Along the north central portion of the Mediterranean Sea, tucked in between the Ionian and Aegian Sea’s lies a country that has been called The Cradle Of Western Civilisation, this being Greece. This peninsula has served as some of the most significant events in the history of the world. It gave birth to democracy, set an example that even city states can come together under one country, one constitution and one currency.
Greece at one point was even the center of the worlds intelligence, scientists, artists, etc… When men like Plato, Aristotle, Arcimedes or Euclid would of ever known just how their lasting legacy’s would eventually make into modern music and its various genres and culture’s. In a global progressive metal community, Greece has been one of the main pillars and beacons within the community. Recent metal bands beginning there journey out of Greece are Wastefall – (2003-2008), Rotting Christ – (1987) Septicflesh – (1990), Dakyra – (2004). A few progressive/power metal acts that have risen out of Greece are Firewind, Seduce The Heaven, Sunburst, Groove Therapist and now NEED.
NEED are Greece’s answer to Dream Theater, Opeth, Fates Warning and O.S.I all rolled into one band. Founded in 2004 with Ravaya – Guitars leading the band, they released they released their first promo CD “avoidinme”. Soon after that the band would endure quite a few personnel changes and tour with bands such as Zenith – (Denmark), Candlemass, Jon Oliva’s Pain, Dead Soul Tribe, Threshold , etc .. NEED would go on to play at the 15th Anniversary of 2014’s Prog/Power USA in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. On that bill they would open in support of Jon Oliva’s Pain, Overkill, Pain Of Salvation, Leperous, etc .. The band would ultimately settle around its current line up and in 2016 release Hegaiamas : A Song For Freedom.
On Hegaiamas : A Song For Freedom ,NEED display’s a clinic on the execution of time signatures, chord progressions and heavy progressive atmospheres. Throughout its seven songs, the band includes many elements and theories that are utilized within the progressive metal community. Some of the progressive trademarks ultimately coming together into the 21 + minute epic Hegaiamas. Without any further delay I am going to do a track to track analysis of NEED’s Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom.
Rememory opens up with a beautiful female voice in the first verse of the song. It soon goes into a rhythmic section explosion before a beautiful vintage Hammond Organ gives the track further depth. The depth of the opening rhythmic section and riffs are met with great sophistication and ferocity. This track displays the band immediately getting both new progressive metal fans through a old school progressive rock mindset. There are various breaks in between the fierce rhythmic chord progressions. Those breaks allow for the track and composition to breathe so the listener can digest the product.
Alltribe bleeds seamlessly well off of Rememory, almost in a conceptual manner. It is a very guitar driven introduction to the track with multiple progressive riffs and chord progressions within the passages. The guitar takes on several dimensions between a lead guitar and rhythm guitar. The drum and bass really allow for the rhythm guitar to pop and be present. The vocals are wonderfully done on the backdrop of the rhythm section almost like a Vanden Plas meets later Fates Warning style. The keyboards treat the stringed section with class playing alongside the lead guitar portions.
Theraintherope begins with a heavy avant garde passage before taking off into a very blistering chord progression. When the chord progression takes off it does so in the vein of Opeth or Bewteen The Buried And Me with death style growls in harmony with the cleaner lead vocals. This is a more modern by utilizing both a death vocal growl and a cleaner vocal running in harmony to one another. This makes the band very relevant in today’s progressive metal community. The guitar and keyboards really serve this track with a futuristic vibe about the track. The futuristic effect also really serves the death growls up more as a instrument than a lyrical style vocal. The guitar solo’s build upon this and form a very lush atmosphere to the song.
Riverthane starts off with a thunderous thrash metal style of chord progression. It is very brutal in its very nature. Once again their are subtle death growls in the backdrop to help anchor the vocal as well as the instrumental half of the thunderous riffs and passages. There is also the same rhythm guitar parts and keyboard portions that were present in the song before Theraintherope. The clean vocals are really strong in this one and perfectly compliment both the instrumental stringed and instrument rhythm sections. Towards the middle there is almost a effect like people are in serious distress. Ravaya – Guitars, certainly channels his inner Jim Matheos of Fates Warning on this one. Towards the end the song comes off like Fates Warning’s Disconnected .
Tilikum starts off very melancholic sound on the piano with effects as if children are playing in the background. This is met in harmony with the lead vocal coming in very soon after that. The track then takes another thunderous turn down towards a very heavy handed rhythmic section between the bass/drum/guitar. This track shows that the band can also utilize backing vocals perfectly with lead with both clean and death growl vocals present. Towards the end the song comes off like Fates Warning’s Disconnected meets Opeth’s Blackwater Park meets Within Temptation’s Mother Earth.
I.O.T.A. is a very eloquent track. This is a spoken word track. It is as if the band are setting up a conceptual story with the final track Hemigaias. There is a beautiful melancholic piano passage present while this spoken word dialogue is happening. It is a dialogue between a woman and a man.
Hegaiamas is the epic of the album. This one clocks in at 21:52, a key signature to progressive rock or metal. This opens up with a short guitar solo with complex keyboard passages and vocal harmonies. It soon takes off with several time signatures and chord progressions building up to a climatic standard that progressive music is notorious for. There are some nice and very appropriate breaks for the vocals to come in with various chord progressions between the stringed and rhythm sections. The track really takes on some blistering time signatures at the 4:00 mark leading the track into a adventure for the listener. The keyboards sound much like Derek Sherinian meets Jordan Rudess in many ways. This track remains very busy as to not allowing for the listener to ever get bored with it.The guitar brings various dimensions to this giving the listener the audio appearance of various songs rolled into one. There are some really great harmonies building on top of multiple time signatures throughout the song.
