Hard Rock Daddy presents Music Discovery Monday – 2/29/16.
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 Jesse Blaze Snider. The son of legendary rocker Dee Snider discusses two of his recent singles. Also featured in the Hard Rock Music Time Machine segment are two songs by Desperado, a Dee Snider side project with an unusual story.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
JESSE BLAZE SNIDER – “Credits Roll”
Knowing that Jesse Blaze Snider is the son of legendary rocker Dee Snider, I had a certain expectation when I first listened to Jesse’s latest single, “Credits Roll.” Although my first exposure to his music didn’t adhere to my pre-conceived notions, in some ways, I think that it exceeded it.
Growing up as a rock and metal fan in the ‘80s on Long Island, it was almost mandatory that you be a fan of Twisted Sister, and I was. In fact, purchasing Stay Hungry is one of the few purchases that I remember so vividly (probably because it took place during the greatest summer of my youth…the summer of ’84).
While the connection to Dee is what initially intrigued me enough to check out Jesse’s music, it is the music itself that really made the biggest impression. While “Credits Roll” doesn’t sound remotely like Twisted Sister, there is a connection to be made in that it has a theatrical quality to it, albeit in a much less overt way. Whereas Twisted Sister made an impact with over-the-top videos for anthemic songs, Jesse’s music is written for placement in movies, television, etc.
Musically speaking, “Credits Roll” begins with an intro that has the same vibe as Buckcherry’s “Sorry,” and eventually transitions into verses that would appeal to fans of Bon Jovi before launching into an incredibly melodic hook that you’ll end up singing in your head all day long. It has an upbeat feel, with lyrics that are a bit more pensive than the melody.
In an exclusive interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Jesse sheds some light on the inspiration for “Credits Roll”…
“To be perfectly honest about ‘Credits Roll,’ it was written for a music placement. In fact, most of what I post online are songs that were written for some specific placement. Music placements are something that someone is looking for in a certain style. I don’t remember exactly what ‘Credits Roll’ was, but it was an alternative sort of reference. We just kind of started building this song that was supposed to be for the credits at the end of a movie.
The song is actually fundamentally weird for me as a songwriter because it’s celebrating defeat. I think that it’s probably the only song that I’ve ever written like that. A friend of mine pointed out that there was no hopeful message, and to my friends, I’m the king of the hopeful message.
I suppose that the song is kind of about not being on the right path, or doing things for the right reasons. Sometimes, you realize that something just isn’t for you. I’ve had a lot of different realizations of paths that I’ve been on that were wrong, or weren’t working for me. That’s why I have a Phoenix tattooed on my arm. You know, you’ve got to rise again. The song is kind of tragic in that sense, but in reality, it wasn’t tragic because it’s being narrated by somebody who loves her. It’s about a guy supporting a woman no matter what she does, whether she’s an actress or goes back home and everybody thinks that she’s too good for him.
I’m a storyteller. I write comic books, and have written for Marvel and DC. A few years ago, I dedicated all of my songwriting to become more like my storytelling, where I would focus on a narrative. So, ‘Credits Roll’ is definitely a product of trying to tell a compelling story. What I will say about it, which is interesting, is that it’s kind of about my dad.
You know, you’ve got to draw your real life connections where you can, so that it’s not like a complete fabrication. My father, who for those who don’t know is the lead singer of Twisted Sister, was doing very well for a time, and then things really came crashing down. He wasn’t so good with his money, and the money that you make is really relative, and it can disappear pretty fast. He recounted a story in his book where he was having to put flyers on peoples’ windshields in a parking lot in the dead of winter, trying to help my mom make the family money to provide for us. It was a really humbling experience when somebody recognized him, and asked if he was Dee Snider. The whole second verse of the song is all about that…
‘There she goes crawling back to the place she left behind…she’ll feel them on her neck as she gets back to the grind…a penny for the sideways glance, she sinks back in their lives…a nickel for the callous stares that’s pierced her like their knives…’
I think that a lot of it is kind of imagined, but some of it is real. You know, some people kind of aren’t thrilled that you’re going to go off and do something special, and then you’ve got to come back to that…the real world. Some people really like to see people who were in a high position come back down. So, the song is about that experience, and a combination of other things because it was a story that we were writing.”
