Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grant's Tomb

A new monthly feature on the blog will be Grant's Tomb, where local Des Moines musician Grant Peter will offer his opinion on everything rock and roll. In his inaugural post, he will explore the depths of Deathcore metal and it's evolution from an attitude of self loathing and apathy to it's modern form, which is more mature in the traditional sense.

This is after all, 2011... Inattention from your father can't still be blamed for your instabilities. -T.Church

Grant's Tomb: The Nu-Deathcore

The early 2000’s saw the death of numetal dominating the charts of local rock radio (thank you Clear Channel), thus spawning two factions of rock idolizing masses. Camp one is your typical Red State Rock, you know the bands (thank you Clear Channel, again). The other changed what could be considered mainstream metal. Killswitch Engages’ stunning sophomore album, and first for major Roadrunner, Alive or Just Breathing as well as a handful of other talented musicians stemming from the Boston, Massachusetts area redefined what modern metal was all about.

Around the same time KsE and the likes were receiving attention on MTV2 and the then metal/rock oriented Fuse, a lesser known band started playing shows in the Boston area. The Red Chord exploded on the scene with their first album Fused Together in Revolving Doors. The albums original combination of grind/hardcore and death metal flourishes sent a shock wave through the underground community with it raw production and unrelenting pummeling. This was Deathcore. As silly as the genre sounds, for the time it was fresh, uncompromising and most of all real.
Fused Together In Revolving Doors

And it spread. No sooner had The Red Chord's album been released, then the bastardizations came out of the woodwork. Deathcore evolved at such a rapid pace that almost no one had the chance to keep up with it. New acts where being signed to independent labels left and right, saturating the market with acts for kids with disposable income to buy, buy, buy. Artists like The Acacia Strain and Job for a Cowboy reinvented the genre, TAS went more Meshuggah while JfaC followed the path towards more traditional death metal, but both bands incorporated the rubric instituted by The Red Chord.

Currently, deathcore is still around, although its current state is crippled by lack of originality and in some cases obvious copy cat moves. The deathcore we have today versus from when it started is not the same sound, as stated above, it’s evolving. But is this evolution good? My argument would be no. Artists like Suicide Silence, Winds of Plague, and countless other nameless acts have seemingly taken a step backwards to a style of music that was originally wiped off the planet by its predecessor. Lack of guitar solos, generic and predictable break downs, simple lyrics recall an age where Korn was being nominated for Grammys and Limp Bizkit was still cool.

For example, take Winds of Plague's latest single “California.” The opening line brings to mind 90’s West Coast Connection, with the phrase “Put your hands, up reach for the sky, Do what I say or let the Bullets fly.” WTF, seriously??? Are they purposely channeling Fred Durst or do they really buy this? How about the inclusion of Johnathan Davis on the new Suicide Silence track during the chorus? Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, there is nothing wrong with paying homage to the bands/influences that made you want to start playing music, but when you-as an artist-retread the same ground broken back in the mid 90’s there is a problem.

As an artist, it is your duty to expand and push the boundaries of what your forefathers have done. No more mindless lyrics about how your parents didn’t pay enough attention to you. No more misogynistic lyrics (unless it’s a metaphor for the planet Earth *wink wink Acacia Strain**). No more using the words break, pain, hate, or kill to express your emotions. No more usage of the word fuck just because you’re trying to be edgy or controversial. Grow up, put on your big boy pants, and grab a thesaurus.

Written by Grant Peter

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Wasn't There That Day

The following was written by a pal of mine named Don Larkin. It's a poem (or lyrics if you'd rather) that he wrote in regards to a trial of a mutual friend of ours that was convicted of second degree murder last week. Don and I are both aware of the incidents that led up to this crime... And how it could have been avoided under different circumstances. But everybody knows that this is not how life works...

Our friend, who finally "had enough" of an abusive relationship, snapped and shot his girlfriend.

