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Socratic Methodist

A small thought on the 80s and signature sound.

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This goes back to a thought I had about 10 years ago, and a conversation I had with my friend Jeff(The Rocker).

 

Let's put aside the fact of changing musical tastes, and the way commercial radio/MTV has changed the musical landscape.

 

When our favorite/classic bands were first starting out, whether it was the late 70s, or the 80s...the had a hunger...a FUCK THE WORLD attitude. Badass brothers in leather, chains, spandex, ripped jeans....etc.

 

They wrote, recorded, and LIVED the lifestyle of the songs they were singing...consequently, each bands 'signature sound' was born.

 

Fast forward 25/30 years...singers can't hit the notes anymore, and have to write songs in a tuned down key. That signature sound changes. ALWAYS to the detriment of the glory days. Can Geddy still sing 'Bastille Day'? Nope. 'Anthem'? Hell no! They don't even try to write songs like that anymore.

 

So I was thinking....it would have been better(too late now) to just write and record like crazy, capturing THAT classic sound while the pipes and the original drive was still in its infancy. Not only RUSH(the only reason I chose Rush in my example was because of the high notes), but every melodic rock/hair band. Each group compiling a vault of material, in that original style....SLOWLY releasing the songs on subsequent albums. I really see ABSOLUTELY NO need for a release like 'Hysteria'. While the album is classic, top to bottom, it puts TOO much pressure on a group to equal or top it on the next release...which they've never done. Although 'Adrenalize' was close, or at least the closest.

 

Bands tend to stick to the same 'style' on an album. I bet if a band released an album of bonus tracks, and unreleased material...and never said which album each was from - you could tell what era it was from...pretty easily. Ignoring production values.

 

ok, I'm rambling now...but you get the point.

 

Just record like crazy at the beginning, and release the material at a slower rate...take 3 tracks off 'Hysteria'- and put them on the next album. And so on...

 

Thoughts? Suggestions? Criticisms?

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I'm sure many bands had vaults of material that was recorded and never released at the time. And I 100% agree that pretty much every band still going from that era would be MUCH better off just releasing songs that were actually recorded/written 20-30 years ago. Because, in fact, every time a band does to it, it does work well and the songs are often noticeably better than the rest of their stuff.

 

But yeah, there's a few leaked demos through the years like three full discs worth of demo songs from Enuff Z' Nuff around the debut and prior era, or Pretty Boy Floyd - same thing. Three full discs of material from around 1989-1991. Point being, is if these bands did it, I'm sure all the others did too.

 

But the thing that seems the biggest roadblock to me, is good luck finding a band who a ) still somewhat resembles their original line-up, and b ) is willing to re-record old songs instead of new material, which in their head they no doubt think is far superior.

 

I just don't think that you'd find almost anywhere, for example, a 50 year old guy who thinks, "Man, I really love this shit I wrote when I was 20 years old!" We all know it's the truth... but not the people in charge. :)

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There are few obstacles in the idea of making something they loved 25 years ago :

 

1. When a band started their career, usually they're in their 17-18 years old or 20-21 years old, they wrote anything fun, wild, full of adrenaline pumping, lyrics sometimes stupid, don't care about anything, probably don't ever think of having kids or anything, and fast forward 20 years later, they sure felt a bit embarassed about their attitude or their childish behaviour back then and no way they're coming back to that again :D

 

2. In the early days, the band is very idealistic because they're not signed and they're very young, they can do anything they want and if they fail, they still have their life ahead of them and can try anything new, but when they're hitting 45 or 50, that's impossible to do again. They have to adapt to the current musical climate or to what the major label requested because they need the paycheck.

 

3. after so many years you play and listen to music, your taste shaped a bit different, even though half the members still like the 80s sound, perhaps the rest don't dig it anymore. Another good example of this are EUROPE. I think if you ask John Norum, he love the way they sound now, Joey Tempest might love it too, but probably the other three still prefer the old melodic days, that's why the LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM debut in 2004 is still very melodic :D

 

The only way they can write anything they want like they used to is if they have another career that supported them and music is just for fun or they make a solo album :D

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