Usually when a venue for a C3X release is chosen, we try to recreate the feeling of being at the event. With Summerfest 2019, you do not have to imagine you are at the event because it is happening RIGHT NOW! Just get in your car, plane, or train and head up to Milwaukee, WI along the shores of Lake Michigan. This year’s Summerfest is happening June 26-30 and July 2-7, 2019 so there are still 3 days left of the festival.
I have fond memories of this event as I grew up not too far from Milwaukee and have attended a couple of times back in 1980 and saw Journey there in their heyday. I just happened to be sitting in the venue during the daytime and Journey came out and did a full band rehearsal playing “Any Way You Want It” for the 30 people or so that happened to be there. (the event was much smaller back then.) Was an awesome surprise!
Summerfest is not kidding when they say that it is the “World’s Largest Music Festival.” This year there are over 800 acts performing on 12 stages throughout the 75-acre grounds - that is nearly the size of Disneyland! The best part is that admission to all shows, except the 31 main headliners, is free with admission to the grounds. Admission is an extremely reasonable $10-$23 and there are many promotions to even get in for free!
Here are some of the bigger “free” acts that you can see: Brandi Carlile, Chicago, Young the Giant, Jimmy Eat World, Styx, Lifehouse, Neon Trees, 38 Special, Foreigner, Chvrches, and many more.
Not only that, but the two bands featured in this week’s C3X release, Collective Soul and 3 Doors Down, just finished playing at Summerfest last week June 28 and June 30 and you could have seen them (and perhaps you did) for free!
If you weren’t able to make the shows this year, you can always imagine you’re sitting in the ULINE WAREHOUSE STAGE June 28 at 10 PM after a hot day drinking the beer Milwaukee is famous for, eating brats and deep-fried cheese curds. You feel the refreshing breeze off the lake just as the lights are dimmed:
Please welcome Collective Soul and 3 Doors Down!
Tremble For My Beloved - Lyrically simple, it is about the insecurities of being a father in a difficult and crazy world, or as the song puts it in “a world where madness craves“. Featured in some obscure 2008 movie soundtrack called Twilight, the song gained new life among a younger generation. According to the band’s bass player (and wikipedia,) “Soundtracks widen your exposure to people who might not normally pay attention to your music… I remember seeing a lot of young kids at one of our shows after the movie came out and they knew ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Tremble for My Beloved.’ Then when we'd play something older like ‘December’ or ‘Shine,’ you could almost read their lips: ‘I didn't know they played that song?’ "
Chartwise, the highlight again, as with a lot of CS songs, is the Guitar chart. It features a tricky, at first, sequence reminiscent of “Everybody Wants To Rule the World”, but once you get that down you’ll cruise through it without much trouble. Well there is that alt-strumming solo too. Drums are hard driving with a couple different consistent patterns played throughout the song. On vocals, the first word of a few phrases starts with a very long held note that is almost imperceptible to start with but increases in intensity as the note is held - something I don’t recall ever hearing before until I charted the song.
Better Now - The coda features a saxophone solo that is replaced with a guitar solo in concert. Something that I didn’t know until I charted this song is that there is a radio edit version that also includes a guitar solo at the end instead of the sax solo from the album. If you'd like to check out the guitar solo version click here. The lyrics are an anthem to self-empowerment and self-renewal. Ed was coming out of a divorce and this song was born. Too bad a lot of great music requires pain to be had.
The chart highlights a keyboard part that is perfect for those that are not virtuosos on keys with a simple repeating pattern and no lane changes. Bass is more fun than usual requiring a lot of hand movement. The 3-part harmonies are also a fun feature of the song that would make a good party song. Drum and Guitar players will find their groove and then cruise through it.
Breathe - The second single from their first album, I remember hearing this on the radio but never know who they were. The distinctive vocals “yea UH yea UH yea UH yea UH” leaves a strong impression on the listener, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a catchier chorus making this vocal and harmony chart one of the highlights of the entire pack. Guitar and Bass are also highlights and very fun to play. Drums are simple, but I hear drummers like to get into a groove and this song definitely allows you to do that.
Almost You - There are 2 somewhat disparate versions of this rare song… The first version is from the B-side from the Aussie "Shine" cd-single, released in 1994. The second version is derived from the first and is a bonus track from 1999’s Dosage album. Version 2 reworks the verses of the original song but keeps the chorus and bridge more or less intact. Both are interesting, but the Dosage version is more focused and refined. I prefer it, and is the version I charted. Despite being a huge fan of the Dosage album, I was unaware that this song existed in either form until a few years ago when I saw it listed as a bonus track . Originally, to get the bonus song, you needed to insert the what they called the “HyperCD” into a CD-Rom drive, install the HyperCD software, and then follow a link to a web page to download the song.
The chart, although fast-paced is straight-forward and you’ll easily get into a groove. On drums you’ll mainly be contending with a somewhat unusual pattern when hitting the open hi-hats. Guitar features a fantastic 4-part solo that is quite varied and great fun to play.
