Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 4/20/15.
Each week, the HRD team shares songs that fly below radio’s radar, ranging from lesser-known artists to deeper cuts from both up-and-coming and established artists.
In addition to exposing the Hard Rock Daddy audience to new music that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves from radio, Music Discovery Monday also features a segment called “Hard Rock Music Time Machine,” which showcases older songs (from the 70s to today) that hard rock music fans may have missed at the time of release.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlists beneath each section, all songs featured on Music Discovery Monday can be listened to by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles.
This week’s Music Discovery Monday features an incredibly deep, exclusive interview with Nothing More frontman, Jonny Hawkins, who shares the inspiration and meaning behind the band’s latest single (“Jenny”) and “God Went North” (a song written for his dying mother).
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
NOTHING MORE – “Jenny”
Nothing More burst onto the hard rock scene with “This Is The Time (Ballast)” – a track that dominated Active Rock radio. Subsequent tracks from their stellar debut album include “Mr. MTV” and “Christ Copyright.” All of the aforementioned songs have helped Nothing More to stand out amongst their hard rock peers. While the whole album is incredible, “Jenny” is the track that has been my personal favorite from the first listen. As a fan of meaningful lyrics and powerfully emotive vocals, few (if any) current Active Rock songs rival “Jenny.” The band has just released the song as a single, but it represents much more than just another single off of an incredible album. The band has teamed up with a number of organizations to help raise money and awareness for mental illness. Please check out their #iknowJenny PledgeMusic campaign for more details.
“Jenny” features extremely personal lyrics. In a recent interview with Nothing More frontman, Jonny Hawkins, we discussed the inspiration and meaning behind the song…
“In a nutshell, the song is about my sister. She has, for quite some time now, dealt with mental issues. She’s been diagnosed as being extremely bi-polar, and possibly a mild version of something like Schizophrenia. She kind of got in with the wrong people at a young age, and I think that the interesting thing about people with mental illness is that many times, they end up getting caught up in the wrong group because they’re not really aware of their own mental illness. Many times, it can cause them to act a certain way that is kind of off-putting or socially awkward, and so they don’t end up getting connected to good groups of people. They end up hanging out with the ‘bottom of the barrel’ in a sense, so they end up getting into drugs and a lot of destructive things, and my sister was no exception to that. The drugs kind of fed my sister’s mental illness and the mental illness drew her to the drugs, so it’s kind of a vicious cycle.
The song is really about the power of a mother’s love through all of that, and seeing through all of it even when the rest of us couldn’t. We just thought that she was being an asshole while my mom was dying, but my mom fought to the bitter end to be there for her as a mother and to try to see her to a better place.”
NOTHING MORE – “God Went North”
The lyrical content of “God Went North” is directly connected to “Jenny.” As powerful as “Jenny” is, on a personal level, “God Went North” hits much closer to home. Although it hasn’t been released as a single, the song is being featured on Music Discovery Monday because of its connection to “Jenny” and the impact that it has had on me having lost my mother in recent years. This song is just another example of the depth and diversity that is featured on Nothing More’s album. You don’t have to have lost someone close to you to appreciate the genuine anguish in Hawkins’ delivery, but if you have, the song will have an even greater impact on you.
When asked about “God Went North” during our interview, Jonny shared these very personal thoughts…
“The biggest struggle beyond the very obvious physical struggle (which was the cancer and her passing away), was a secondary narrative that was happening at the same time. There was this struggle between religiosity and secularism, and what I mean by that is, my mom, as she approached death and felt the fear come over her of leaving the rest of us behind, clung more to religion and got more involved in this particular church that we started going to. I was actually going in the other direction; I was becoming much less religious.
I grew up being a Christian, but I was actually at the age when I began questioning all of those things and finding a lot of inconsistencies with things that I grew up being taught. I was cleaning the slate off, and I wanted to start with a blank page and re-write what I thought as an adult now going into my college years. At the same time, my mom was filling in the slate with more and more beliefs.
The part of the whole process that made it so complicated was that we were not only splitting physically, but also splitting spiritually and emotionally because we didn’t see things the same way anymore. Beliefs, especially religious ones, are strong bonding factors between human beings. It’s very difficult when someone as innately close as my mom and I were going in such different directions on that plane of belief. That is where I was starting from when writing the song. I wanted to express that tearing apart on all levels, physically and spiritually. That’s why the song is called ‘God Went North.’
It was a battle to be honest with myself and honest with my mom. I knew that her beliefs were different than mine, but I didn’t know if she was just clinging to them out of fear. At the same time, I wanted to be supportive, so there were moments where I just kind of caved in and acted like I believed something because she was so down in the dumps. It was a hard thing to navigate, because I didn’t want to become a fake person to the one person that I had always been the most real with, and who knew me better than anybody.”
**The full interview with Jonny Hawkins will appear in the coming weeks on Hard Rock Daddy.**
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
ARMORED SAINT – “Win Hands Down”
Metallica wanted him. Anthrax had him for over a decade. The latest effort from John Bush and his mates shows clearly that Armored Saint is where he rightfully belongs. Still comprised of all the surviving original members some 31 years after their debut, the title track from their forthcoming album (due later this summer) is almost absurdly solid. Armored Saint is a band that’s aging like fine wine.
