Tony Mills – ‘Streets Of Chance’


THE BAND:
Vocals - Tony Mills, Pete Newdeck
Guitars - Joel Hoekstra, Tommy Denander, Neil Fraser, Robby Boebel, Pete Fry
Keyboards - Eric Ragno, Tommy Denander, Robby Boebel
Bass - Toine Vanderlinden, Linda Mills
Drums  - Pete Newdeck

 

 

TRACK FRAGMENTS:
1.) “Scars” – One of the keyboards that opens this track sounds as if Tony’s vocals were run through it.  However, after talking with Tony this was just a standard keyboard effect.  Though I swear it sounds like someone’s voice.  After maybe a half of a measure there was a short snare/tom-tom/bass drum fill.  There was a small snare drum fill connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  The rhythm guitar of the intro played only rhythm chords and was mainly used as a fill-in instrument to the keyboard arrangements.  There was a very small music arrangement change for the musical verse.  The phrasing of the lyric lines lets Tony express his amazing vocal talent.  To connect the musical verse with the musical chorus.   straightforward. After the verse there was a small music arrangement change.  This arrangement change consisted of two lyric lines.  There was minor arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The first four lyric lines of the chorus consisted of either a backing harmony or Tony double-tracked in backing vocals.  The rest of the lyric lines of the chorus alternated between lead vocal lines and backing vocal lines.  There was a snare drum fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  The second verse is really when the rhythm guitar arrangement kicks-in.  Up to this point in the song the keyboards was the main instrumentation with the rhythm guitar just being used as a fill-in instrument.  The lyrics of the second chorus was just a little different than the first chorus.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that led to a minor lead guitar solo.  Underneath the lead guitar solo there was a rhythm guitar track.  The solo for this song was a standard lead guitar solo however for one reason or another it seamed awful short.
2.) “When The Lights Go Down” –This track opens with a snare fill before going into the musical intro.  The musical intro consisted of a bass and drum line underneath a keyboard a rhythm guitar arrangement.  Two measures into the intro arrangement and there was a minor lead guitar solo.  Over the top of the minor lead guitar solo Tony sings a few vocal accents.  The minor lead guitar solo lead to the first musical verse.  This first verse opened with everyone taking a musical rest.  For the musical verse the drum line switched from a standard rhythm to a pattern played on the rack tom and floor tom.  In between the tom-tom pattern and lyric lines these was a bass line along with a rhythm guitar arrangement.  Tony changed his vocal pitch for the third lyric line of the verse.  At this point the drum line switched from a tom-tom pattern to a standard hi-hat rhythm.  The drum line change plus the pitch change gave the song a different sound.  This pitch change shows just how great of a vocalist Tony actually is.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The lyric lines of the first and first half of the second measures consisted of some backing vocal underneath Tony’s lead vocals.  These backing vocals along with the lyrics Tony wrote gave the chorus a very nice hook.  After the second chorus the drum line switched back to a tom-tom pattern.  The rhythm guitar arrangement was very simple and just flowed along with the lead vocal lines.  There was something I noticed on the second chorus that I did not pick up on the first chorus and that was the small vocal echo after the first lyric line.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that included several lead vocal lines.  Tony sings a vocal accent over the top of the first few notes of the lead guitar solo.  Some of the notes of the solo was double-tracked to give the lead guitar solo a twin lead guitar solo effect.  After the solo Tony slows the song down for just a few notes.
3.) “Legacy” – This track opens with a keyboard arrangement.  After the keyboard pattern was repeated four times which, is probably the equivalent of one measure there was a minor lead guitar solo.  Underneath the first few notes of the opening of the minor lead guitar solo there was a full tom-tom drum fill.  After the drum fill the keyboard arrangement kicks back in.  Underneath the lyric lines of the verse and over the top of the keyboard arrangement there was a rhythm guitar arrangement along with several scattered lead guitar notes.  Some of the lyrics Tony sings really shows just how great of a vocalist he is.  The last lyric line of the first measure of the verse was double-tracked.  For the second measure there was a rhythm arrangement change.  The lyrical chorus consisted of a huge Tony Mills vocal hook.  After the second chorus there was a very short keyboard/leads guitasr solo.
