That doesn’t appear to be a true story, but I still like it. In any case, Hall was the front man. Oates still sang a song or two occasionally, but Hall was the face of the band.

Yes was always led by Jon Anderson, but when Trevor Rabin joined, he started sharing some of the lead duties.

Genesis was Peter Gabriel,until he left, and then Phil Collins became the lead singer.

So all these kind of apply, but none really have the “Multiple lead singers, each getting their own hit song opportunities.”

the cars

The first band I thought of that fit the bill was The Cars.  Rik Ocasek was the main lead singer, but Ben Orr sang “Just What I Needed” and “Drive” and shared lead singing duties with Rik in General.

Then I thought of Triumph, which had Rik Emmett singing most of the lead, but the drummer sang quite a bit, too.  Just Rik had most of the more famous songs, I think.

Heart sort of fits the bill. Both Ann and Nancy Wilson had big hits, but Nancy didn’t really do much lead singing before the huge hit “These Dreams”.  She followed it with “There’s the Girl”, but Ann was still the main lead singer. In fact, their vocal styles were so similar, unless you saw who the singer was in the video, you might not have realized it wasn’t Ann.

Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship had a number of lead singers, I guess, but they were mostly sequentially, until Grace Slick shared lead singing duties with Mickey Thomas in Starship. Not sure how much that counts.

None of these bands share lead singing duties to the level of Styx, however.  The Cars come the closest, perhaps.

Then I thought of Night Ranger.  Kelly Keagy and Jack Blades. They shared lead singing duties quite a bit. Pick a song you like from Night Ranger, and it has about an equal chance to be sung by Kelly as by Jack.

Then:

chicagoband-56aaebcd5f9b58b7d0091924

Chicago fits. Peter Cetera was the known lead singer, but keyboardist Robert Lamm sang lead on a bunch of songs (like “Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?”, and in my research, I found out guitarist Terry Kath sang lead on “Color My World” and “Make Me Smile” two of my favorites).

Then I thought of a band that exceeds what Styx did with 3 lead singers:

kiss

Kiss.

Sure, Paul Stanley sang most of the songs, but Gene Simmons sang quite a bit of lead, too. And while those two are the nucleus of the band, they sought out both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss because they could sing lead. And Criss sang lead on their mega-hit “Beth.”

And then I thought of the band that had the ultimate mix of lead singers:

Photo of Glenn FREY and Joe WALSH and Don HENLEY and Don FELDER and EAGLES and Randy MEISNER

The Eagles.

Don Henley. Glenn Frey. Don Felder. Joe Walsh (“Life in the Fast Lane”). Timothy B. Schmidt (“I Can’t Tell You Why”). Randy Meisner (“Take it to the Limit”). Bernie Leadon.

Every single one of them (members at different times) have lead singing credits for the band.  The only one that didn’t have a huge hit for the band is Bernie Leadon.

What did we learn from this?

I think the casual fan wants to associate a band with a lead singer, someone who is the face of the band, and a consistent voice. Also, if the lead singer has nothing else to do but sing, they will be more jealous of the lead singing duties. The bands who were most successful in sharing the lead singing duties were those where the lead singers were also major instrumentalists, who contributed to the band’s success with their songwriting and instrumental skills, regardless of whether they were singing any specific song.

The Eagles, Kiss, Chicago, and Styx. In pretty much that order.

Who did I miss? What other bands had success with multiple, simultaneous lead singers?

 

 

Survivor (Band)

  • by Gitabushi

I’ve been listening to Survivor’s catalog lately, and they really intrigue me as a band.

First, of course, they made the song “Eye of the Tiger” for Rocky III, and it is a great song. Not a thing wrong with it.

That song also inspired one of Weird Al Yankovic’s greatest parodies, “The Rye or the Kaiser.”  Not only is it a faithful rendition, it has what I think are his most clever lyrics. They make sense, they never really repeat themselves, and they follow the pacing of the original lyrics almost perfectly.  Give it a listen while reading the rest of this article.

