Why the hell do we reminisce? MAN, it's fucking pointless.
These last couple weeks I've been reminiscing for some reason.
Time has a way of erasing all the bad memories and scenarios and only leaving us with "the good ol' days". It's like when somebody dies and suddenly all their sins and transgressions are totally washed away.
Do we think we get some sort of closure on the actions and/or words of the departed?
True, some people do get some closure in their lives with said person, but more often than not there may be no closure at all.
Genevra's father was an alcoholic and a heroin addict. He was barely in her life, maybe a year and a half at “best”. What little time he gave to her and her brother Jack was not what anyone would really consider “good time”. As a parent and as a child we all know what “good time” constitutes. He was never off of any of the above mentioned addictions long enough to form a bond with his children and it was a hard life for both of them.
I remember the final year of his life. His doctor telling him that if he didn't quit drinking (every day) and shooting heroin (every week) his esophagus was going to separate from his stomach lining and he would absolutely and unequivocally die from it. His family pleaded with him, Genevra pleaded with him. He wouldn't listen. People don't change unless they want to change. Even though she was upset beyond words she still reached out to try and spend time with him. She offered to take him out on our boat, go to dinner, whatever, and time after time he would just leave us waiting. He’d leave us waiting at the house or waiting at BART, but truth is, we weren’t “waiting” on him, he’d simply forgotten or had something more "important" to do.
One year everybody in Genevra’s family forgot to call her on her birthday. She was bummed, understandably. Her dad called her the next day, not to wish her a happy birthday, but to ask if any of her friends were diabetic so that he could pick up "some rigs" from them. It was heartbreaking and infuriating all at the same time. He never wished her a happy birthday.
When he died a year later (just like the doctor said), she had made so much effort to get some closure on their fucked up relationship. It never came. He just died. It was over. In some ways, without sounding too cold, it was better. This is what the lyrics to the song "Days Turn Blue To Gray" from our album "Through The Ashes Of Empires" are about.
(Read the lyrics here if you haven't)
But the finality of death somehow made that closure so much more real. She's had some closure now, it's been 12 years, however, she has no qualms about what they were and why. They definitely weren't "the good ol' days".
I relate as well. My Grandfather was an asshole. He probably said 100 words to me my entire life. "Hello Mijo", "goodbye Mijo". That was pretty much it. We had had one semi-meaningful conversation at a birthday party for my Mom, Gloria. He was a little drunk and the word meaningful is a stretch, but it was awkwardly playful, like I was talking to someone I just met or an acquaintance I never really hit it off with. He never truly accepted me being part of the family because I was adopted, and he let my family know as much. To make matters “worse for him”, I was born with a lazy eye, meaning one eye went in towards my nose (basically cross-eyed, but only in one eye). I had a corrective surgery soon after being adopted. But when my parents picked me up from the adoption agency at six months old, I had this lazy eye. When my Grandfather saw me and my eye he looked at my Mom and Dad and blurted, "That's not my Grandson!"
Up until that point I was supposed to be named Samuel, after my Grandfather. But my Mom changed my name in that instant, to her favorite actor of the time (and whom she had a major crush on), Robert Redford. Robert (after Robert Redford) Conrad (my dad's first name) Flynn. Changed from Lawrence Matthew Carden, my birth name just six months earlier.
When my Grandfather (we all called him "Papa") passed away a few years ago, everyone was very sad. To my surprise (or maybe not), I wasn't. I didn't feel sad. I didn't reminisce, as there was nothing very meaningful to reflect on. In fact, I felt nothing. It was weird to me and I thought about why, but I never came up with an answer. I just felt... nothing. It was like being at a stranger’s funeral surrounded by family. I could empathize with their sadness and I felt for them, but...
All everyone talked about were the good ol' days at the memorial. To me though, they weren't really that good.
Now, my Papa is a saint. In the homes of his family you mustn’t speak a bad word about him.
But in my heart, even now, I still feel nothing.
You know what?
FUCK the good ol' days.
Like Captain Jack Sparrow says at the end of "Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl"...
"Now, bring me that horizon."
