Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Five (Or More) Questions with... Andy Shernoff

Mr. Andy Shernoff

Let me start by saying that Andy Shernoff is an extremely nice guy. I conducted a telephone interview with him just over a year ago that I sat on way too long. I put it on a shelf for a couple of months, and when I finally got around to transcribing it to written word, I was dismayed to find it had completely vanished off of my digital recorder. I was horrified. Not only because I had lost the interview, but because I respected Andy, and I knew that he is an extremely busy person.

I had taken up 30 good minutes of this rock and roll legend's time, and I had nothing to show for it. With my tail between my legs, I sent Andy a reluctant email. I figured it was best to own up to what had happened, and take my beating as he saw fit. I honestly didn't know what to expect. It was the very first telephone interview I did with with somebody who was famous, and it sat on a shelf for quite some time... I didn't know if Andy would chastise me, curse me out for being such an bonehead, or give me a lecture about wasting his efforts. I expected a little bit of all three. As it turned out, it was neither of those.

"Don't sweat it, Troy." was his reply. "We'll do it again, and it will be even better next time."

I was in shock... A cordial response wasn't even on my list of possibilities. Here was a rock and roll icon... The bass player for my all time favorite band, The Dictators... Killing my stress with a genuine act of forgiving kindness. Holy apeshit!

Another telephone interview never came about. In fact, just like I did with our original interview, I put the entire idea on the back burner. I figured that I had used up my one and only chance to pick at Andy Shernoff's brain, and his response saying that we would do another one was just his way of being nice while bowing out. It was a friendly gesture on his part, and I just chalked it up as a valuable lesson learned. C'est la vie... Bad things happen to those who wait, and in this situation, I was the king of the boneheads.

Andy Shernoff, as I said, is a rock and roll icon. Most notably, he is the brains behind The Dictators, the incredible band of misfits that epitomized the punk scene in the early '70s. He is considered a legend by most who followed that scene, and his notoriety as a bass player might only be over shadowed by his ability to write songs. Classics such as "Pussy and Money", "Minnesota Strip" and "Who Will Save Rock and Roll?" were all formulated from the mind of Mr. Shernoff.



He has collaborated with some of the biggest names in punk rock, including the Ramones and The Fleshtones, plus a slew of others including The Bel-Airs, Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, The Resistance, The David Rotor Method, and The Master Plan... Plus many more.

As a producer he has worked with the likes of The Smithereens, The Figgs, Guided By Voices, Sibling Rivalry with Joey Ramone & Mickey Leigh, The Sick Fucks, and Prisonshake, to name a few of the many.

Perhaps most recently you have heard his bass and vocals on the "California Sun" promotional video Major League Baseball put out for the 2010 All-Star Game.

In his younger years, aspiring to be a rock and roll journalist, he founded the sarcastic Teenage Wasteland Gazzette, which featured the writing of Lester Bangs, amongst others. Without Andy in the rock and roll industry, there would be a huge void left with nothing to fill it.

So, knowing his stature, I felt happy to even had had the chance to have a one on one with him. He is amongst my friends on Facebook, and about a month ago I dropped him a message  saying "Hello, I hope all is well in your world." His response back to me was, "All is good here, Troy. Did we ever finish that interview?" I was caught off guard, but immediately rounded up some questions and sent them to him via email. Once again, his kindness took me by surprise.

This past Sunday, he sent me responses to the questions I asked him. Today, I am delighted to share them with you...

Five (Or More) Questions With Andy Shernoff...

Musically, and generally what are you doing these days, Mr. Shernoff?

Well, last year I did toured extensively with my solo show and my band The Master Plan but a hand operation and an illness in my family has been keeping me closer to home. I've been using the time at home to write new songs, the best I have ever written! It might sound presumptuous to say that I am at my creative peak when I am over 50 years old but I'll let the music do the talking. The first fruit of my labors will be an animated video for my song "Are You Ready To Rapture?", a collaboration with the brilliant cartoonist Brian Musikoff. We expect to have it released in July. I'm just starting to perform solo again, though this time I'm using a crack back-up band. I always have my hand in a few production projects, my favorite is Daddy Long Legs a bluesy, harmonica driven trio from Brooklyn with great musical skills and the heart and soul to back it up.

Who would you say is your single most musical influence?

I've been a super rock fan since I was a kid so it is impossible to pick one musical influence. I am an amalgam of every record I've worn out over the years. As a kid, Brian Wilson was my guru until I discovered The Who and then it was Pete Townsend. When I started The Dictators, the second MC5 record was my template, later it was Bruce Springsteen who really moved me. Today my greatest inspirations are Nick Lowe and Leonard Cohen. Those guys are exceptionally skilled craftsmen.

You once mentioned that you hated the album Manifest Destiny. Do you still feel that way?

I think it was a misguided album, an ill-advised reaction to the commercial failure of the first Dictators album. It was an attempt to give The Dictators a commercial sound to garner radio support and play the music business game... a job I am totally unqualified for. Remember it was 1977, the world was changing, we were in the midsts of the punk rock revolution and we went took a step backwards rather than forward.

How much more Dictator's stuff is there in the vaults? Will there be another odds and sods kind of thing like Every Day Is Saturday coming out?

I cleared out the vaults for Every Day Is Saturday. So that's it for Dictators music.


Will there be more stuff from The Master Plan?

I love playing in that band but we are literally scattered all over the country which makes it difficult to get together. We did release a record last year called Maximum Respect for which we did a cool video. I urge everyone to check out...



Teenage Wasteland Gazette has achieved holy grail status. What can you tell me about how that came about? Do you still own original copies?

When I was in college I had dreams of becoming a rock writer. Today rock journalism is kind of a joke but believe it or not, it was actually a respectable profession in those days. So I started a fanzine in which I parodied mainstream publications like Rolling Stone. I made up bands and concerts and started finessing the approach and attitude which eventually led to the first Dictators record...... And somewhere in my parent's attic there are a few copies safely stored away.

When I spoke with Ross The Boss (lead guitarist for the Dictators) last year, I asked him how he came up with that amazing riff at the beginning of "Who Will Save Rock and Roll", and he merely passed it off on you saying that you had it on your demo... What led to YOU coming up with that ridiculouis riff?

I actually wrote that in my head when I was on vacation in Mexico. I didn't have a guitar with me so I had to wait until I returned home to finalize it..... I remember envisioning a siren over some Pete Townsend power chords.

Again... Thank you! Thanks for being such a great sport!

Anytime, my pleasure Troy!!     

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SONIC THERAPY: DDR, SUPERCHIEF, and THE MAW

Well, it took me long enough but I finally dragged my sorry ass down to Des Moines to The House of Bricks on Friday night to check out a couple of bands that Troy, the Master of Ceremonies around here, has been talking about for some time now. I have missed other opportunities in the past and figured it was time to get in gear, since Troy, being no babe in the woods when it comes to sussing out stuff that one really outta wrap their brain around, insisted that I get myself to this show.

Well, I owe the guy a great deal for this one because what I witnessed was really nothing less than incredible. This is not a bunch of empty hyperbole here, this was something.


You see lately I've been in some kind of psychic funk. I've been stumbling aimlessly through my days like some drunken country bumpkin lost in the streets of New York City, finding it almost impossible to carry on the simplest of conversations, and pretty much out of sync with everything and everyone around me. My ship was definitely headed for the rocky shores of miasmic desolation, but alas, mental destruction was averted and it was due to this great night.