JESSE BLAZE SNIDER – “Promised Land”
Knowing that Jesse’s music is written with the purpose of music placement, and from the perspective of a storyteller, I wasn’t surprised to have the song instantly take me back to the days of The Sopranos. Ironically, it’s Jesse’s deeper register that conjured up the memory of the theme song to one of the greatest shows in the history of television.
One thing that makes Jesse’s vocals so intriguing is his ability to hit the both high notes and the low notes so naturally. Another impressive aspect to his songwriting is the ability to mix styles depending on the potential usage of the song.
“Promised Land” has a bigger sound than “Credits Roll,” but has a similarly catchy hook that works very well. Though his songs are written for a specific purpose, his lyrics still maintain a personal touch within the storyteller approach.
Jesse shared a deeply personal story about the inspiration and meaning behind “Promised Land” in an exclusive Hard Rock Daddy interview…
“Again, this song was initially for a song placement. This song (and ‘Credits Roll’) were both co-written and produced by my friend, Freddy Scott (who is super talented). Make sure to check out his song called ‘This Is A Trent Reznor Song.’ It’s fuckin’ hysterical. It is just a perfectly styled parody of Trent Reznor.
Freddy brought me in to work on the song, because what they were looking for was totally up my alley…big hook, something really uplifting, ‘70s-inspired rock. My shit that I’m trying to do is like a combo of big rock from the ‘70s with really big hooks and the roots of blues, which is the ability to go really low and high, and I’ve got a really dynamic range.
I had written some songs in the vein of ‘Promised Land,’ but hadn’t really recorded anything like it. It ended up being the simplest writing experience of all-time, and we finished it very quickly.
The song has already been placed on NFL’s Monday Night Football, on the Smithsonian Channel for a show called Boomtowners, and also by NASCAR. I think that we’re going to get more placements for it this year.
‘Promised Land’ is a really a personal song. I had gone through a spiritual awakening recently, and it was just the right time to talk about it. I was an Athiest, and didn’t believe in anything. I think that it’s really easy to become an Athiest when you trust the government and trust science…everything seems to be figured out. Unfortunately, the reality is…we don’t know shit. It was a combination of things that helped me to get out of it.
I had an anxiety-prone personality. At 28, I started socially drinking because not drinking was holding me back from getting work in the comic book community. I was straightedge my whole life, but started drinking just to relax people. It relaxed me a little bit as well. I also started smoking weed, which had been recommended to me by my drummer, literally a few hours before he died. My brother Cody also recommended it to me eight years later, and I was receptive when he convinced me to give it a try.
I realized immediately that I had massive anxiety all my life, and that I didn’t have to feel that way anymore. Eventually, from relaxing myself, and opening myself up to new things and new experiences, I’d decided that I wanted to try some sort of psychedelic. Steve Jobs had credited the creation of Apple computers to them. I’m not a fan of Apple as it stands today, but there was a time when I was very impressed by them.
I had pledged to myself that I would give it a try once I had the balls to, and it ended up being the single greatest experience of my life. It really relaxed me. I’m mad that it’s been kept illegal and out of peoples’ reach and portrayed as this terrible thing. I mean, it’s something that you have to go into very responsibly. But, any responsible adult (who is not particularly fearful) should have the experience. It connects you with the world and the universe. It makes you get a lot of things, especially that you’re not so small in the scheme of things. We all feel very small, but we’re really not. Everything is connected. The way that people like to talk about God is very easy to dismiss, but there is something…there is a connection. That is what I woke up to from the experience.
I like the Christian metaphors that you hear in old soul music. It just rings really nice to my ear. What I was kind of brought up in, you know, Jesus Christ hanging on a cross with the fuckin’ crown of thorns around his head…that really did not do it for me, and turned me off to religion for a while. I’ve kind of come back to it now. I was always intrigued by gospel singers, who seemed to be having such a great time with religion. I was an Athiest for a very long time, and then, I just woke up to something kind of larger. It was sort of my pledge to do good and to help others, and to not let people who don’t understand this get in the way.