Need Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom is one more example of the natural evolution of progressive rock and metal. This band may carry many influences however they create the own original sound with those influences. You can tell that there is a full band democracy working within the creative process. Like a fine wine they open up every song for the listener and allow it to breathe so the listener can appreciate the music at its maximum capacity. I give Need Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom a 5/5.
Women In Rock Series # 2 Amanda Hammers Bass/Vocals | Sunshine & Bullets
There is a lot of very talented women in today’s musical atmosphere. However in a era that is so overly bombarded by how a woman comes off in her physical appearance it can become very monotonous into overkill where true talent can not be appreciated at its true value. In this 14 part Women in Rock Series here at Power of Prog, I have chosen to spotlight women who prove that music is far more than ‘Eyecandy’. In music there is substance and grace. That is where Amanda Hammers, bass player/vocalistof Florida’s very own Sunshine & Bullets fits the bill.
Lyrically Sunshine & Bullets are as introspective as The Cranberries meets Grace Potter. Melodically the band is this side of the heavier more hard rock version of Portishead meets Paramore. There music is partially science fiction from there debut Triangulum Mechanism to very heavy social commentary on their latest EP release Centauri Conspiracies Part 1both available on Melodic Revolution Records. I recently caught up with Amanda Hammers for a interview. The following below is the interview. ‘SORRY’ guys Amanda is spoken for !
POP – Hello Amanda thank you for joining us today?
AH – It’s a pleasure to be here!
POP – What was the very thing that started your musical journey and how long have you been on this journey?
AH – It all started in 2nd grade. I had an inspiring music teacher, Mr. Carter. Without him, I wouldn’t be joining you today.
POP – What kind of musical background do you come from? What did your parents have as music in the home during your upbringing ?
AH – My mom loves to listen to music to dance to, and my dad is more of a rock guy. I like both, but when I got older I kept “borrowing” CDs from my dad’s collection. Aerosmith’s Toys in the Attic was my gateway drug.
POP – What band , artist or genre allowed you to fork off into heavier rock music?
AH – Although Aerosmith was good, I needed music of my own, so I developed an addiction to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.
POP – Probably a question most asked, how did you find your way into the creation of Sunshine & Bullets?
AH – I had been in bands with both Rich and Kyle before, knew they were both ridiculously talented and fun to hang out with, so all I had to do was introduce the guys, get all 3 of us in a room together with some instruments, and the musical chemistry just sparked!
POP – For the fellow musicians out there, describe your musical gear you use in both studio and live in concert?
AH – Live, I use a couple of Dean Pro Edge 5 basses. The red one is standard tuning, just dropped half a step on all the strings, but the black one is drop tuned further, depending on which song I need it for. My Darkglass B7K Ultra is my lifeblood pedal! The character on that thing is beautifully dirty but still clear and low. I also use an EHX Micropog for that 12-string bass feel. I love the new D’Adarrio NYXL bass strings, and my current head of choice is a Hartke LH1000 with a Hydrive 8×10. If it’s good enough for Wooten, it’s more than enough for me!
I use basically the same things in the studio, but I’m not afraid to experiment with different things to get different sounds and tones if the song calls for it.
POP – Is there any current band or artist whom you would like to guest on their project and why?
AH – I’d love to work with someone like Eminem. He’s got this energy about him that is manic crazy yet bare bones honest.
POP – What are your goals going forward both with Sunshine & Bullets and solo?
AH – We’re continuing to write new material, release a new album, make more videos, all that good stuff. Rich and I are starting to make our wedding plans, but no date yet. As for goals, I like to keep it open-ended and simple: Have fun, and hopefully inspire others to do what they love!
Guest Musicians James Labrie – Vocals – President Evil/Taken (Radio Edit)/ A Place In Heaven/Taken (Studio Edit)
Most Beautiful Day President Evil (feat. James LaBrie) Hardest Way Purple Angels The Best of Magic Taken (feat. James LaBrie) [Radio Edit] 18 Euphoria A Place in Heaven (feat. James LaBrie) Ghostwriter Limousine Back in the Shadow Taken (feat. James LaBrie)
For the last 25 years any time you heard about or were introduced to a ‘female-fronted’ band the general conclusion drawn is usually that the band must be a Symphonic metal band. Symphonic Metal meaning the inclusion of choirs and small to large orchestral aesthetics. The other conclusion drawn is that the band must be a Beauty & Beast metal band. Beauty & Beast meaning the male vocal takes on a full guttural death metal style growl and the female vocal is full operatic. In 85% of the cases this has all been true. The other 10% of the remaining 15% has come from the progressive rock/metal community.
When I mention Progressive Metal I mean a blend of heavy, guitar-oriented metal music enriched with compositions innovation and complex arrangements, usually expressed through diverse instrumentation and often (but not always) with odd-time signatures. To take what progressive rock pioneers did and add a metal element in the compositions and song arrangements.
Pioneering ‘female fronted’ progressive metal are The Gathering, To Mera, Agora, After Forever, Kingfisher Sky and Stream Of Passion & Ayreon ,to a certain extent. Bands who are now innovating ‘female fronted’ progressive metal are Vandroya from Brazil, MindMaze from the United States, Ancient Prophecy, Flaming Row, Universal Mind Project Amaranthe from Sweden and now from Italy Last Union.