Survivor also had one of my all-time favorite albums, “Vital Signs.”

It has a bunch of power ballads, with sappy love song lyrics…but it has some really good guitar work, and some decent rock songs.  I loved listening to that whole album.

To be honest, I really hadn’t been a fan of “Eye of the Tiget.”  I didn’t really like the singer’s voice at the time, and I didn’t enjoy it when it came on the radio.

But after falling in love with “Vital Signs,” I decided to give them another chance.  At first, I didn’t realize it was a different singer, but it didn’t take long to learn about that. It made sense to me; I liked the Vital Signs singer (Jimi Jamison), and I didn’t like “The Eye of the Tiger” singer (Dave Bickler).

But I liked the guitar work, and since I really like guitar, I found their self-titled first album at a half-price book/music store, and enjoyed it, despite Dave Bickler being the singer.  When the digital age arrived, I also got “Caught in the Game” in .mp3s.  Somewhere along the line I ended up with their entire catalog in .mp3s, but for some reason, the “Caught in the Game” album was really the only one I listened to.

There are a crapton of great songs, great hooks, and great guitar riffs on those three albums (Vital Signs, Survivor, and Caught in the Game).  But I never really listened to the rest.

Now I have.

Good Gosh Almighty, there are a crapton of great songs, great hooks, and great guitar riffs on all their albums.

They aren’t a truly great band, but they are a very good band.

They never quite stray into Heavy Metal, but they get close. The guitar tone on most of the songs is impeccable. It rarely sounds overproduced, usually sounds raw and real.  The drums are always good. The vocals are always good, and Jimi Jamison is especially expressive.

The first four albums are straight ahead hard rock, with few ballads, if any.  Then Jimi came on board, starting their power ballad era, but as I said before, they still have a rock edge, and great guitar work.  Still, “When Seconds Count,” was even more Power Ballad-y than Vital Signs, and wasn’t much of a hit. I think it is because power ballads sell singles, at the expense of albums and band identity.  Think of how much Journey gained *and* lost with “Open Arms” and “Faithfully.”

“Too Hot to Sleep” is a return to their rock roots, and while the album had no hits I can think of, it really is a solid album. Thoroughly enjoyable to anyone who liked hard rock.  Again, bordering on hair metal, but never quite crossing the line.

Then “Reach” is more like “When Seconds Count.” Peterik had left the band, Jimi had returned as the singer, and Sullivan was writing with other people (including Brian Smallwood). It’s not a bad album. It includes two songs sung by Sullivan that were pretty good.  It just lacks the edge “Too Hot to Sleep” and the early albums.

But it also made me curious.

I had noticed “Peterik/Sullivan” writing credits on a Tommy Shaw album.  I saw Peterik writing credits elsewhere. So I went back and looked at the writing credits for the earlier Survivor albums, and they are *all* “Peterik/Sullivan.”

I knew that Peterik had also been in a previous band. He was the songwriter, lead singer, and lead guitarist of “The Ides of March”, which did the song “Vehicle.” If you are giving me a blank look, I’m 90% sure you know the song, you just don’t know the band or the name.

Try: “I want you! I need you! I got to got to have you! Great God in Heaven, you know I love you!”

You know, this one:

So did Peterik do the music, and Sullivan the lyrics?  Or the other way around? Or some other arrangement?

I did some more research, and Peterik also wrote or co-wrote a bunch of .38 Special songs: “Rocking into the Night”, “Hold on Loosely”, “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys”, and “Caught up in You.”

As it turns out, “Rocking into the Night” was a Survivor song; they played it live and it always went over well, but their manager wouldn’t put it on an album, said it was “too southern rock, too boogie woogie” for Survivor. But the song made its way to .38 Special’s management, and they recorded it.  Before Survivor had their own hit in “Eye of the Tiger,” “Rocking into the Night” was a smash hit for .38 Special.  It created a lot of friction in Survivor: the rest the band blamed Peterik for some reason, and it only got worse when he continued collaboration with the other band. Each hit .38 Special scored, the members of Survivor felt were stolen from their own band.