I had some mushrooms with my best friend, who is a little older than me, and more set in his ways when I was starting to come around to a couple of things. The day after I had the experience, I called him up and told him that I had just had the greatest experience of my life. I asked him to come out to visit me, because I had some left and wanted to do it again. I told him that I thought that he would get everything that I got from the experience, so he agreed to try it.
The day after we experienced mushrooms together, I asked him what his thoughts were and how he liked it. At the end of a trip, it gets kind of intense, and you start to realize that you need to put away the childish things that are no longer serving you. That can be a little frustrating as you’re faced with things that you’re no longer going to tolerate or agree with anymore. That gets a little heavy in the end. He told me that he wanted to hate it, but because he trusted me, he agreed to try it. He told me that it was a life-changing experience, and that he was so glad that he did it.
Ultimately, ‘Promised Land’ is about the severe body pain that I had my whole life that I was not acknowledging. It started as a kid. I used to have chronic ear infections from the time that I was a baby until around the age of four, but I never said a word to my parents. I went deaf in one ear, and was almost deaf in the other ear. I was hit by a car when I was 12, and then I started playing football at 13 and played for most of my life (amongst other sports). I received tons of head injuries and other injuries that I never acknowledged because I didn’t want to miss a game. I figured that it would go away eventually, and it eventually did.
I literally, in the past 8 months to a year, have had a doctor slowly putting my bones back into position, moving my muscles back into place, moving my spine back into position from the scoliosis that I have. It was the ‘artist’s journey’…as I like to call it. If I didn’t suffer through all this doubt and these situations where I couldn’t get my shit together despite having ability and having opportunity, I would be useless to humanity as a songwriter. But thankfully, I’ve suffered, and suffering breeds brilliant fuckin’ art!”
JON LOVELESS – HRD Music Scout
STONE BROKEN – “Stay All Night”
I debated which song to feature from these U.K. newcomers, but eventually opted for the one that provided my own introduction to them. Simply one of the more encouraging finds that I’ve made in a while, with a sound that’s right in the heart of “active rock” (or at least what it’s supposed to be). One of the easiest recommendations that I’ve made in a while. Looking forward to hearing more from Stone Broken.
HUDSON – “Cast Out”
Of the hundreds upon hundreds of rock videos that are made each year, I find relatively few that actually add value to the song. This is one of those fairly rare cases, so I’ll include a “watch, don’t just listen” comment from the outset. It’s not as though the song needs the help (it fares quite nicely on its own merit), but this Los Angeles band deserves credit for a well-conceived, shot and packaged video. Definitely worth a listen, as well as a watch. The right song and the right circumstances could easily vault this band to another level pretty quickly. Also, while not relevant to anything as far as I’m concerned, if I’ve pieced the internet info together correctly, lead singer David Hudson is the brother of pop superstar Katy Perry…but I’m not holding that against him.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
JULY REIGN – “Rage Of Pain”
Carsten “Lizard” Schulz (Domain, Evidence One, Dead End Heroes), one of the busiest vocalists in rock, teams up with guitarist Sheldon Scrivner and drummer Mark Duran to form July Reign. These melodic rockers will release their debut album, Here Comes The Flood, on March 23rd. In the meantime, here’s a taste of things to come with one of their hard-hitting early singles, packed with attitude and some great guitar licks.
MYRATH – “Believer”
Myrath has come a long way from their teenage days as a death metal cover band. Gone are the guttural growls in favor of clean lead vocals with layered backing vocals, supported by progressive and symphonic metal arrangements. Here, there Tunisian roots come through with some decidedly eastern influences in a complex, yet very accessible, composition.
CHRIS HERZEGOVITCH – HRD Music Scout
MIDNIGHT PRIEST – “Into The Nightmare”
Portugal’s Midnight Priest brings a blend of old-style heavy metal with an updated, polished production sound highlighted by the great guitar work of Iron Fist and Tiago Steelbringer, and the vocals of Lex Thunder (all stage names). “Into the Nightmare” is off their most recent album, Midnight Steel, their second full-length album since they formed in 2008.