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I was lollygaggin' on the internet the other day and I stumbled across a website called the "Best Heavy Metal Albums of 1983".
It's nothing really that special, researched, or informative, but man it hit me like a ton of bricks that A) DANG, I'm young! And B) Holy crap, that means these albums are 30 FREAKIN' YEARS OLD!!?? Not sure why this was so shocking to me. I'm actually ok with getting old, and my back hurting, my neck hurting, my butt cellulite, losing my eyesight, sharts, and having so many god damn skin-tags on my body that I look like the sale rack at TJ Maxx! No really, I'm fine with getting old.
But "Kill 'Em All" CANNOT be 30 freakin’ years old!! That's just not possible!!?? "Melissa", "Shout At The Devil", "Show No Mercy", “Balls To The Wall", and "Holy Diver" cannot be 30 years old! No way! The self-titled Suicidal Tendencies album, U2’s “WAR,” and Minor Threat’s “Out Of Step” cannot be... that's fuckin'... which would make me... did I mention my shoulder?
As I began thinking of this, my thoughts took me back to my high school days, when I got into underground metal/punk/hip-hop, the shows I went to, the "records" and "cassettes" of demos and live bootlegs I listened to. This was in the pre-internet/pre-iPhone…shit, practically “pre-everything” we rely on these days.
It somehow led my train of thought to Cliff Burton. I pull up his Wiki page and low and behold, his birthday is this coming Sunday, Feb. 10th. If my math is correct, Cliff would have been 51 this year. It's amazing to think how the music world may (or may not) have been different had the tragic bus accident not taken his life. It also got me thinking about the few times that I was able to see Cliff perform when I actually WAS a young whippersnapper.
My friend Jim Pittman was an obsessive, underground tape-trader. Our bond began in high school art class and soon after we started our first band together (Inquisitor, later-Forbidden Evil), and I basically credit him for pushing me to play guitar, sing, and for taking me through Sabbath, into underground music. His passion for metal and punk was so overwhelming and pure that he fueled and inspired my own love for it. The first time I ever officially got drunk was with Jim, he and I drank a 12-pack of beer his older brother bought for us. We spent the night walking all over Fremont, CA. “blasting” my Radio Shack portable tape player with a live bootleg of Metallica from The Stone in S.F. "Kill 'Em All" wasn't even released yet. We'd never heard anything like it. We gleefully stumbled around the running track behind American High School for hours and probably played "Whiplash" fifty times in a row, headbanging wildly the whole time.
What a great memory.
Still blasting the bootleg, we stumbled back to my house where my parents were gone, we vowed to jam more and to get better at our own band... and to see Metallica the next time they played. The show wouldn’t be that far away but with no car we talked about taking BART, or I might even be able to get my dad to drop us off. Both of the above just HAD to happen.
We didn't have to wait that long, "Kill 'Em All" was released soon after and they were coming through on the "Kill 'Em All For One Tour" with Raven headlining. The closest show to us was at the Berkeley Keystone and as luck would have it another favorite of ours, Exodus (whose "Whipping Queen" demo was currently blowing our minds) were opening the show. Yes!!
So I begged my dad to drop us off. He and my mom had recently split up and though he had to start work at the Lake Merritt Bakery in Oakland at 3am, he agreed to drop us off at the Berkeley Keystone and would even pick us up. Of course, I made him drop us off two blocks away from the Keystone so that the other "thrashers" didn't actually SEE my dad dropping us off! I mean c'mon!? Unfortunately our pick-up happened before Raven would finish, but looking back it was such a big deal to have even gotten the ride in the first place.
I remember the excitement of being there, even waiting in line was “exciting". Jim and I saw Exodus vocalist Paul Baloff pass by and we totally went all "Beiber-fan" on him! Baloff looked at us like we were dorks. He was probably right! Being at the show seemed so dangerous and thinking back, it was. There were A LOT of fights. Punks and Metalheads in the same room back then? NOTHING like it is today, there was an underlying rage both factions felt, it would be a few years before it was common ground.
I can remember the stage, it was tiny and Exodus drummer Tom Hunting had to have fans in the front row hold his cymbal stands up as only part of the stage would fit them all. Exodus CRUSHED! Gary Holt was a god to us. If memory serves me, they debuted "No Love" that night… it was B-R-U-T-A-L.
Hetfield was in the audience hanging out and signing autographs before they went on. Jim and I both got autographs (on Jim's autograph Hetfield wrote his signature and added a "Fuck yeah"... BOY was I jealous!... "Man, your autograph is WAY better than mine", LOL!). But once Metallica came on the whole mood changed. Exodus were and remain the real deal, but a level of seriousness came over as the intro tape rolled. When Metallica took the stage, the world came alive. The circle pit, the headbanging, the electricity, the screaming-along, NEVER had I seen a band like this! I was stone-cold sober but I was drunk on music. Jim and I headbanged as if our lives depended on it.
When it came time for Cliff's "(Anesthesia) - Pulling Teeth" bass solo, I just remember being mesmerized. I’d had so many Metal Debates with Jim and other friends that there's no way that was a "bass" solo. It was a "guitar" solo. Fact. End-of-story.
My mind was blown. The bass is making that sound? What the fuck? It was heavy, it was dark, and it was other-worldly. The whole time he was playing he was headbanging with a maniacal grin on his face.
Cliff, shirtless in a Levi's jacket, big bells, looking like every stupid YES fan at my high school, was absolutely shredding my face off. Next up "Whiplash", and forget it! Hetfield was up there screaming his head off with his "Ronald - 6 Wilson - 6 Reagan - 6" shirt (get it?), whipping us all into a frenzy! He could have easily said "punch your best friend in the face" and I would have dutifully complied (sorry Jim!). I was hooked, addicted, enamored, overwhelmed, obsessed; it was a life-changing moment.
I saw Cliff again at the Kabuki in the Japantown area of San Francisco both nights. I then saw them at the Day On The Green, Oakland Coliseum (though I missed the end, as I'd passed out from heat exhaustion, and uh... drinking beer all night and doing a quarter of crank in one snort right before they went on... but that's a whole other story *ahem!*). They played 3rd on the bill, over America, and Yngwie's Rising Force, and under Ratt and Y&T (who up-till-then were heavy, but had jumped the shark with "Summertime Girls"). Scorpions headlined.
The last time I saw Cliff was at the Bill Graham Civic on New Year’s Eve with Exodus, Megadeth and Metal Church. Again I was drunk and high, and truth be told, I was losing interest in Metallica. They played fine, but they weren't "mine" anymore. They were quickly becoming "everyone else's"... I didn't like that. They debuted "Master Of Puppets" for the first time and “Disposable Heroes”. I wasn't feeling it. When "Master" first dropped my knee-jerk reaction was, “this sucks, too slow”.
Those words are just hilarious to read right now, but those were my feelings in that moment.
And oh, how soon those feelings changed.
“Master Of Puppets” would come to define an entire chapter in my life. It's an album I've gone back to time and time again for 27 years, as to me, it’s a how-to manual. How-to-do-it… right. One of those timeless albums from that era (and there were only a handful) made without a map. No strategy, no plan, no marketing pow-wow from the record company with stupid catch phrases and “selling points”. Just pure.
Man, the freakin' lyrics...
"Chop your breakfast on a mirror"?
I lived those words like were ORDERS.
"Just leave me alone"?
YES, leave me the FUCK alone!
"Fuck it all and fucking no regrets"?!
God damn fucking right!!
And all the while the basslines were hypnotizing me ever-so-subtly to the point where even now, I know every bassline on those albums like it's part of my DNA. Go and listen to our song "Now I Lay Thee Down"; the triad bassline in the chorus? That’s just one of my tributes to Cliff. The three-part lead section in the middle... I wrote that with Cliff looking over me. Hell, I called it "the Cliff part".
Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? Maybe you weren't even born?
I was at a kegger party in Cliff's hometown, Castro Valley, wired and drunk, when "the news" came. 10pm, someone I didn't know came running into the backyard and yelled "Cliff's dead, Cliff from Metallica is dead!" It was like, "Huh? Get the fuck outta here!" But all the dude could say was "NO, listen!" We turned up the local radio station KSJO and the DJ was talking about it. It was real.
It was unreal. A stunned silence took over the party. They were "our" band, this didn't happen to "us".
I've read the story behind the classic rock song "The Day The Music Died" several times. Well... for us... maybe not died... but... changed. We played Metallica all night, got wasted, forgot, or at least tried to.
I'll leave you with this. When we toured with Metallica in 2008/2009, I read Joel McIver's then-just-released Cliff Burton biography "To Live Is To Die" (if you haven't, do yourself a favor, and pick up one of the best biographies you'll ever read). I never mentioned I was reading it to Metallica, it seemed, well... weird. In the book it talks about how some die-hard Metallica fans made a memorial to Cliff at the site where the bus accident happened in Ljungby, Sweden. I looked at a map and noticed at some point very soon we would actually drive that same road, thru Sweden to Denmark (Arrhus actually, for an off-date at Train). We unknowingly had driven that road many, many times while touring, it's the only way to get to and from those countries; we would be passing the memorial. I asked the bus driver to stop when we got there, it would be about 6am… just wake me up.
We pulled up just as the sun was breaking the horizon. It was cold and misting. It was a bit surreal. It was beautiful.
Adam, Fiaz our videographer, and I… we knelt in front of the memorial. We looked down the road where... we were silent. Phil came over for a minute, nothing was said. We paid our respects. I placed a guitar pick alongside the letters, beer bottles, and mementos his fans had left.
I never told the Metallica dudes we did that. It seemed inappropriate, it seemed wrong for some reason, uncouth.
As this Sunday comes to pass, I'm sure in our own way, some of us will pay tribute to a man whose attitude, demeanor, vibe, genuine love of music, and unequaled talent affected us.
I know I will.
Happy birthday Cliff Burton, Rest In Peace.
Site of the Cliff memorial in Sweden
Cool write up about the New Years Eve show
Photos from the memorial site:
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PEARL JAM "TWENTY"
Just rented the Pearl Jam ‘20’ documentary on iTunes via Apple TV. Directed by Cameron Crowe it chronicles, first 20 years of the Pearl Jam story and even goes back quite a ways to document the pre-PJ line up of Mother Love Bone. As a long time Pearl Jam fan, I was surprised how little I really knew about this era and found it all quite informative. It is an amazing documentary, and even if you are not a PJ fan, you would be well worth it to watch this exhaustively detailed story of one the last truly great American rock bands.
Actually, truth be told, "long time Pearl Jam fan" isn't exactly correct. Big fan of "Ten" and "VS.", loved these albums, liked “Vitalogy”, but I really only know a handful of songs past these albums. I enjoyed the newer songs when I heard them, but I haven't checked out all the huge discography they’ve amassed. I was kinda Pearl Jam-ed out for a few years there but I've made an effort to catch them if they came thru, or in the rare chance we shared the same Euro Festival bill I always tried to catch their set. Simply put they are rockin' live!
And let me say that again, THEY ARE ROCKIN' LIVE! In fact, watching this documentary reminded (and I needed reminding) me of just how god damn rockin’ they were when they hit the scene back in the 90's. Watching some of the old footage from the “Ten”-era was thoroughly invigorating; they were spell-binding, goin' OFF onstage. I forgot how nutzo, and daring and exciting they truly were. Vedder hanging from balconies, the light truss, the ceiling, the water pipes, we’re talking 30, 40, 50 feet above the stage, then dropping into the crowd! That’s some serious daredevil shit back then and still now! The rest of the band seemed unaffected by this and just continued rockin, bashin' and headbangin', runnin' around doing what a “band” does, PLAY!
Anybody who lived through this era, can remember how Grunge just took over the WORLD for a minute, but watching (or re-watching) this live footage makes you remember why. The MTV Unplugged sesssion they did is fucking jaw-dropping. I was stoked to see the Unplugged DVD in the “Ten” re-issue a few years back. How they managed that much intensity acoustically?... so good.
I'll tell you my Pearl Jam story. I got into the Grunge scene early, I was drawn to punk rock vibe of it (and believe it or not, there was a lot of punk spirit in early Grunge) bands like Skin Yard (pre-Gruntruck who featured Tommy Niemeyer from The Accussed), Melvins, Tad, early Nirvana (though I never got into Green River or Mudhoney), I even kinda lump in Souls At Zero-era Neurosis probably just cause I saw Melvins and them together a lot. Anyway, Alice In Chains is opening for The Screaming Trees at The I-Beam in San Francisco. I was really digging AIC and in fact we caught them the night before to 30 people (!!) at The Omni in Oakland.
I walk into the above mentioned I-Beam and there is this band called Mookie Blaylock on stage. I think they suck! But as they finish, Rob Cavestany from Death Angel proceeds to roar to me how fucking amazing they were, and that they're the future of music! I tell him he's trippin', and that he’s he's on crack (Note to self, tell Rob he was right). A few months later I hear they're now called Pearl Jam and their debut album just came out and I check it out, because EVERYONE is talking about them. “Ten” is awesome and I flip out on it! I catch them when they headline the Warfield and it's electrifying! Later I catch them at the 1992 Lollapalooza… and the rest is well, history.
So the last time that I saw them was, man… horrible. Not the band, but the day itself. It was the tragic Roskilde Festival of 2000. We were playing the tent stage and it was Machine Head and Willie Nelson (I shit you not!), Machine Head was direct support to Willie fucking Nelson! It was awesome! Willie was cool as shit, let Dave and I hang out on his bus for about 15 minutes while he rolled / smoked joint after joint. After that I made my way over to the main stage to catch Pearl Jam who was supporting headliners The Cure. Who, coincidentally I got WAY into during ‘The Burning Red’-era despite the best efforts of my friend Gary to turn me on to them during the ‘Burn My Eyes’-era. But that’s another story.
As Pearl Jam started, the rain, which had been coming down all day, turned brutal and it was now fucking pouring down. I remember them starting and the excitement of the crowd, and then a few songs in, it just stopped, the promoter came out and began pleading with people. Eddie Vedder was up onstage begging the massive ocean of people to take three steps back, and then at one point the camera for the Jumbo-tron side-screens zoomed in on Eddie's face, tears were streaming down, and the camera just held on his face for what seemed like an eternity, a scene in a Quentin Tarantino movie... literally they were the longest two minutes ever. I'll never forget the look on his face as long as I live... it was horror.
I kept thinking to myself "fuck, just show something /ANYTHING else", it was all so public and impersonal.
People were dead, trampled to death after slipping underneath each other in the rain and mud.
It wasn't their fault.
That they held together after a tragedy like that is admirable, honorable, and deserved of a lifetime of respect.
When you’ve done this as long as I have, even if you don’t like a band, you respect the shit out of bands for the grace with which they handle their valleys, and every band has valleys. It’s a hard life, harder than most people know. Dimebag once said to me, “it’s not how you roll through the highs, it’s how you roll through the valley’s, and come back out outta them with class”.
That’s some solid advice.
I want to see Pearl Jam again. I don't want that to be the last time I see Pearl Jam. I don't want it to end on that note.
Just, like when I saw Muse the other night, I have now gone back and Spotify-ed a bunch of older and new albums, re-dug into the catalog. FUCK they're awesome! For anyone too young to remember or not up to speed on Pearl Jam check out this Spotify Playlist, or just watch the YouTube clips below.
Pearl Jam “20” Trailer
"Indifference" fan video
"Animal" (live at the '93 VMA's)
Spotify Pearl Jam Playlist
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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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MASTER CLEANSE AND THE WAGON
I'm on day 8 of my fifth Master Cleanse, and just like when I started doing these Master Cleanses back in Jan. of 2010, I'm "back on The Wagon... again"... (sung to the tune of "I'm baaaaack in the saddle aga-a-ain"). Meaning, I'm off booze, cigarettes, post-surgery pain pills and other bad habits... again. While I'm not sure how long my stint of sobriety will last, it will at least until I have my head back in check.