A man is flawed in the sense that he can only take so much abuse whether it's physical or verbal... . We all have the proverbial tipping point when we are vulnerable to taking extreme measures to gain instant satisfaction without a thought for consequences. During the trial, the prosecuting attorney tried to make our friend out to be a cold blooded killer who had been planning this attack for several weeks. I can guarantee that it wasn't that way at all... Our friend simply had enough and jumped off of the deep end. Unfortunately, the pool was empty.

It is what it is. My friend killed somebody and now he has to pay the penalty... Don attended the trial but I did not. I was never very good at going to weddings or funerals and I wasn't very good at going to this trial either. It's just one of those things.  According to Don, "All defense witnesses were asked as the last question during cross-examination....'were you there that day?'"

Jay, this one is for you.


Lady Justice is blind or so they all say
And by God we’re trying to keep her that way
Wrap her in suppression draped with objections
Just don’t ask me I wasn’t there that day

An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth
And what matters at night should matter today
But still I hear no screams for the truth
So please don’t ask me I wasn’t there that day

You grab the 1st stone, my hands will remain empty
I guess it’s just my hippie way
Don’t swear me in there ain’t gonna be no need
You can’t ask me I wasn’t there that day

You worry ‘bout yours I’ll worry ‘bout mine
Please be careful what you do and say
And me oh my what a high tan line
But don’t ask me I wasn’t there that day

It’s shaken my faith in God, guns and grins
Won’t somebody please make it all go away
Is the tally man really counting, counting all of my sins
Please let the record reflect I wasn’t there that day

So God bless all Mama’s, yes Lord please help ‘em
Find a drum circle where they all can sit down & pray
The rock will keep spinning with nobody winning
Just ask me I am right here today

(Written by Don Larkin)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cirque de Silly

The circus came to town today... Actually the house I'm staying at, In the form of a package.

The Yeasties with Pop Cornmonkey
(Who wouldn't pay to see this band?)
Dirt Clown of the world infamous Yeastie Boys was kind enough to send me a  bundle of goodies, which arrived at my doorstep this morning courtesy the United States Postal Service. I wouldn't have been more surprised (and delighted) if a miniature car pulled up and 15 clowns climbed out and presented the package to me themselves. It was a very random gesture filled with many random surprises... With an assortment of items that one might expect to receive from a serious clown musician.

There was a beautiful red Yeastie Boys T-shirt, several Yeastie Boys stickers, three Yeastie Boys buttons, a copy of The Yeastie Boys: Banned II CD, a ticket to a Yeastie Boys show at the Can Club in Garden Grove, California in which they are opening for The Angry Samoans, a novelty clown nose still in it's package, a Yeastie Boys 10 dollar bill that looks like it could be used in Monopoly, four unexplained raffle tickets (Hope I win something!), a photograph of a rubber bendable clown signed by Dirt himself along with Vinny da Clown and Pat Clown, two Hannah Montana guitar shaped lollipops, and a handful of string confetti.

Package from the Big Top
(Click to enlarge)
Simply put, it is the single most greatest package that I have ever received in my life.

Thank you Dirt!

The Improbable Story of Scot Halpin

On November 20, 1973, 19 year old Scot Halpin attended The Who concert at the Cow Palace in San Fransisco. It was the opening night for the band's United States tour in support of their latest release, Quadrophenia. Halpin had recently moved to California from Muscatine, Iowa, and was delighted that he and a friend, Mike Danese were able to purchase tickets to this show from a scalper. The concert was billed as being general admission, and Halpin and his friend arrived thirteen hours early to ensure that they would be close to the stage.

The two were able to accomplish their mission, as they rushed into the Palace and took their place at the edge of the stage. The Who, eager to kick their tour off with a bang, came out firing on all cylinders. They played three early hits before launching into eleven consecutive songs from the Quadrophenia album, before reverting back to playing songs from earlier records. About an hour into the set during the song, "Won't Get Fooled Again", drummer Keith Moon started to fade out. His drug and alcohol intake was legendary, and it was later revealed that he had washed down a handful of animal tranquilizers with shots of brandy before the show. Suddenly mid-song, he was hunched over his drum kit, fast asleep. The band quit playing, the house lights came on, and several roadies carried Moon backstage and attempted to revive him by giving him a shower and a shot of cortisone.