Last Union are one of the most pure progressive/power/melodic metal bands to come around in the last 10 years. It is no secret by now that Italy has been one of the leading countries to produce quality progressive rock/metal bands since the late 1960’s. Bands like Death SS, Novembre, Rhapsody, Eldritch, Empty Tremor and Vision Divine are a few of many progressive metal bands to come forth from Italy. Even one of the top 5 Rock/Metal Opera’s of all time with Daniele Liverani’s GENIUS Rock/Metal Opera.
Last Union continues this rich melodic tradition from Italy. Last Union now enters that discussion of the rich progressive metal tradition from Italy. On a global front Last Union are a natural progression into the evolution of progressive metal. Last Union’s line up is nothing short of remarkable. Last Union was founded by Elisa Scarpeccio – Vocals and Christiano Tiberi – Guitars, Mike Lepond – Bass (Symphony X) and the legendary Uli Kusch – Drums (ex-Helloween/Gamma Ray).
On the surface Last Union’s Most Beautiful Day seems like just a collection of 11 different songs representing 11 different days. However the more the listener engages the album alongside the album booklet with more detailed attention you begin to see the songs line up as a common themed conceptual album.Mike Lepond from Symphony X once again proves why he is one of ,if not the most sought after bass player in the progressive rock and metal communities. Uli Kusch once again proves his legendary drummer prowess that helped bands like Helloween become the international band they were. To see the tracks line up this way the listener really needs to spend time in the booklet as they listen. Last Union’s Most Beautiful Day is straight prog/power from the first to last riff on the album. I will point some highlights out from each of the 11 tracks on this offering.
Most Beautiful Day opens up as a straight away heavy metal track. That is met in a two part vocal harmony between the female and male narrative. The female obviously being a very strong lead and male lead serving more in a echo capacity. The guitar is very modern. The guitar has the depth of sound of a seven string. Elisa Scarpeccio has one of the most distinctive voices to come along in the progressive metal community within the last 15 years.
President Evil (feat. James LaBrie) begins with a heavy rhythm based chord progression. Cristiano Tiberi quickly establishes himself as a guitarist with a very unique and distinctive sound and style of play. Cristiano Tiberi certainly does a fine job separating his sound among his peers. He literally has to in order for this song to not come off as any Dream Theater or James Labrie solo project. James Labrie displays great vocal presence alongside the rhythmic portion of this track. There is a nice harmonic break in the middle before a powerful two tier guitar solo comes in.
Hardest Way sees the band’s focus directed more towards the bass/drum rhythm section in harmony with some warmer vocal work from Elisa. This track also allows Elisa to show various aspects to her vocals. She certainly has her own sound and I am sure as the band begin to play shows on Most Beautiful Day, the world will see a young and powerful vocalist that is to be reckoned with.
Purple Angels continues to see the band experiment with various rhythm styles along with various vocal harmonies to perfectly compliment those intricate rhythm sections. The vocals sound like a mini choir briefly until Elisa comes in with authority with the lead vocal. There is a great balance in the vocals. The vocal work goes in and out between lead, to backing vocals in a echo. About the 2:00 mark there is a nice break in the instrumental that allows for the lead vocal to really come through.
The Best of Magic begins almost like a classic AOR track. The start of this track takes on a heavier ballad style about it. This track is a very easy song to follow. It could be one of those songs that the fan base of this band will sing back to them in a live setting. The guitar solo is very uplifting and the chord progressions smoother.
Taken (feat. James LaBrie) [Radio Edit] starts out with a wall of both a lead guitar solo and a deep rhythmic section between the guitar/bass/drum. The crunchy distortion in the guitar gives this various depths of heaviness. The intricate vocal presentation between James Labrie and Elisa Scarpeccio is nothing short of stellar. Elisa even sounds a little like James in various lines. If you are a listener following the booklet you will see a common theme conceptual thing happening.
18 Euphoria starts out with a powerful chord progressive passage. This is met with some very powerful vocal work. The vocal work really takes on various levels of harmony. This track clearly displays the bands ability to experiment with various levels of vocal harmonies.
A Place in Heaven (feat. James LaBrie) starts out with a beautiful semi acoustic guitar that has another wonderful and heavier guitar double tracked that allows the track to feel like many guitars are the driving force. Cristiano Tiberi has a very uncanny ability of double tracking and making the guitar sound like a instrument in union and agreement with itself. There is a wonderfully engineered spoken word section in this song as well. The guitar solos and rhythm sections are total beasts here. Uli Kusch shows again why he is one of metal’s legendary drummers.
Ghostwriter starts out as more of a pure power metal track with progressive elements. This track storms ahead with a power metal passage that has various intricate chord progressive elements. This is one of the faster and heavier tracks on the album. The solos are hugs, the bass/drum rhythm section storms all the way through this track.
Limousine is another hard and heavy progressive metal track on the album. Much in the way Ghostwriter is the power track, this one sees the band taking a few more chances at intricate progressive time signatures. The atmosphere is completely straight away power/progressive through this one as well.
Back in the Shadow begins with a more experimental intro before the track takes on a more ‘pure power metal’ presence. The band by now has established themselves as great students to progressive metal but with modern elements.
