Posted in A7X, bands, Blogging, fob, Music, my thoughts, Pierre Bouvier, Simple Plan, yes I know his middle name

Ban the word Frontman

Pierre through the years
Pierre Charles Bouvier

I’m not one for idolising people.  For several reasons.  People are flawed.  People are not perfect.  Everyone makes mistakes and are not worthy of being put on a pedestal.  However, in saying that, I’m not a perfect person, either.  So, I will allow myself to indulge in the act of ‘idolisation’ somewhat. 
And there is this one frontman – I’ll get back to how problematic I think that word is, in a minute – that I will hold up a little.  
Mr Pierre Charles Bouvier, lead singer of Simple Plan has been on my radar for the last eleven years, and today he turns 36.  I’ve probably talked and written about him a lot over the years, but I felt lead to go a bit more in depth.  
I must admit, my initial attraction to Pierre was shallow, based on looks and voice…but, that’s normal?  I mean at that point I was 19 and had never really had any crush on a ‘celebrity’ [not counting Kick Gurry from Looking For Alibrandi].  And seriously, who could blame me?
Pierre in the studio recording Still Not Getting Any
My early days/years of being a Simple Plan fan I must admit were, in hindsight, a tad embarrassing.  Being in the middle of my science degree at university, and nursing a fledgling obsession with this band…was a recipe for disaster.  Well, not quite.  But it was a matter of contention with my parents.  My writing flourished thanks to my crush on Pierre…which then ended up in arguments with my mum because she’d catch me awake at all hours of the night on the computer.  At one point she even told me I needed to see a shrink…basically…yeah…
I blame Pierre.  Always.  Still do.  Or more specifically, EP.  But, I digress. 
[I always blame this face]
Pierre on Channel V’s What U Want Live, 2005
Pierre became my writing muse; I’ve written over 40 fan fictions featuring him in some form or another.  Then seeing the band live in 2005 for the first time?  That just cemented the attraction for me.  

Pierre, 2nd October, 2005, Brisbane Entertainment Centre

I haven’t looked back, really.  He will always be my favourite singer in a band.  His personality and raw talent are what attract me these days.  Especially after having met him twice.  

Pierre, 2012/2013 obviously
Pierre is down-to-earth, self-deprecating and seriously an all round nice guy.  He’s not afraid to joke about where he comes from and take the piss out of the band and their music.  

Chuck: We didn’t play… Save YouPierre: Save You…save you…David: Which is by the way now called, ‘Shave You’.Pierre: ….*sings* I wish I could shaaaave you…

Pierre and Delilah
How can you not love that face? Anyway.  
Pierre [EP, Pips…] is one of those singers in a band that I will always recognise and respect.  Simple Plan would not be the band it is today if this wonderful man wasn’t fronting it.  
The dreaded word…. frontman

M Shadows, A7X
I’m not a fan of the term ‘frontman’.  Especially when it comes to Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan.  Let me unpack that a bit for you.  When I read the word ‘frontman’ I visualise a rockstar, a guy who is cocky and struts around the stage.  I would call M Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold a frontman.  Because that is what he is most definitely, at least on stage.  Off stage…not so much.  But, that’s the point really. [I’m not dissing Shads by any means…he’s my second favourite lead vocalist ;)]
Pierre on the other hand, doesn’t come across that way.  Yes, he exudes charisma and can hold the crowd in the palm of his hand, but he doesn’t come across cocky.  He’s real, personable… almost like an Aussie.  Maybe that’s the Canadian in him, though.  Haha.  
The other issue I have with the term ‘frontman’ is that it seems to shine the spotlight on the lead singer and take all the attention away from the rest of the band, who, to be honest, are just as important.  
It’s also problematic when you get a band where even the lead singer is forgotten or not known.  
Eg.  When I first heard about Fall Out Boy…I thought Pete Wentz was the ‘frontman’ because he was the one most seen in the media.
Pete Wentz, frontman?
But, guess what…this is their lead singer.
This is not Pete Wentz.  This is Patrick Stump, lead vocalist of FOB
I don’t think it’s necessary to call them the ‘frontman’… ‘the face of the band’ whatever.  The band should be seen as a whole!  Incidentally I think the drummer is the most important member of the band…
Lucky Simple Plan has four drummers.  [What?]
Chuck, official drummer
Pierre, self-professed better drummer than Chuck
David actually better drummer than Chuck, according to Chuck
Seb, air drummer extraordinaire
So, anyway.  Let’s ban the word ‘frontman’. On an aside, I’m sure all the lead vocalists of bands who grew up with self-esteem issues would thank you for it.
Simple Plan and other bands