Precious Declaration - This is the lead single off CS’s 3rd album, and was a #1 for them on the Mainstream Rock chart. As explained by Ed, it is about a settled lawsuit with their previous manager that allowed them to continue being a band and continue their career. “He got what he thought was his, and I got what I thought was mine. Hence, "Precious Declaration" means yours is yours, and mine you leave alone now.”
My own personal story with this song is that it is the first song I heard from Collective Soul AFTER knowing who they were. For some reason, even though I had heard Shine, Breathe, The World I know, and December, I never know who they were or bothered checking them out. I just happened to put the Disciplined Breakdown CD on at the listening booth at the record store and before Precious Declaration was halfway through, I stopped and without listening to any other song bought it on the spot.
The guitar chart for this song was a real challenge to create. I have been working on this song for 6 years trying to get it good enough to release. I am still not sure that it is good enough, but it is at least decent now. It is one of the most challenging songs in the pack on Guitar. On Drums, watch out for the 32nd notes.
Home - After the Roland brothers both went through divorces they wanted their next album, “Youth” to have "a more positive, 'light at the end of the tunnel'-type vibe" and they mostly succeeded, including this bright and powerful number. According to the wiki page for “Youth” it claims that band threw away a whole album’s worth of material because it was too dark in its mood. I’d sure like to hear what they threw away.
Collective Soul are masters of the hook, especially guitar hooks and this song features their signature sound as well as any. Obviously that makes the guitar a highlight of the track. Also notable are fairly tricky drum patterns.
Listen - The second consecutive #1 Mainstream Rock single from CS’s 3rd album “Disciplined Breakdown,” “Listen” hits on all cylinders with powerful guitar and drum hooks throughout, and thought-provoking lyrics “Love screams everywhere.” Guitar takes center stage again and it is not only the highlight of the track, but the highlight of the entire 17 song pack! Drums, Vocals, and Harmonies are also just as good. If you haven’t heard it before, give it a listen. (Sorry couldn’t resist.)
Love Lifted Me - A funky, groovy bass-driven track from their first album, “Love” has been a prominent theme throughout Collective Soul’s career, starting with this song.
Drums and Bass take center stage, which is the opposite of how it usually goes with Collective Soul. This is the highlight of the entire pack for Drummers and Bassists.
But Guitar has two blistering solos to look forward to and a lot of alt-strumming if you like that kind of thing (I do.) 3-part Harmonies round out the song making it one of the most fun in the pack on all instruments!
Crown - The final official track from 1999’s Dosage album is a beautiful dark and moody tribute to Ed and Dean’s father whom they looked up to, but perhaps felt they couldn’t live up to. The subtle religious imagery has to do with the fact that his father was a minister. The final words in the song as far as I can tell are “I will live my life” which would go along with the meaning of the rest of the song. If you can definitively hear something different please let me know.
The chart is laid back and easy except for a little bit of trickiness on Guitar, but nothing you won’t master with a little practice. But don’t let its easiness stop you… Sometimes you just want to kick back and play something a little easier for a change. Plus. this is one of CS’s best deep cuts and is a standard in concert for good reason.
One of the very best album cuts by the Soul machine!
Generate - The Dosage album was so strong that this great track doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves, although Collective Soul occasionally plays this in concert.
The charts are mostly on the easier side, although drummers will be especially challenged during the guitar solo. I wouldn’t quite call it a drum solo, but it has that feeling. Also don’t forget to choke the crashes - even though the game doesn’t register a choke, you’ll want to give your drumming the authenticity it deserves. You’ll only need to do it 12 times.
Comes Back To You - OK, here is the rarest song in the pack. In fact, it is so rare that I challenge you to find the studio version of this song ANYWHERE ELSE! Go ahead, check on YouTube, Spotify, you name it. You won’t find it! Although you can find some live recordings. So you may wonder how do I have it? On December 25, 2014 Collective Soul decided to stream their new album “See What You Started By Continuing” for 24 hours. I decided to record the stream (a high quality stream too) and this was the final song on the album, as it was being presented at that time. Now I want to mention that I fully intended and certainly did buy the CD when it came out in 2015, but this song was inexplicably left off the album. It was easily my favorite song from the album as presented in 2014 and I couldn’t believe it was not on the CD release. Collective Soul has a history of doing this kind of thing and I suspect that someday they will release a boxed set or rarities collection with these types of songs on it. (Their brand new album “Blood” also leaves off my favorite track “Reason” that they previewed early from that album.)
A mid-tempo ballad, the charts start slow but all finish strong with a variety of drum fills, emotional lyrics, great sing-along concert-style harmonies, and a satisfyingly long and beautiful Guitar solo to finish off the song. To top it off, Bass also is fun and gets better as the song progresses.
If you are a Collective Soul fan, don’t miss this one!
Disciplined Breakdown - The title track from their 3rd album, this song got little radio airplay, and I don’t recall it being played live much either and can’t find one live post of it on YouTube. Such a shame. It deserves far better.