Taken (feat. James LaBrie) [Studio Edit] this is almost twice as long as the radio edit for obvious reasons. However I would be remiss is omitting that this track is also the epic on the track clocking in at 8+ minutes.That is rather short for progressive standards however this track is still done with great detail and care. The band takes much more time on the intro and the outro portions of the song. This also shows that the band is capable of longer compositions if they want to ever go in that direction.
For being very young both Elisa Scarpeccio and Cristiano Tiberi had a very clear vision on how Last Union’s Most Beautiful Day needed to sound. These fine young musicians even recruited some of the very best in the world with Mike LePond, Uli Kusch and James Labrie. Most Beautiful Day lacks nothing in substance. Although the tracks are shorter considering the other work of their recruits and guest musician, they still meet and fill the objective the band put in place. For the detail and insight of such young musicians I give Last Union’s Most Beautiful Day a 4/5.
1977 was ground zero for new beginnings in the area of both pop culture and rock n roll. In the year that would eventually see the King Of Rock’n’ Roll Elvis Presley die. Director Roman Polanski pleaded guilty of raping a 13 year old girl in 1977 but fled the U.S to avoid charges, this is why his 2011 film Carnage, staring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly although set in New York was actually filmed in Paris. The deadliest (583 casualties) crash in Aviation history occurred not in the skies but on the runway between two Boeing 747s on March 27, 1977. Known as the ‘Tenerife Airport Disaster’. It happened at the runway at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport), on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Aerosmith’s flight crew inspected a Convair CV-240 for possible use and rejected it because they felt the plane and crew were not up to their standards. That plane crashed on October 20, 1977 from fuel exhaustion due to poor maintenance, killing three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
In the midst of all those very depressing headlines there was a full on musical revolution going on that would produce some of classic rock’s biggest selling and most influential bands and albums of all time. In New York’s Manhattan East Village you had the famous CBGB bar that would eventually produce future punk and early alternative icons The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith, etc … who were allowed to thrive and grow due to many people being banned by Steve Rubell uptown at the Disco dive Studio 54. The birth of what would become Goliath’s in the film industry, Rock and Star Wars were released.
Meanwhile in other parts of the musical landscape it would both produce some of the best selling albums of all time and some of the most competitive music for the public’s attention and money. Rod Stewart would release Foot Loose & Fancy Free, The Bee Gees would become disco music staples and release the single “How Deep Is Your Love”. In the same year there was a musical revolution happening on America’s west coast. Van Halen would release their iconic Van Halen I debut, the Eagles would release one of the two iconic classic rock albums in Hotel California and up the coast near San Fransisco Fleetwood Mac would release Rumours.
Now I would be remiss in saying there was a lot of variables and things happening within Fleetwood Mac that served as poetic fuel for the creative fire that made Rumours one of the Top #5 albums of all time. When you hear cocaine, breakups, divorce and other secrets that shroud the making of Rumours it is all true and that truth would be reveled within many of the songs that would make Rumours. For you who are not as familiar with Fleetwood Mac Rumours, it was the band’s 11th album. This would be the second album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
You had two couples who were well into breakup’s and divorce and one couple that would secretly happen in the serious privacy until it would be revealed. John MacVie and Christine MacVie were well into divorce proceeding, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were in the beginning of a breakup/divorce and Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood would start a secret relationship behind everyone’s back. It was a total debacle however in its own strangeness helped the creative process among the five members of Fleetwood Mac.
These were five members that through the course of the recording process of Rumours would go in as a band and come out as a true rock ‘supergroup’. Rumours would also relate to the social conscious of what the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation’s lifestyles and experience. Now let’s take a look back at some highlights and facts from each track from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
Rumours Become Facts
Second Hand News was written by Fleetwood Mac frontman Lindsey Buckingham. It is the first track on the Rumours album – the most successful album of Fleetwood Mac’s career with sales of over 40 million worldwide, going 19x platinum in the US and 10x platinum in the UK. The band’s original drummer Mick Fleetwood calls it the most important album they ever made.
This song was originally an acoustic demo titled “Strummer.” But when Buckingham heard the Bee Gees’ “Jive Talkin’,” he rearranged it with more audio tracks and the rhythmic effect from “playing” the faux-leather seat of a studio chair to make it evoke a slightly Celtic feel.
Like many of the songs on the Rumours album, this one shows a darker side in the lyrics. It’s asking you to move on, leave the singer alone. Fleetwood Mac was experiencing the shatter of all of their emotional ties with not one, not two, but three break-ups! That was the divorce of the McVies, Buckingham and Stevie Nicks breaking up, and Fleetwood going through a divorce from his wife.
In Frank Moriarty’s book Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos, Stevie Nicks is quoted from a Creem interview in July 1977, explaining the acrid lyrics: “We were all trying to break up and when you break up with someone you don’t want to see him. You especially don’t want to eat breakfast with him the next morning, see him all day and all night, and all day the day after…”
As if that weren’t enough, Seventies Rock also goes on to quote Nicks about the recording sessions on their next album: “It lasted thirteen months and it took every bit of inner strength we had. It was very hard on us, like being a hostage in Iran, and to an extent, Lindsay was the Ayatollah.”
Dreams During the sessions for Rumours, everyone in the band was going through a breakup (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham with each other, John and Christine McVie with each other, Mick Fleetwood with his wife Jenny Boyd) and doing a lot of drugs. They were able to work together, but most of the songwriting was on an individual basis. Stevie Nicks wrote this in the studio next door, where Sly Stone was recording. He had a big, semicircular bed and red velvet all over the walls – a great vibe for a song about dreams.