I also read a few interviews with Peterik taking all the credit for writing songs that had them both credited.

So who actually wrote the songs?

The decency of the material on “Reach” indicates Frankie Sullivan had some songwriting ability.

But Frankie Sullivan was also clearly jealous. The only remaining original member of Survivor, he sued Jamison, Bickler, and Peterik at various times for touring with some mention or artwork from Survivor.

That seems petty, perhaps, but might it be justified?

One of the things to keep in mind is that when everyone around you is an asshole, remember that the common element between them all is YOU.

So I kept reading interviews. There aren’t many with Frankie Sullivan.

But you can sometimes get a sense of the truth in how stories shift and change over time. And from a harmony of all the stories, as related by Jim Peterik, I began to get a sense:

Frankie Sullivan was obsessively devoted to his understanding of Survivor as a brand and a business. He had a good sense of what would sell, what could become popular. He had talent as a songwriter, editor, and producer.

But Jim Peterik was both truly skilled *and* prolific as a songwriter.

Both of them could compose songs, and both of them could come up with really good lyrics.  But, say, 80% was Peterik and 20% was Sullivan.  Although the 20% Sullivan contributed was probably what made the difference between a song being “meh” and “really good” to “great”.

Peterik needed someone to work with, someone to hone his offerings into better songs. Peterik was also good at improving someone else’s work.  But maybe he couldn’t really work well alone.

And Sullivan couldn’t come up with a complete song on his own.  He needed a mass of original material that he could edit and refine down into great songs.

They were a good team, but had a lot of conflict.  Just like Schon/Perry, Shaw/DeYoung, Dokken/Lynch, Dubrow/Everyone else, Lennon/McCartney.

The conflict yielded some good albums, some great songs, and some awesome music.

I highly recommend their music if you like hard wrong with good lyrics.

Bonus/Aside:

Peterik worked with Kelly Keagy (drummer/singer of Night Ranger, a band with a Peterik-like main songwriter in Jack Blades) for Keagy’s solo album “I”m Alive,” which features Reb Beach on guitar, and is a really good album:

Some Thoughts on Music, No Conclusions

  • by Gitabushi

Every once in a while, I encounter someone talking about “the Great Voices of Rock” or ‘the great singers of rock”, and my usual reaction is a mild puzzlement.

I don’t like many of the iconic voices of rock music. I don’t like Tom Petty, I don’t like Robert Plant, I don’t like Rod Stewart, I don’t like Bob Dylan, I don’t like Bono.

But even the bands I *do* like, I’m not sure I can say I really love the singers. I love Styx, but I can’t say I love Dennis DeYoung’s, Tommy Shaw’s, or James Young’s singing.  I can find flaws or aspects I don’t like much in any of them.  Same with Heart, Night Ranger, Loudness, Kansas, Foreigner, Queen (yes, I’m not a huge fan of Freddie Mercury), Survivor, Alice in Chains, etc., etc., etc.

But I realized the other day there *is* one singer I like:

Brian Howe, most famous for his stint with Bad Company.  I actively like his voice.  It isn’t just his vocal quality, but the expression he puts into it.

I’m not going to include a picture, because I don’t think he’s famous enough for anyone to recognize him by his photo.  His “most famous” time was with Bad Company, but I don’t think he’s even close to actually being famous.

If I said, “Brian Howe”, everyone except for a fairly hard core Bad Company or Ted Nugent fan wuold say “Who?”

I really like his voice.  But have I looked up his solo albums? I have not. I do not even listen to two of his albums with Bad Company. I love his voice on “Dangerous Age“, and that’s it.

I think that highlights my relationship with music: I like a song if I like the guitar, and possibly the drums.  If I like those, I will learn to enjoy the bass, the voices, and the lyrics.  But I won’t like a song for the voice.