I show up at the House Of Bricks, walk in and it all begins. Troy starts making introductions to many of the cool and kind characters there (one was Rita, one of the scribes who lurks these hallowed halls here at Bigfoot Diaries HQ), various members of the bands, and then C.V. Eckian showed up. My shattered mind reading his appearance as some phantom harbinger of good things about to proceed, noting to myself that with this many of the Bigfoot Diaries gang in attendance, something cool was about to happen.

"Enough already" I hear you saying out there. "Cut this prosaic kaka effluvium and get to the point." All right, I hear ya. So what follows is my take on the three bands that played. It's a quick toss off kind of a thing I know, but I already blew my wad on the self indulgent wankfest of an intro.


The first band up was DDR. A fine three piece laying down some pretty good instrumental heavy metal. I'm using the term heavy metal in the sense of circa 1972 when that music still had a lot of excitement and possibility before the word became some kind of a stylistic straight jacket. A short set but a real nice way to open the festivities.

Next up was SUPERCHIEF. WOW. These guys deliver one heck'uva sonic blast. A loud, savage, high energy Molotov cocktail. There are a few bands out there that need to take notes from these heavy hitters. Vital stuff and the guys are having a mess of a good time on stage laying down their sound. More fun than a barrel full of monkeys even. These guys aren't worried about pose or empty posturing, they're just getting off on the sound that they're making. A sound that's more devastating than an Ox Baker heart punch and as satisfying as being on the winning side of a biker barroom brawl. You need to resensify your rock 'n' roll soul and give these guys a listen. Oh yes indeed.

Jason Boten and Jason Monroe of Superchief
(Photo by Darren Tromblay)
The Maw
Ok. So after recovering from that set It was time for the third and final band of the evening, THE MAW. Heavy, psychedelic space rock is one way to put it. A magic ceremony of inter-dimensional travel would be another. A Krautrock Black Sabbath that set their controls for the heart of Bevis Frond. Crowleyian psychonauts worshipping at the throne of Sun Ra. I don't know. All I know is that these guys are a force to be reckoned with. I actually think I left my body a couple of times. It was kind of the sonic equivalent to eating mushrooms. I just stood there awestruck after the set, watching them tear down their equipment, waiting for my scrambled brain to realign itself. Somebody could start a religion around the sound these guys make.

Later, Erik Brown from The Maw asked me what I thought of it, and I mumbled some semi coherent words which probably made very little sense, but what can I say. I still wasn't syncing up I guess. But on the drive home things started to slide together. I was really starting to feel better. Maybe there was some hope that I would actually be able to get my shit together again. Well, ok, that might be too much to ask for.

Anyway, I've said all of that to simply say this. Check these bands out. Go out of your way if you have too, but do it. I drove two hours through fog and rain each way to see these guys and I would do it again. Go ahead, you know you wanna trust me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

RIP Poly Styrene 1957-2011

RIP Poly Styrene. X-Ray Spex were one of the greatest punk bands of all time.She will always be remembered and her vocals made for a gateway for many female outcasts. Polly we salute you. Breast Cancer... Up yours!



Update... It's official.

The Big 4-Empire Polo Club- Indio, CA 4/23/11


This is a big fuckin' deal. All 4 Legendary bands for the first time in America. Sadly the only date and it was 2 hours away but I had to go. It had to be here. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth got their start here which made California home of Thrash. It was at some big ass field were they host Cochella for Indie Art fruits. I only paid $15 for my ticket while the rest paid $100 (sucka!). My ticket hadn't came in the mail so my buddy went to the post office in the morning to get it. He woke my ass up and I got ready right away. We were supposed to jam at 10 am but didn't leave 'til 12. It was a 2 hour drive and me and my boys were making fun of billboard signs, checking out hot chicks,and cranking Death Metal. As soon as we got of the ramp the whole fuckin city was traffic. After an hour our ladies in car #2 told us about a shortcut. Thank Satan we did it or else I would've missed Anthrax. We finally found parking. Me and main homie left to go right away. While the other followed Thrash tradition and got wasted like they do at every show and ended up missing half the show. We tried to make our way to the front.

After watching people leave their cars to pee on the sidewalk(like my friends) and getting insulted by stupid tough guy brothas it was time for Anthrax. This was the band I really wanted to see for many reasons... They had just reunited with their best singer Joey Belladonna last year. They were my first and one of my favorite Thrash/Metal bands since forever. And I've been wanting to see them live since I was still oh so punk rock. We tried hard for the first 3 songs to go up front. Bad fuckin idea! It was so crowded and people were pushing for their lives. When we did get near to the rail we couldn't fuckin see them! It was better when I was 2 songs ago and they looked like ants. Unfortunately you had to get the VIP tickets to see em upfront. Fuckin Bullshit. Anthrax honestly did an OK set but since it was my first time I loved it. They played great songs but they haven't changed their set lists since they reunited. That's lame. Im hoping to see them headline a show soon so I can get a 100% Anthrax. If your an Anthrax virgin listen to Spreading The Disease now. Seeing Anthrax for the first time was badass.  But to quote guitarist Scot Ian..."NOT!". I will enjoy them eventually.

SET:
Caught in a Mosh
Got the Time
Madhouse
Among the Living
Antisocial
Indians
Fight 'Em Till You Can't
A.I.R.
I Am the Law

Anthrax

Megadeth was next. And after walking out of the mess I was just in ee and my buddy ran to drink a $6 frozen lemonade. And then I saw some dude wearing a Santo lucha mask so I hugged him. We sat on a hill and found a few friends. We saw Megadeth from a long ass way and they started with the song "Trust". Already I was like "Wha da fock!". The set seemed to get better n' better but I wasn't feeling as I was when I saw 'em last fall when they played the whole Rust In Peace (Get it you MegaVirgin!) album.Of course I sang and head banged to "Head Crusher" and "Peace Sells", but they were the weakest band on this day. Big points to Dave for finally making "Peace Sells/Holy Wars" separate songs and not playing it twice. But it was just a bad day for 'em.

Set:
Trust
In My Darkest Hour
Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Poison Was The Cure
She Wolf
Sweating Bullets
Headcrusher
A Toute Le Monde
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars


Megadeth
My favorite from the 4 was next. Fuckin' Slayer. They started and me and buddy were at the same spot we were for Megadeth. We said "fuck that" and tried to get some what closer. After moving and moving I found a perfect spot. They started with "World Painted Blood" and I was pumped. I kept yelling and screaming a long to songs I've never heard live. New and old. From "Anti-Christ" to "Payback". Slayer is just a band that you have to see live every fucking time they come. Guitarist Jeff Hannemen had to call in sick for a couple of months because he got some nasty disease from a spider bite. But who better to replace him then Gary Holt from Exodus! Jeff ended up doing some work and at the end Slayer just kicked everyone's ass. You've haven't seen 'em live you have to if you have at least one ball. If your a virgin to them,then kill yourself but listen to Reign in Blood first.

FUCKIN' SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!