The line “Players only love you when they’re playing” was directed at Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie Nicks was not pleased when he brought “Go Your Own Way” to the sessions, which was clearly about her. Stevie told Q magazine June 2009: “It was the fairy and the gnome. I was trying to be all philosophical. And he was just mad.”
This was Fleetwood Mac’s only #1 hit in the US. Stevie Nicks recalled to The Daily Mail October 16, 2009: “I remember the night I wrote ‘Dreams.’ I walked in and handed a cassette of the song to Lindsey. It was a rough take, just me singing solo and playing piano. Even though he was mad with me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled. What was going on between us was sad. We were couples who couldn’t make it through. But, as musicians, we still respected each other – and we got some brilliant songs out of it.”
In 1998 a Todd Terry re-mix of a cover by The Corrs peaked at #6 in the UK. The Irish group originally recorded the song for a Fleetwood Mac tribute album. Mick Fleetwood, who is a fan of The Corrs, had asked them to record it.
Christine McVie said in a 1997 interview with Q: “‘Dreams’ developed in a bizarre way. When Stevie first played it for me on the piano, it was just three chords and one note in the left hand. I thought, This is really boring, but the Lindsey genius came into play and he fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there’s a thread running through the whole thing.”
Christine McVie played both a Hammond organ and a Fender Rhodes electric piano on this track.
Never Going Back Again According to Q magazine June 2009 the inspiration for this Lindsey Buckingham penned song was a brief relationship with a woman whom he’d met on the road. Buckingham had only recently broken up with his Fleetwood Mac co-singer Stevie Nicks.
Most of the Rumours album was recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, California, but this song was recorded at Studio City Sound Recording Studios in Los Angeles. According to recording assistant Cris Morris, this song took a while to record. Said Morris: “It was Lindsey’s pet project, just two guitar tracks but he did it over and over again. In the end his vocal didn’t quite match the guitar tracks so we had to slow them down a little.”
Dont’ StopChristine McVie wrote this about leaving the past behind. She and John McVie (Fleetwood Mac’s bass player) were splitting up, which inspired the lyrics. This caused some awkward moments, since John had to play a song written about him. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were also going through a breakup and writing songs about each other (“Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams”), and Mick Fleetwood was going through a divorce. All the tension in the studio didn’t seem to hurt – Rumours is one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The album was going to be called “Yesterday’s Gone,” after a line in this song. John McVie suggested “Rumours” because it seemed like everyone in Southern California was talking about the personal drama Fleetwood Mac was going through.
Bill Clinton used this as his theme song when he successfully ran for US president in 1992. He was the first baby boomer president, and he knew Fleetwood Mac would appeal to a lot of voters in this demographic.
There was some subtext to this pairing of song and politician: Clinton was a known philanderer, and had been through some rough times with his wife, Hillary. The song finds Christine McVie offering her husband a chance to move forward despite his transgressions:
Why not think about times to come
And not about the things that you’ve done
The vast majority of listeners didn’t pick up on this, as it was heard as a song of hope and renewal in the context of the campaign.
When Bill Clinton won the presidential election, Fleetwood Mac was thrust back into the spotlight because his campaign had used this song at every opportunity. At this time, the band was fractured, with Lindsey Buckingham out of the lineup since 1987 and Stevie Nicks out since 1991. And while Clinton couldn’t push through universal health care, he was able to get the Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac back together, as Buckingham and Nicks joined John and Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood to perform at his inaugural gala in 1993 (the day before he was sworn into office).
Nothing came of the one-off reunion, and the band spent the next few years punching below their weight, even opening for REO Speedwagon. In 1997, Buckingham and Nicks returned to the fold and Fleetwood Mac was once again an arena act, embarking on their wildly successful The Dance tour.
Go Your Own Way Lindsey Buckingham wrote this as a message to Stevie Nicks. It describes their breakup, with the most obvious line being, “Packing up, shacking up is all you want to do.” Stevie insisted she never shacked up with anyone when they were going out, and wanted Lindsey to take out the line, but he refused.
Stevie Nicks told Q magazine June 2009: “It was certainly a message within a song. And not a very nice one at that.”
While the Rumours album was being recorded, the marriage of John and Christine McVie (both of them Mac members) was also coming to an end. With two couples breaking up during the sessions, recording could be quite tense. They were also doing lots of drugs at the sessions, making sure there was plenty of Behind The Music material.
This was the first single from the Rumours album, which became one of the best-selling of all time. Describing the recording process for this song in Q magazine, drummer Mick Fleetwood said: “‘Go Your Own Way’s’ rhythm was a tom-tom structure that Lindsey demoed by hitting Kleenex boxes or something. I never quite got to grips with what he wanted, so the end result was my mutated interpretation. It became a major part of the song, a completely back-to-front approach that came, I’m ashamed to say, from capitalizing on my own ineptness. There was some conflict about the ‘crackin’ up, shackin’ up’ line, which Stevie felt was unfair, but Lindsey felt strongly about. It was basically, On your bike, girl!”
Fleetwood Mac is not known for their guitar solos, but Lindsey Buckingham’s solo on this is one of his most notable. The live version on The Dance contains a much longer solo
Songbird This was Christine McVie’s solo on side 1 of the album. It proved her talent apart from the group. She wrote the song, sang it, and played the piano for it.