As in all things, however, there is a probable exception:

Becker_&_Fagen_of_Steely_Dan_at_Pori_Jazz_2007
“Becker and Fagan at the Pori Jazz Festival,” by Kotivalo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34957543

I’m digging into Steely Dan’s catalog right now.  Unlike Blue Oyster Cult and Jethro Tull, it is resulting in increased respect and affection for the band.  Although Donald Fagen is not an objectively good singer, his voice is perfect for the songs.  I feel so strongly about this, I simply don’t like the songs he doesn’t sing on.  I hate “Dirty Work,” for example.  But Fagen’s singing voice is, if I can believe what I’m saying next, both cynical and introspective. It is so expressive, and it adds the sardonic note necessary to make the lyrics work; which, in turn, add depth to the music.

Steely Dan has good music, but this is the one band that I listen to for the lyrics.

Of course, I wouldn’t be listening to them for the lyrics if they didn’t *first* grab me with good guitar and drum work on the hits that made it to the radio.

And Donald Fagen highlights *another* aspect of my relationship with music: a good voice is immaterial; what I want is a voice that adds emotion. I think no one would say that Stevie Ray Vaughn is a good singer. But his voice has the emotion necessary to sell his songs.

So that’s true for the bands listed above. I don’t necessarily love Dennis DeYoung’s voice, but it has the emotional impact necessarily to sell the song.

Still, aside from that, there are two more singers I like:

Dann Huff of Giant.  “I’ll See You In My Dreams” was not the sort of song that should make me interested in a band.  But the raw emotion of his singing did. I ended up loving the guitar and compositions of the band enough that they are one of my favorite bands, and I think “Last of the Runaways” should be considered one of the most important albums in guitar rock pedagogy (but it’s not; it’s not even on the radar.  smdh).

I’d put his voice on par with Brian Howe’s for just plain my favorite rock voice.

Using the Donald Fagen metric of “fitting the style of music” would seem to open up lots of names to be listed as favorite, but I won’t. Robert Plant may be perfect for Led Zeppelin; Freddie Mercury may be perfect for Queen; Steve Perry may be perfect for Journey; I don’t care.  There is only one other voice I would list as iconic, and good enough to *make* the band the way Fagen makes Steely Dan work:

David Lee Roth, with Van Halen.

I know some people prefer Van Hagar. I don’t deny that lineup had some good songs.  But there is no band, no singer, no experience quite like early Van Halen. David Lee Roth made that band what it was.

So those are my Mount Rushmore of Rock Singers:

Brian Howe
Dann Huff
Donald Fagen
David Lee Roth

One other final point that may interest only me:

I listen to a bunch of Chinese rock music. I have the same pattern there: I like a song if I like the guitar part, and in some cases, the drums. In fact, it was my analysis of my Chinese music preferences that allowed me to separate my tastes from what was spoon-fed to me by the corporate music machine (the radio & MTV). It confirms that:

If I like enough of the songs, I like the singer. Some of my favorite Chinese singers are objectively not good singers, but add the perfect emotional flavor to the song itself, bridging any gaps between composition and lyrics, and adding depth to both.

But also

 

 

Some Thoughts on Autograph, Bad Company, Def Leppard, and “Heavy Metal”

  • by Gitabushi

I was the youngest of six kids, so I grew up listening to what my older siblings listened to.

Older sister #3 was a particularly strong influence on my musical tastes: her college roommate already had an 8-track player, so she left hers at home, and would bring me a different 8-track to swap out each time. That’s where I got my love for Styx and Queen “Jazz”. And also Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, and other late 70s/early 80s bands.

I loved (and still love) that mix of guitars and synthesizers, but with the focus on guitar riffs and guitar solos. That’s led to my enjoyment of late 90s Taiwan pop, which is exactly in the same vein.

However, as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), I felt some aversion to Heavy Metal. It wasn’t *quite* a belief that Satan was in the music, and if you listened to it, you were going to be dragged to Hell.  But even as late as 1982 or so, I thought Def Leppard and AC/DC were probably influenced by Satan.  Or, at least, I didn’t like the imagery of insanity, violence, etc., in Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and other Heavy Metal acts of the early 80s.

The one weird exception was I had sort of inherited Kiss Destroyer from my older brother. They were certainly Satanic looking in their makeup, and from an early age I had heard that KISS stood for “Kings in Satan’s Service”, and Destroyer had some fairly evil-sounding tracks in God of Thunder and King of the Night-Time world.  That didn’t stop me from listening to it. Recognizing that most of the songs were not Satanic at all, and even the two “bad” songs didn’t cause me to do become evil didn’t really open my mind to the other Heavy Metal groups.  Then again, I had no desire to explore any other Kiss albums.  Part of that may have been that before 1982, at the age of 13 or so, all my music was received, and I wasn’t going out to seek any other albums or music I didn’t have already.

At the same time, however, I found myself drawn to the heavier songs of Queen (Let Me Entertain You, Dead on Time) and Styx (Miss America, Suite Madame Blue, Snowblind, Queen of Spades, etc.).  The heavier the guitar, the more I liked it.  But I still rejected the heavy metal bands.

Something had to give. And it did.

One guy in our lunch group had a boom box. And another guy brought Night Ranger’s “Midnight Madness”. Lots of hard rock and heavy metal guitar, no Satanic lyrics, and I liked it.

Then Def Leppard’s Foolin’ hit Friday Night videos, and was on there every week. Familiarity bred appreciation, and before too long, I obtained a copy of Pyromania and listened to the whole album a bunch of times. I somewhat reluctantly decided Def Leppard was okay.

At the same time I was sliding into heavy metal appreciation, the musical world was going synth pop.  The big acts were Pet Shop Boys, Flock of Seagulls, Howard Jones, Madonna, lots of other pop bands that guitar didn’t figure prominently in, or sometimes even appear. As popular music got more synth-y, I went more heavy. I got into Van Halen, Ratt, Night Ranger, Autograph. A friend had Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon” and listened to it constantly, and I decided I liked that. I liked Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” album. Heard Dokken in the school parking lot in 1985 and thought “That’s what metal should sound like!” Pretty quick after that, Dokken’s “Under Lock and Key” came out and “In My Dreams” was a top video, with a solo that captivated me.  I heard Akira Takasaki was as good as Eddie Van Halen, so I got into Loudness.  Early Stryper got into the mix. The next Ozzy album (The Ultimate Sin).

The final barrier was Metallica. They were either Satanic or a modern version of Spinal Tap using tremolo  picking or something to try and sound fast. I mean, EVH, Akira, George Lynch, the Night Ranger guys, Jake E. Lee, Warren di Martini and the other Hair Metal flashy guitarists…there were just so many good guitarists to go around, and if Metallica’s guitarist was any good, he’d have been in a Hair Metal band, right?

But the guys I hung around with my senior year liked Metallica, so their cassette was always on in the car when we went cruising. I grew to enjoy the riffs. I became a Metallica fan.

Still never got into Motley Crue, WASP, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc. I think I didn’t like their guitar tone/style much.

Is there a point to all this?  No.  No, there isn’t.

However, even though I listen to Chinese pop/rock 90%+ of the time, I have dug into my old American music trove to listen to some of the groups I haven’t paid much attention to lately, getting deeper into their catalogs.  This has been sporadic…I have a *crapton* of old US music .mp3s.