In today’s world of One Direction [and the fall out going on with them at the moment] and dance music that seems to be taking over the airwaves, I miss the days of actual bands.  You know…Good Charlotte, Blink 182, A7X, Simple Plan, Eskimo Joe, Coldplay, The Living End….and then back further, The Eagles, ACDC… and I could name many others.  But, I won’t.
The point I want to make right now, is that these bands write their own music and play their own instruments and have fun doing it.  They also care about their fans [maybe not so much Blink…] and want to make a difference through their music.  
Not saying that pop groups or other artists can’t or don’t, but I think bands like Simple Plan and A7X are special in ways that I can’t even really put in words.  
Watching a band live is something I think everyone should do at least once in their life.  I’ve been pretty lucky to do it a lot more than once.
Coldplay x 2
Simple Plan x 3 
Eskimo Joe [and support acts]
Third Day
The Eagles
Tonight Alive
The Never Ever
We The Kings
Youth Group
All American Rejects
The Madden Brothers [I count as a band, because Good Charlotte] [and support acts]
Murphy’s Lore
…to name just a few.  
This whole blog post seems a tad disjointed, but I’ll just blame this face and I’m sure you’ll forgive me…or him.
PS.  Pierre is the best band dad going.
Pierre and his daughters [from his instagram]
Posted in A7X, Music, Random, work

Been awhile…

Work at STAWA has gotten a little quiet.  Part of me is a little bit over working there.  Don’t get me wrong, I like working at STAWA, I’m just in a personal funk.  I’ve just been feeling blah about a lot of things.  I think it’s partly because I’m not feeling motivated to do anything lately.  Work, writing, hanging out with friends…I just want to crawl into bed and sleep…and I’m not even tired or anything.  I’ve had a few off nights, but I’ve been sleeping well lately, so it’s not that.

I’m loving working at Kids Inn.  Maybe that’s it.  I need to rethink my position in the workforce.  Perhaps I should go fulltime into childcare?  I don’t know.  I really like working where I’m at right now.  The kids are great, even though some of them can be right little so-and-so’s sometimes.  But, I really, really enjoy working there, nonetheless.

Guess what?  I’m going to Soundwave next year.  And guess what else?  Avenged Sevenfold will be there.  Seeing them live will definitely make my life.  I have to say, seeing them live will most likely trump seeing Simple Plan.

The bittersweet thing, though, is that I won’t ever get to see Jimmy ‘The Rev’ play with them.  I’m sure Mike Portnoy will do the drummer justice, but I can’t help but feel gypped that I never got the chance to see A7X as the full band.

It will be an experience, though.  My first major music festival.  I never was ever interested in the Big Day Out, or Southbound or any of those others.  The bands didn’t really excite me.  I would like to see Eskimo Joe and The Living End, though.

I think I’ve used the word ‘though’ a lot in this blog… oh well.  My writing has improved since I first started back in…um…probably 2000 or even before then.  I started writing semi-serious fics back in 1999, even though [there I go again with that word…] it was kind of silly stories about my crush…and talking animals and stuff.  [Stuff is a good scientific term.  And ‘thing’ is as well…]  But, I can tell you I have definitely gotten better, and that’s not boasting.  I can see the improvement.

I have so many ideas floating around in my mind, but none of them I can really pin down.  My latest venture is exciting, though.

It’s called Shadows Creed, and is a fanfic [A7X], but the premise is so different, to me at least, that I reckon I could write it as an original.

The basic gist is this:  Bands are outlawed.  Politicians are using solo artists to garner popularity.  The law is upheld by The Creed.  The Creed is a force responsible for eliminating renegade musicians.  One man decides it’s time for a change.  Time to crush the oppression and bring rock and roll back into the world.  There is one problem.  This one man is The Creed’s most trusted. 

So, there it is.  Of course, the story I’m writing now is based around the guys in Avenged, but I could so easily modify it to use my original characters.  But, I will probably endeavour to work on the idea later on in the year.

I also want to try and write an all Aussie based fic.  But, we’ll see.

Anyways, signing off, g’night all.

Posted in A7X, Music, Nightmare

Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare – Epic?

On the 30th of July, I went to the shops to hunt down the new Avenged Sevenfold album.  Sanity didn’t have it, but thank goodness for JB HiFi, the stand right at the front of the store that holds new release albums had a whole stack of Nightmare.

Then over the course of the day, driving to and between jobs, I listened to the album.  Here is my review from the first note of Nightmare, to the final note of Save Me. NB: I don’t do reviews, this is more a personal commentary on the album.

Nightmare:  This song is the single that the band released earlier in the year.  I must say it took me a few listens to get into it.  In fact the first time I listened to it I thought it was far too complicated a song, too much packed into it.  But then I really listened to it and I appreciate it now for the different parts.  The concept of the lyrics are dark and the music itself takes the listener on a journey.

Welcome To The Family:  All I have to say about this song is that it’s catchy as hell.  Again, another one I had to ease into.  The track is pop influenced, but is NOT a pop song unless you count the fact that it could fit easily on a popular listing along with something far more pop-based, for example Simple Plan’s Shut Up [but even that is a very weak thing to say.].  The whispering adds an extra dimension and elevates the track.

