Noises from the great big mouth Corey’s column
The beautiful thing about music is its insistence on breaking out of box after box, remaining shapeless, staying fluid and free. But there was a time in
our lives when you could pretty much call what was going to be on an album, especially in the 80s. I call it the Glam Syndrome, or better yet, The Formula. I honestly think it was lifted years later by new country, and rightly so – that sappy sentiment was like a barge full of garbage, it had to go somewhere. Anyway, peacocks… have nothing to do with this, I apologise. Too much Discovery Channel. What was I… oh, The Formula, yeah! The Formula was very simple. Every rock album had to have key ingredients, or certain types of songs. Keep in mind
shitty white trash bluesy groove that made it destined for strip clubs everywhere, you had to write shit that would make even a nun question her vows. If the music was straightforward, you had choices: The Getting In A Fight song, The Just Left The Bitch song, The Johnny Was A… song, or just another Fuck song. When Unplugged happened, it added another dimension to The Formula: The Easily Played Acoustically song. This could be either a ballad or a jaunty rock song (not as upbeat as the Big Rock Opener, but enough to keep the attention). It also caused a divide in The Ballad factor: one could still be recorded with any shitty clean tone, but the other had to be played with a real acoustic, and people preferred that the choice be the one in G. It was basically simple maths at the end of the day: this plus that equalled single. And the shit was blatantly prevalent. Don’t believe me? Look at any of those ‘Monster
“Try that shit today and a producer would need a fucking colostomy bag.”
this was back when albums only had nine to 10 songs TOPS, so you could get away with it. Try that shit today and a producer would need a fucking colostomy bag. Every album had the obligatory Big Rock Opener, which was written specifically to be the opening song in a live set. It could be in any key (we’ll get to that) and usually had connotations of being the best or being merciless, or just stating the obvious – that you were indeed at a big dumb rock show. Fast-paced, high energy, usually one of three actual good songs on the album. There were prototypical songs then there were songs in specific keys that needed to be represented. You had to have at least two or three songs in the key of E, one or two songs in A, two in G (almost always including The Ballad), then you had to have the song with the Impossibly Complicated Riff, which didn’t really have a key but sounded so good you didn’t care. Now your rockers could be in either E or A. The Ballad was almost always in G, but if you went crazy and had two of them, the other had to be in either E or A, and it had to have remarkably somber lyrics as opposed to the, ‘Where did your love go’ shit in the G ballad. You could get away with an upbeat G song, but it had to be The Party Song, just because it’s a naturally happy key. Your lyrical content was also predisposed at the time, depending on the vibe of the music. If a song had that
Ballads’ compilations – EVERY food group from the 80s rock scene is represented on them, at least the ones that mattered. So out in the open yet so overlooked… then again, was it? Maybe people knew about The Formula and just didn’t care. They accepted it because they were fans and just appreciated the product. The biggest kicks for me came when you’d have the semijunkie asshole being all sensitive and deep on one song, then just so piggish and chauvinistic on the very next – yeah, that just really says it all. You can’t complain about a broken heart in one breath then compare a groupie’s tits to over-inflated Michelin tyres in another – it’s just not cricket. There are variables to The Formula, like personal preference. Some bands chose to write their ballads in the keys of D or C. More still would use lower tunings to stand out. Nevertheless, they would use the same positions on the fretboard. Then for some reason, all the bands decided they were blues players – what a terrible decision. Nothing is further from the blues than white men washing hair spray out of their splendid silk shirts. The Formula continues to this day, out on the fringe, working its magic. Just listen to these sugar punk bands. Listen to the country stations or the R&B stations. It’s out there. And it still hungers.
A rough guide to… PARADISE LOST
Oooh, sounds a bit gothic? Damn straight! Naming themselves after a John Milton poem, Paradise Lost are indeed quite doomy and gloomy.
Haven’t they been knocking around for some time? Again you’d be right – for nigh on two decades in fact. The Yorkshiremen were teenagers when they started creating their gothic rock, and they’re still rocking with the best of them in their middle age!
Didn’t they go all pop on us at one point? Yes they did; they sold their souls in 99 when they
released ‘Host’ and tried to emulate Depeche Mode. Things went downhill after that.
So what now? Well the band’s 11th album ‘In Requiem’ is rather splendid and finds the crew back on fire. They’re going to tour with Type O Negative in June too, so that’s going to be one hell of a dreary but excellent package!
The album ‘In Requiem’ is out on May 21 on Century Media. www.paradiselost.com
For daily updates and gossip visit rock-sound.net ROUND UP
THE ICARUS LINE LA raucous rockers The Icarus Line return to action three years after their last full-length with a new download EP ‘Gets Paid’ and album ‘Black Lives At The Golden Coast’, on June 04 and 11 respectively. www.myspace.com/icarusline
RAGING SPEEDHORN Corby bruisers Raging Speedhorn have wrapped up work on their fourth album ‘Before The Sea Was Built’. Roping in Hundred Reasons axeman Larry Hibbitt for production duties, the album was recorded at Foel Studios in Wales. It’s the first to feature new vocalist Bloody Kev and new bassist Dave (brother of ‘Speedhorn guitarist Jay). Said guitarist Gareth Smith: “We’ve really been pushing ourselves musically with this album. We’re never going to be a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan because simply put we’re not that talented, but we’ve been pushing ourselves to the boundaries on this. We’re moving away a little bit from the straight-ahead hardcore that we’ve always played and playing things a bit more discordant and using a little bit of dynamic.” Expect a release in September through SPV. www.myspace.com/ragingspeedhorn
THE MONTH THAT WAS… After going all cock-rock and, in some fans’ eyes, running in search of the dollar rather than following their hearts, onetime Rock Sound faves EIGHTEEN VISIONS have split up after 11 years together. SOULFLY have posted a demo version of new song ‘After The Slaughter’ at www.myspace.com/soulfly It’s available until June 01. BLEEDING THROUGH have parted ways with guitarist Scott Danough. He’s been replaced by Jona Weinhofen, formerly of I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN, who have now called it a day. GWAR, CHIMAIRA, AMON AMARTH, EVERY TIME I DIE, JOB FOR A COWBOY and NECRO are among the names confirmed for this year’s USA Sounds Of The Underground tour, which kicks off in July. The Brighton Institute Of Modern Music is to hold two metal summer schools in August. These take place from August 13-18. Among those taking part are members of THE PRODIGY, SKUNK ANANSIE, FEEDER, A, MCQUEEN, SNUFF, THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND, HUNDRED REASONS, SIKTH, THERAPY?, PITCHSHIFTER, and THIS IS MENACE. For information about the 2007 Summer Schools, or any other courses, contact BIMM on 01273 626666. Email: info@bimm. co.uk. Website: www.bimm.co.uk As reported on Totalrock.com KORN have announced that Joey Jordison of Slipknot will be their touring drummer this summer and will play at Download. Rising metallers SANCTITY were involved in a road accident after their show supporting Trivium in Nottingham last month. The van collided with a taxi and hit a wall. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.