This is a very personal song for McVie about the self-sacrifice of true love. >>
Christine McVie has said that this song held Fleetwood Mac together during their hard times (while recording Rumours). Once the members heard this song, they thought how much they had been through and how much love they shared. >>
This was often used to close many Fleetwood Mac shows. >>
American singer Eva Cassidy’s cover was made the title track of a compilation album of recordings, which was released in 1998, two years after her death from melanoma. The album took off in the UK after Cassidy’s version of “Over the Rainbow” was played by Terry Wogan on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show. The Songbird set went on to top the UK album charts, almost three years after its initial release. In 2009 an audition performance of Cassidy’s arrangement of this song by Shanna Goodhead on Britain’s The X-Factor, prompted enough interest to push the late American’s singer’s version into the UK Top 75 Singles Chart.
Christine McVie penned the song in half a hour after she woke up in the middle of the night with it in her head. She recalled to Mojo in 2015: “Stevie and I were in a condominium block and the boys were all in the Sausalito Record Plant house raving with girls and boozer and everything. I had a little transistorised electric piano next to my bed and I woke up one night at about 3.30am and started playing it. I had all, words, melody, chords in about 30 minutes. It was like a gift from the angels, but I had no way to record it. I thought I’m never gonna remember this. So I went back to bed, and couldn’t sleep. I wrote the words down quickly.”
“Next day, I went into the studio shaking like a leaf’ cos I knew it was something special. I said, ‘Ken, (Caillat, Rumours’ co-producer/engineer) put the 2-track on, I want to record this song!’ I think they were all in there, smoking opium.”
The Chain was another song that revolved arounf the break up situation within the band. Stevie Nicks wrote the lyrics about Lindsey Buckingham as their relationship was falling apart. Buckingham and Nicks share lead vocals on the song.
Pieces of different studio takes were spliced together to form the track. The bass line that comes in at about the 3 minute mark through the song was written independently by John McVie, who was originally planning to use it in a different song.
This began as a Christine McVie song called “Butter Cookie (Keep Me There),” which which is available on the expanded edition of Rumours. The beginning of the track wasn’t working, but the band loved Mick Fleetwood and John McVie’s ending, which was now on tape. So, they counted back from the bass line, used the kick-drum as a metronome, Nicks gave them the lyrics for the verses, Buckinghan and Christine McVie wrote the music and the chorus lyrics, Lindsey added the guitar over the ending, and “The Chain” as we know it was born. >>
This is the only Fleetwood Mac song credited to all 5 members of their 1977 lineup. Since various pieces were assembled to make the song, they all had some contribution.
This song came to represent the resilience of Fleetwood Mac and the strength of their bond as they continued on for many years despite their personal and professional difficulties. It’s the first song they play in concert.
The low bass line in this song was used by the BBC for the Grand Prix theme tune for many years.
Mick Fleetwood: “‘The Chain’ basically came out of a jam. That song was put together as distinct from someone literally sitting down and writing a song. It was very much collectively a band composition. The riff is John McVie’s contribution – a major contribution. Because that bassline is still being played on British TV in the car-racing series to this day. The Grand Prix thing. But it was really something that just came out of us playing in the studio. Originally we had no words to it. And it really only became a song when Stevie wrote some. She walked in one day and said, ‘I’ve written some words that might be good for that thing you were doing in the studio the other day.’ So it was put together. Lindsey arranged and made a song out of all the bits and pieces that we were putting down onto tape. And then once it was arranged and we knew what we were doing, we went in and recorded it. But it ultimately becomes a band thing anyway, because we all have so much of our own individual style, our own stamp that makes the sound of Fleetwood Mac. So it’s not like you feel disconnected from the fact that maybe you haven’t written one of the songs. Because what you do, and what you feel when we’re all making music together, is what Fleetwood Mac ends up being, and that’s the stuff you hear on the albums. Whether one likes it or not, this is, after all, a combined effort from different people playing music together.”
You Make Loving Fun During the recording of Rumours the marriage of bassist John McVie and keyboardist and co-singer Christine McVie was ending. Christine started seeing the band’s lighting technician Curry Grant and she penned this song about the relationship. Drummer Mick Fleetwood quipped to Q magazine June 2009: “Knowing John, he probably thought it was about one of her dogs.”
Christine McVie sang lead vocals on this track, which was one of four songs she wrote solo for the Rumours album. McVie had nothing prepared when the band started working on the album at The Record Plant studios in Sausalito, California. “I thought I was drying up,” she said in Q magazine. “I was practically panicking because every time I sat down at a piano, nothing came out. Then, one day in Sausalito, I just sat down and wrote in the studio, and the four-and-a-half songs of mine on the album are a result of that.”
Cyndi Lauper was commissioned in 1977 to record several soundalike covers of songs penned written by other artists – she was one of several session singers hired to re-record several big hits of the day. Lauper said later that she was paid only twelve dollars for her work, to “sound like someone else.” The only fruit to come from her sessions was a 7″ vinyl single of her version of this track, which became the first song ever officially released by the New York songstress. Lauper did not own her own copy until a fan gave her one in 2002.
I Don’t Want To Know “I Don’t Want to Know” was written by Stevie Nicks in 1974 before she joined Fleetwood Mac, and it was intended for a second album with her band Buckingham Nicks. The singer was initially unhappy about the decision to place the song on Rumours. The reason? It displaced another of Nicks’ tunes, “Silver Springs,” which she favored. The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman recalled in a 1991 BBC interview that when she asked Mick Fleetwood why “Silver Springs” was being removed, he replied: “There’s a lot of reasons, but because basically it’s just too long. And we think that there’s another of your songs that’s better, so that’s what we want to do.”