Dangerline:  As with the first two tracks, I had to ease myself into this one.  Several listens though served to give me time to pick up the nuances within the vocals particularly.  This track is proof that M Shadows can do anything with his voice.  It can tell a tale, carry emotions and I admire the band for writing something for the troops [even though their focus was the US troops, it fits for troops from all countries all over the world].

Buried Alive:  I’ll start with one major point.  THIS song is my favourite on the album.  And one line stands out for me:  ‘Meanwhile the mice endure the wheel.’  As M Shadows has stated in interviews the song has two choruses and moves seamlessly between the two parts.  This was one song that I liked as soon as I first heard it.  The breakdown between the first part of the song and last part is almost like a wakeup call.

Natural Born Killer:  This is a fast, hard crazy song.  The beat is reminiscent of a rapidly beating heart.  The lyrics are heartfelt as it has been for the last few tracks.  Not a favourite for me.

So Far Away:  M Shadows is a great vocalist.  He has the ability to sing clearly and convey a sense of emotion.  This track was written by Synyster Gates as a tribute to the band’s fallen friend and drummer, The Rev.

God Hates Us:  An angry song filled with M Shadows brutal vocals.  Screaming in a guttural, visceral manner you can feel the pain and anger bleeding out.  Again a track that took me awhile to appreciate.  I was honestly scared to even listen to the track, not being a fan of screaming vocals at the best of times, I was ready to cringe.  But when I got to listen to it for the first time, I really understood how well it suited the emotions.  The beat itself is one which you could imagine bobbing your head to.  Crank this one up on your car stereo, wind down the windows.  And if you’re angry at the world, lost someone close to you in an untimely fashion…then this is an anthem for you.

Victim:  M Shadows voice, gospel voice and church bells?  A beautiful melody threading throughout?  And heartfelt, heartwrenching lyrics?  This track is everything and more.

Everyone can relate to the words he sings:  “We’re all just victim of a crime.”  Harking back to the passing of their friend…it gives deeper meaning.

Tonight The World Dies:  This song honestly gave me a vibe similar to that of a track written by The Eagles.  And that band to me is a collection of some of the most amazing singer/songwriters around.  [They also have a drummer who can sing…just like The Rev could drum and sing…].  A track about loss, and listened with the passing of The Rev in mind…gut wrenching.

Fiction:  Haunting.  Written in a minor key the song is almost one of mourning.  The mix of M Shadows and The Rev’s vocals is surreal.  I had a vision of Shads standing in darkness with The Rev’s voices washing over him from above.

And then after a short vocal interlude Jimmy’s voice kicks in with this line: I hope it’s worth it, here on the highway; I know you’ll find your own way when I’m not with you… 
The first time I heard it, it broke something in me and tears started to stream down my face.  But after several more listens I noticed that there is a key change, just a slight one from minor to major.  Giving almost a sense of hope for better things.

Save Me:  First off, I found this a difficult track to get into.  It is a long one with many different parts.  I have only listened to it once all the way through.  However, what M Shadows said in an interview is very true, it is cinematic.  One could use it to tell a tale.  It’s a journey.

The whole album IS epic. It has some technical flaws, yet one can overlook those.

It takes one through an emotional rollercoaster, it tells a tale and it is a wonderful tribute to The Rev.  May he Rock In Peace.

Highlights:  Buried Alive, Victim, Fiction

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Posted in A7X, Music

Avenged Sevenfold – Buried Alive Lyric Video

Okay, so this is a band I’m obsessing over at the moment. I have to honestly say they are my favourite band since first hearing them at the end of October. I did hear one song back in 2006, but at that stage I wasn’t into that sort of music.

This is the second pre-released song before their 5th album comes out on the 27th of July. [30th for us here in Australia].

The song is called Buried Alive and I can’t really explain it except it makes me realise again how true a vocalist the lead singer is.

The band by the way is Avenged Sevenfold. It consists of:

M Shadows [Matt Sanders] – Lead Vocals
Zacky Vengeance [Zachary Baker] – rhythm guitars
Synyster Gates [Brian Haner Jr] – lead guitar
Johnny Christ [Johnny Seward] – bass
and The Rev [Jimmy Sullivan] – drums [deceased] – RIP The Rev FoREVer [1981-2009]

An amazing band. The album is Nightmare. The first single was Nightmare. The album is a mix of concept ideas loved by The Rev and songs that are about and for the drummer.

May he Rock In Peace.

PS.  Yes I know some people might be thinking, why are you listening to music like that, you’re such a clean cut person and you’re a Christian.  But honestly, I appreciate music as an art form and a way of expressing emotions.  But I do not prescribe to the artists’ own personal beliefs, whatever they may be; that’s not what the music is about to me.

Just saying.