Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 12/28/17
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
SIXX: A.M. – “Life Is Beautiful” (2007)
“Life Is Beautiful” – the debut single from Sixx:A.M. – was the beginning of one of the best bands of this generation of hard rock. Amazingly, this talented unit was never supposed to be a band. In fact, this song (and the rest of the band’s debut) was from an album called The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack. A soundtrack to a book? Yes!
The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star is the autobiography of legendary rocker, Nikki Sixx. This powerful story makes you wonder how Sixx ever managed to live to see the success that he did with Motley Crue.
“Life Is Beautiful” is about the mind-blowing drug addiction that defined Sixx’s life at one point. If you read the book (which I highly recommend), you’ll be shocked at a lifestyle that goes beyond what you typically think of, even in the days of debauchery that was the ‘80s. The song was inspired by the death of Robbin Crosby. The former lead guitarist of Ratt – who died of AIDS after using a dirty needle to shoot heroin – was once Sixx’s roommate.
In addition to Sixx, the band features singer/guitarist/producer James Michael and ex-GNR guitarist DJ Ashba. Because the band was supposed to be one-off project, they don’t even have a drummer. All of the drums were originally programmed by Michael. It didn’t matter back then because there was never any intention for the band to tour. To this day, the only full members are the ones whose names form the band’s moniker. Now that they are a touring band, they use a drummer just for live shows.
ALTER BRIDGE – “Blackbird” (2007)
The title track off of Alter Bridge’s sophomore album, “Blackbird” is an epic masterpiece that remains a fan favorite a decade after its release. Often times, you hear artists speak of how their best work just flowed out of them. Myles Kennedy has admitted that was not the case with “Blackbird.” It was a difficult process to bring this song to fruition. According to Kennedy…
“We beat our heads against the wall for months, so when it finally came together, it was a good moment.”
The song – which was inspired by Kennedy’s friend Mark Morse (who died as the song was being written) – is one of the most gratifying songs that the band has ever written.
Speaking about Morse and “Blackbird,” Kennedy stated…
“‘Blackbird’ was inspired lyrically by a friend of mine named Mark Morse. He sold me my first guitar when I was a kid, and we stayed friends for years and years. He actually passed away right as the song was being completed, so it was dedicated to him and his memory. It’s really about seeing the suffering that he was going through, and hoping he would find solace soon and be free from all of that.”
Alter Bridge is arguably one of the most underrated bands in the history of hard rock and metal, so it is not surprising that “Blackbird” doesn’t get nearly the credit that it deserves. This incredible epic song should be mentioned alongside classics from bands like Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Deep Purple and others.
KEVIN GRAYSON – HRD Music Scout
HELLYEAH – “You Wouldn’t Know” (2007)
Hellyeah – a simple band name…straight to the point, and couldn’t be any cooler. Their early beginnings are said to be traceable back to 2000 on the Tattoo the Earth tour, when Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell befriended Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray. Together, they talked about the possibility of forming a supergroup.
Their bands toured the next year together, and talks continued, but scheduling conflicts would get in the way. Mudvayne’s guitarist Greg Tribbett heard Maxwell and Gray talking about the project, and wanted in. Nothingface drummer Tommy Sickles was part of the original plan, but things didn’t work out with him. The band knew former Pantera and Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul. They tried to persuade him to join the band, but Paul was unsure at first. At the time, he was on an 18-month hiatus after the death of his brother Dimebag Darrell. He was unsure if he would ever make music again. Paul would eventually have a change of heart.
With the band finally rounded out, they had to decide upon a band name. As the story goes, they placed an amp box outside the studio, and people would write names on pieces of paper and place them in the box. Someone wrote Hellyeah, and the band thought it was a perfect fit. Paul has been quoted as saying that the name is very affirmative and full of attitude…
“When your buddy asks if you want to get a beer tonight, you don’t say ‘yes,’ you say ‘hell yeah!’”
Hellyeah started receiving satellite radio airplay for the song “You Wouldn’t Know” (of off their self-titled debut album) in February of 2007. It peaked at number 5 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and 35 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The album debuted at No.9 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Since its release, the album has sold 204,000 copies worldwide.
ANOTHER ANIMAL – “Broken Again” (2007)
Another Animal is another supergroup formed buy all of the (then) members of Godsmack minus vocalist Sully Erna. After writing sessions of Godsmack’s album IV, Erna started to get writer’s block, so the rest of the band went into the studio and recorded music. They ended up writing 40 new songs. With that many songs recorded, there was a lot of material that the guys wanted fans to hear. They recruited Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane, and Another Animal was born.
The song “Broken Again” is off the band’s self-titled debut album, which would be the only album that the band released. The band toured with Alter Bridge in late 2007. They would get together one more time after that (in 2011) to release a single entitled “Fall of Rome.” They let the success of the single gauge whether they would release a second album. Ultimately, the band wasn’t happy with the results, putting an end to Another Animal for good.
The band’s one album is a great diamond in the rough. It’s a shame that it didn’t get more attention than it did. To this day, it remains one of my favorites, and is still in the rotation of music that I listen to regularly.