Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 1/25/16.
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, Music Discovery Monday features an exclusive interview with Salvatore Costa (ex-My Darkest Days) discussing the inspiration behind two recent singles with his new band, Smashing Satellites, and an underrated album cut by My Darkest Days.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
SMASHING SATELLITES – “Gamblin’ Man”
From the ashes of My Darkest Days rises Smashing Satellites. Former MDD guitarist Salvatore Costa steps up into a much greater creative role as the lead singer, songwriter, co-producer and guitarist of this exciting new band from the Great White North. Although Costa has made his bones playing modern-day hard rock music, his goal is to bring rock back to the mainstream with his brand of music that pulls from numerous different influences ranging from the Bee Gees and Michael Jackson to Nirvana to Triumph and everything in between.
His career goal is to grab for the brass ring, not just find his place in a very crowded genre, so it makes sense that the single that has been garnering attention on SiriusXM’s Octane is called “Gamblin’ Man.” Every once in a while, you can tell within a few bars that you’ve discovered a memorable track. This song definitely fits into that category.
Costa is well on his way to achieving his goal with a song that incorporates various influences, yet remains a perfect fit on Active Rock radio (albeit as a standout track that doesn’t blend into the background of typical playlists). On “Gamblin’ Man” Costa shows that he is more-than-capable of stepping up into a more high-profile role than he had with My Darkest Days, displaying a nice vocal range and dynamic songwriting.
In a recent exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Sal Costa discussed the inspiration behind “Gamblin’ Man”…
“ ‘Gamblin’ Man’ is a song that people have interpreted in different ways. I’ve had someone tell me that it completely spoke to him about his relationship with his girlfriend. Others have told me that they have a gambling problem, so they related to the song in a totally different way.
The song is actually about my career, and the constant struggle and gamble that comes with being an artist. It’s about my relationship with music, how you fall, you get back up and you keep trying. It’s about having those shots, sinking, and then trying again. It’s kind of like a scratch-off ticket. Sometimes you scratch it off and win twenty bucks; sometimes you win nothing, but if it’s something that you love to do, you’ll keep gambling.”
SMASHING SATELLITES – “Taste Of Fame”
When Adam Gontier surprisingly parted ways with Three Days Grace, the obvious choice to fill his rather sizable shoes was Matt Walst of My Darkest Days (his brother Brad is the bassist in the band). Gontier is known for being a bit edgy, while Walst comes off as more reserved, but things aren’t always the way that they seem at face value.
You might think that “Taste Of Fame” is written from the point of view of a jilted ex-bandmate who felt abandoned when his singer left for greener, more high-profile pastures, but that is not the case. Salvatore Costa actually parted ways with My Darkest Days while Walst was still in the band.
Not unlike the theme of “The Trees” (a classic by fellow Canadians – Rush), Walst cast a large shadow that prevented Costa from getting the sunlight that he felt was deserved. Like many others in life, Costa felt like he needed to spread his wings and fly, unencumbered by the restrictions that were placed on him by someone else’s vision. The story told in the lyrics unveil Costa’s frustrations, but the music is far from angst-ridden, falling more under the melodic realm of classic Styx or Kansas than today’s more aggressive Active Rock, but it works!
Costa shares the inspiration for “Taste Of Fame”…
“ ‘Taste of Fame’ is really a song about somebody that I was in a band with in My Darkest Days. I felt during the entire time that I was in the band that as I was growing as an artist, singer, writer and player, that I was always being pushed down from really achieving my goal. It’s a song about my old singer, talking about him having his taste of fame, and my departure from the band. It’s a song about us getting our taste of fame, and having our moment, but it all had to end because of ego. The song was written at a pretty dark and angry point in my life. When I look back at it now, it seems pretty harsh. I don’t really feel that way anymore because I’ve had a lot of time to marinate with it, but at the time, it was very true towards my singer Matt (Walst). It’s a song that I wanted people to hear because there’s a lot of truth to it. As an artist, you can have your taste of fame. It can come and go, and a lot of people get jaded along the way. This actually took place when I had left the band and they got another guitar player. It was a few weeks after that when he ended up joining Three Days Grace.”
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
THREE DOORS DOWN – “In The Dark”
The lead single from the band’s first studio album in nearly five years is a bit of a departure from the sound that you might expect, but it’s still very comfortable, coming from one of the bands that helped revive my interest in music after the long, dark “flannel decade.” The band has said that they were hoping for a more organic sound with the forthcoming record, and if this in any indication, then it should be a treat.
HANDS LIKE HOUSES – “New Romantics”
The lead track from the third studio album by this Australian band is getting some early airplay from SiriusXM’s Octane, and might eventually find its way into the Active Rock Top 50. The scream vocals are kept to a minimum here, with an overall sound that reminds a bit of Nothing More (by way of comparison).
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
AVANTASIA – “Ghostlights”
German vocalist and songwriter Tobias Sammet (Edguy) put together the supergroup Avantasia in 1999. Grand compositions with layered vocals and driving guitars characterize their brand of metal opera. Their seventh studio album, Ghostlights (due out January 29th), will feature quite the lineup of guest vocalists: Dee Snider, Geoff Tate, Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande, Bob Catley, Sharon den Adel, Ronnie Atkins, Robert Mason and Marco Hietala.
THE 69 EYES – “Jet Fighter Plane”
“Elvis meets Dracula” is how these Finnish Goth metalers bill themselves. This catchy, dark number captures their classic sound together with an early-‘80s punk vibe. This is the first release from their upcoming album, Universal Monsters (due out in April).