Nicks continued: “Before I started to get upset about ‘Silver Springs,’ I said, ‘What other song?’ And he said, ‘A song called I Don’t Want To Know.’ And I said, ‘But I don’t want that song on this record.’ And he said, ‘Well, then don’t sing it.’ And then I started to scream bloody murder and probably said every horribly mean thing that you could possibly say to another human being, and walked back in the studio completely flipped out. I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’ I am one-fifth of this band.’ And they said, ”You can either (a) take a hike or (b) you better go out there and sing ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ or you’re only gonna have two songs on the record.’ And so, basically, with a gun to my head, I went out and sang ‘I Don’t Want To Know.’ And they put Silver Springs on the back of ‘Go Your Own Way.'”
Oh Daddy Christine McVie wrote this song about the band’s drummer, Mick Fleetwood. The band was going through a lot of turmoil, as Christine and John McVie were having relationship issues as were Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Describing the mood of the sessions, Rumours co-producer Richard Dashut said (in Q magazine): “Defenses were wearing thin and they were quick to open up their feelings. Instead of going to friends to talk it out, their feelings were vented through their music: the album was about the only thing they had left.”
Gold Dust Woman Stevie Nicks wrote this song and sang lead. While Nicks has never been clear on the meaning, you can make a good case that it is about cocaine, which the band was consuming in quantity during the Rumours sessions. The lyrics, “Take your silver spoon, dig your grave,” can be seen as a reference to a spoon holding the drug.
Nicks’ relationship with Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham may also have influenced the song, as they had broken up and were going through some very difficult times, using songs as a medium for expressing their feelings to each other.
In Mick Fleetwood’s book My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, he explains that it took Nicks eight takes to get the vocal right, and they were recorded early in the morning. Fleetwood described Nicks as “hunched over in a chair, alternately choosing from her supply of tissues, a Vicks inhaler, a box of lozenges for her sore throat and a bottle of mineral water.”
Cris Morris, who was a recording assistant on the sessions, explained in Q magazine: “Recording ‘Gold Dust Woman’ was one of the great moments because Stevie was very passionate about getting that vocal right. It seemed like it was directed straight at Lindsey and she was letting it all out. She worked right through the night on it, and finally did it after loads of takes. The wailing, the animal sounds and the breaking glass were all added later. Five or six months into it, once John had got his parts down, Lindsey spent weeks in the studio adding guitar parts, and that’s what really gave the album its texture.”
Among the artists who have recorded this song: Waylon Jennings, Hole, Sheryl Crow and Sister Hazel.
Lindsay Buckingham plays a Dobro on this track. The Dobro is an acoustic guitar with a single resonator with its concave surface uppermost. The inventor of the resonator guitar, John Dopyera, together with his brothers Rudy, Emile, Robert, and Louis, developed the Dobro in 1928. They named it as a contraction of Dopyera Brothers’ coupled with the meaning of “goodness” in their native Slovak language. Gibson acquired exclusive use of the Dobro trademark in 1993 and the guitar corporation currently produces several round sound hole models under the Dobro name. One of these ornate guitars is featured on the cover of Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms.
With this being the 40th Anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours the band has sold a staggering 45 million plus units world wide according to the RIAA certification since its release. Next to The Eagles Greatest Hits and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours sits in the Top 3 of greatest albums of all time. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours continues to transcend generations to this day and will be one of those albums that will be continually talked about and listened to for future generations to come.
To say I was 100% familiar with Odd Logic would be false. I have heard much about them throughout the years by word of mouth from other friends. To prepare for this review I had to go back a listen to their previous material. You can say it was a true crash course. The following review will be written as if I have stumbled upon a new band.
Three man bands are no stranger to the community of progressive rock/metal. Many in fact are some of the most influential throughout the history of progressive rock. RUSH, ELP (Emerson,Lake & Palmer), Italian prog rockers Latte e Miele and at some points King Crimson, and Neu of ‘Krautrock’ or German Progressive Rock all to name a few. These three man bands or ‘trios’ would have maximum distribution in sound considering their numbers. Trio’s a lot of the time have to use one man to compensate for the appearance of two maybe three. This means it truly requires talent of both the craft of musicianship and the trade of performance to take it to a audience. This is very evident in the USA based band Odd Logic.
Odd Logic are the brainchild of Tacoma, Washington resident Sean Thompson. After leaving his original band MINE in 2002, he sought out to build a much more ‘progressive’ sounding band. This was even if he had to call in his ‘guest’ percussionist and bassist alter ego’s. Soon after later releases including Legends Of Monta: Part I – 2006, Legends Of Monta: Part II – 2009,Odd Logic would become a complete band with Pete Hanson – Drums and Mike Lee – Bass. Now as we enter into 2017 the band has returned with a greatly and highly improved project in Effigy.
Just as early progressive metal pioneers of the Pacific Northwest of Seattle Washington in Queensryche released the very pivotal Operation Mindcrime almost 30 years prior. So too Odd Logic now have ‘that-pivotal’ recording in their library with Effigy. Odd Logic’s Effigy has a grand spectrum of many dimensions that fall into the progressive rock and metal banner. Effigy has classic progressive hard rock influences such as Kansas, neo progressive influences of Marillion and Enchant to progressive metal influences such as King’s X Dream Theater, Symphony X, Opeth.