SET:
World Painted Blood
Hate World Wide
War Ensemble
Postmortem
Raining Blood
Black Magic
Dead Skin Mask
Americon
Silent Scream
Anti-Christ
Seasons in the Abyss
Payback
Snuff
South of Heaven
Angel of Death



We took a break, I sat my ass down 'cause my boots were killing me. Slayer had ended right at sundown so the night belonged to Metallica. Everyone got up front for this. Lights turned off and they showed the scene from Ecstasy of Gold. Right away a little tear came out and my jaw dropped. Holy fuck I was in for a treat! Everyone had their horns up. They started with "Creeping Death". Great song but I would've picked another song to open with. Then I head banged my ass off windmill style when they started "For Whom The Bells Toll". Yelling and dancing along... I seriously had a spiritual awakening. They played "Fuel" and It kinda went away for a second. Then it came back with "Ride The Lightning" and "Fade To Black". Never have I been so amazed at a show. I felt like I was 9 years old again hearing "Enter Sandman" for the first time. Then two new songs which were ok but I'd rather hear more old stuff. then they did something to shock the whole fuckin place. They played their instrumental song "Orion". Right away my friend started screaming and the whole place banged their head in motion. First time EVER they played it here in the US of A. Not one metal head in the joint was standing still. Even my passed out friends woke up for this. This was the highlight of their set. It was a dedication to their late bass player. They played "One" and I sang my heart out. Same with "Master Of Puppets", "Blackened", took a gay gay moment for "Nothing Else Matters," then I went nuts again for "Enter Sandman". Lights went off. They came back and invited all the bands on stage like they did in Europe. This time instead of only having Dave of Slayer, Kerry King decided to join the fun. Sadly no Tom Araya but still a step further. They played "Am I Evil" then left the happy moment. Metallica eneded with "Hit The Lights" and "Seek and Destroy". Now I know why Metallica fuckin owns heavy metal. I left happy, tired, dead,and went to McDonads. It was a show I will never fuckin forget.

Set:
Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fuel
Ride The Lightning
Fade to Black
Cyanide
All Nightmare Long
Sad But True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Orion
One
Master of Puppets
Blackened
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
-----------------------
Am I Evil? w/ Big 4
Hit The Lights
Seek & Destroy



Fucking Metallica

Friday, April 22, 2011

Superchief and Corporate Dynamite

When Haldor Von Hammer, vocalist for Superchief, dropped off a copy of his band's new CD to me, I was enjoying happy hour at one of the local pubs. I had been anticipating his arrival... He had graciously called me to say that the CD had literally just come to him via the UPS guy and he would be arriving at the pub momentarily. I was already into my third Bombay Saphire Martini, and I was considering ordering a fourth, when Von Hammer entered the bar.

His arrival, much like his presence on stage was larger than life. He came bumbling in, handed me the CD, and took a seat at the table across from me. He immediately ordered a martini, and I did the same. As we waited for the bartender to bring us our drinks we talked about the production of the CD, the overall anticipation of it's arrival with the fan base in Des Moines, and the fact that I had gotten the first copy (Hell yeah!).

Then our drinks came. Von Hammer stood up, and as if in character, finished his martini in one giant gulp.

"Okay... I gotta go." He said as he slammed the martini glass back onto the table. "Play it loud!"

Then, just as quickly as he entered the bar, he was gone. But in my hand was the local scene's rock and roll equivalent of the Holy Grail. Superchief's brand new album, still wrapped in it's plastic sleeve... The buzz I was feeling wasn't just from the martinis.

Corporate Dynamite
Corporate Dynamite, begins quite subtly with an acoustic intro into the album's first track, "Fear No Shield". It's a two part song that quickly goes from it's humble intro into a tenacious assault of electric fury. Ricc Terranova's flighty guitar riffs carry this song through it's two part overture, with the rest of the band make up the Calvary that drives this battle anthem. Haldor Von Hammer shines in his role as the general, belting out the battle cry, "Fear no Shield!" with galactic conviction. The revolution has begun!

"Odin Be Praised" is the next song on the track list. Odin, the chief God of German mythology rose to prominence through the favor of the Vikings, and was the supreme lord in the 8th and 9th centuries. He was a battle warrior who would back down from nobody, and even instructed the Danish King Herald how to build a strategy and fight epic battles, before eventually turning on Herald himself and destroying his forces. He loved shifts in power.While being enigmatically ferocious in battle, he also possessed admiral qualities, such as being the most knowledgeable of the Gods, and having a deep passion for wisdom. In this particular song, Terranova's guitar riffs embody that spirit, just as Ryan Marcum's iron horse drum beats drive the pillage. "Odin Be Praised" is a song of epic stature, just as Odin himself was. And also like Odin, it leaves no stone unturned.

"Shovel in the Basement" is the first track on the CD that I would label as "stoner rock". Jason Boten seems to channel Geezer Butler through his bass guitar, and this song wouldn't be too far out of place on Sabbath's Master of Reality album. Haldor Von Hammer seems at ease with the mic, not outlandish at all, just a perfect blend of grit and fire to make the song his own. His vocals definitely take a back seat however to Boten's bass and Terranova's lucid guitar riffs.

The title track of the CD "Corporate Dynamite" is perhaps the song that would get the most airplay if it were to be featured on rock and roll radio. Obviously that doesn't mean it's the best song on the CD, but it's definitely one of stature. It has an interesting hook that latches onto the soul... It draws you in, and you get lost in it's message. At least I did... Meanwhile Terranova is spitting out ridiculous guitar leads that draw you back in. By the time you get through this song, it becomes quite clear that Terranova is the perfect compliment to Jason Monroe's rhythm guitar. Together they are an intangible force that propel Superchief to a higher level - a level that is most welcome to the Des Moines local scene. Add in Marcum's drums, Boten's bass and Von Hammer's fight club vocals, and we're dealing with a force of reckoning.

Superchief
"They Call Me Nomad", the next track on the album is another song that seems to channel the forces of Black Sabbath. It's catchy riffs and vocalization stylings set it apart from the previous four songs on the CD. Ryan Marcum's drums are perfect for the song's introduction, and Jason Boten lays some cool bass lines on this track, but the real star on this song is Terranova. Once again he seals the deal with an incredible solo, which flows like an electric current through a bathtub suicide victim. Von Hammer shows some vocal range that really hasn't been displayed on the album up to this point, and it's a nice alternative to the gruff stylings he features on the other songs. "They Call Me Nomad" is definitely one of the best songs that this CD offers.

The next track, "Sweat", clings a bit to the early works of Collective Soul... Hard driving rhythm guitar riffs that drive the song into an eventual blistering frenzy. Jason Monroe, who co-wrote this song with Teranova takes the initiative on this track. Together these two guitarists almost sound like one, each of them a perfect accompaniment to the other. This song's hard driving edge can be attributed to years of practice. It's obvious that Terranova and Monroe have been playing together for awhile.

"The Story Of The King Killer" comes next. Marcum's steady drum beat leads this bodacious anthem into sonic battle. "Look at me in the eye!.. The blood flows... I kill kings... With my soul!" Von Hammer claims this with such conviction, that you actually picture him in a castle dwelling with a royal figure pinned up against a stone wall. This song has everything a rock and roll fan could want... Catchy and original guitar riffs, ass kicking lyrics, ground shattering bass lines, and a cosmic drum beat that's complimentary to the likes of Ian Paice. Perhaps a sleeper, this song might actually be the best track on the album.

Next comes "The Plan." Terranova starts it off with a catchy yet simple guitar riff that sounds like something Ronnie Montrose might have come up with. In fact, you almost expect to hear Sammy Hagar's voice in this song. Instead we get Von Hammer, who nails the vocals with the same angry conviction that we have gotten with the rest of the album. At this point, I really started to appreciate his vocals. To me they are what sticks out most with this song... Though I am not really quite sure what "The Plan" is, I do know that Von Hammer leaves little doubt that this "plan" will be carried out.