It worked... Momentarily.

About a half hour later, a rejuvenated Keith Moon was back onstage behind the drums and the concert resumed. The band was half way through "Magic Bus," when after about three minutes Moon passed out again. This time the roadies carried him off, and that's where he stayed. In an attempt to maintain composure, The three remaining members of The Who performed "See Me Feel Me" with Roger Daltrey providing percussion with the tap of a tambourine. The band's efforts got a huge ovation from the audience when the song ended, and guitarist Pete Townshend thanked the crowd for their indulgence, and jokingly asked, "Can anybody play the drums?" He then asked the question again, this time more forcibly, and added, "I meant somebody good!" At this point, Danese started frantically pointing at Halpin and yelling at security staff that "He can play!" The fact was that Halpin hadn't played drums in over a year, but the commotion that Danese created got the attention of the show's promoter, the legendary Bill Graham.

Later Halpin was quoted as saying, "Graham just looked at me and said, "Can you do it?" And I said "Yes," straight out. Townshend and Daltrey look around and they're as surprised as I am, because Graham put me up there." The band gave Halpin a shot of brandy to assist in calming his nerves. It was the first time he had been behind a drum kit since he left Iowa.

Daltrey introduced his new drummer to the crowd as "Scot", and then the band immediately went into  "Smokestack Lightning," an old blues standard that was made popular in 1956 by Howlin' Wolf.  The jam was slow and easy, and it was probably a good track for Halpin to ease into considering his lack of  practice. Slowly the band moved into "Spoonful," and it seemed that Halpin was having little trouble keeping the beat. However, the third song didn't go as smoothly. It was "Naked Eye," a song that features spontaneous guitar riffs and a much more complex drum pattern. Halpin struggled, but looked unphased during the song, and managed to keep a steady beat throughout it's duration. The Who decided that it was enough, and made "Naked Eye" the final song of the evening. Halpin, with a towel around his neck took center stage with Daltrey, Townshend, and John Entwistle, and bowed to the audience. Afterwards, he was permitted backstage, along with his friend Mike Danese, and was given a Who concert jacket, which Halpin claimed got stolen later that evening.

In 1973 Scot Halpin was given Rolling Stone magazine's "Pick-Up Player of the Year Award" for his spontaneous performance at the Cow Palace. Later, In an interview with the magazine, he gave a praising account of the band's stamina saying, "I only played three numbers and I was dead."

CD Cover from Rock Rare Collection Fetish
Halpin resumed an otherwise normal lifestyle, getting married and managing a New Wave punk rock nightclub with his wife in California until he moved  moving to Bloomington, Indiana in 1995 to pursue a career in the visual arts. He died on February 9, 2008, of an inoperable non-malignant brain tumor. He was 54 years old.

Almost a year later on January 27, 2009, The Who posted a link on their website announcing a memorial blog in memory of the man who, due to stroke of improbable luck, became a substitute for one of the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time.

In 1996 he told the San Francisco Examiner, "It's like one of the few times you could play royalty."

Through an amazing string of events, a young man from Muscatine, Iowa was made king for a day. And because of that one day, he will be a legend forever.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hoy Pinoy-Riff Haus-Fullerton,CA-7/15/11

Now let me tell you about some new friends of mine. They're called PxBxS (funny shit huh?). It stands for Pipe Bomb Suppository. Now I've met these dudes before. These guys are actually young; the lead singer is like 16. The sad part is he's more of a badass than I was when I was 16. After my girlfriend agreed to buying him cigs, he told us the history of PxBxS. They started, performed one show in February and then broke up. This was their 2nd show ever and they invited me to come, so I did.

