MASTER CLEANSE AND ACOUSTIC SHOWS
I did the full 10 days on the Master Cleanse and ended up going 12 days just to make sure that I stayed sober and didn't fall off the wagon while still doing these shows. The shows were awesome, really, really, REALLY awesome! I needed this so bad. To everyone who came out to these shows and made them such a special and intense event, thank you. They got heavy, really heavy and I had no idea how heavy these would get. Therapeutic. I didn't know what to expect or what they would be like. I made no setlist except the opening and closing song. Chose songs we probably won't play live again or at least haven't played live in a reeeeeeeally long time, and cover songs we would never cover. To my surprise I ended up telling a lot of stories before each song. Every time I thought I'd been going-on too long with a story, ("am I talking too much?") people would ask for more. In Fullerton I got a "sto-ry, sto-ry, sto-ry" chant, it was hilarious.
It was surprising how fun these shows were. Hell, I'm playing a bunch of acoustic songs, not party metal! But it was a party here and there, and more than anything for our small group of 100 to 200 each night, it was a release. A massive communal release. I was choked up more than a few times, sing-a-longs were life-affirming and in San Diego I got an encore!! San Diego was amazing.
Lots of videos up on YouTube, some posted on the MH FB page and lots posted at the MH fansite TakeMyScars.com. Here are some I quickly found:
"Sunshine" (Alice In Chains cover, live in Riverside)
"The Burning Red" (live in Hollywood)
"Darkness Within" (live in San Diego)
GOJIRA LIVE AT THE FONDA CENTER
Man, just when you thought music couldn't get any heavier, somebody comes along and blows that theory out of the water! As the British would say, "fucking HELL?!". So tight, heavy, monstrously creative, great sound, great lights, heartfelt, and the occasionally bizarre between song banter, LOL. If I had one minor complaint it would be the second half of the set didn't flow very well. Song, break, song, break, nothing horrible but the momentum dropped.
Regardless, do not miss.
Going to shows was definitely a challenge on the Master Cleanse, having to bring that damn drink with you EVERYWHERE takes a lot of discipline. Most venues were very accommodating, in particular the Fonda Center where I also saw a really great performance by Quicksand.
CD'S VS STREAMING
Well you guys have spoken, and actually continue to speak as I still get emails pouring into my inbox. Quite a passionate response about this subject and deservedly so. Apparently my comments caused quite a stir.
Just to expand on my thoughts a bit:
Look, I'm in a band, I've lived on a bus/van/plane for well over 25 years of my life now. I live out of a suitcase, that resides on a tour bus, with 10 people (imagine a studio apartment on wheels, with 9 roommates) for 10 months out of a year at times. My life needs to be efficient, it needs to be compact, it needs to be portable. Sure, I used to carry a big-ass CD wallet everywhere with beer-soaked, scratched up CD's and it was a pain, so yeah, the Spotify / iTunes world fits me perfect.
But, I also realize this isn't most people's life.
Most people don't need the portability I do. Lot's of people said they love iTunes and streaming. Lot's of people said they would like a CD, and of course, for the time being we will continue to sell CD's. That's never been a question, as long as there are stores to stock CD's, we will sell CD's. And with Bandcamp.com and HDfiles.com offering CD quality and higher files, that's a cool thing the future is bringing to files. But also, as I'm sure as most of you know, stores to purchase CD's are getting harder and harder to find. HMV (the last UK based CD chain) just closed shop, FNAC and Virgin France just closed. Here in the US Best Buy has cut CD rack space down from 24 racks to 4 racks!
I have a ritual I've done for every release since Burn My Eyes in 1994, where first day I go in and buy our album. Call it good luck or whatever, I love my rituals. But believe you me, I was stunned, STUNNED, when I went into Ameoba Records in Hollywood (I was in LA on the Jason Ellis show day of release) and saw our regular album NOT on sale, but full price for $16.99. I spent $40 bucks buying the 2 editions. It was wrong, it's supposed to be on sale the first week / first month. You reward the die-hards, reward the Head Cases for going out there and supporting you first day/week/month. It's a thank you. We were pissed and fans weren't stoked. Shit like this has to change, it has to, and we as a band (with your help) have to figure out a way around it.
So many great shows this month, at Gojira I ran into Robert Trujillo who was rad enough to get the wife and I into Muse at the Oakland Arena (Muse and Met have the same management). All I can say is, WOW, fuckin' WOOOOOOOOOW!! Sure, their new record blows (a serious lack of rocking) but man, still one of my faves and they put on one of the best shows out there. "Newborn" (dedicated to James and Lars) and "Knights Of Cydonia" were earth-shattering. Mind-boggling light show, fantastic setlist, showmanship, Bellamy is ridiculously-annoyingly talented, all of 'em are, such a great band. They started really early (were done by 10PM) so Genevra and I missed the first 5 or 6 songs, bummer, and parking at the Oakland Arena was $35 FUCKING DOLLARS!?!? Really?! $35 bucks to park for what, 3 hours? I hope Muse is getting a cut, or maybe I don't if that's the way things are going. Never the less, RAD show.
NAMM is a nightmare. If you're not in band, it's probably amazing but if you're in a band, it's the worlds biggest Guitar Center, except with celebrity gawkers who want to take pictures with famous people and most of the time have no idea who you are, which is... well... weird! Plus everyone with an iPhone, thinks they're a fucking journalist and wants to interview you for their stupid YouTube page / website, so that THEY can get something from it. I fucking hate journalists, and I hate smarmy, clueless, American journalists even more. There's probably 6 good ones in the whole country. The rest are lazy hacks, who don't do their research, don't care about the music, they don't believe, they're repeaters, repeating the same tired-ass BS about the "U.S. version" of the Machine Head "story". Thankfully the U.S. Head Cases know better.
It is fun to hang out with my band bros though and I love geeking out on the gear too, as I'm an analog pedal junkie. Love to keep up with the new digital stuff, LOVE my Axe FX, and it was cool to see "some" of our friends at the companies who do back us. But if I could sum up the feeling I had walking through there... I felt like a prostitute showing off my wares ("22 Acacia Avenue" was going through my head the whole time). "Like what you see?" "Am I cool enough for you to give me free shit, or, keep giving me free shit?" "Or get the Artist Discount?" (which is the new buzzword, meaning it's cheaper, but I can actually get it for way cheaper buying with our Guitar Center discount). I walked away feeling empty. Empty inside, empty outside. Maybe everything I'm going through exaggerated that feeling, but...
Dave, Phil and I practiced the other day and it was a really productive first jam session. McClain had about 5 rockin riffs, Demmel brought in the skeleton of what feels like a great song and I had a few riffs that we rocked on, no full songs, but solid riffs. It felt good, good to be moving on from Locust. Super proud of that record, but it's time to move on, and we're ready to move on.
Bring on the future with an open embrace.
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