Written By Braddon S. Williams

John Lennon: Imagine

Proving there was plenty of songwriting left in the tank after the breakup of The Beatles, John Lennon released the Imagine album in 1971 and left the world with one of his most powerful compositions ever in the title song of the same name.

Imagine has served as Lennon’s signature song ever since, but the Imagine album has lots more to offer.

George Harrison provided some ultra tasty lead guitar work on the politically charged Gimme Some Truth and I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier, and also on the direct attack on ex band mate Paul McCartney on How Do You Sleep?

Jealous Guy is another Lennon classic, and the songs Crippled Inside and It’s So Hard are reminders of Lennon’s early love affair with rock ‘n roll.

Although the four members of The Beatles undoubtedly became something much bigger than the individual parts, those individual parts were pretty magnificent on their own.

https://youtu.be/T2hvkPyiAFE

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Tesla: Mechanical Resonance

Tesla always got unfairly labeled as a glam or hair metal band, when they were actually much more of a throwback to the hard rock of the 1970’s.

Mechanical Resonance (1986), was a great collection of songs with plenty of fiery lead guitar work from Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch, a granite heavy rhythm section comprised of Brian Wheat on bass and Troy Lucketta on drums, and the charismatic and perpetually happy Jeff Keith on lead vocals. The songs on Mechanical Resonance were full of riffs that were influenced by Led Zeppelin, UFO, AC/DC and Montrose. Furthermore, these guys weren’t wearing spandex or sporting big hair like so many of their peers. I first heard them via the video for Modern Day Cowboy on MTV’s original Headbanger’s Ball and immediately bought the album.

Other bangers on their debut included Little Suzi, Cumin’ Atcha Live, Getting Better, 2 Late 4 Love, EZ Come EZ Go, and We’re No Good Together.

I saw them at the height of their popularity, and once again at a club when they reunited in the early 2000’s and Tesla were dependably energetic and rock solid both times.

Great band for certain!

https://youtu.be/jGkBFIw5iMk

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Wasp!

W.A.S.P. put out a rocking debut album in 1984 that eventually became known by the band’s name…W.A.S.P.!

I love the song I Wanna Be Somebody, and it sounds just as raw and empowering today as it did all those many years ago. Blackie Lawless just has that primal scream that manages to sound manly and menacing even though it is classified as hair metal.

Chris Holmes and Randy Piper threw down some pretty solid riffs and lead work to frame those songs that tried so hard to be controversial (I’m looking squarely at Animal (Fuck Like A Beast) as a prime example).

I never got a chance to see these guys live, but I have an idea that they were pretty fierce in their prime.

I seem to recall that Mr. Lawless found religion somewhere along the path, and I wonder if he still performs some of the raunchier songs from their heyday. Whatever the case may be, that debut album was a ripper and always put me in a great mood back in the carefree days of spandex and hair spray!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Motley Crue: Shout At The Devil

I almost had to flip a coin to decide if I should go with Too Fast For Love or Shout At The Devil by Mötley Crüe, but I went with the pentagram for the victory.

Shout At The Devil (1983) was the big breakthrough album for the L.A. hair metal masters, but I first became aware of them when I saw the video for Live Wire off their first album. That is probably still my favorite Crüe song of all time, but Shout At The Devil was better produced and solidified the band’s sleazy image.

The title song was such an anthem and sounded amazing with capacity crowd’s yelling the refrain “Shout…Shout…Shout” in one enormous voice.

Speaking of enormous, Tommy Lee’s drums sounded enormous on this album, and Mick Mars made his mark with larger than life riffs and slashing lead guitar.

Nikki Sixx kept the bass lines simple, but functioned as the chief songwriter and mastermind of the whole operation.

Vince Neil stood out as the only blonde and sang like a human razor blade.

The songs were basic sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll manifestos, with Red Hot, Too Young To Fall In Love, Looks That Kill, Danger, Ten Seconds To Love, Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid, and a ripping cover of Helter Skelter by The Beatles all kicking lots of proverbial ass. With Shout At The Devil, the hair metal revolution was in full swing, and Mötley Crüe were firmly in command.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Blue Oyster Cult: Secret Treaties

Blue Öyster Cult released Secret Treaties in 1974 and pulled off a pretty cool recording trick by having each song seamlessly fade into the next one, creating an effect like a classical suite, but in their case it was a rock suite that was quite sweet!

Some of my favorite BOC songs are on this album, including Astronomy, Subhuman, Harvester Of Eyes, Dominance And Submission, and Career Of Evil.

Eric Bloom handles most of the lead vocals in his distinctive golden toned way and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser plays his face melting signature lead guitar style.

I saw them live in 1989 and actually got to play a show opening for them in my hometown in 2013.

Blue Öyster Cult are one of those bands that just kept putting out great albums and stacking up material that sounds fantastic in the live setting; a classic American hard rock band through and through.

https://youtu.be/Uf5ja-GEizY

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Death- Individual Thought Patterns

Today’s album pick is Individual Thought Patterns (1993) by Death. This one has caused me to do some deep thinking about what “influence” truly means. In most cases, I would consider the term to be an artist who has influenced my style of playing music, or who inspires me to play music in general. In the case of Death, I am influenced by Chuck Schuldiner, who was a pioneer in the genre of extreme music that just so happens to share the name of his band.

Chuck set out to create something in memory of a brother who passed away and to make it a positive thing. I find this to be massively inspirational.

Against astronomical odds, Schuldiner navigated his muse with an ever changing cast of musicians in pursuit of his personal mission, never compromising his integrity, and leaving behind a powerful legacy that has guided countless musicians and bands over the years.

On Individual Thought Patterns, Schuldiner shared guitar duties with Andy LaRocque from King Diamond’s band, and had the impossibly ferocious rhythm section of Steve DiGiorgio on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums.

I am embarrassed that I am just now really acquainting myself with Death, but everything I have heard is just phenomenal and I believe that is one of the beautiful things about music…the discovery.

Whether it is a new release or an old gem awaiting new sets of ears, music can always be brand new for someone searching for that ever elusive “influence.”

I salute the life of Chuck Schuldiner and thank him for his creative fearlessness and imagination. I look forward to delving deep into his catalog of treasures from this moment forward!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Corrosion of Conformity: Deliverance

With Deliverance (1994) Corrosion Of Conformity became a full-fledged Stoner Rock/Sludge Metal/Southern Metal powerhouse of a band.

Deliverance was the first C.O.C. album to feature guitarist Pepper Keenan as lead vocalist and main songwriter, and he did a fantastic job with this collection of heavy hitters that are full of great musicianship and a variety of textural shifts in both tempos and moods.

Keenan and Woody Weatherman shared lead guitar duties and combined on both crushing riffs and delicate acoustic passages, giving Deliverance a sound full of both emotional and sonic depth.

As a matter of fact, my favorite track is the mostly acoustic, but definitely sinister sounding, Shelter, with its spooky pedal steel melody lines and Keenan’s world weary voice.

The first 2 songs on the album, Heaven’s Not Overflowing and Albatross, are both crushers and other notable tracks include Pearls Before Swine, Broken Man, Seven Days, Clean My Wounds, and Deliverance.

I got to see these guys open for Megadeth around this time, and they were a killer live band, too.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind