Friday, April 15, 2011

Power Ballad Book Update 4/15/2011

Although a bit ahead of schedule, I’ve managed to reach a semi-goal in the book project, and will now take a moment to toot my horn.

Today I hit the 25,000 word mark, which as far as I can tell is going to be the half-way point in this endeavor. To celebrate this monumental achievement, I’ve decided to post an entry from the book. I’m encouraging you (yes, you, that one person that reads this blog) to read and provide feedback. Like screenplay writing, this is the first draft, and it will go through multiple rewrites, so it’s not too early to start.

I have also decided on a temporary title so I can stop referring to it as “untitled 2011 book project.” Here it is:

Flick Your Bic!
The Definitive History & Guide of the Power Ballad

Cool? Sucks? Let me know, I’m open to changing it. With that, here’s an entry, grammatical errors be damned.

High Enough by Damn Yankees
From the album Damn Yankees (1990)
I generally find anything involving Ted Nugent to be repellent, not because of a politics or weapon obsession. It’s just the simple fact the dude won’t shut up. When he does talk, about whatever topic he’s obsessed with at the moment, he does it with the fervor of a crazed television pitchman on QVC hawking exercise equipment or salad shooters.

Now, that doesn’t detract from his guitar playing prowess. Ted’s skills span decades, and he’ll tell you so himself. He’ll mix in how he never drank while everyone around him was going wacky on booze and drugs, and how he’s a master puss hound and such. I can admire that, too many rockers went down the drain too early.

Maybe they shoulda listened to Ted on that one, but couldn’t get past how fucking annoying he is. Maybe they drank to spite him. Being in a band with Ted would probably drive me to drug and drink myself into oblivion.

Whoever had the idea of getting big-mouth Ted together with Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Tommy Shaw of Styx, well that was a stroke of rock genius. Supposedly it was Ted himself, which makes me laugh a bit because Tommy Shaw looks like the effete guy Ted is always railing on about that’s destroying America, but whatever. They got together and made one good and one mediocre album, and one good one is enough in my book to call it worthwhile.

With High Enough you get something rarely heard in the hair/glam metal canon – dual vocal harmonies. Shaw and Blades harmonizing is pretty awesome, and the trading back and forth of vocals is seamless.

But back to Ted. Funny thing is, his guitar playing is pretty tasteful and restrained so that when the chorus hits, you really feel it. However, the hidden trick of the High Enough chorus is the rhythm section.

You’ll notice that the verse and chorus feel like they’re at different tempos, only they’re not. Drummer Michael Cartellone subtly switches from on top of the beat for the verse to behind it for the chorus. It’s the same tempo, just adjusted to make the chorus just a bit more dramatic.

The intertwining vocals, the expert drumming, it’s these sort of embellishments from seasoned and talented players that pushes High Enough out of the middle of the pack into the one-of-the-best-of-the-genre category. And considering the annoying douchebag that is Ted Nugent is involved, that’s even more impressive.