ACIDIC – “Chicago”
Insanely catchy tune from these young southern California rockers that seems to get a little more addictive with every listen. They seem poised for a breakout hit. This feels like the best shot they’ve taken yet, and if radio doesn’t cooperate, that’s on them rather than the band.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
HELLOWEEN – “Battle’s Won”
Melodic power metal is alive and well in Germany as the band that helped to pioneer the genre prepares to release their fifteenth studio album 30 after their debut. The first single, “Battle’s Won,” is a driving hymn with triumphant guitars and a glorious chorus. The album’s American release is set for May 2, and a full European tour is already scheduled for the summer. Hopefully they will add some more dates in more places!
ROBBY VALENTINE – “Bizarro World”
With shades of Queen and Dream Theater, Dutch prodigy Robby Valentine performs all of the instruments and all of the voices on “Bizarro World.” The hooks are big and the delivery flawless in this rocking song that explores a theme of alienation.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
ROYAL BLOOD – “Little Monster”
Royal Blood gives us a healthy dose of hard-hitting garage rock with “Little Monster.” This band from England really captures the spirit of classic rock, which is remarkable since they are just a duo: Mike Kerr on guitars/vocals and Ben Thatcher hammering the drums.
LORDS OF THE TRIDENT – “Winds Of The Storm”
There’s a bit of Randy Rhodes’ “Bark” influence in the guitar licks of this glory metal track about pushing it to the limit. Driving and dynamic, this band works hard to live up to their own billing as “The most METAL band on Earth!”
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
COHEED AND CAMBRIA – “Here We Are Juggernaut” (2010)
If you’re looking for something truly unique, then Coheed and Cambria is a band that you must check out. While they are mostly classified as prog rock, their music is influenced by other genres as well. As interesting as their music is, what makes them so unique is the fact that their albums are all concept albums that revolve around a science fiction storyline called The Armory Wars (written by lead singer, Claudio Sanchez). It’s always challenging to isolate individual tracks from concept albums because of the loss of context, but “Here We Are Juggernaut” is one that makes for a great introduction to the band.
DREAM THEATER – “Pull Me Under” (1992)
Dream Theater will be releasing their 13th studio album this year. Despite lineup changes through the years, the band has enjoyed a career that dates back to the late 80s. Known for their musical virtuosity, and revered by countless musicians, Dream Theater has achieved all of their success without radio exposure. The one exception is “Pull Me Under” off of their sophomore 1992 release, Images and Words. This song proves that the band can create “radio-friendly” tracks with the best of them; they just choose to showcase their immense musicianship instead.
AUTOGRAPH – “One-Way Dead-End Street” (1997)
The conventional story of this 80s-era band from California is that they burned brightly and quickly, with a debut album certified gold, followed by declining success that led to their dissolution just six years after their debut. Less known is that a fourth studio album would be released some eight years after being recorded. From Missing Pieces comes this track that could have taken its place as a worthy cut in their library, but was derailed by the changing fortunes of hard rock and metal in the late 80s/early 90s. A new album (including original members Steve Lynch and Randi Rand) is reportedly due out later this year.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD – “Not Ready To Die” (2011)
Between the end of the Nightmare tour cycle and the start of the Hail To The King tour, A7x released a pair of singles tied to the popular Call Of Duty video game series. The first of the pair failed to dent the rock charts in the U.S., while soaring to the top of the rock charts in the U.K. Familiar to dedicated fans, but worthy of more airplay than it got in the States.
LIZZY BORDEN – “Master Of Disguise” (1989)
An airy intro yields quickly to orchestration and then to a driving bass line as the song launches full scale. The lyrics are sublime, if a little disturbing, as a stalker puts his prey on notice (“I’m the winds that trace your step, I’m the cherries on your breath”). This is a true gem from the end of the 80s–a favorite song from a favorite album.
MSG – “This Broken Heart” (1989)
This incarnation of the Michael Schenker Group is officially The McAuley Schenker Group, because vocalist Robin McAuley negotiated to share the spotlight with guitar virtuoso Michael Schenker. Both men are at the top of their game here, in one of the band’s lesser known but most compelling songs. The vocals drive the piece forward just as much as the guitars, and capture the emotion of the lyrics without ever compromising intensity.
AVENGED SEVENFOLD – “Buried Alive” (2010)
This one’s got it all…great flow through the changes of pace, terrific solos, vocals and musicianship. Not surprising from A7X, but this epic piece is an all-time favorite of mine. It was the 4th single released from their 2010 album, Nightmare.
MAYADOME – “Wait A Minute” (1996)
Mayadome was a very good, very technical, prog metal band from Sweden who put out a couple of albums but never really surfaced into the mainstream. “Wait a Minute” is off of their excellent first album, Paranormal Activity. You’ll see how talented they were as they play their way through this very complex and precise track. This is unfortunately all past-tense, as the band broke up a long time back.
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to…