Boten and Marcum
(Photo courtesy of DMI)
Jason Monroe wrote the next track, "Saint Bukowski". Maybe you can guess what it's about... Charles Bukowski, perhaps? It seems to be a biographical account of Bukowski's life. It's an okay song that features a rebel yell from Von Hammer, which is a nice surprise, but it probably wouldn't stand on it's own. It seems hurried... Like the band needed to fill space on the album and this was quickly added. It's not a bad song... But compared to the other tracks on this CD, and like most of Bukowski's work, this song is a tragedy.

The final song on the CD is a track called "Destiny's Child". It's a great closing number. The marching beat is synonymous to the albums opening number, "Fear No Shield" which is reminiscent of marching into war. Here we are, ten songs into the album and we are still pillaging and waging war. Like Odin himself, the fight continues with Superchief. The duo of Jason Monroe and Ricc Terranova on guitars is a rare treat, and perhaps the best one two guitar punch in Des Moines, if not the midwest. Ryan Marcum has proven to be a fantastic drummer who maintains constant control of the songs on Corporate Dynamite with subtle glimpses of Nico McBrain, Ian Paice, and Stu Boy King... And Jason Boten is a fucking beast on the bass guitar. Finally, Haldor Von Hammer absolutely OWNS this album with his dinstictive and original vocal stylings. It's nice to hear a hard rock album with an actual singer, and not the same old screaming angry growls that so many hard rock outfits incorporate into their sound these days.

Terranova, Boten, Von Hammer, Monroe, and Marcum
(Click this and all photos to enlarge)
Right now Superchief is Des Moines's hottest act, and this album is digital proof of why that is. They epitomize everything that is right with rock and roll, in the blitzkrieg style of Thin Lizzy or The Dictators. If this album had been released in say... 1972, Superchief would currently be rock and roll legends and Corporate Dynamite would reign as a premier giant in the FM radio classic rock rotation.

Frankly, that would be a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Evildead-House Of Blues,Hollywood CA-4/19/11

  First off im pissed cause I was suppose to go see Rebecca Black before this show. Yes im serious ya jerks. The whole tour eneded up being a fake so me and buds were sad and had to go this. However,I now declare this Bruce Campbell week! Saturday I saw the Grind band BruceXCampbell then on the USA network he premiered his Made for TV movie: Burn Notice:The Fall Of Sam Axe(great movie,im gonna start watching the show) and now I see band named after the movie that made us all love him, Evildead. Groovy.
  Well my friends kept changing thier mind back n forth if we were going to go or not. All day I was getting call saying "yeah foo im down" and "fuuuuh idk man!". Last minute we jammed. Thankfully I missed the first band. I didnt feel like watching a hard rock act. Then I missed most of the band Dyer,who Ive seen play with Exodus before,who are patriotic as fuck,which is lame as fuck in my book. So this Power Metal band went up. Right away we see some bald guy with a big ass coat,sunglasses,limp wrist,and high voice comes out. Him and his 2 guitar and bass players do a side to side dance. Judas Priest rip off? I think so very much. But,they ddi impress me. They sang about Dragons and killin the devil and stuff which was cool.  My friend whos a huge Power Metal fan really digged them. I was tapping my foot. I was really impressed. My only complaint is that they played longer than Evildead. Not Cool! Check em out if your a fan of Dio,Manowar,King Diamond,and just a power metal nerd all together.



  Now im glad I got to see LA's very own Thrash legends once again. Last year when I saw em they played at 2:30am,I was pooped(all day fest),and some guy dressed as an Aztec kicked my nose really hard and I was all dazed. And since them ive listen to them,they've  become one of my favorite metal bands. They reunited last year over 20 years with the original line up with the exception of the singer. New guy does a REALLLY great job and hes the perfect man for the job. This show happen to be free. They were giving tickets away like nothing,which was great since I missed em two months ago. I made my way upfront and the band came out. Great fuckin performance. They didn't play my favorite song this time but still managed to blow me away. If your a fan of Exodus,Anthrax,and DRI check out ED's albums Annihilation Of Civilization(should include Rise Above EP which has a great Black Flag cover) and The Underworld. Please go see em if they come near you. For being Thrash legends,they're underrated. Bruce wouldnt like em but Evil Ash would love them.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matt Stasi and the American Dream

As a kid, most of us have dreamed of growing up and moving to California and becoming rich and famous. Usually, by the time we reach the age of that being a possibility, other facets of life dictate that we make other choices instead, and we get sucked into the mainstream of real life... And suddenly our dreams either diminish completely, or they get put on the back burner. Soon we are older and locked into our families and jobs, and that dream has disappeared completely.

Of course there are exceptions. Matt Stasi grew up in Eastern Iowa in a town called Oelwien. The town itself produced it's share of characters. If you don't believe me just hit one of the local pubs that line South Frederick Avenue on a Saturday night. I've had that experience numerous times... And without fail, I was left with a lasting impression. It seems ironic to me that somebody who has spent his life surrounded by these characters would give up everything that he owns and take a chance in Los Angeles with an acting career.


Matt Stasi
Matt had a career if he wanted it... His father is the proprietor of an Italian Restaurant called Luigi's Restaurant and Lounge that bases it's menu from of the Longobucco region of Italy. It's a nice slice of southern Italy in an otherwise non-diverse Midwestern town. Knowing that he had a career waiting for him at the restaurant if he chose to take it didn't deter Matt from chasing his dream. In 1998 at the age of 24 he said goodbye to his Iowa residency, and set out to Los Angeles to seek an improbable acting career... And hasn't looked back since.

It was his father who told him upon his leaving that he needed to incorporate a Plan B. Understanding that the path to fame and fortune usually leads down a dead end road, his father thought that it would be wise for Matt to specialize in another trade that he could use to make up for the inevitable down time that an up and coming acting career guarantees. It took awhile for this concept to kick in for Matt, but eventually he realized that his father was correct, and Matt decided to put some time and effort into his other love, which is photography.

Not that his acting career was all that bad, generally speaking. If you ever saw the Beverly Hills 90120 episode where a thug spiked the prom punch bowl with LSD, that thug was played by Matt. He had a role in CSI Miami, where he did a scene with David Caruso... And he was cast as James Bishop, the lead role in the cult classic horror film, Asylum of the Damned. Most recently he co-starred in a new film that is getting rave reviews called The Waterhole.

But as expected and predicted by his father, work in Hollywood isn't always easy to come by. As Matt took more and more photographs, he started to get better and better at it, and eventually it became clear to him that headshot photography would be a good way to supplement his income. He started his own photography business (appropriately called Stasi Photography Website) and it has proven to be a successful venture.

In LA there's an actor's resource magazine called Back Stage West that has a 'best of' poll every year. Its a sort of competition where people can vote for their favorite photographer, acting school, etc. The winners are listed in the June issue of Back Stage West. Matt has already been nominated for best photographer, and I thought it would be nice to drum up some more support for my friend. I am urging you, the readers of the Bigfoot Diaries to please go to the BSW Website and vote. It's a pretty simple procedure and only takes a few seconds to do. Just click on the link above. On the middle of the page that comes up you'll find the LOS ANGELES SURVEY. Click on that and it'll lead you to the survey. If you would, please vote for Stasi Photography under the 'Photographers under $400' section. It's that easy, and you will be doing my friend a huge favor. Do it in the spirit of chasing the American Dream!

Now, let's get to know a little bit about Matt Stasi...

Have you abandoned acting as a career and gone exclusively to Photography?

Right now I'm putting acting on the back burner for a minute. I've been out here in LA for something like 14 years. Been a hell of a ride. Lots of fun. Lots of not-so-fun. When I first moved out here I made sure I didn't give myself an "out". Didn't take my dad's advice to learn a trade of some kind. Kind of fucked myself on that. Now I'm working my ass off and burning the end on both ends of the stick. Photography is a way to get back to where I want to be. I fucking hate having to punch the clock in day after day for some one else. That played a big part of me becoming interested in acting in the first place. Freedom. I'm hoping that photography will be something that I can control, and will sustain me while I pursue the field that I really fucking love. Acting. Don't get me wrong, photography is baddass. When you get a shot of someone right at the peak of their emotion, it's a cool feeling. You can freeze frame a moment for posterity. I love truth in my shots. Same as acting. Emotional truth. I love the subtleties. And contradictions. I want to explore more of that with my photography. As well as acting when I am able to get back to it.

What are some of your acting "greatest hits?"

Some of my most favorite roles, you won't have ever seen. Cuz they were on stage. Doing theater. I did a play out here called "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea." By John Patrick Shanley. (same guy who wrote the movie Moonstruck) That was probably my most favorite part to date. It's about two violent misfits who fall in love. I dig that shit. Contradictions, and pleasant surprises. You expect these two people to be the biggest fuck up loser assholes in the beginning, and by the end, you're weeping in tears cuz of the desperation of these two characters to simply be loved. It's a beautiful thing.
I also did a play for a looong time called "Welcome Home, Soldier." It's a tribute to Viet Nam vets. Very poignant play. I got a real respect for anyone who can put a uniform on and fight for his/ her country. This play honors those people. Shared the stage with James Franco, Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Being Human), Jim Parrack (True Blood), and Scottie Caan in that run.

Asylum of the Damned was a pretty cool thing. Movie turned out to be a clunker, but I learned alot. I originally was cast in a small part in the movie. But 6 days before filming the director called me in and offered me the lead. Told me that he had been watching my audition tape over and over, and he felt that I was his lead. He cast me over Casper Van Dien in that part. Kind of a cool feeling, being that I was a complete newcomer to film. The movie was supposed to be distributed by Dimension Films. Unfortunately, within a couple of months after filming the director passed away from Crohn's Disease. (God rest his soul...really took a chance on me. Never forget him.) That took away the deal with Dimension, and the integrity of the film suffered greatly in my opinion. He wasn't around to edit a frame and it was a lot less of a movie than what had been presented to me in the first place.

Since then it's been a real roller coaster. You name it, it's happened. I've been cast as leads in decent budget movies, only to have the budget fall out before filming. I've been cast as leads in TV pilots (some of the shows you see on tv today), only to have the roll go to a celebrity. Or in one case, the producers had given me the part, then substantially 'rethought' the part and wanted to make the role Asian! Roller coaster, dude!

The Cult Classic
There's no such thing as an over night success. It's a tough damn road. Just like AC/DC says, "It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll." Very true with the entertainment industry. CSI: Miami was cool. Working with David Caruso was a trip. Everybody thinks he's kind of a douchebag, but he was real nice to me on the set. Very complimentary.

I've done a slew of short films, and indie films that I'm real proud of. Most High was an indie film that my buddy did. I had a small part in it. GREAT, poignant film about speed addiction. It's won a great deal of awards in the festival circuit... One of them being The Hampton's Film Festival -- second biggest in America to Sundance.

Do ya want to give yourself a plug for The Waterhole?

Sure... Nathan Cole is the writer and producer. There's a FB page for the movie, if you want to check it out. "The Waterhole." It placed both in the Newport Beach Film Festival, as well as the Hollywood Film Festival. (Both are pretty big accomplishments, if I do say so myself.) Reviews have been solid down the line. Basically, if you've ever drank a beer, had questions about what the hell you want to do with your future, or had a strange fascination with Reno, NV, you're gonna like this movie. It has some real laugh out loud moments. But in the end, it pulls a bit on your heart strings. Well written, flawed, but totally relate-able characters. Total ensemble film. A dude that starred in it with me, Patrick Adams, will be a lead on a cable show called Legal Minds. Definitely worth the price of admission.

Awesome... What type of camera do you use in your photography?

Right now I'm using a Canon 5D. With all Canon Prime L (professional) series lenses. It's like butta. Seriously. Hard to take a bad picture with it. My main portrait lens I use is the Canon 135mm f/2.0 L. That thing is a work horse. It does an amazing job of blowing the backgrounds out (creating bokeh), and the angles it gives you are extremely flattering to your subject. Sometimes I pull out my 50mm as well when I want to frame my subject a little wider. Highly recommend Canon products. Easy to use, and SUPERB picture quality!

Have you photographed anybody who is famous?

I'm still waiting to shoot my first celebrity. I'd love to shoot someone like Jack Nicholson. That'd be a trip. Definitely grab a beer with him afterward. I met him one time. Only time I've really ever been star struck meeting a celebrity. I complimented his work. He just shook my hand, and with his big toothy "jack" grin, he said, "thank, you. Thank you very much." If you ever wanted to see me acting like a complete little school girl, that would've been the moment. I'd also like to shoot MMA fighters. I love grittiness in my photos. Coming from Iowa, I'm very blue collar in spirit. I think my photos probably reflect that. Mickey Rourke would be my dream shoot/ scene partner though!

Anything else you wanna share, go ahead...

My clients, although not yet celebrities, have however been in many shows and movies. I'm happy to say that many of my clients start booking right away after shooting with me. I've got one client that's doing a thing on Days of Our Lives. One that was cast on Chuck (got the meeting from my pic:-D), and one that was recently cast on Melissa and Joey TV series (from my pics). I have also received numerous texts thanking me that they signed with agencies & managers from my pics. So...my shots seem to be working well for people in these early stages. I'm very honest with myself..if my pictures suck, I'll stop doing it. I also have a great girlfriend who isn't scared to tell me the truth about my work. She's had years of experience in front of the camera, acting (that's how we met) and modeling for all of the major designers around the world. Plus 2 good dogs (and 1 pit bull up in heaven) looking out for me. So, I'm really blessed that way. I got a good support system in my corner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

THE NEW YORK DOLLS - ONE DAY IT WILL PLEASE US TO REMEBER EVEN THIS

So somebody gave this to me a little while ago. That's how it had to happen because I was avoiding the reformed Dolls like the plague. Yes, The New York Dolls are without question one of my all time favorites, always in the top 10 of my very fluid and often changing list of bands. I in no way wanted to give this thing a chance. How many times have you been burned by one of your fave groups getting back together for that abysmal reunion album and cash in tour. This is all that I thought such a thing would be and I wasn't going to waste my time. But in light of the fact that they have recorded three albums post Thunders, Nolan, and Kane I started to think that maybe I was missing something. So I sat myself down in the basement and put on this disk and actually started to hope against hope that I would like what I was about to hear.
Well, what can I say. I was not expecting the old Dolls sound. There's no way with 3/5 of the cause of that sound gone it could even come close. So I wasn't looking for that, but still I think that they would have done well to call the band on this record something else besides The New York Dolls. I know why they did it, but it's a different band. I guess you have to give them credit for not trying to be the early version of the Dolls because it just really isn't possible, but that being said, it just reinforces the point of having a new name.
The street thug immediacy is gone. The brutish catchiness of the tunes and the raw energy have disappeared as well. David Johansen sounds like John Hiatt, and Syl Sylvain doesn't have a partner who can even come close to giving the two guitar assault that is one of the key elements in defining the sound of the Dolls. Again, I know that expecting the 70's band was not a possibility, but I would think that they could have given something more than they did. Maybe though, the fault lies more with the producer, Jack Douglas, than it does with the band. I don't know, but the record really does suffer from overproduction. I realise that they may have been going for some kind of Phil Spector vibe, but it misses by miles. I would like to hear these songs in demo form. This thing might have been better had it had a much more raw production value that it has.
Of course, what do I know you ask. This record charted higher than their self titled debut and TOO MUCH TOO SOON. Yeah, well that doesn't tell me it's a superior disc, it just tells me that whatever powers that be which determine the charts are way off, whether that be corporate dolts, or a mass populace that has been force fed crap for so long that they have now started to prefer it over the life energy blast of the real thing.
Yet believe it or not, I'm actually curious to hear the other two records that this version of the band has done. I guess I'm hoping that these guys have something left in the tank and maybe this was just a bad record. All that being said there may be some hope because I did like the song Dance Like A Monkey, and that proves they can do something strong. The question is can they do it enough. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

From Ashes Rise-The Roxy- Hollywood, CA- 4/10/11



FINALLLY! Scion shows have returned to LA! And as always Chicago got  their's as well. They usually get the same line up but instead this time  Chi-town got MAGRUDERGRIND (one of my favorite Grind bands) to headline. And that sucks ass... Magrudergrind did a headlining show for us in Spetemeber but I failed to get in. Nothing against From Ashes Rise, but Magrudergrind is just that more badass. Whatever...Free shows are free shows.

Noisear was first. This was the band I was most excited to see. They're a grind band from New Mexico. I believe they got a new singer and if that's so, he's prefect for the band. He was so into the music he jumped off stage, hit my eye,and ran around. They did an amazing job. My only complaint is that the set was way too short and they hardly play here in L.A. Listen to their album Subvert The Dominant Paradigm. It's great!


Noisear

Up next was a Hardcore/Powerviolence band from Boston called Mind Eraser. Now you knew this was gonna be a  tough act. They began to play and kids immediately started jumping and stage diving. At first security kicked them out, but soon there was so many that security didn't even bother. Hardcore kids were trying to sing along and the pit went from moshing to HXC dancing. Mind Ersaer did a great job and possibly the best that afternoon. Once again, like the last couple Scion shows, most people left after the 2nd band. The singer and the bass player jumped off the stage. Security tried to get the bass player and kick him out since they thought he was a kid.... Hilarious! The bass player walked back on stage pissed and flipped him off. Singer reminded me of a young Henry Rollins. Glacial Reign is the album to listen to.


Mind Eraser

All the Crustys were getting pumped up to see From Ashes Rise next. Note this is my 2nd time seeing them for free but last time I didn't pay to much attention to them cause I couldn't get upfront. This Crust/D-Beat/Hardcore band from Tennessee has a huge following. And most kids were pumped and singing along to this band. I thought they did a great job. Listen to their Discogrpahy cd and see them live. The broke up once and luckily their back. You will like them.

From Ashes Rise

Friday, April 8, 2011

The indestructability of a 19 year old girl...

I gotta give it up for that trusty little 1989 Ford Tempo. The poor girl had seen her better days. She had been used and abused by two teenage girls and had the scars to prove it. Dents, rust, various colors of paint scrapes decorated the outside, while the inside was ordained with burns, smells, stains and tears in the upholstery. This was the trusty little bucket that would transport myself, two friends and our adventures to see Black Sabbath, Pantera and Incubus in Minneapolis in 1999.

Now, ten years ago, I was an angry force to be reckoned with. I didn't really like life, I didn't like myself...but I did love music. As soon as I heard Black Sabbath was doing a reunion tour, I was all over it like a vulture on death. My friends and I banded together and planned our journey. There was six of us...me, my boyfriend, another couple, a lunatic and my 'brother'. We had two vehicles, a hotel room, various amounts of drugs, our tickets, bad attitiudes and we were off. We all should have known with the group we had that there was going to be issues. The personalities were as vast as the sky. Combine that with being cooped up in a car for hours together and it makes for unpleasantries.


Although, we started out without a hitch, the ominous undertones of the trip quickly pounded at our heels. This trip took place in the middle of winter, I believe it was January so Mr Winter was working overtime the further north we went. I've always been a winter dweller, but sometimes you just curse the damn winters, no matter how many you've endured... Now, to set the scene for the first in a long line of debaucherous bullshit we were to endure, think Fargo. We were in the middle of nowhere, few cars on the road. The sky was grey and there were few clouds in the sky. There was not a bird in sight, probably blown away by the gusty winds that threatened to rip the skin off your face. I-235 North was blanketed in a thick layer of snow.


We had recently finished off smoking a beautifully pregnant joint and were enjoying life. La la la la la...SHIT!!! We nearly missed our exit and in doing so, I was one of three layers of a car sandwich. My first instinct was that the cops were going to come and being that our trusty little ride was my Mother's car, I went into complete stoned panic mode. I saw a Maglite and immediately unscrewed the top in order to put the more than obviously too large bag of drugs in the shaft. This didn't work, the panic worsened. I had no idea what I was going to do and the thought of spending the rest of my life in a Mexican jail was devastating! After a few minutes of me barraging my non-responsive boyfriend with prompts to stash said drugs the corpse in the back seat reanimated to tell me to "CALM THE FUCK DOWN!!!" He took the Maglite and bags from me and put them out of my sight, and at 19, out sight is out of mind.


We could now deal with the accident at hand... I was equipped with a cell phone that was as unsightly as a holding a shoe box to my ear. I called the police and informed them of the accident, they asked if anyone was hurt. I replied 'no'. They asked if we wanted them to dispatch a State Trooper. I graciously declined. Now, to deal with the other parties... The other two parties involved in our vehicular manage a trois couldn't have been more opposite. One gentleman was a very professional looking man, alone, driving a newer truck. The other gentleman had been rode hard and put away wet a few times over. He drove an early 80's boat that had also seen its better days. The car was filled with what looked to be various textiles as well as a woman and child. The conversation went like this:
Man with a plan: Is everyone ok?
Me: We are, and you? (indicating I was being inquisitive about the well being of the disheveled man's passengers)
Disheveled man: Does anyone have a cell phone?
Me and Man with a plan: Yes! (as we simultaneously reached for them)
Disheveled man: I'm going to go find a phone! (Quickly strides down the desolate interstate) The conversation led to a long moment of sheer disbelief...that did NOT just happen. It couldn't have. I approached the car to question the adult female passenger, assuming it was her husband, I asked her if he had somewhere to be and also asked if she was ok. She disregarded my questioning her well being and muttered something about him finding a phone. There comes a point in dealing with people where you just have to walk away. I was in no condition to try to save the child, who seemed perfectly happy curled up in the back amongst the month's worth of clothes and blankets piled in the back seat. I was sober now and felt like the best thing to do was to walk away from this Twilight Zone-ish situation unscathed. The chivalrous boys that were my passengers were nice enough to wait patiently in my car for me and I dutifully returned and we drove away...bumper flapping in the wind. The rest of the drive went off without a hitch.


We reached our hotel and secured the towel under the door, cracked the window and readied ourselves for the show. One of the substances we brought along was mushrooms. We devoured these like starving hyenas, anxious to get our trip underway. We smoked some more and decided it was time to head to the show. We loaded up in one vehicle, this was an old and less than desireable slate blue station wagon that growled and rumbled as it carried us into traffic. The driver, the only other female on this trip, had declined joining the rest of us in hallucinogenic indulgence. She claims this was for safety's sake, I think there were other motives... It was snowing lightly, which overjoyed the lot of us as it appeared that little rainbows were falling from the sky, chasing one another. It was beautiful. We were of no help to our driver to get us to our destination.


We could see the arena in the skyline, but had no way to articulate how we were supposed to get there. As we're chatting about nothing and everything we see HIM. A lone boy walking down the street in a Pantera shirt. He was donning running shoes and shorts and no coat, but the Pantera shirt was clear as day and that was all that mattered to our twisted minds. We demanded that our driver pull over, trying to convince her that HE would know the way to the show. It made perfect sense to us. We pulled over and invited him in. He paused, taking a survey of what kind of chaos he was submitting himself to. His eyes said no, but he reluctantly accepted the ride. He got in the rear passenger seat and held his breath...just waiting to get stabbed, strangled, slashed...but no, he was in store for something much more traumatizing. Imagine being trapped in a barrel with 1,300 rabid, ready to mate monkeys...I have a feeling this would be a similar despcription to what was going through this boy's mind. We all started in at once, unable to contain the new excitement of finding this stray and saving him from the weather. In our temporarily demented state, he had been brought to us for a reason and we were ALL going to tell him about it! In our depraved way We tried to communicate that we were lost...mentally, spatially. In midst conversation, or rather as we were inflicting mental anguish on our unsuspecting victim, he opened the door and jumped ship. At 40 miles an hour he rolled down the street, sacrificing his life to end the pain of our desperate shreiks! We dropped jaws and remained silent for the rest of the journey. We were in complete disbelief as to what happened. It felt like out world had just crumbled and was starting to set the tone for what the night may have in store.


We finally found the venue and as we walked in we were all pulling the shifty eye glances to see if our friend was around. Thankfully, he wasn't. We were in a high peak at this point and were totally reliant on our driver, Sarah to guide us. We were a wide eyed, stammering mess. The arena was massive and I felt like a small ant scurrying to find my place in the tunnels that lay beneath the ant hill. We finally found our seats. We were located in the balcony, directly stage right. We had a pretty close view, but were instantly bummed as we were side stage. The other issue that broke our spirits was that it was a seated show. There was no General Addmission section. Rows of fold up chairs with red seat lined the arena's floor. The bodies steadily flowed in until the place appeared as it would explode. The section we were seated in was sparsely crowded. Directly behind us were two older men in leather vests and black shirts with eagles and American flags on it. Our two groups kept to ourselves.


I was absolutely overjoyed with the though of seeing Black Sabbath. At the time, I had two Pantera shows under my belt and had no idea who Incubus was...I was there for Sabbath. There are always some bands that you never think you're going to see in your lifetime. You're convinced of it. You actually have never entertained the idea because it's just not going to happen. But, it did. I was there. Living 200% in that moment. I felt it. I remember being in and out of my head a lot that night. I was overwhelmed...and I didn't want anything to do with anyone I was with. It was all me that night. The line up was Incubus, Pantera and finally, Sabbath.


When Incubus started, I was full bore into my hallucinogenic dream. I had never heard of this gangly, hippie band before. They had everything that anyone in my state of mind could ever want...they had illuminating lights, a variety of sounds, including the bongo drums, which I happen to be a huge fan of. They blew my mind. They took me to a mountain top, probably somewhere in Wyoming. Somewhere secluded. There were huge bonfires that lit up the natural light show exhibited by the sunset. Again, it was just me and the band...I was in love. (I will go on to say that as I returned home I purchased Incubus' CD, only to return it as quickly as I purchased it. It definitely was not the show on the mountain that I remembered.)


In the midst of their set, I had to use the ladies room. There was absolutely no way I would have been capable of handling this daunting task by myself. Thankfully, our sober party happened to be a girl. I begged her to take me as if I was a small child tugging on a mother. She dutifully resigned herself to the task of taking the child to the restroom. As we exited our seating area and entered the main hall, the shock hit me. There were animals everywhere! Animals with big hair, Mother tattoos, leathered skin, face stomping boots, camoflouge cut-offs and animals that definitely should not have been let out of their cages. We finally made it to the bathroom with only a small handful of instances of me wandering off and being lost forever. As we entered the bathroom, there was an overwhelming odor of beer and cheap perfume and hairspray. There were conversations I could not quite make out, but the words "fuck, suck, line, drink and bus" were prevalent to my twisted mind. Sarah had to pull me out of the stall, as the walls seemed to be closing in on me. I made it out safely, we trekked back to our seat and I took a minute to recover. Deep breaths, deep breaths.


At our point of return we were between bands. The rowdy boys that accompanied us were readying themselves for the slayfest that was Pantera. Unfortunately, the fact that this was a seated show occurred to no one. I resigned to staying put. In my brief moment of clarity, I remembered a previous Pantera show where I thought I could hold my own. As a 16 year old girl, why would it occur to me that grown men could throw me a good six feet? I didn't feel that at this point, being submerged in a sea of sweaty, thrashing bodies would be a wise decision for me. The boys departed. They were to embark on an adventure that would be less than fulfilling. The lights went down, the crowd errupted in bestial screams....the lights came on and BLAM!!! The visual and audial penetration began. If you never had the chance to see Pantera, they were a force to be reckoned with live. They were raw...and innihilating. Phil was a violent dreamboat of a vocalist.


What seemed like minutes went by and the boys returned with complete look of defeat...minus one. All of a sudden an angry bear-like being emerged out of the shadows...it was our missing member, but it wasn't. There was a cloud of fury around him. He began raving in bear-talk about how it was complete bullshit that this was a seated show. He wanted no part of it! He was out. One thing I've learned in dealing with bears is that you can't reason with them. They're either going to rip you to shreds or walk away, not caring what you taste like. I pretended like the tirade was not happening! He proclaimed his disdain for what was happening and proceeded to tell us he was leaving. He was out of his gourd. We were underage out of towners. For a minute I worried about where he would end up, then Phil's voice sucked me back into the love fest we were embarking on, unbeknownst to him. The remaining five of us engrossed ourselves in Pantera's set as they finished, we sighed a relief. They were amazing, but challenging in our state of mind. One can only take a verbal assault for so long before you become emotionally exhausted.



We watched the techs switch out equipment, running around like little feverish little rodents on stage...and we waited. It seems like only moments elapsed as Sabbath was readying to bless our souls. Our friend suddenly appeared. He briefly told us of his adventure in the snow outside and how there was nowhere to go. He had issues getting back inside as the show was a no re-entry. Somehow he made it back though. It seems in time of extreme mind-molding, one is able to make things happen that wouldn't normally. The unlikely often comes to you. Maybe it's that you're in such a state of delirium and offensive passion that life molds to you, or maybe it's that those around you see the desparation and flammable tendencies in your eyes, that they allow behavior that wouldn't be readily received at any other time. Again, the lights went down, the music started and the legends took the stage. By this time I was coming back to reality. I was completely comprehending what I was seeing...there were no trips to the mountains, no lusty love affairs, no aggressive ballads being sang directly to me.


They started with Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath. I had only the highest of expectations, of course. My expectations were crushed as we observed Ozzy hopping around on stage like a frog. Literally...Crouch, POP! Crouch, POP! These were moves I would expect to see at a preschool dance recital. I get that he's snorted lines of ants and has done more damage to his body than the six of us combined, but....The next strike was when we noticed he was reading the lyrics off a teleprompter. This is when I shut down emotionally. The band was still good, Ozzy was still alive, but that old lovin' feeling had gone. I was officially disengaged. The men sitting behind us were having a grand ol' hootenanny though. I kept glancing back to ensure that I was not going to end up wearing their beer. I tried to reattach myself with the moment and not only my surroundings.


One of the men tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a prefect little joint. Without caring about security, standing within 15 feet, I graciously took it with a smile and allowed myself to fall back into the moment. I passed it on and with the graze of another's fingers I realized what was going on. I was supposed to be here. I was reliving history, although not as intense, one can not maintain a level of insantiy forever. It was selfish to think I was going to walk into a Black Sabbath show in 1999 and experience what my seniors had decades before. It was selfish to be so arrogant. I was with friends, out of state...enjoying a massive show, with much adventure under my belt in the short amount of time I had been there. I got it. I was THERE. As the show closed, the lights came on, the crowd slowly dispursed into the hallway.


A million bodies packed into a tunnel, carrying one another to the light. I think the majority of the bodies were unsure as to what had just happened. You didn't hear the typical roars of excitement of the show just witnessed. There was a slight hush over the crowd. People were in awe, yet, simultaneously disappointed, you could feel it. It was a cold, wet towel draped over the excitement that roared through the arena previous to the show.

My little group sauntered back to our car and quietly packed in. I don't recall much conversation on the way back to the hotel. Although, I do remember returning to the hotel, partaking in a smokefest and passing instantly out. The emotional drain that the show had left on me and my lack of interest in the group I was surrounded with led me directly to where I should have been...in bed. My brain filtered the voices in and out and finally shut them out completely and I was out.

I awoke the next morning to a scene that resembled what I imagine the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to look like. There were towels, blankets, pillows and hotel cups strewn across the room. Bodies piled on one another, tv on. I got up and regretfully looked in the mirror. I'm not sure what I expected to see, but I wished I hadn't. I tried to go back and lay down, but there was too much snoring and my head hurt too bad to even remotely think about traveling back to dream world. I'm pretty sure as I was traversing back to bed I kicked a head or two, possibly stepped on a foot or some other appendage. I heard groaning and moaning. The bodies started to move.


The other couple with us decided it was time for them to shower...couple style. The rest of us decided to have a friendly old smoke out. Again, we failed to remember what we learned smoking in our parents house. We failed to secure towels under the door, open windows or use toilet paper rolls. Our soundtrack was odd moans and bangs from the bathroom. We were zoned out on the tv, trying to block the shreiks from the bathroom out when there was a pounding on our door. We all looked at one another, completely bewildered. None of use knew what to do. We stashed everything we could in a ridiculous fury and answered the door. As I opened it, I didn't know what to expect. What lay on the other side of the door was a disgruntled hotel eomployee. He informed us that we had made the whole hallway smell like 'that marijuana'. We had 20 minutes to vacate or he was calling the police.


This whole situation was awful. The hotel was in my mother's name, we were out of state (again, I didn't want to spend the next 10 years in a Mexican prison) and two members of our party couldn't be ripped off one another. The hotel employee also informed us that we would have to pay a $75 room cleaning fee that would either be paid in cash or applied to the credit card used to hold the room. Not ok. He left. We panicked. We scrounged up all the cash we had, we had about $90. We had that much figured out. The next daunting task before us was to pull the assholes fucking in the bathroom out of there.


We pounded on the door. Repeatedly. After a good ten minutes of yelling at them and trying to articulate that the cops were coming, we finally got them out. They got dressed, in a rather disgruntled fashion, and we packed our shit, tucked our tails between our legs and made our way to the office. We paid the clerk the $75 cleaning fee, which was a one up on us as we were sure they just pocketed the money. We were just grateful to make a peaceful exit. We packed into our cars, heads pounding and heads bowed and made our way home.


There wasn't much discussion on the way home. We were still recovering from the journey we were all on from the night before. We had some sparse conversation about the chaos we experienced. We traveled the 240 miles and kept our distance for about a week before we reconnected and were able to laugh about the trip. It was a memory. Definitely one for the record books. Sabbath has always had a special place in my heart, after that trip, they held a solid place.

THE END

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Siege: The Ones Who Started It All

 
One band that's so underrated in the Boston area... Let alone the whole Hardcore scene is Siege. These guys went above Hxc (Hardcore) The same way D.R.I. created Crossover Thrash and the same way Discharge created D-Beat. When people ask you who is the pioneers of Punk Rock, most people say The Ramones. Obviously Iggy Pop and Stooges were doing it before it was invented. Same thing with Black Sabbath, they made heavy metal but Led Zeppelin was head banging years before Ozzy. You ask most Grindfreaks who invented Grindcore (the worst and best genre of all time) and most will say the great Napalm Death. But Siege made the noise first. Napalm Death even paid homage to them by covering one of their songs. Infamous Powerviolence band Dropdead named them selves after Siege's only demo/album release. They made Hxc into something better.Don't believe me? Listen to this masterpiece...


 

As you can tell they didn't fit into the whole Boston SXE (Straight Edge) scene at all. Their first gig was at their high school talent show. They were disqualified for breaking a guitar. After getting booked at a show at CBGB's, singer Kevin Mahoney didn't show up, and the band broke up soon after, in 1985. 2 years and that's all we got... 1991 Seth Putnam of (my favorite band) Anal Cunt joined the band taking Mahoney's place. It didn't last long but they recorded one song for  13 Bands Who Think You're Gay compliation. I cant find that damn song anywhere but I'm assuming its great since it mixes AxCx with Siege. When I see Anal Cunt next week ill be sure to ask if Siege will ever happen again. Until then please listen to (just steal it its 2011...CDs are gonna die) Siege's only but groundbreaking album Dropdead


Sunday, April 3, 2011

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE



Isn't it great to live in a world where to real He-Men types like Henry Rollins and Glen Danzig can find themselves in a deeply committed and loving relationship?

Well, whether it is, or it isn't we don't live in that world. However; the artist collective known as Igloo Tornado have imagined just such a reality. And for their troubles I would think that maybe these guys might want to start going armed and with a security detail when they go out in public. I don't really know how mister Rollins or Danzig feel about this little comic that's been put out, but I would be hoping that these guys have some sense of humor. Henry Rollins seems like maybe he has some, but Danzig has always seemed like he takes himself very seriously and would find nothing funny in the book. Who knows fer sure, but if you can't laugh at your idols, the only thing left to do is kill them (Glen may prefer this), but that's probably for another comic down the road.

The book is a bunch of one panel comics that are based on a premise; the premise being that Henry and Glen live together, they are in love, Daryl Hall and John Oats are their next door neighbors, and Hall and Oats are in a devil worship cult. This thing is funny, but you do have to know a little bit about Rollins and Danzig to really get it. It is kind of cool seeing Danzig as a sort of Ernie Bushmiller type character, and Henry's Diary pages were pretty funny too.

If you can still get this you do so at your own risk. Glen and Henry may come find you and kick your ass.

They may want to kick my ass just for talking about it. Don't kill the messenger boys, I still think Black Flag and the Misfits are nifty, and I like Samhain and early Danzig too, so don't crush my skull. OK?