The further into Effigy the listener gets the more all the above mentioned influences begin to really stand out with great clarity. Odd Logic is also one of those bands that do a great job wearing their influences on their sleeve without it appearing they are trying to mock or imitate their influences which sometime’s happens in the progressive rock/metal world. Now let’s go into Odd Logic’s Effigy with some highlights of the well balanced musicianship that lies within each and every track.
Effigy the title track and the epic of the album, opens up very much in the vein of Fish era Marillion meets Wounded to Juggling 9 Dropping 10 era Enchant using quality neo progressive elements and time signatures. For the first 5 to 7 and a half minutes of the 17:29 the band executes in and out time chord progressions matched by very intricate time signatures to give the track various dimensions as to keep the listener’s long term attentions spans. Parts of Effigy even show shades of Sieges Even and Subsignal. The band gives the appearance of many shorter tracks within this epic. The listener has absolutely no time to get board. The band are always changing things up.
At the 8:30 mark of Effigy a wonderful and classic Hammond Organ comes into play to carry the track further into the bands objective for this track. The guitar solo’s have this big ethereal sound to blend into the various dimensions of the synths. The various sum of the parts of the instruments fulfill the purpose both in isolation and harmony. The various time signatures give different pictures on the tapestry and the theater of the mind of the listener. Effigy is certainly non stop time signatures and non stop chord progression change up’s on all levels of the audio senses.
Master Of The Moor starts off with a thunderous passage heavily based in the bass/drum rhythm section. The track gets progressively heavier and heavier going forward. There is a very fluid yet wicked underlying Hammond Organ section giving this track some heavy soundscapes and darker dimensions. The guitar has some serious rhythm based distortion while keeping in step with the intended purpose of the composition structure. The double blast beats also add much depth in Master Of The Moor. About the 4:15 mark the band uses a very abstract yet very easy vibe on the vocal harmony.
Mercenary explodes in the intro with a very Opeth Deliverance to Ghost Reveries erastyle passage. The band make excellent usage of the death growls in harmony with the instrumental portions. The death vocals interchange with various clean vocals on various different vocal scales. The track breaks and goes back into a cleaner vocal oriented track utilizing various vocal harmonies with both lead and background vocals trading off.
The Yearning the shortest track on the album still packs the same progressive punch as any other song on Effigy. This one opens up with a beautiful acoustical passage that is soon joined in harmony with the lead vocal. The vocal isolation allows for the vocal to tell a story. Soon backing vocals come in and it lowers the discriminatory defenses the listener may have. If there is a ballad on the album The Yearning is definitely it.
Witch Runner opens up with a more straight away conventional progressive hard rock intro. The neo progressive element in the intro continues to show the bands depth and progress. As I listen to this song in particular much more, I start to see the band forming their own sound off the many influences within the progressive rock/metal communities. Sean Thompson has a very strong Ted Leonard of Enchant vocal style working. The song takes on a much more melodic progressive metal approach at the 3:15 mark. The Opeth style death growls return on this track and on the instrumental portion of the song it takes a very blistering narrative. The band keeps its core objective in multiple time signatures and chord progressions on Witch Runner.
Iron Skyline starts off with a killer full on progressive metal passage before taking a break and and allowing the vocal to be isolated as to tell a story. The isolated vocal also gives the appearance of an ethereal register. Now the band are doing a incredible job coming together as a unit. Iron Skyline in all its complex time signatures can also be performed live as a three piece. The band never make the mistake and record something they can never play live. They execute their individual talents and allow breathing room for all the sum of the parts to really come together in harmony. This even holds true with the continual interchanges within the various time signatures and changes as a result. The track continues with some of the best guitar solo’s I have heard in some time. The band truly displays its very guitar oriented narratives.
Memories Of Light opens with a beautiful acoustical guitar passage along with a vocal chant that is practically a bit haunting. Soon that drops off and the drums take center to carry in a full instrumental and harmonic passage. The song soon takes on a anthem style about it. This track has a lot of personality that it gives the appearance that every instrument takes the lead at various points throughout the song. The guitar solo is as if the band wrote some jazz influenced passage and transcribed it to the guitar. At the 5:20 mark the track takes on some very interesting vocal harmonies.
Maiden Child opens up with some very wicked and deliberate rhythmic progressions. This opens up with some serious distorted grit with some power behind it. There are multiple levels in this one that leads in and out of various time progressions giving the song many faces and atmospheres. As a matter of fact this is the most atmospheric track on the album. The time signatures actually dictate the atmospheric narrative on Maiden Child. The guitar solo’s blend in nicely with the heavily lush atmospheres. This track allows the listener to become enveloped in it on many levels. The track is truly anchored by the Hammond Organ styled synth blended with the rhythm section. This track gets heavier and heavier the further you go into it. The vocal melodies really rest in harmony with the Hammond Organ styled synth. There is a fade out effect on the outro before fading back in briefly for the finish.
After going through the bands earlier efforts in my preparation for this review, I see a band that continues to grow. I also see a band that continues to improve in all areas of album making. Whether it is in the writing, recording, mixing, engineering or mastering Odd Logic improve more and more on every album and every song. I feel Effigy is the first album that gives the band a quality set list for live shows. Just on the improvements and effort to detail alone I am giving Odd Logic’s Effigy a 4/5.