The PxBxS kids set up the little equipment they had. They only brought their guitars. They borrowed everything else. They played their 5 minute set and kids were moshing. Even I was moshing, which I never really do. PxBxS is a band that I really wanna help take over the world. The lead singer was nice enough to gimmie a demo from when i first met him, and I LOVED it. I listened to that CD over and over. I'm so glad my friend texted me one day telling me about this band. Sick Grind/Powerviolence to the max. Im proud to be a PxBxS kid.

Pipe Bomb Suppository

Up next was a band called Civil Liberates. The bass player was wearing a dress and lipstick. He looked IDENTICAL to the guy from Dawson's Creek. He seemed like a real nice guy and I talked to him for a second or two. His band brought out this crossing guard cut of of a kid. It was a big hard plastic thing and they left it on the stage. People got to it and were throwing it around. Once it hit me directly in the face. Damn this was intense! People were moshing hard for this band. Now even tho Dawson hit me in the face, they were good and I liked them. Crack Rock Steady, you know like Leftover Crack? So it was bipolar with its Ska/Punk moments. That kid is also in a a Grind band called Tension who kicks ass who I hope to see soon. Violent friendly band. Gotta love it.

Civil Liberates
Up next was ska band named Not A Chance. They were pretty cool for what they do. I was kinda into their set and in this area of California, all the Ska is performed in Spanish. So hearing something different for once was cool.

Not a Chance
Up next was another Crack Rock band. My buddy Matt is the guitar player so it was great to finally see him live. They had their fast songs and slow songs and over all a really badass set. The singer was way into it, singing and getting naked but over all I really liked 'em. They're PSA and they're here to skank your shit up.

Up next was a Thrash band named Panzar. They were ok, and their singer was highly energetic and he was moshing around with the others. They had a badasss stage preformance, I give em that.

Finally I get to see Hoy Pinoy. A local LA powerviolence band who has made a name for themselves. By then a lot of  poeple (weenies) left and people who stayed were people who actually loved the band. I got up front for this and right away moshes started. Finally there was some stage diving and one person hurt the fuck out of my shoulder. They played a a very good set and people kept moshing and singing. This is a band you need to see if you love powerviolence. They fuckin rule. After the show they gave away two free shirts... I didn't get one. But I'll be seeing them soon.

Hoy Pinoy

Overall it was a great local show. These kind of shows are run by kids for kids. I was one of the oldest people there, no cholos, and hardly anyone there. The OC scene rules. And my homies in PBS made that flyer. Its Jar Jar Binks with Godzilla! Best flyer ever!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Lately I have been approached by two different people wanting me to sign a petition. Two different people, two different petitions. As you may well suspect, I proceeded to put as much space between them and I as was possible. I don't recall what the petitions were about but it doesn't matter, I wouldn't sign them no matter what they were about. Even if they're pushing something I can go for,say, arming the homeless,I'm not signing
However, I started thinking about all this and decided that maybe I should come up with my own petition. So I thought about it long and hard, trying to come up with something, and after some extensive soul searching it came to me. So here is my proposition:
All politicians who hold a federal office, whether elected or appointed, and all politicians who are campaigning for a federal office will when performing the duties and function of office, when speaking for or on behalf of office, or when campaigning for office shall wear clown garb. Such garb will consist of baggy clothing, over sized shoes, face paint, wig, and a button nose that honks when squeezed.
Is there anyone out there who would argue with the point that the political class for the most part have become an insufferable lot of arrogant pricks? I realize that most everyone out there will have some politician or two that they like and think are doing a good job, for all I know there may be one out there that I like, but none should be spared from this.
Think of the implications of this. C-span will become at least twice as watchable, Presidential press conferences will start getting decent ratings, and I would actually be happy to see Sarah Palin run for office under these conditions. Think of how great a scene the State of the Union addresses would become. Instead of all the limos and SUV's pulling up to the capital, you would have a bunch of Volkswagen Beetles pull up, filled with members of congress and they would all pile out, giving the spectators some great slapstick moments. Plus the more politicians you can stuff into a vehicle the more gas you save, so its an economy move as well as just plain good sense
By the way, another provision in my said proposal will be that any politician who says some variation of the phrases " I have to get back to doing the work of the American people" or " I have to get back to working for the children" shall be required to follow the statement with honking their nose twice and then members of the crowd should spray the guy or gal with seltzer water, or launch a cream pie in their face. In fact I think that pie throwing and seltzer water spraying should be encouraged as much as possible. Think of the boost to the economy it will be. Pie vendors could rake it in at the next town hall meeting your fave fed politico stages.
Now this may be seen as political commentary but it is not. I theorize that after seeing the political elites parade around in this manner it would lead to small outbreaks of enlightenment. Honk! Honk!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mayhem Fest-San Manuel Ampitheather,San Bernadino CA, 7-9-11