4.) “Battleground” – Tony made a video for this track which you can view above.  This intro opens with a keyboard arrangement.  The main intro section consists of a bass and drum line underneath a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The drum line consisted of a cross stick pattern on the snare drum along with an opening and closing hi-hat pattern.  Over the top of the music arrangement there was a minor lead guitar solo.  The minor lead guitar solo lead to the opening lyric line.  The musical verse consisted of a drum line change.  Tony’s vocals on this track are utterly amazing!  The last lyric line of the first measure of the verse consisted of an underling vocal echo.  For the pre-chorus Tony slowed the track down just a little.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The chorus consisted of a huge Tony Mills hook.  There also were about three lead guitar licks leading into the second verse.  There was a vocal accent connecting the first chorus with the second verse.   For the second verse after the first chorus the drum line switched from a standard drum rhythm to a pattern played on the tom-toms.  The lyric lines of the second verse was arranged just like their first verse.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo.
5.) “Dream On” – This track opens with a drum stick count off.  Over the top of the drum line of this intro the main instrumentation is the keyboard arrangement.  Over the top of the keyboard arrangement there was a rhythm guitar arrangement.  This rhythm guitar mainly played fill-in chords to give the song a fuller sound.  There was a snare drum fill that kicked in the main intro section.  The main intro consisted of several lead guitar licks.  There was a rhythm change for the musical verse.  It sounded like Tony used a vocal effect for the vocal lines of the verse.  In between the lyric lines of the verse there was a lead guitar riff.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  Tony’s lyric lines of the choruses consisted of huge hooks.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo.  After the solo there was a backing vocal effect.  After the third chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo.
6.) “Weighting Me Down” – This track opens with micing on the drums turned way down.  This gives the drum rhythm a special effect.  After a measure and half the effect was taken off the drum rhythm and the main intro kicked in.  The opening of this intro consisted of the meanest guitar riffs on this CD so far.  There was a rhythm guitar changer for the musical chorus.  Tony’s lyrical hook of the chorus was amazing!!  After the third chorus there was as lead guitar solo.  For the coda the band slowed the music down and added an open and closing hi-hat pattern to the drum line.
7.) “When We Were Young” -This track opened with as rhythm guitar riff.  Some of the notes were very reminiscent to some of the sounds George Lynch played on early Dokken material.  After the main intro kicked in the guitar took more of a back seat to the keyboard.  There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse.  For the musical verse the keyboard along with the rhythm guitar equally became the main instrumentation.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  After the second chorus there was a short yet blistering lead guitar solo.
8.) “The Art Of Letting Go” – This was an amazing semi-ballad!
9.) “Storm Warning” -This intro opens with a keyboard riff that ends with a guitar riff.  Off all the songs after a couple about a measure the bass drum kicks-in. I’ve heard in my lifetime I do not think I have ever heard of something such as this! The intro and musical verse are connected with a tom-tom fill.  It sounded like they used the same keyboard arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  The second measure of the third verse consisted of the first two lyric lines being alternated between underling backing vocals.  This was the way the rest of the lyric lines was arranged.  There was a rhythm change for the musical verse.  After the second chorus there was a breakdown section that lead to a lead guitar solo.
10.) “Seventh Wonder” -This song opens with a rhythm guitar over the top of several cymbal crashes.  There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the intro with the musical verse.  There was as rhythm arrangement change connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  There was a snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus.  Tony wrote a huge hook for the musical chorus.  After the chorus there was a minor lead guitar solo.  After the second lyric line of the second verse there was a second minor lead guitar solo. The major solo was after the second chorus.



     I first met Tony in 2007 while TNT was doing interviews for their latest release titled ‘The New Territory’.  I said it in 2013 when he was released from TNT and I will say it now TNT screwed up by letting Tony go.  However, as my longtime friend said there is a silver lining and it was for the best. 
    ‘Streets Of Chance’ is Tony’s ninth solo studio release and may be tied as his best to date.  Up to this point his best to date had to be the 2015 ‘Over My Dead Body’ the songs were very edgy and you can tell by the lyrics that Tony had some animosity build-up over certain things that happened with TNT.  With ‘Streets Of Change’ you can tell Tony is in a much happier place which, as my friend I am very happy for him and it made for a better release.  When typing reviews, it does not happen often that I can put a CD in and type all the tracks in one setting.  This was one of those rare times when I typed the whole CD out and I barely had to stop to take a break.  This is because the songs are that good and I’m wanting to hear what is next.  The songs are very well structured and very well written.  That consisted of some of the biggest hooks that I have heard Tony write in a longtime.  From “Scars” to “Seventh Wonder” there is not a bad song on the disc!  This CD is an absolute must have for all AOR, hard rock or heavy metal fans.  Hell you die-hard TNT fans should buy a copy!