Most recently, that meant Autograph. I liked “Turn up the Radio”, and so I got that album. I also got “That’s the Stuff.” I liked them okay, but wasn’t overly excited about them, wasn’t waiting eagerly for their next album, and originally missed “Loud & Clear”. Decades later, I notice I have all 3 of their albums in .mp3. I remember “Turn Up the Radio” and “Deep End” has a guitar riff I like. I made a commute playlist that included all three albums. I read up on their Wikipedia. Why weren’t they more popular?  Their drummer was good friends with David Lee Roth, which was how they got their break. They had a huge hit, top 100 all time by most countdowns. They were playing live all over the US, opening for the biggest bands. They had an innovative lead guitarist (Steve Lynch). The lead singer was a prolific song-writer, wrote a bunch of songs for other people, and his songs have literally been in hundreds of TV shows. But, as a band, after their big debut, they were disappointed with slumping sales on their second album. What happened?

I listened, and found out.

Steve Plunkett, the lead singer, might be a prolific songwriter, but he’s not a very good one. For a heavy metal or Hair Metal band, the songs had almost no memorable riffs. The aforementioned “Deep End” has one, but that’s about it for the first album. Think about “Turn up the Radio”. It builds tension and excitement with driving 8th notes in a drone in the bass, guitar, and bass drums. Then it has a simple 8th note walking pattern on the turnaround. That’s it.

The rest of the album is the same way. The next album is the same way.  There’s very little memorable about any of them.  It’s light pop. There’s nothing an aspiring guitarist would want to learn to play. If he learned to play it and played it for his friends, they would have no idea what song it was (except for Turn Up the Radio and maybe Deep End). The sung melody is never very distinctive. Despite Plunkett being a guitarist, they never take advantage of having two guitarists in the band. Despite Steve Lynch a “guitar hero”, he never contributed any cool guitar riffs. The songs are formulaic, and show no character. There is rarely a guitar fill or guitar lick outside of the solo. The drummer seems incapable of playing an fill with anything faster than 8th notes. His favorite technique seems to be hitting the snare and the high-hat at the same time.  There’s never a bass solo or a bass fill. It’s like, “Here’s the intro, maybe with a driving 8th note bass/guitar/bass drum motif. Here’s the first verse, second verse, chorus, solo, chorus, done.” None of their songs take chances. None break new ground. There’s little variation.

There’s more character in *one* Bad Company song than all three Autograph albums. That’s true of pretty much any of their songs, but I’m thinking especially of “One Night”, where the drummer hits the kick/bass drum in a double 32nd note. That alone has more surprising character than anything Autograph ever did.

Autograph isn’t bad.  They’re just not good.

Bad Company, on the other hand, is pretty good. Paul Rodgers is one of the greats, and he writes some great songs. It is interesting that among their 10 From 6 songs (which was pretty much their greatest hits), there is cowboy imagery in several songs, and several other songs are about the life of a touring musician. But unlike the 80s groups that complain about how tough it is to be on the road all the time, Bad Company’s songs are about how great it is.  Refreshing, in retrospect.

Also, Bad Company pretty much became a totally different band just by changing lead singers to Brian Howe. After an initial keyboards-laden disappointment I don’t think I ever heard of, “Dangerous Age” was (and still is) one of my favorite albums of all time. I had heard “One Night” on the radio a few times, but I could never hear the ann

ouncer say what band it was. I loved the vocals, I loved the guitar parts. It was (and still is) one of my Top 5 favorite songs, all time.  Lots of research and a friend’s input later, I found out it was Bad Company. I initially rejected that, because it sounded nothing like Bad Company. Not just the lead singer, but the drums and guitar styles.

I found out later that this was likely due to being produced by Terry Thomas. He wrote most of the songs, even played some rhythm guitar.

I know that their next album “Holy Water” was bigger, but I couldn’t get into it as much. It seemed like they just re-did “Dangerous Age” again, and it felt like it was done by rote.

Incidentally, Terry Thomas also produced and co-wrote a bunch of songs for Tommy Shaw’s “Ambitious”, which is also one of my favorite albums.

HOLY CRAP. Doing a search on Terry Thomas, I just found out he produced Giant’s “Last of the Runaways”, which is *also* one of my Top 10 all-time favorite albums.  Maybe Top 5.