TRIDANNA – “Shouting Aloud”
“Shouting Aloud” kicks off the latest album from Tridana in a big way. Bold, driving and defiant, the Scottish power/folk metal group from Buenos Aires is true to their name (which translates to “struggle”). Guitarist Juan José Fornés takes on a double-duty role, handling the lead vocals after the departure of Diego Valdez (Electronomicom), and does a great job.
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
DESPERADO – “Calling For You” (1996)
Every once in a while, you hear about a band that never gets out of the starting gate because of a disagreement with their record label. Of course, those tend to be bands that don’t have much in the way of leverage, which is why Desperado’s troubles were very surprising. Featuring Dee Snider (who was not too far removed from his enormous success with Twisted Sister) and Clive Burr (ex-Iron Maiden), it’s reasonable to expect that a label would jump at the chance to release the band’s material. The battle between the band and the label resulted in the album being shelved for a number of years (although it was out there to some degree in bootleg form).
When you add guitarist Bernie Tormé (Ozzy, Gillan) into the mix, the expectation is that you would get a fairly heavy sound. However, Desperado is more melodic than heavy. Still, Snider’s distinct vocals shine, even when featured on power ballads like “Calling For You.” There’s a lot to like about this band that never really came to fruition, resulting in Snider turning his attention towards Widowmaker (before Twisted Sister reunited).
DESPERADO – “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” (1996)
Like “Calling For You,” “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” is also from Desperado’s Bloodied, But Unbowed release. The album, which was recorded in 1988, wasn’t officially released until 1996. A decade later, it was reissued in the UK with a different title (Ace). The UK version featured on less song, but did include interviews with Dee Snider and Bernie Tormé. By the time that the album was released in America, this style of music was well past its prime. However, when you listen to power ballads like “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” today, you can appreciate it much more. It’s as if you’re discovering a lost track from the late ‘80s (which is essentially true).
12 STONES – “Bulletproof” (2011)
This Christian post-grunge band from Louisiana enters its sixteenth year as a band, with talk of new music forthcoming (after being relatively quiet since 2012). Their return to the scene could benefit from the combination of experience, a history of generating mainstream exposure (their songs have been used by the WWE and by mainstream films, including Pirates Of The Caribbean and Daredevil) and the additional awareness of vocalist Paul McCoy (who had a Grammy-winning guest appearance on the Evanescence hit “Bring Me To Life”). In the meantime, enjoy revisiting the lead single from their most recent studio album.
GREAT WHITE – “Lady Red Light” (1987)
Not as successful as the other two singles (“Rock Me” and “Save Your Love” ) from the same Once Bitten… album, this song still stands out as a personal favorite from the classic ‘80s band.
NATIVE WINDOW – “Money” (2009)
Native Window was basically Kansas without Steve Walsh and Kerry Livgren. After Kansas failed to chart with their 2000 reunion album, a decision was made to stop writing new material and concentrate on touring with the classics. But several members who wanted to continue doing both, splintered off in 2008 to form a group that continued to write new progressive rock pieces. The instrumentation and style of this rebuke against greed and power neatly captures the Kansas sound.
SHADOWMAN – “Those Days Are Gone” (2004)
Vocalist and songwriter Steve Overland (FM, The Ladder, Overland) put out four melodic rock albums with the group Shadowman. This plaintive rocker was the first song from their debut album. Since then, Overland has gone on to form the band Ozone (which I reviewed on Music Discovery Monday this past October).
ENGINE – “Fascination Street” (2002)
Engine’s brand of prog metal was dark, very heavy and aggressive, but with constant thick groove. “Fascination Street” applies this signature sound to a popular Cure song from the late ‘80s. Standout bass work from veteran Joey Vera and vocals from Ray Alder.
ASKA – “Dead Again” (2013)
Aska, Swedish for “ashes” is a heavy metal band out of Dallas, Texas formed back in 1990. “Dead Again” – from the band’s 2013 release, Fire Eater – features a great, driving rhythm, dueling guitars and demonstrates George Call’s outstanding vocal range.