I did the full 10 day Master Cleanse back in May 2011 during the recording of Unto The Locust, I sang most of the vocal tracks and played a lot of the guitar tracks while on The Cleanse. It was great, put me in a good headspace. I only managed a disappointing 3 day last year, but I wasn't sober. As part of my rehab, I've booked some small acoustic shows at clubs and bars along the way down to LA for NAMM. Just me and my tech Scott driving all over California in my 4-Runner, trying to... I dunno... trying to get lost, I guess. Half cover songs, half MH tunes, all done acoustic, no setlist, making it up as I go. I played last night in Hollywood and it was really, really cool. Had a blast, told stories, laughed, it got pretty heavy at times, hung with some great people, it was therapeutic as fuck.
I need to do this. I need to challenge myself, I need to go out there and play some shows, get out of my comfort zone and shake myself up, be alone, on my own. I'm not happy right now, I need to figure this shit out, I need it find that fire again, inspiration, or, I don't know even what I'm searching for, something, and I feel like this might help me find a part of it. It's the most excited I've been about something in a long while.
HE IS LEGEND
Been geeking out on these guys, got a little more info. I guess they started out pretty hot with their first album, AP covers, karate-chopping hardcore kids at their shows, and then, they tried to change on their 2nd album, went with a name producer, apparently it didn't work for whatever reason, and there was a big backlash from the notoriously-un-loyal-Christian-hardcore/metal-scene (the irony), which they humorously chronicle in the video for Attack of the Dungeon Witch
Then, like so many bands before them, faced with the possibility of not having a fan base, they wrote an album that was only for themselves and nobody else, they went inward, they didn't give a fuck if the "scene" didn't like them. And they made "It Hates You", masterpiece.
Now, I'm probably romanticizing parts of their story, because well, I cant tell you how much I am loving this band. My sons Zander and Wyatt are loving this band, hell, even Genevra likes a few songs and she rarely likes anything rockin' these days. But even after all that, unfortunately, it didn't click, old fans abandoned them, new fans didn't get it, and in 2011, they went on hiatus. Maddeningly, there is so little documentation of the "It Hates You" tunes live on YouTube that it's a crime, A CRIME I SAY! I've heard that they recently got back together and are doing local shows on weekends and holidays, let's hope they can keep it going, I'd LOVE to see them.
To me though, their story, is every thing that's right with music, it is the power of music, it lives forever, through word of mouth, through people spreading the album around, through this modern day world online, (thank fuck they're on Spotify). Maybe the time wasn't right for them, maybe the moment wasn't right, but this bands music lived on to move, thrill, and blow away. It did for me.
I'd like to thank MetalSucks.net for filling me in on some backstory with these two great articles:
"What's up with HiL"
PROTEST THE HERO
Congrats to one my favorite bands Protest The Hero for raising $227,000 in 6 days to fund their upcoming album (over $100,000 dollars on the first day alone!) with a Kickstarter-style fundraiser platform called Indigogo. Amazing!! Anyone interested donating, go here: http://www.indiegogo.com/protestthehero
Speaking of NAMM Phil and I will be there this year. Phil is doing a signing at the Jackson booth Sat. at 2PM, Phil and I will be at the EMG booth Sat. at 11AM, and I will be doing a short acoustic set at the upstairs Epiphone booth on Fri. at 4PM
Hope to see some of you there!
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**UPDATE** Dates Finalized For Robb Flynn Acoustic Performances:
In anticipation of his upcoming acoustic performance Friday, January 25th at NAMM, Robb has decided to book 4 acoustic shows at various bars and intimate clubs in the greater Orange County/Los Angeles area. He will be performing a mix of cover songs and re-interpreted Machine Head songs, so if you're around, come on down!
Mon Jan 21st: On The Rox, Hollywood, CA
Wed Jan 23rd: Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside, CA
Thu Jan 24th: Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA
Sat Jan 26th: The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen, Fullerton, CA
Robb will be performing at 9:30PM on all nights, check venue websites for support and other info.
As these shows are very last minute please "share" this as much as possible, re-post, re-tweet, and spread the word in whatever way you can.