Terry Thomas was the lead guitarist for the English band Charlie, which I had never heard of before I searched his name on Wikipedia. It looks like I need to get their entire catalog. I bet I’ll like it.

He also produced some Foreigner and Tesla. But none of those left much of an impression on me.

Finally: Def Leppard.

They, too, have more character in any one song than Autograph has in all three first albums put together.

Reading about their history on Wikipedia, I’m struck by how Pete Willis was fired from the band due to his drinking, but long-time guitarist Steve Clark died from being unable to conquer his drinking.  They fired Willis for his drinking getting in the way of his recording on Pyromania, but were much more tolerant of the same thing for Clark on “Adrenalize”. I wonder if it is because they hadn’t hit it big yet on Pyromania so they felt more was at stake, or if Willis’ drinking brought other issues other than just guitar performance, or if the band was just more mature about dealing with Clark’s problem. But you’d think Clark would have learned something from seeing Willis brought down by alcohol.

I also wonder how much of what I liked about Def Leppard was Willis.  I liked Hysteria enough to buy it and listen to it quite a bit, but it also seemed to kill off my interest in further Def Leppard songs/albums. I was vaguely aware of Adrenalize and a few other pop hits, but never made any attempt to acquire any.  I do still think Pyromania was their peak, and Willis contributed quite a number of songs to that album.

Reading through Def Leppard’s history, it is said they influenced Metallica. I would have scoffed at that idea if I’d been told it earlier, but re-listening to High ‘N’ Dry and Pyromania a few times recently, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.  Def Leppard had some pretty good basic riffs, and would combine different riffs into one song, changing the feel of a song slightly as it went on.  Metallica was known for doing the same thing, often having as many as 7 or 8 riffs in a single song.  I guess it reached its peak on “And Justice for All”, which I don’t like much, so they toned it down and sometimes had just one riff in a song starting with their Black Album. And while I liked that album at the time, I don’t see much reason to listen to it anymore. For me, Metallica will always be their first three albums.

Okay, retrospective over. Return to your lives, citizens.

 

 

Hey, Nick Sandmann

  • by Gitabushi

To the tune of “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes.

The original:

And the Karaoke version:

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

(dumb)

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

Hey, Nick Sandmann, You’re gonna get reamed
The Left’s as rabid as I’ve ever seen (dumb dumb dumb)
You didn’t give in to a Leftist takeover,
So blue checks swarmin’ and your life is over!

Nick Sandmann, you’re not alone
The Left destroys any thing it can’t own
So please keep on your MAGA hat.
And keep smiling, they don’t like that!

Hey Nick Sandmann, you did just fine:
The Left is scrambling, and starting to whine.
You were calm and you kept your composure,
The Left is freaked, risking overexposure!

Nick Sandmann, you’re not alone
The Left destroys any thing it can’t own
So Please keep on your MAGA hat.
And keep smiling like that,
with your red hat
Ignore them, they don’t like that!

Christmas Music

Merry Christmas (Eve), everyone!

Every year, right around Thanksgiving, radio stations start saturating the airwaves with Christmas music. Some people eat it up. Others get sick of it before Christmas Day even rolls around.

Over the years I’ve vacillated, and have landed somewhere around mild forbearance and occasional flickers of enjoyment. Some Christmas music just feels so vapid and asinine to me these days, though, that I have trouble recapturing anything near the pleasure felt in youth. Have you ever really listened to “Santa Baby?”

It’s become quite a cliched complaint – “Christmas has become too commercial.” It’s also become too secular. How many Christmas movies and songs these days completely leave out Christ? Many? Most?

Ironically, in voicing this observation it’s all too easy to sound the Grinch. I do think about this stuff a lot more now that I’m a dad, though. It’s not like I’m going to gatekeep everything my kids are exposed to, but I can certainly exert my influence. In fact I’d say it’s a parental duty.

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on the bad right now. Instead, I’d like to share some renditions of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.

-Bushi

bushi