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
VINDICTIV (f. MARK BOALS) – “Day”
“Day” is bright and positive prog metal song from Sweden’s Vindictiv. Mark Boals – of Yngwie Malmsteen and Dokken fame (among many others) – leads with his tremendous vocals. The expert musicianship features a good mix of heavy chords to go along with a haunting keyboard refrain that anchors the song. Great chorus, plus skilled guitar work from Stefan Lindholm.
UNISONIC – “Blood”
Michael Kiske’s (Helloween) excellent vocals are showcased on “Blood,” a power-ballad from Unisonic’s last release, Light of Dawn. Tremendous veteran talent powers the music, with the great work of Kai Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray) and Mandy Meyer (Asia, House of Lords) on guitars, and the rhythm from Dennis Ward on bass and Kosta Zafiriou (both from Pink Cream 69).
To be considered for Music Discovery Monday, please e-mail a link to the song being submitted on YouTube and an artist bio to – submissions@MusicDiscoveryMonday.com
HARD ROCK MUSIC TIME MACHINE
MY DARKEST DAYS – “Love Crime” (2012)
Before they parted ways, the relationship between Salvatore Costa and Matt Walst once made for a talented writing duo with good chemistry. As mentioned above, Costa has moved on to form Smashing Satellites and Walst is now the singer in Three Days Grace.
My Darkest Days gained the most traction in America with their two songs tailor-made for strip clubs (“Porn Star Dancing” and “Move Your Body”). The relatively short-lived band’s discography only includes two albums, so a good portion of their music fell under the radar (including “Love Crime”). The song tells the story of the scorn that both Costa and Walst felt at the hands of unfaithful women. It’s a fairly straight-forward rocker with an interesting back story (as shared by Costa in a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive interview)…
“ ‘Love Crime’ is a song that really didn’t get much attention, but I had such a great time writing it towards the end of the recording of our second record. We never even really played it live. The song is about a girl who isn’t really faithful to the one that she loves. It’s kind of like comparing a robbery to a relationship, and how sometimes, you can be robbed of love. Matt (Walst) and I wrote ‘Love Crime’ after going through moments where we both felt completely stripped and robbed by the people that we loved. We started writing it in New York City, in an apartment by Central Park. There’s a really cool story to go along with it.
After we finished writing the song, both of us had to catch flights to different cities. Since my flight was a few hours later than Matt’s, I walked around the city for a bit, and saw a small, independent movie theater. I looked up, and on the marquee, it said ‘Love Crime.’ I thought that it was the weirdest thing ever because we had just finished writing a song with the same exact title. I took a picture of the sign and sent it to Matt when he was on the way to the airport. It was less than an hour after we finished the song, so I always thought that was kind of cool, and that there was something special there.”
EAGLES – “Heartache Tonight” (1979)
The first two Music Discovery Mondays of 2016 were both musical tributes to fallen rock icons (Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie). The hope was that we would resume the typical format this week, but Glenn Frey’s passing has prevented that from happening. It should also be mentioned that there have other lower-profile deaths this week as well, as the “heartache” of 2016 continues.
While Lemmy’s influence to the hard rock community was obvious, and Bowie’s just as strong (in a less obvious way), Frey’s was not so strong as to warrant the kind of coverage that the aforementioned received on Music Discovery Monday. However, I would be remiss not to acknowledge his passing at all, since a number of hard rock artists did talk about his influence after his untimely death.
“Heartache Tonight” is one of the heavier songs in the Eagles catalog, which is part of the reason why it was selected here. It is also the song that turned me on to the band back in ‘70s; and the album from which it came (The Long Run), remains one of my favorite releases from the band to this day. In fact, I still have the cassette somewhere packed up in a box.
Frey’s passing in yet another stark reminder that the rock icons who helped shape a generation of music will not be around forever. RIP Glenn! Another rock legend taken too soon.
THREE DOORS DOWN – “Duck And Run” (2003)
“Duck And Run” is a non-singled track from the band’s 6x platinum debut album, The Better Life. This is a chance to look back at where the band has been, while fans look forward to where they’re going with the forthcoming new album.
ALL THAT REMAINS – “Two Weeks” (2008)
The first chart success single for this Massachusetts band finally came with the second single from their fourth studio album. Cleaner vocals and more melody did the trick, for a song that still holds up pretty well some seven years later.
BILLY IDOL – “Postcards From The Past” (2014)
I completely missed Billy Idol’s Kings And Queens Of The Underground when it came out two years ago, and what a shame. It is easily one of his best works, and one of the best albums of that year. After his failed return from the ‘80s with 1993’s Cyberpunk, he only put out one other album. Who could have guessed that, after another almost decade-long hiatus, he would return with such great writing and clever delivery. On this favorite from that album, he rocks out with a modern vibe while still managing to capture a magical sense of nostalgia.
MASTERPLAN – “Black In The Burn” (2005)
Helloween’s Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch were already in the planning stages of a side project when they were fired from the band. The eventual name of their side project was conceived with the idea that they would be “master musicians” with control over their own destinies. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes since, but this is a masterful piece of power metal from their second album featuring the original lineup of Grapow, Kusch, and Jorn Lande on vocals.
CLOUDSCAPE – “Under Fire” (2004)
Sweden’s Cloudscape broke onto the scene back in 2004 with their eponymous debut album. Hard, heavy and driving, “Under Fire” showcases Michael Andersson’s outstanding vocals and the tremendous lead guitar work Björn Eliasson.
ALPHA TIGER – “Martyr’s Paradise” (2011)
Alpha Tiger made their debut in 2011 with Man or Machine. “Martyr’s Paradise” displays uncomplicated, straight-forward heavy metal with a late-‘80s/early-‘90s-era appeal. This track gets its driving force from the talented guitar duo of Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch.