Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SXSW Memories Part 3

When we last left off, The Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends were walking over to Lovejoy's to go catch some tasty grind, stopping only momentarily to deride an insensitive wench for photographing a sleepy hobo while I ate granola bars.  Let's resume...

The group now consisted of myself, Andy Wilhelm, Van Damned, and Carmelo Espanola, who we had conscripted to take the journey to Lovejoy's to return the fabled keys of The Artist Formerly Known as the WZA'd to their one true keeper.  It should, by the way, be noted here that The Artist would like to, in the style of Prince before him, change his name to a symbol, which I will use to streamline references to him from henceforth.  The symbol looks like this:  8===D.  So we made the treacherous crossing over IH-35 to the west side and crept toward Lovejoy's, our group ever-expanding like my married-man's waistline.  We arrived at Lovejoy's and walked through the door, my first sight inside being 8===D standing with Morgan and Chris from Kill the Client, whose set I had lamentably missed.  My favorite thing about meeting those dudes is that they enjoy ridiculing 8===D as relentlessly as I do.  Needless to say, I felt a special connection to those guys as we fired off jokes about 8===D.  It was a great time all by itself, and worth the trip.  We  hobnobbed with 8===D, Morgan and Chris, and caught a doomy and bonecrushing set by the mighty Cough.  I think these dudes are actually relative newcomers to the scene, but their set has made a believer out of me with it's heavy din and bilious vitriol.  Also, look at this logo of theirs!


Holy shit!

This is what they looked like through the lens of my camera.


They were followed in short order by Magrudergrind, whose trademark brand of grind siphoned through horrible, horrible corporate sponsorship (which is the wave of the future, and you can quote me on that) tore through the air like a crazed and rabid bat, with teeth gnashing and sonar making that creepy almost-sound that it makes.  The best part about their set was watching their drummer play; his intense concentration, mustache and tiny shorts were and thing to behold, and it's always impressive when somebody waltzes into a concert and uses mustache power to play the drums that fucking fast.  Observe them now:


Electric!  Their set was followed by one of my perennial favorite live bands, Utah's Gaza, whose trademark brand of disdain for Jesus manifests itself in an energetic and fevered live show, with storied front-Ente Jon Parkin stomping around the front of the crowd, being paradoxically hateful and angry during the songs and then powerfully polite and overly thankful that we are there to watch them play.  Behold them now:


Gaza finished up their set and were followed by Singapore wonder-lads Wormrot.  Their signature brand of grind was frantic and quite a sight to behold.  I had no idea that anything came out of Singapore at all, but it turns out that they've got at least one good grind band over there.  The music left me a little bit cold, though, since their lack of bass player prevented the music from having any real heft behind it, and sounded like something of a hot, treble-y mess that was coated in throat-ripping shrieks.  It was nice to see these dudes live, and I look forward to their new material; I just think they have some growing to do in the live arena, despite their still-solid performance (which I didn't stay for the whole of).  I know how false I am, so you don't have to say it.  Look at them!


We had to cut our Wormrotting short despite the protests of 8===D, who was in a grind frenzy and kept declaring that he wanted weed.  Van Damned, Andy Wilhelm and I bid farewell to 8===D, who decided to go back to his place and check out the interwebbies for entertainment rather than go to the Mettaliance showcase with us.  Godspeed, 8===D!

After an hours-long wait in line, we were shuttled--in pairs--into the Dirty Dog to check out the superbill that they had going on in there.  I got my first taste of The Atlas Moth, whose shimmering sludge made me upset that I had missed out for as long as I have, but what the hell am I going to do?  I have Trap Them records to slobber all over all day.


They were followed by Howl (complete with a new guitar player who was a very nice fellow), Red Fang, and Weedeater.  I don't have any good pictures of Howl or Red Fang, so I'll just say that Howl is solid and worth checking out if you can, and Red Fang kind of bummed me out, since their doomy-rock sound lacked energy and heft.  And so much clean singing!  Weedeater is a crowd favorite, though, and their stage banter is truly inspired, including phrases like "This song is from our new album.  We hope you hate it," and "Fuck you."  They played a good set of their stony, toeless doom and wandered away, leaving the crowd wanting more and wishing that we all had the power inside us to tell a crowd of adoring fans "fuck you."


Kylesa played next, their signature brand of sludge always solid and heavy, though consistently puzzling.  Why two drummers?  I like that two drummers get to play as a result, but there's never been a part in any song where having two drummers was anything more than two dudes playing the same thing at the same time (sometimes one plays on the ride while the other plays high hat or something, but that's about as daring as they ever seem to get).  It was good, but I was feeling wiped out and I wanted to go home and sit on a padded seat for the first time in about 12 hours.






However, despite my feet, I decided to stay for one more band, the mighty Crowbar.  I was wholly unprepared for how "Oh-My-God" HEAVY Crowbar was, though I had heard of their fabled heaviness in parables told to me by people who had seen Crowbar before.  Crowbar is so heavy that if you got your arm trapped under Crowbar, you'd need a pocket knife and a smaller hunk of Crowbar to break the bone so that you could escape.  The arm would be gone for the ages, and you'd know what real heaviness felt like. 



I luckily escaped with my arm intact, and made my way through the two million people still circulating the streets so that my wife could pick me up.  I was fully drained, and felt bad that I left before Helmet and Saint Vitus, but since I'm so false and ungrim that I don't even like those bands anyway, I decided to call it a wash and eat some real food.  I was supposed to play a show the next night with my untr00 and non-kvlt band, but the fire marshal came out to the venue and shut that shit down for having too many people inside.  I had skipped a bunch of stuff during Saturday that logistically I just couldn't fit in with myself playing a show, but since the promoter didn't call and we showed up to play before we found out it got canceled, I whittled away an entire day where I could have crammed in the rest of the stuff I wanted to see and chill with my bros from the Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends.  Lame.

On the plus side, we all took a nice Sunday trip to Smitty's in Lockhart for some real-deal Texas BBQ, since Carm had never had any.  We had a very nice trip, with Carm, Andy Wilhelm, 8===D, and myself jammed into Andy's car and enduring the hour ride to one of the best BBQ places in existence.  SXSW weekend concluded, we all lazed around and felt good about what we had done, looking forward to recuperating.  But what a time we all had together!

And I'm glad it's over, because I don't like crowds that size, but where else can you go and get an entire month's worth of band-watching in a single day?  SXSW, huzzah!

Monday, March 28, 2011

SXSW Memories Part 2

Yeah, that looks about like my memory.

So everybody's been piping on and on about SXSW, which just blew through Austin with the gale force of a drunken hurricane in skinny jeans.  The hurricane also has a really obscure and ironic taste in music and was into every band before they got big.  SXSW is always an exciting proposition for locals here; on the plus side, if you can get work off you can to see about 20 to 1000 bands in one day and pay too much for delicious, life-giving beer.  At the end of the day you can go home and sleep in your own bed, which is an appealing prospect, particularly if you ask any of the myriad people who ritualistically flock to downtown ATX for the experienceThe downside is that the streets become congested with people from out of town and they're all hanging around on the streets and just being turds, clogging your favorite venues like the arteries of America's collective heart.  Can't get into that venue where you know the bouncers and bartenders by first name?  Should have bought a wristband, homo!

I managed to get a Friday off this year, which was a refreshing change of pace, considering last year where I was on call and had to sit out all of the best stuff except for the Action P.R./Metalsucks showcase at Mohawk.  I was delirious with excitement at the prospect, especially because all of my dudebros from the Crusty/Cakey Alliance of Superfriends were coming into town to celebrate and drink mass amounts of brewed beverages.  Fun!  Excitement!  Hangovers abound!

I headed to downtown on the train, which, though I didn't imagine I was being overly clever, proved to be a very popular idea, particularly for the surprising number of people who were bringing their fucking BABIES along to SXSW.  So what if you have a papoose with a sleeping infant in it strapped to your stomach?  You're still cool, right?

Nope.  Sorry.

I got downtown and immediately realized that I should have done more research and constructed some kind of itinerary for the day.  Everybody was still asleep or burning off hangovers from the night before, which I had to miss out on because I didn't have enough vacation time to be able to escape the confines of work.  I waited around and got into the Emo's tent for the New England Death Metal and Hardcore Fest showcase at noon.  Turns out, there were several good bands on the bill, but they were padded by a huge amount of faceless metal/deathcore bands, which meant that the place was packed with 15-year-old boners with tank tops and basketball shorts frantically windmilling around.  Since I had nothing better to do and no idea of where I should go, I stuck around until after The Funeral Pyre played their blistering set.  The singer was awesomely belligerent toward the crowd, who seemed to take his verbal abuse as a challenge to their two-stepping skills.  The crowd soldiered on, and as The Funeral Pyre left, I received a text from Andy Wilhelm alerting me that he was at Studio 501 getting ready to see Trap Them.  I fled the scene rapidly, thankful that I had gotten to see a good band so early, but regretful that I didn't do more homework.  I could have skipped so much garbage.

The Funeral Pyre unhappily playing great music at a teeming crowd of boner children with shitty T-shirts.

Like the wind I ran to Studio 501.  I never even try to conceal the throbbing hard-on I have for Trap Them, and it was pointed directly at 12 o'clock as I dodged pedicabs, hipsters and meandering parents desperately clinging to their youth despite the crying, crapping albatross around their necks, which was inexplicably present at the time.  How many people bring their stupid kids downtown for something like this?  It's retarded!  Anyway, I arrived and had a beer with Andy Wilhelm.  I came to find out later that the beer was served to me by Yakuza's Bruce Lamont (who I had never looked at before and for some reason had assumed he was Asian), which was strangely titillating and hilarious.  I tipped him well though.  We soldiered up for my favorite surprise of the day, an experience which I've already written about here.  Trap Them played, which was unsurprisingly great and featured some new cuts from their hot new album, Darker Handcraft, which I've been blowing off writing up for no good reason.

Literally the only picture I have of Trap Them that looks like any kind of person and not a crazy blur with a baseball hat.
I ran into the dudes from The Funeral Pyre and congratulated them on a successful set and lamented with them about the substandard crowd for which they unleashed their breathtaking aural assault.  They were done being belligerent and were quite nice once they were away from the stink of mouthbreathing teenagers.  That exchange was followed in short order by All Pigs Must Die, who played a solid if unremarkable set of their blistering hardcore.  I feel bad saying that, because I was so looking forward to seeing them live, but their live show lacked energy, which is understandable considering most people don't bother to sleep during SXSW.  But I was left wanting more energy, more punishment!  Also, was that Ben Koller on the drums?  He had bangs!  Do something different with your hair Ben Koller.  I'm a huge fan of your playing and bands and stuff, but the haircut is making you look like the gross, homely Olsen sister who works at Arby's.
  All Pigs Must Die, who actually look like humans in real life, and would here too if I were capable of operating a camera.

The first half of my day a complete triumph, we moved on to Lovejoy's to catch the massive grind explosion happening over there.  While we walked over there, I spotted a girl taking a picture of a sleeping hobo who was on the slanted part of the IH-35 underpass.  Van Damned shouted at her and we made fun of her dumb hair and lack of compassion for her fellow human beings while I ate a granola bar.  And before you ask, no, I didn't offer the hobo a granola bar.  Hobos don't like granola, and I don't like hobos.  I'm only human, after all.  DON'T JUDGE ME!

That concludes my recap of the first half of my one day at SXSW.  I was going to actually write something fun, but my iPod died early in the day, thereby disallowing me from hearing anything new and good, other than what lots and lots of people yell at me as I walk up the road to the train station.  Turns out, people have all sorts of colorful things they like to yell out the car window while they pass me on the sidewalk.  Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of my SXSW wrap up.

Because my wrist hurts today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

SXSW Memories Part 1

There are a lot of memories that I have of this year's SXSW, but since I have to get ready for work, I'm going to share with you the one that really matters real quick.


Yeah, we're pretty much best friends now.  We went to the batting cages.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rotten Sound--Cursed

My mania for musical speed has been well documented over the years.  At the age of 9 I was majorly into punk rock, and my search for the next fastest continually evolved my taste in music to the point that I no longer know what normal people like to listen to.  With this in mind, my current grind kick makes perfect sense, and is even perfectly logical.  Grind, after all, is a celebration of chaotic speed and vitriol and perfect incomprehensability.  And that isn't even a word!

When I was forming my taste in metal back in California, grind was very hard to come by.  I was not yet in the know with mediafire links and blogs streaming full albums.  I had to do things the old-fashioned way, where I would sit down in front of Soulseek with a copy of Decibel and, if that yielded no results (and it usually didn't), I would hit the record store once a week to comb through the albums that they had available and buy a few of the lesser-known or more interesting sounding selections.  None of my friends listened to grind (and the ones in California still mostly don't).  It was like walking to school uphill in the snow, barefoot over broken glass with a bag of gleaming hog entrails strung around your neck, only worse.  Yeah, it was much worse.  I mean, the record store only ever carried one Nasum album (!??!!??), and the closest thing we had to a good underground record store in Bakersfield was FYE (!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

God I hate that place.

Now I've moved into the early 21st century and can easily steal whatever I want whenever I get drunk and decide that I must have it immediately.  Then, if the file is clearly labeled or I just don't forget that I downloaded it all together, I get to listen to whatever my heart desires.  It's fantastic, and a lifestyle that I suggest to all of you out there in the blogmosphere.

As if you aren't already doing exactly that!

Rotten Sound is one of my newest musical obsessions, and I can honestly say that I feel like a stupid bunghole for having missed the Rotten Sound boat for so long.  I've heard about Rotten Sound.  I've heard lots about Rotten Sound.  And then what do I do?  I just skip listening to them for no reason.  I feel like that guy who just stayed home, saying "Oh I'll check out that band later," and then doesn't do it, but then finally does, all without leaving the comfort of my home.  And do you know why I feel like that guy?  I AM THAT FUCKING GUY!

And the calls are coming from inside the house....

Cursed is a churning, whirring, blunt force trauma to the skull kind of album.  The opening track starts of with a heaping teaspoon of mondo brutalez (the single most br00tal ingredient for cooking br00tal meals) and starts kicking like a frightened emu when you sneak onto the emu farm where Highway 71 meets Highway 10.  Turns out, emus are afraid of grown men wearing nothing but graduation robes and they'll kick the shit out of you.  Rotten Sound are like that, except instead of being battered and bloodied, you'll just feel that way, and instead of having a broken rib and bruised kidneys, you'll have just listened to a record at your home rather than being mercilessly assaulted by emu.

It looks like a cartoon character, but it's a killing machine made of delicious red meat.
 
One thing you can really say for Rotten Sound is that they can write a good song with some pretty sweet "hooks," which in grind speak actually means "parts that aren't blastbeats."  Cursed grinds in all the right places, slowly smolders in all the right places, and explodes like my bowels after my third cup of coffee in the morning.  Unlike my bowel explosions, however, Cursed is invigorating and welcome rather than painful and frightening.  Actually I should amend that; I was playing Rotten Sound at work the other day, and based on the super-hot salesgirl's reaction to the music, people are plenty frightened of Rotten Sound.  They just have to be blond and attractive and like Trace Adkins.  But at least after I listen to Cursed, people just ask me to put on the Old School Rap channel on our Pandora rather than demanding that I spray the bathroom with Lysol and go home so they don't have to smell me anymore.

And I need the money.

If you aren't listening to Rotten Sound, you should be, so you should follow your nose to the bone-crushing onslaught of our grind masters, and if you're the kind of guy who would like to date the pretty blond saleswoman in your office, you should maybe listen to it through headphones so she doesn't suspect that you want to chop her up and wear her face.  Because that's somehow the conclusion she'll automatically jump to.  Trust me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Masakari--The Prophet Feeds

When I was in high school, I knew everything.  When I went to college, I learned a bunch more and became, in my own mind, a super genius on a similar level as virtually any comic book mad scientist or super villain.  In high school I was a punk rocker.  I liked three things: 1) punk music, 2) skateboarding, and 3) slogans to yell at people about numbers one and two.  Things like "Nazi Punks, fuck off!" and "Racism sucks!" and "Skateboarding is not a crime!" commonly poured out of my mouth in torrents of self-perceived genius and love for others.  What I didn't take into account at the time is that my favorite slogans were thoughtful and eloquent enough to put them on par with the dumbest and most obvious sayings that could be conjured.  For all my disdain for Nazi punks, I never met one (though we did have a roving band of S.H.A.R.P.S. who roamed around beating people indiscriminately and careening toward bad heroin habits that would prove to break several of their brains).  Turns out that skateboarding IS in fact a crime if you do it anywhere the police arbitrarily decide you shouldn't be, and shouting "racism sucks" is about as non-groundbreaking of an opinion as to put it on par with "Cars can go faster than humans can run," and "shitting your pants in public is embarrassing."

But we persisted.

I don't even want to get into being in college, but I will, because it has to be said.  College students are all completely full of shit, as I was myself when I was a sophomore in college.  Man, I fucking knew everything, and God help you if you made music that didn't have a V-I cadence every ten seconds.  "That isn't resolving to the tonic note correctly!" I would exclaim in the snootiest fashion.  "This music is unlearned and therefore inferior!"  And then I'd wander away and have a conversation about how to re-engage audiences with jazz, or I'd lock myself away and comb through the Lydian-dominant scale so that, one fine day, I'd suddenly be able to play like John Coltrane, who didn't even play guitar.  I obsessed over my own knowledge of music and the workings of the world around me, never taking into account that, as I matured, things slowly revealed  themselves to be more complex than my undergraduate professors would make them out to be.  Shades of gray existed, and music that was derisively thrown aside slowly became not only acceptable again, but proved to be amazing and highly artistic.

Better than I could ever do with figured bass and strictly consonant counterpoint, for sure.

That brings me to Masakari.  As a band, Masakari are proving to be a new musical obsession for me.  They do everything that I like, including 1) massive and relentless D-boner strokage, 2) frantic screaming over tasty hott lix, and 3) slogan-style proselytizing.  The music is amazing and powerful; Masakari's brand of frantic hardcore does everything right and nothing wrong.  Indeed, this isn't the stupid tough-guy hardcore that it going to have people slam dancing to the most boring and poorly-written breakdowns.  Nay!  Masakari focus on the speed that makes punk-style hardcore so great, but they eschew the standard trappings of a Sick of It All or Earth Crisis hardcore band in favor of something good.  Think Axe to Fall-era Converge, the current incarnation of Trap Them, or All Pigs Must Die.

In other words, really good shit.

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Masakari live this year during SXSW at Studio 501.  It was shortly after I inadvertently met Bruce Lamont from Yakuza and shortly before I started following Trap Them around at a respectful yet still quite creepy distance.  I met up with major dudebro and member of the Crusty/Cakey Alliance Andy Wilhelm at the show so that we might jointly worship The Riff and bang our heads to the crunchiest metal available at the time (the show that I left featured The Funeral Pyre [who were great and adequately belligerent toward the gaggle of 15 year olds they played for] with a bunch of other garbage bands in the early part of the day, which didn't slake my thirst for The Riff, but did sunburn my neck first thing in the morning).  I ran my happy ass over to 501, and after a brief bout of being lost because the Studio 501 sign is highly misleading, I made it inside and started mingling.  Masakari was setting up as I stood there, talking to Andy and who turned out to be Bruce Lamont, lazily slurping the beer that Bruce had just bartended for me.

Masakari took the stage, and they looked young.  Like, real young.  Except their drummer, who I imagine as being the "father figure" of the group, like how boy bands used to do.  You know, where one would be the cute one, and one would be the old one, and one would be clearly gay but not come out until years later.  They unleashed their hardcore assault in short order, completed by the singer's frantic dive off the stage within the first second of the first song.  He crashed headlong into an unsuspecting audience member to my immediate left, sending them both to the cement floor in a painful-looking heap of crusty shirts and beard hair.

Masakari played with intensity and fervor that is matched only by my enthusiasm for this kind of music and how hard it jacked my D-boner, which was, of course, at a veiny 12 o'clock belly button salute.  It was gross.  Behold them through the magic of technology and my substandard photography skills!

It was at this point I realized that I have no idea how to turn the flash on.

I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes; the bass player always looks like this and doesn't really move.
Told you.
The album matches their live intensity to a T, and includes soundbites from news clips and things that are clearly meant to condemn things that everybody condemns.  Punk rock!  So it turns out Masakari doesn't like dog fighting or racism, and they exposed, through a soundbite that I in no way recognize or know the origin of, that the military will systematically inundate soldiers with anti-enemy propaganda and hatespeech so that the soldiers won't feel so bad about killing them.  The album finishes out with a secret track that points out how getting shot in the dick by Robocop would be highly unpleasant.

Again, I love punk rock sloganeering!

My enthusiasm for this band has virtually no end, so if you want to see what all the hubbub I'm making is all about, you should follow your nose and steal the album, and then whack off at the sheer awesomeness of it, then buy it and as many t-shirts as you can get away with.  I don't condone stealing from well-deserving bands; I only find where to steal albums from and then direct you there after downloading it myself, thereby absolving me of any culpability.  Right?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make some anti-slavery signs to wave at people on the highway.  Abolitionism now!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monsoon Cobra Gets Intimate with The Armed

I'm still new to this whole interviewing thing.  It's fun to correspond with bands, but the avenue that I've been pushing (i.e. the email interview) seems to take a while to get accomplished.  Since I've got no idea what a "professional" would do and I'm not going to do any research on the subject, I'm just going to have to deal with it.  About a month ago I emailed The Armed in the frozen tundra of Detroit and forgot that I had done so.  Yesterday, to my eternal delight, a response email appeared in my inbox, which means that all the not-preparing I did this weekend while I thundered around downtown Austin for SXSW is finally paying off.  Which is good, because SXSW is really just an overblown reason to watch about 30 bands every day, pay too much for beer and see drunk girls whose tube tops just roll right off their tits, and it's hard to get any writing or preparing to write done when you've got hooters to scope out.

Sweet.

So, without further ado, let's don our smoking jackets and sit down in the talking parlor for a quick chat with The Armed.


For the uninitiated, who are you and where are you from?

My name is Tony and I play drums in a punk band from Detroit called The Armed.

Your music is great stuff.  I famously compared you to Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge; did you or did you not spring from the glans penises of these two bands?  What kind of bands would you compare yourselves to?

I feel like that's a very flattering comparison.  Honestly, a lot of our direct inspiration comes from music we dislike...being frustrated with other stuff that's going on.  So I would compare us hopefully to the exact opposite of 90% of a modern Warped Tour bill.

Describe in excruciating detail how you guys write a song; is it a collective process, or is there one member who rules all with an iron fist?

It's not always the same, but I'd say 70-80% of the songs are started by me and Kenny (bass).  We'll jam together and exchange midi demos and kinda map out the whole song structure.  Then Aaron (guitar) who lives super close to me, will drive over and put some guitar stuff over it and we'll have a pretty decent working demo.  Most of our material comes from that kind of process.  There is a good number of exceptions to this rule though too.  Like the end of 'Death Panel' was written by our light guy Dan for a different song but it just sounded super heavy and great so we stole it for that one.  We've actually been shooting a ton of video of the writing/recording process for our new EP so hopefully that stuff will get out there in some way or another soon...

You guys put out These Are Lights in 2009 and released the EP Common Enemies earlier last year.  What have you got planned release-wise for 2011?

We are working on a new EP right now that'll probably be ready by Fall.  Last time, with 'Common Enemies,' we kinda made up a bunch of rules and made a pretty tight deadline for ourselves. I think the result was great and it worked out perfectly, but this time, we're keeping it a bit more open like 'These Are Lights' was.  So it's not completely written in stone yet, but it's shaping up to probably be a five song release.  Potentially more, or maybe some songs will be released in different formats later in the year as well.  No less than five though for sure.  Tons of guests.  Recording one locally this week and then going out to Jersey next week to record out there.  Super stoked for that.  There's going to be some absolutely insane stuff on this record.  Really angry, really fast thrashers.  And some stuff that you'll be able to catch a groove to too, so it'll be pretty aggressive but well balanced.  It'll be released for free online just like everything else, and potentially on vinyl in a limited run like 'Common Enemies.'  It may also have a limited run DVD companion as well. 

Offering music for free download is an increasingly popular thing to do, since everyone knows that people like me would just steal that shit anyway using Internet power.  What led to your decision to make your debut and the subsequent EP free for everyone to download?

Wanting people to actually hear or care about our music made us choose this route.  We hadn't even played a single show together when we released 'These Are Lights' but we all believed in the material and wanted to get it out to as many people as possible.  Selling overpriced CDs to kids at shows is a bad way to get the word out.  Giving it away allowed us to reach thousands of kids we'd never make an impact on otherwise and do so quickly.  

Then, the people who really really like us bought our record and tshirts and DVDs and whatnot when we released 'Common Enemies.'  That's good enough for us.  We are not delusional people.  We will never make livable money off of playing the music we play....especially in the fashion we play our shows live.  This is not supposed to be some kind of crazy, super profitable venture.  We just wanna kill it.  So give it all away and let as many people as possible enjoy it.

I'm impressed with how slick your website is.  Who made the website?

Thank you.  I design, our friend Billy Kurilko codes.

What would be the ideal bill for The Armed to jump on?

Something in a big house with a ton of kids there.  Preferably something diverse so it's not like 8 of those total bummer deathcore bands and then us or something.

What plans do you guys have for touring?  When will The Armed come to Austin, TX to hang out with me specifically?  How about other places where I probably won't be?

Touring is difficult because of the myriad of other projects everyone else has going.  One of the biggest things is that Aaron is a high school teacher which makes school year gigging very hard.  Chris lives in Canada.  Dan legally can't be in some states...Be on the look out though for some short tactical strikes this summer.  I'd love to make it to Austin at some point for sure.

I was first exposed to you guys through Metalsucks.net, when you were written up by some dude who had a pseudonym containing the word "Hitler."  Do you actually know that dude, or is he just more in tune with great underground music than I am?

That dude frequents a message board where I had put up links to our band's stuff.  It was super killer of him to put that up there.

Did that writeup lead to any additional fans?  How about interest from labels?

Both, definitely.  That's how I found out about the article.  There was a pretty substantial spike in download activity and our hosting service actually called Chris because it pushed us over our monthly bandwidth.  It was probably one of the biggest increases since either album was released.  As for the label interest thing, we received quite a few emails but I doubt you'll be seeing us on any label anytime soon.  The funny thing is, most of the correspondence we have is people at labels just telling us they really love what we are doing and how we are going about it.  I think most realize that we are not profitable though.  We also have very little interest in being involved in any kind of traditional record deal.  I wouldn't rule any and all label involvement out completely or anything, but being completely on our own has worked out pretty good for us so far...

Being tr00 and kvlt is really popular right now.  When are The Armed going to finally go Black Metal?

This new EP is total dark mode, dude.
...................
...
So there you have it; The Armed are finally going black metal.  And it's about damn time, if you ask me.  Thanks to Tony and the rest of the band for taking the time to answer my stupid questions.  I'm just glad I got to post something, because I had literally nothing else planned (except my old fallback, which is excerpts from my dream journal).  Visit The Armed at their website and download their shit, buy a shirt, or do what I did and marvel at their fancy website, accomplishing nothing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SXSW Itinerary

Dogsitting is a pain in my balls.  I've been frantically running back and forth between my apartment and some friends' house to make sure their dog is still alive (I also have to sleep there for some reason), and the pace is catching up to me.  Honestly, I wish that maybe this all happened a week earlier or two weeks later, but what the hell am I going to do?  My buddy wishes that his dog could stay alive during his snowboarding trip, and I'm his genie in a bottle.

Gross.

I realize that I could have brought the damn dog over here, but he's the kind of dog that just kind of pisses places for no good reason, and his dog door allows people to be gone for longer than an hour at a time.  I don't have a dog door, and I just got a nice new couch that only I can befoul with bodily excretions.  Also, that dog is a pain in the ass.

Hopefully normal posting will resume on Monday, with pictures and stories of SXSW failures and glories.  Until then, I've outlined a tentative itinerary for tomorrow and Saturday, so that if you were so inclined you could follow me around.

I know that nobody is interested in that, though.

9:32-Take the southbound train into downtown.
11am through 12pm-Wander around aimlessly; think long and hard about my decision to arrive as early as I did.  Eat a granola bar out of boredom.
12 through 1:30-Catch the Maryland Death Fest in Austin showcase; watch The Red Chord and Trap Them.
1:30-Follow Trap Them out of the venue; attempt to be stealthy but totally fail.
1:41-Attack Brian Izzi and steal a lock of his beard hair for my creepy hair shrine.
1:42-Flee the scene
2:02-Find The Red Chord; follow them around dressed as a grackle
2:03-Impromptu crime against The Red Chord.  I love to improvise!
2:04-Flee the scene
2:22-Meet up with dudebros and drink heavily despite the early time and lack of a ride home.
2:30 through 3:31-Lions of Tsavo show; attack Daine and steal a lock of his beard hair for my creepy hair shrine.
4:02-Realize how much fucking beard hair I have on my person; drunkenly dump it all in the gutter, resolving to restart collection after nightfall
4:04 through 4:51-Drink heavily; tussle Van Damned's hair until he punches me in the stomach.
4:59 through 5:16-Period of the day set aside for relentlessly making fun of the Artist Formerly Known as the WZA'd.
5:16-Drinking and watching Castevet or Batillus or something
6:18 through 1:00am-Fuzzy period of concerts and walking; somehow get lost and then find the party again.  Lose shirt for a while but then regain it without remembering how.  Stephanie Farinelli takes lots of pictures that are hilarious and embarassing.
1:00am through 9:00am-?
9:00am (Saturday)-Wake up somewhere with the feeling that my wife is/is going to be angry with me
12:30pm-Band practice
3:00-8:00-Feel glad that band practice is over; nap and ibuprofen, resolve not to drink as much tonight.
9:00-Get to The Dorm (on 6th Street) with guitars and manpurse.  Feel embarrassed for how early I showed up.  Wonder how I've managed to never notice this venue (if it's an actual venue).  If it's a field, wonder how I managed to miss this field.
11:something-Play a show to what I assume will be a tiny crowd
12:something-Drink just about as much as I did the night before.

Regular posting begins again on Monday.  Hope to see you all on the streets.  If you see me, ask about the Chug Life, beekeepers, or my couch.  I love to talk about those things.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heavy Metal =/= Jazz

Pop quiz, hotshot!  What does this:


and this:


and this:


have to do with this:


The answer?

Nothing!

I've heard the assertion made far too many times that heavy metal and jazz are "the same thing."  It always drives me crazy when people decide that their taste in music should be deemed as classy as the taste in music of an aging college professor.  "But dude, heavy metal is pretty much the same thing!  My friend told me!"  Your friend is wrong and dumb.  Now I'm going to do you a favor and submit a quick compare and contrast-style essay for you to read and realize that, if you think this is the case, you are wrong.

Heavy metal is frightening and loud.  Tonality hovers around the natural minor, phrygian, and diminished scales, which act to convey maximum evilness.  Tempos range from painfully slow to blindingly fast with a barren wasteland of unusable tempos in between, and vocals are handled by people who scream like escaped mental patients about God-knows-what.  Solos are meant to be played fast; shredding is key to a proper metal solo, and if you aren't capable of shredding, then you include no solos.  Imagery in heavy metal is vital; dead and undead things invade the vernacular, and darkness is revered.  Normal life takes a backseat to that overwhelming angry maelstrom that blasts from the speakers.  Guitars, drums and bass fill out the roster of a metal band, with shitty bands sometimes including keyboards and, if Bruce Lamont is in your band, you sometimes are forced to have a saxophone, too.  Song titles sound like these: "Hammersmashed Face," "Degenerate Binds," and "The Unbearable Filth of the Soul."  Song form skews more toward the popular song style, where there is no predetermined form and people just wildly throw stuff into the mix until they decide they are done.

In short, metal rules.

Jazz is the only form of music that can be called "purely American."  Dynamics are a fundamental part of the jazz experience, but volumes tend toward being soft and gentle.  Tonality in jazz includes all notes and all scales, but you'd be hard pressed to find any jazz song that would attempt to convey maximum evilness.  Usually they try to convey what it's like to walk through a park in 1942, or something similarly gay.  Tempos run the gamut here, also, but rarely get quite fast unless you're talking about the short-lived bebop era of jazz, which featured blazing tempos and solos that tooted and squalled wildly over drums and bass.  Vocals are usually handled by women, and they sing about walking around in a park in 1942, or something similarly gay.   Solos can be slow; in fact, Miles Davis built a career on playing slowly in a show of rejection to the bebop movement.  He started something called "Cool jazz," got quite into fusion in the 1980's, and could be said to be guilty of perpetuating one of the worst musical styles known to man: Smooth Jazz.  Bands always include horns like saxophone, trumpet, and trombone, and the occasional clarinet can be tossed into the mix as well.  Sometimes there is a guitar player, but he almost never shreds, and the bass and drums fill out the rhythm section and usually wear sunglasses to convey how cool they perceive themselves to be.

"To play well, you just have to do it.  And no, I'm not going to explain what I'm talking about."

Jazzy song titles include "On Blue Dolphin Street," "Giant Steps," and "Salt Peanuts."  Roughly 60% of jazz songs/pieces contain some variant of the word "blue" in the title; this is because heroin breaks your brain and renders it incapable of normal function, and jazz players thought the color blue was cool.  Form ranges from strict 12-bar blues forms with V/ii, V/V, V, I turnarounds to the popular 32-bar form to nebulous big band arrangements that include solis and triads in the trumpet.  These forms necessitate the long, meandering solo, because the written out part only lasts about 30 seconds before it has to be repeated.  If the solo is slow enough, it will be deemed "acceptable" by people who are into jazz.

Based on what I just presented, it doesn't seem that they are very much alike at all, does it?  Though metal and jazz are completely disparate forms of music, they do share one important characteristic that will continue to link them in an oblique and yet inextricable manner.  What I'm speaking of is the fact that both metal and jazz are player's forms, played by people who like the style specifically for the enjoyment of other players who like the style.  Both forms of music are pretentious and exclusionist, and have rendered themselves perfectly unlistenable to the greater population of the world.  Both genres take pride in listening thoughtfully and then denouncing artists or songs as "derivative," "generic," or "dumb."  Virtually nobody who partakes in these forms of music does not play an instrument, and then they never play anything but their chosen genre.  Jazz dudes are jazz dudes forever, the same way that metal d00dz will forever forsake all other genres (unless they're trying to be impressive or get a music degree) in favor of the br00talest music available at the time.

I've spent my time as a jazz boner, sitting around and trying to transcribe solos that make no sense, idolizing the playing of dead heroin-addicted men who don't even play the same instrument that I play, and I'm currently engaged in the lifelong pursuit of The Heavy.  I have studied both genres extensively, and been chastised from all sides for participating in both genres.  They both have their upsides and downsides, and it's not for me to say which is better, though I think it's clear that metal is way better.  But if you're ever sitting around smoking weed with your dudebros or hanging out on a cigarette break at band practice, do yourself a favor and don't talk about metal being "the same as jazz," because it's not, and it makes you look like you've never heard either genre.

Actually, I was wrong.  Both genres like creepy imagery, but jazz's interest in all things frightening to the eye ended at looking at Miles Davis in the 80's.  Gross!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ulcerate--The Destroyers of All

I'm really starting to get tired of America.

As an American citizen (these colors don't run, motherfucker), I feel proud of where I'm from.  Do I realize that we collectively look like a gaggle of uncouth, loudmouthed know-it-alls to the rest of the world?  Obviously.  But I'm not really worried about what the rest of the world thinks of us.  I'm more worried about what I see every day, flashing in my face and screaming at me like my infuriated wife.  Reading the news is like exposing yourself to a series of perceived and potential disasters (with actual disasters, like the Japanese tsunami, peppered around in there for flavor).  What passes for news these days?  Red carpet dresses at awards shows that I've never watched and hot careers that are hiring now!  And I'm qualified for none of them!

Conspicuously absent from these kinds of news reports are real-life, unbiased reporting about issues that actually make a difference, like the laws recently passed in Wisconsin that strip union workers of their right to collectively bargain.  It seems obvious that something of that nature would affect a ton of people all over the country, but they are really more interested in who is stuffing his dick into Kim Kardashian's gaping maw this week.  Even more interesting is that, in this age of rampant and unavoidable information saturation, people would rather watch a 24 hour "news" network (that makes no effort to hide its political leanings) so that fat, pasty retards in starched shirts can tell them what they should be thinking about any issue.

Unions are out!  We'll tell you your opinion of this historic legislation after a series of Loreal and BMW commercials.
I was watching television yesterday for the first time in quite a while; one of those lipstick commercials comes on, starring Gwen Stefani (is she still a celebrity?).  She bandies herself around, her lips painted red like a mandrill's ass.  The commercial features constant closeups of her mouth; it cuts to closeup erratically but constantly, only backing away from her lips long enough to give you a quick torso shot so that you can identify her.  At one point, the closeup of her mouth reveals that she has a giant diamond in between her teeth.

A fucking diamond.  IN HER MOUTH.

The sales tactic here is simple and obvious; lipstick makes your lips look more like a pussy, and this kind of lipstick is so fancy that you'll feel like you have a diamond crammed in your snatch.  Just like the Queen of England!  Here in America, we like money and shiny things, and not only do we have diamonds lying around that Gwen Stefani can shove into her mouth for a commercial, but the Average American will also be able to simulate this kind of wealth and class by buying lipstick (available at Walgreens).

U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

All of this silliness makes me want to move away to some kind of frightening backwards-land that I know nothing about.  Like New Zealand.  Everything I've learned about New Zealand comes from watching Flight of the Conchords, which I love.  They're always talking about penguins and how they didn't like the penguins.  Could you imagine having such an adorable nuisance as a BUNCH OF FUCKING PENGUINS RUNNING AROUND?!?

Oh, shit.  They're all over the lawn, and they're adorable.  I'll go get my penguin-chasing broom.

Places like this befuddle me, and I rarely understand anything that comes from these remote areas where people speak English but with a scary accent.  Thankfully for New Zealand, however, I understand Flight of the Conchords, and I understand Ulcerate (it took a while to get here, didn't it?).

Ulcerate are a totally crunchy death metal band that I assume wear weird sweaters.  But the sweaters appear normal to them, because they're from New Zealand.  Their brand of death metal has been much-touted for the last couple of years, but I never got around to listening to them until just recently.  Whereas previous album Of Fracture and Failure is pretty traditional technical death metal, The Destroyers of All takes a new and sexy direction.  Cosmo Lee, of the superb Invisible Oranges, did a brief writeup that you should also read (check it out here).  It was very thought-provoking, and makes some wild comparisons that I can agree with even if I would have never thought of them myself.

Anyway, Ulcerate's new album has struck on something interesting that hasn't been explored very deeply in death metal before.  Ulcerate has begun playing angular, dissonant, and skronky guitar riffs very slowly over fast and frantic death metal drumming.  It's almost like a doom band got mashed up with a hypertechnical death metal band in some kind of weird gamma-radiation experiment gone horribly awry.  Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that this isn't more of a common thing considering the tech-death obsession with throwing in oddball parts and songs to appear more fancy and eclectic, which is the musical equivalent to having a diamond stuffed in your vag.  What's more surprising is how well it works.

I've spent a lot of time sitting on this album and listening to it over and over.  If you're not a fan of tech death, you should still listen to The Destroyers of All.  Maybe skip Ulcerate's back catalog, but definitely do yourself a favor and see what the next big trend that will be beaten to death in heavy metal is.  Tell them your old buddy Monsoon Cobra told you about it before it was popular, and that's why you're smarter than everybody else.

The music is pretty hard to describe, but you should follow your nose and check it out for yourself.  It's quite a thing.  Exactly the kind of backwards-assed thing I would expect from some bizarro sheep-infested island that sits resentfully in the shadow of Australia.

I just hope they don't get Fox News out there.  But I do have to go buy some of that lipstick.  Because it makes me feel pretty.  Like Gwen Stefani.

Gwen Stefani  (Not pictured, the diamond nestled in her twat)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obligatory SXSW Post

With the yearly festival to end all festivals quickly approaching, I've been seeing lots of "guides to SXSW" popping up.  Showcase here!  Look at this band!  Ooooh, there's another!

Wheeeee!

I'm ambivalent about SXSW; on the one hand, there's always some sweet ass bands running around, doing like 10 shows a day (this year, there's a high likelyhood that I'll be following Trap Them from venue to venue, only pausing to watch sets by The Red Chord and Wormrot).  Many of the shows are free and there are always a large population of my best metal dudebros hanging around.  Fun!

And who doesn't like a day of creeping out Trap Them punctuated by dick jokes with your best metal dudebros?  Communists!  That's who!

"I disapprove of fun and stalking Trap Them."

Last year at the St. Patrick's Day Action P.R./Metalsucks Showcase I attended (Clinging to the Trees of A Forest Fire, Withered, Bison B.C., Gates of Slumber, Scale the Summit, and High on Fire, among others), I achieved the pinnacle of my life, wherein Matt Pike allowed me to touch his guitar and hang out with him for a short period of time.  If you meet me around, I'll be happy to regale you with the story, because it includes too many wild arm gesticulations and over-the-top shouting to to convey with the written word.  But it was the best thing that ever happened to me, and now I can rest easy that the best moment of my life is over and it's all downhill from there.  Also, Matt Pike is a really nice guy, and I got to see him in the wild, where he was still wearing a shirt.



It looked like this, but Matt Pike was wearing a shirt.  It's kind of hard to visualize.

I tied a pretty good one on that night; meanwhile, my ride, codenamed Sgt. Boner, had followed some girl out of the venue only to find out several hours afterword that she had a boyfriend, and then went home, stranding me downtown.  I didn't notice because I was harassing Bob Fouts and watching a The Artist Formerly Known As the WZA'd argue with a drunk girl about whether or not she was capable of kicking him in the face where he stood (spoiler alert: she was, in fact, capable of doing so).  It was quite an evening, all right.

I've had good times at SXSW, make no mistake.  But my ambivalence lies in the fact that millions of people swarm the city, effectively shutting downtown down, making it impossible to get from the north side of the city to the south side without much furrowing of brows and clucking of tongues.  Also, when you try to get over to a show, the crowds that form stop traffic altogether.

It's like a swarm of cattle with dead, empty eyes forced themselves into skinny jeans and Grandpa shirts, only to stand around in the street rather than using the adjacent sidewalk.

That's right, more anti-hipster sentiments.  Fuck you, hipsters!

Hey, dude, I'm trying to stand in the crosswalk and stare blankly at my surroundings, mouth agape.  Why don't you take your...*pretentious scoff*...CAR to the freeway?  *Resumes staring, mouth agape, at his surroundings*

It's fucking impossible to get anywhere and do anything with all these buttholes running around, cramping my style.  Now, I've only lived here for a couple of years; I don't consider myself an "Austinite" and I don't like to get all high-minded about "out-of-towners" the way that Austin natives tend to.  That's not my thing.  I'm glad that I was allowed to move out here, because the alternative was so depressing.  I'm pretty confident that by moving out here, I was able to avoid numerous DUI's and a career in moving around cans of carbonated beverages at grocery and convenience stores.  But Austin is congested enough without all these mongoloid halfwit hipsters running around, creating lines at all the food places and wearing stupid clothes that are perfectly harmless but that I hate.

I just want them to go away.  *Sigh*

Ranting aside, SXSW is always quite a thing, and I'm looking forward to checking out a bunch of it this year.  I'm hoping to get a Friday off so that I can gallivant around downtown with Van Damned and The Artist Formerly Known as the WZA'd.  I'll have at least three chances to check out Wormrot, which will be awesome, and I'll get to finally cross The Red Chord off my bucket list of bands to see live.  Plus, there's virtually no way I'd rather spend my day than following Trap Them around like some kind of lonesome and pathetic Deadhead (perhaps a Trappy?).  As a quick note to Trap Them, since there are no bushes for me to hide in, and an absence of darkness to skulk around in, I'll be much more visible than usual.

I'm hoping Brian Izzi has a prescription or Medic Alert Bracelet I can swipe.

Check out the half-hearted SXSW guide that The Artist Formerly Known as the WZA'd put together here; this will make it easier to track my movements (and plan your own I guess).  Make sure, if you're in the area, to check out all the cool bands and buy some shirts, because we all know that you fucking stole their albums and learned the lyrics.  Don't be a dick, bro.

Oh, and I guess there will be some movies or something also playing, and some kind of conference.  And look for me in the Austin American Statesman under the headline "Daring Daylight Robbery of the SXSW Guitar Show Baffles Police: 'Who Is This Masked Dynamo?' Asks City Hall."

The perfect crime!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Adventures of the Married Metal Man--Being in a Band

If you are alive and reading this, there's a good chance that you have been in a band.  Everybody knows that being in a band is the second coolest thing a human being can participate in, behind smoking cigarettes and just ahead of never getting married.  But when it comes to being a married metal man, what do you do to convince the albatross around your neck that you should be allowed to spend your time away from her piercing gaze, out with your dudebros participating in the two coolest things a human being can participate in (and pretending to be participating in the third)?  Luckily for you, I've run this gauntlet many times before and I have the inside scoop that will keep you and the Turds of Misery (pictured above) shredding the garage for years to come, or until the bass player inexplicably sells all of his gear and decides that selling and smoking weed is how he'd rather spend his spare time.

As I mentioned above, I'm no stranger to being in a band.  I am, however, a stranger to being in a band that actually plays shows and practices more than twice before everybody stops returning your phone calls (Austin is a tough place to start a band).  Since I moved out here, I've been a "member" in more bands than I'd care to recall, each with their own cringe-worthy name and founding members that give themselves too much credit for their substandard playing ability.  None of these bands have worked out though, due to outside factors like the drummer breaking up with his girlfriend and going into seclusion for 8 months only to call me one day and ask if I can practice the next day, or like the bass player who got kicked out of his shantytown apartment complex that decided that he likes working at Hot Topic more than returning phone calls.  But, through all of this, I maintained the delicate balance with my wife, convincing her that my being in a band was not a big deal and that she was okay with it.

So how did I do it, you ask?

I'm going to let out the key to living the "in a band" lifestyle right off the bat.  It's important, and needs to be approached with subtlety and finesse so that you can get those two or three band practices in unimpeded, and so that your crappy band can implode from inside factors and not because of your crappy wife.  The most important thing you can do to be in a band is to convince your wife that you playing a musical instrument is sexy.

Baby, I was thinking of you and this song just...came to me.

Your wife already knows all sorts of unsavory and unsexy things about you.  She knows that after a hard night of drinking, your morning bowel movement is likely to set off the smoke detectors in your apartment.  She knows that you're likely to fall asleep on the couch and snore loudly through The Notebook on your "stay at home together" night.  She knows that when you get home from work, you're going to smell like Bigfoot just crawled out of a vat of his own sweat, which was located in a nearby sewer.  But she has to think that your half-witted command of your chosen musical instrument makes you a hot potato.  How do you achieve this?  The answer is surprisingly easy: write her a song.
Don't be stupid about the song, though.  It has to be really, really gay and lame, with lots of over-the-top "feelings" sprinkled throughout.  If you're reading this, you probably hate those kinds of songs, but believe me when I say that this is an easy way to get her to like what you do.  Never play the song live or even insinuate that you are going to do so; simply use your instrument to tell her that you want to touch her genitalia with yours and she'll immediately consider you to be the next John Mayer, and women love shitty stuff like John Mayer.
 I can see your vulva in the moonlight, darlin'.  It fills me with feelings.

Once you have reduced your lady to a simmering pool of sex juices, you're ready to hit the scene.
Finding a band can be difficult if your local scene is full of stony boners who say "there is no scene out here, man," and skip every single badass show that comes through because the $5 cover would cut into their weed money.  These kinds of dudes also usually want to play something that sounds exactly like Darkest Hour or At the Gates, but with lots of breakdowns and much lamer riffs.  But if you tough it out, you'll have a band briefly assembled, and then you have to convince your woman that you are allowed to go to band practice.  
Try cooking dinner for the two of you a day or two in advance and passing it off as quality time.  Also, make sure you hide the Spaghetti-O's cans really well; you don't want her to know how half-assed your approach to cooking can be.  Then suggest watching a movie and try to stay awake through the whole thing; this can be tough, so you'll have to make sure that the movie has at least a couple explosions in it to keep you engaged.   When band practice day is approaching, tell your wife IN ADVANCE that you'll be doing band practice.  If she puts up any resistance, remind her of the nice evening you spent together and accuse her of never letting you go do things with your friends.  Once she relents, you'll have to repeat the process a couple more times until she just accepts band practice as part of the weekly ritual.  Then you're golden.

Celebrate!  Now you're in a band.

If your band miraculously stays together long enough to do a show, invite your wife to the first one.  Make sure that she sees that you are actually creating music when you leave the house, and make sure she has a bad time (most women will).  For subsequent shows, DON'T LET YOUR WIFE COME; instead, gently tell her that she doesn't want to come.  She's heard all the songs before and she isn't even into the kind of music your band plays; tell her it's okay with you if she just wants to skip out on it, and that you won't be home too late.  Let her feel like YOU'RE letting HER off the hook.  Then you can go have fun with your friends and do cool stuff, like drink beer and make jokes that she would normally hit you for making were she around.

I can't understand what the singer is saying!  Where's that song you wrote me?  Play that one!

The best part of all this is that, with the state of the music industry, your band will never make it big, and this will just be a totally sweet ritual that exempts you from having to do dumb stuff like hang around with your wife a few times a month.  Put together a Facebook page so that you'll have an avenue to tell your 12 fans that your band is breaking up once the rhythm guitarist gets a job at the Vans outlet.

Repeat the process ad nauseum until your wife accepts your obsession with playing poorly constructed music as one of your unavoidable personality flaws, like forgetting to brush your teeth or accidentally drinking 13 beers alone on a Wednesday night.

Whoops.  I forgot I have to go to work in the morning.

And you're welcome.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What An Asshole!--Volume 1

I make no bones about my past or my opinions on this stupid, pointless blog of mine.  If you've ever read more than one of my posts, you will have noticed that I tend to make embarrassing confessions and bare my soul on here far more than anybody should be doing on the Interbung.  After all, the truth has no quarter in the realm that launched phenomenons like "Two Girls One Cup," "Tub Girl," and lemonparty.org (do yourself a favor and don't look up any of these if you're still lucky enough to be woefully out of the loop.  Seriously).  But I have managed to replace God, my family, and community service with this blog, and since telling the VFW Hall organizers that they can stick their BINGO cards up their asses too closely resembles humility, I have no intention of turning back from the ways into which I've set myself.  I'm too old, dag nabbit!
Don't try to change me, baby.  Also, have you seen my penis?  It seems to have gone missing.
 
However, with my increasing age and (through the magic of alcoholic beverages and no password protection on my laptop) willingness to own up to embarrassing things publicly, I've managed to gain some additional wisdom in this aging process.  Wisdom like: don't trust anyone over 30.  And if you're over 30?  Well, find a cool 16 year old who doesn't mind having an adult who can buy him beer hanging around and asking for advice.  But realize that he's never going to trust you, and for good reason.  Another piece of wisdom I've gained?  Old metal rules.  Like, so fucking hard.  I'm no square, now; I've always loved me some old Metallica, but I'd be grossly exaggerating if I indicated to you, fair reader, that I've ever really gotten into any of the other Big 4 thrash bands or any of the lesser known but still-amazing bands that were their contemporaries in the 80's.  
 
I am, right now, owning up to never having really given Anthrax or Megadeth a chance, and with the exception of a short-lived Slayer phase that was ruined by the oft-panned God Hates Us All album (Undisputed Attitude, FTW!), I never really gave Slayer a fair shake, either.  The years spent without Kreator and Sepultura, the nights I spent sad and lonely without the sweet embrace of Judas Priest to comfort me, they haunt me now!

So untr00 am I!  Oh, the agony!
 
I am most haunted, however, by one ghost in particular, the Marley brothers to my heavy metal Ebenezer Scrooge.
Motorhead.
 
Kill me if you must, but leave my giant bank of money that I swim in alone!
 
I've been rocking some old tuneage on Pandora radio lately, which is a good tool to just put something on during work and let the good old Interbung guide your musical journey (until one of your coworkers decides that he's going to create a Bob Marley station while you're on lunch, and then you have to see that shit on your station guide forever).  We tried out Black Sabbath radio, which was totally sweet except for all the shitty Ozzy songs that tend to come on between all the good Black Sabbath and old Metallica songs.  So much Ozzy!  As if I don't get to hear "Bark at the Moon" enough times over the course of one day in my limited contact with the radio, here it is again!  I got saucy one day, though, emboldened by a string of Motorhead songs that had played over the course of my coworkers' lunch breaks, and created a Motorhead radio station.  And I was delighted by what I found.
 
Oh, the wonders of 80's speed metal!

I think the thing that stings the most about Motorhead and my missing out on the fun is that I had, in fact, attempted to get into Motorhead when I was in high school.  Admittedly, I wasn't very open minded in high school in regards to music.  Oftentimes, if there were a guitar solo or a band just didn't sound enough like Bad Religion or the Dead Kennedys, I would pan it as garbage and instantly move on.  Motorhead seemed like the kind of band that I should be into, though, and since I was such an uncompromising individual, I did what all of my friends were doing and got a Motorhead album.  The album I got was Ace of Spades, named after the only Motorhead song I could at the time identify.  Looking back, it seems that Motorhead should have appealed to me immediately; however, since metal bands tend to do things like "write songs that sound different from other songs," and none of the other songs sounded exactly like "Ace of Spades," I was quick to pan Motorhead as garbage and immediately move on.

What an asshole!

I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to atone for this, getting to know Motorhead and associated 80's metal bands better and praying to Lemmy to forgive me and send me a new bicycle for Christmas, one that's good for doing wheelies and that I can jump over a car if I build a ramp. 

Also I want a Nintendo, and please bless mommy and daddy.  Amen.

In the spirit of, well, most other parts of my life, I feel like such a tool for having chosen to remain ignorant and a bunghole about something so basic and delightful for so very, very long.  I've chosen to name this segment with the word "volume" in it because there are a great many things that I have been missing out on for a long time, and I'd like to make this as regular a segment as possible as I stumble upon bands that I've never given the time of day to.  And yes, I know I have a million things up here with the word "volume" in them, but this one, unlike all the others, will actually have other volumes to it (probably).

I'm so sorry, Lemmy.  I'll try to make it up to you as best I can.  But you still shouldn't have released those major key songs; those ones aren't so good.