Well no point in putting up a photo of a flyer. Cant find one and the date had a big change up anyway. Instead of In Flames we got  the thrash metal gods, Testament and instead of Megadeth we got the only cartoon band that matters...DETHKLOK!

This is my 2nd time seeing Testament. The last time I saw 'em I was WAYYYYYYYYYYY up in the balcony (I later sneaked down for Megadeth/Slayer) so I was happy that this time they were playing I was in the GA section. They did all their old material. It was ok and the metal heads were moshing in the desert so it was dusty as fuck. While fighting to breathe and see I enjoyed songs like "The New Order" and such. Though they're legendary I aint huge into them like I am with Exodus or Anthrax. Still they were great and I expect all of you to see 'em if they ever play with someone ya dig. Check out The Legacy. One of the best thrash albums ever.

Over the Wall
The Preacher
The New Order
More Than Meets The Eye
Into The Pit
Souls of Black
3 Days In Darkness

Up next was groove metal's (stupid name for a genre but great music) Machine Head. Being known for playing in  the style of Pantera and White Zombie I was somewhat eager to see 'em. Hardly anybody was there but some real fans were singing and yelling. Their music has changed a lot. I thought it was a simple Meh. Check out the album The Blackening.

Beautiful Mourning
Aesthetics of Hate

Machine Head
Up next was Nu-Metals very famous Godsmack. I'm not a fan. People went nuts for 'em when they played their '90s stuff and they had some cool drum/bongo solos. Pretty mellow hard rock. They were nice enough to invite Dimebag Darrels's fiance Rita on stage. We all cheered for her. I ain't a fan,but if you are you'll love 'em live.

Cryin' Like a Bitch
The Enemy
Forever Shamed
Straight Out of Line
Love Hate Sex Pain
Batalla de los Tambores
I Stand Alone

Up next was Disturbed. You know you liked em in the 90s while watching Seinfeld. I was excited to see them. But  honestly I could not get into it. They played Liberate (favorite song) and I was really into it but besides that, It was another "Meh ok". People were fucking nuts though. Mainly all bros and tough asshole types who were suffocating me and my girlfriend. Unless your really into 'em, don't see 'em. But I ain't sure if people still love nu-metal. Listen to The Sickness. Like all Nu-Metal bands,they were only good during their early years.

The Game
The Infection
The Animal
Inside the Fire
Another Way to Die
Ten Thousand Fists
Down with the Sickness

Up next was the band I was looking forward forward to the most. Thank Satan all those lame  motherfuckers left and I could be comfortable. No more assholes. We got to the rail and were ready for some cartoon metal. The real band was shown in shadows (having no light on them, still visible) but people mainly focused on the screen showing Dethklok music videos created exclusively for their live shows. I kept screaming and singing along to the words. When Dethklok plays it's more of a show than a concert... Or a combination of both? Gp see for yourself. Seriously. See this band live. Its a cartoon in Concert! Pick up The Deth Album and Dethalbum II now and if you've never seen the it, pick up the first 2 seasons of Metaloclypse.

3.Briefcase Full Of Guts
4.Burn the Earth
6.Birthday Dethday
7.Black Fire Upon Us
8.Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle
9.The Gears
12.Go Into The Water