This song is exceptional on all instruments, but the real highlight is that Bass! This is probably the best Bass song in the pack so if that is your instrument, and even if it is not, don’t miss it!
Scream - There is no other song in CS’s entire catalog that is quite like this one. “Scream” is an appropriate name for it. At 255 BPM it is a real workout on all instruments. Good thing it is not terribly long. It is one of the rare songs that features a Bass solo, and is my favorite instrument for this song since I’m rarely in the mood for super difficult stuff. Remember, you can always play on Hard or even Medium if you need to.
Needs - This ballad is very personal to me. It, along with the entire Dosage album, helped get me through some difficult problems at the time, which is one reason I’ve charted so many songs from this masterpiece of an album.
Chart-wise, every instrument, including keys, is mellow and should provide a nice laid-back experience while enjoying this beautiful tune. But the real standout on this one are the Harmonies! CS knocked ‘em out of the park on this one!
Crowded Head - Some songs seem to be made for Rockband and this deep cut is a perfect example. From CS’s third album, Disciplined Breakdown, this song feels like it would easily sit beside songs from their first album as it has a more raw feel to it than most other songs from this album.
Chart highlights are definitely the Guitar which has many varied guitar fills during the verses and good hand movement during the choruses. Vocals and Harmonies will also be a challenge especially when the 3rd harmony part kicks in during the second half of the song. Better save up your breath.
Why Pt. 2 - I’ve asked that question many times. Why is this called Pt 2? Turns out CS recorded a demo called “Why” early in their career during the Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid sessions, but was never released. Not a bad song. Check it out here. The two songs have nothing in common.
The guitar is crunchy and punctuated, and definitely the highlight of the song. As a charter, I prefer songs that feature interesting guitar parts which is why so many of Collective Soul’s songs were made.
I just have a simple question: “Why” are you still reading this? Get downloading! But stay tuned for “Pt 2” in the future because there are still a ton of Collective Soul songs I may eventually get to.
Run - “I'm going to buy back memories to awaken some old qualities” - A perennial show closer in concert with the audience singing the band off the stage, and one of their biggest hits, this song is destined to be the most downloaded in the pack. As such, I forced myself to make a keys chart for this.
Chart highlights are Keys, which have the strings charted to them. (there is piano in the song but I didn’t chart it.) Vocals/Harmonies are also sure to please since most everyone will be able to sing this one on Expert. Drummers will get into a groove and stay there until the end. Guitar has one tricky part during the breakdown that may trip you up if you’re not ready for it.
June 30 at 9:45 PM @ HARLEY-DAVIDSON ROADHOUSE
Loser - The second single, after Kryptonite, from 3 Doors Down’s debut album. It may be hard to believe after the massive success of Kryptonite, but Loser spent 21 weeks at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart back in 2000, so it was a huge hit in itself.
I had a moral dilemma when charting this song. I believe that when influencing others (as I would be by influencing you to download the song) that I have an obligation to be a positive influence. I almost gave the song a Mature rating because of the drug references and the fatalistic tone of the song, but the protagonist ultimately wants to recover as indicated in the 3rd line in the song “Someday I will find a love that flows through me like this. This will fall away.” If anyone is currently in a situation as described in this song, remember there is always hope and always someone to help. So ask for help.
The song is equally fun on every instrument, but I’d say Vocals and the 3-part Harmonies stand out the most and will provide the most challenge. Guitar features a nice soothing solo after the fast change of tempo in the center.
Let Me Go - Released in 2005 from their 3rd album, Let Me Go is another 3 Doors Down song with the broad appeal that Kryptonite had, reaching #14 on Billboard Hot 100, and top 10 on various other charts.
Once again, all instruments are fun, but the song steps it up a notch, especially on Drums and Bass during the guitar solo. Also the Harmony part sings most of the song so there is plenty to do for singer number two (and the harmonies are pretty nice too.)
Runaway - From the same 2008 self-titled album as “It’s Not My Time”, Runaway was never released as a single. I find that to be a big mistake as it is every bit as radio-friendly as It’s Not My Time and seems like an obvious choice. But maybe the record execs thought it was too similar. Easily one of my favorites!
The charts for Runaway are every bit as fun as It’s Not My Time (which is one of the best charted songs from Harmonix IMO.) Every instrument is strong, but especially Drums, Guitar, Vocals and Harmonies. Yep, all except Bass is exceptional. Poor Bass players have to put up with just pretty good charts.
The Road I’m On - The 2nd single released from 2002’s Away From The Sun album, didn’t fare as well as their other songs from this time period, but it is my personal favorite song from arguably their best album.
The charts provide lots of big “hit” moments, especially on Drums, so rock out! Another highlight is the first Guitar solo that is melodic and is just the right difficulty for what sounds like an intense solo.
Regarding Harmonies, I didn’t chart them since I could not hear them or separate them well enough to do an accurate job. Very sorry about that.
There you have it
This pack of songs has been in the works for well over a year. It has been my pleasure to bring them to you. Commenting will only encourage me to do more!
And if you can, get over to Summerfest this weekend. It is awesome!