Jul 12, 2015

A Brief Tribute to a Bass Icon: R.I.P. Chris Squire

One of rock's legends passed away last month when Chris Squire of the band 'Yes' lost his battle with leukemia.  Monica and I both listened to Yes throughout the weekend to celebrate the contribution the band made to rock, specifically prog rock, and as their long, dramatic and very experimental songs filled our home I was reminded of why Chris Squire was my first favorite bass player.  His bass sound was the first truly thunderous bass sound I was ever exposed to and without realizing it at the time, he set the parameters for what I seek in bass players.  Chris Squire made the band surprisingly heavy at times but he also provided a smooth sense of melody and whimsy when it was required.  It may be that in the very same way I 'rediscovered' The Beatles one night around the age of thirty, I just this weekend rediscovered the man who should sit atop my list of favorite bass players.

Jul 1, 2015

Cleaning Out the Closet

Wow, here's a blast from the past!  I thought you guys might get a kick out of these old Slayer photos.  I flipped out when I first heard Slayer way back in high school.  Slayer's first album and Trouble's first album were what pointed me down the long, dark road of underground metal.  I had an opportunity to see Slayer back in 1985 when they were touring for their second album, 'Hell Awaits'.  I was traveling with Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. here on the East Coast at the time. D.R.I. were friends with Slayer and had a show booked with them at L'Amour in Brooklyn, NY.  I ditched my hometown pals to hobnob with one of underground metal's true heavyweights.  One broken down van, an hours long wait in a hotel restaurant and several train rides later, all while dragging D.R.I.'s gear, we finally made it to the club. Sensing that I would eventually become a household name, at least here in my own household, I was granted access backstage and eventually found myself onstage while Slayer played, hence this shot of me and Dave Lombardo.  Yes, that is yours truly behind him; yes they were playing at that precise moment and yes, I really did dye my hair jet black for about a year.  I watched a home video at my grandparents' in which I felt like I looked a little too much like Eric Stoltz from the movie 'Mask'.  I think I bought a box of blue-black dye the next day! There was no helping my mug, though.  One must pick one's battles.  Don't ask where my other hand is in this shot.  I have been sworn to secrecy, though the look on Dave Lombardo's face might  make things clear enough.  That may have been the last time he let someone he didn't know on stage!  He was a great sport, and I even got him to make a goofy, 'Walk Like an Egyptian' pose right before they started a song.  Were it not for him stage security would probably have kicked my ass as well as the ass of Felix, D.R.I.'s drummer. We were rapidly heading towards an altercation with security when Dave Lombardo saw what was going on and told security to let us up onto the stage.  It was quite a night, and many years later it is still quite a memory.

May 30, 2015

Progress Report: Five Is Better than Four

Well, I suppose that many of you may believe by now that I really have been abducted by aliens trying to unlock the mysteries of metal from my fertile mind.  A long spate of no newsworthy events has led to almost no posts whatsoever for the year thusfar.  Not exactly how I intended things but as I mentioned before, spring's thaw has brought both bands out of their respective caves.  Right now things seem to be moving along in an inspiring way. Hopefully that will result in some vicious riffage ( not quite as menacing as vicious ruffage, but something that warrants attention nonetheless ) and both Confessor and Loincloth will capitalize on some forward momentum.  It's difficult enough to predict how long it might take four or five adults to create something when everyone involved is completely engaged, but it's much more difficult to try and predict how long something might take when schedules keep people away from the process.  All of these setbacks are part of the band experience. You see, not everything is sex and drugs, drugs and sex.  The people who live that life probably don't have much free time time to blog about things.

Apr 18, 2015

Throwing Singers a Bone

Here at The Poundry we have spent a fair amount of time and energy being critical of the way vocalists affect music.  Not all music is interesting enough to carry its own weight without a singer guiding you through the journey.  Actually, most of what pop culture cranks out is intentionally vapid and pointless and requires a 'face' to make it stand out from everything else in the cesspool of unimaginative offerings.  That's just marketing for money.  Music written with big paychecks in mind will always find fans.  I don't have a problem with get rich quick schemes, generally speaking, if there are ways to avoid them.  Until government forces us to listen to the bands that can afford to buy lobbyists there is still a way out for people who want the real thing. As a music and art snob myself, I only wish that more emphasis was put on people finding out how creative they really could be were they not so attracted to dollar signs.  Music is a business though, so it will never be totally pure.  And let's be honest... it's not as if everyone can be follow their vision to a pot of gold.  I can't walk out of my front door and expect food to fall into my mouth simply because I play in two bands that a handful of people find curious.  But hey, if any of you want to find a perch in the trees outside our lovely home and try to toss a meal at me I am not too proud to gobble it up!  For what it's worth I'm vegetarian and prefer Mexican and Indian food.  When huevos rancheros and samosas start falling from the sky the moment I step out of the house I'll know I've finally made it in life.

Apr 2, 2015

Coming Out of Hiding

Well, well, well... I was abducted by aliens for roughly three months but I have returned, happy to see that planet Earth remains intact despite my abductors' claims of total annihilation.  Granted there were plenty of people and institutions whose utter decimation I was indifferent to even in my saintliest moments, but all in all I am happy to see that the world remains mostly unchanged in the three months since my last post.  Monica is still gorgeous and loves me, the dogs are still the sweetest critters on earth and the cats still vomit and pee on everything.  Yep, life shuffles along as it always has.  Good, I wasn't in any mood for upheaval anyway.

Dec 31, 2014

Happy New Year, from a Crusty Old Curmudgeon

Here we are at the end of another year, looking back at all of the things that happened to us, and ahead to all of the things we want to happen next year.  All in all 2014 was pretty good to me and Monica.  We have our health and we have each other.  The older I get, the more I realize those are the two most important things to me.  Everything else is just fluff.  Fun fluff, but still just that... fluff.  I will be remembered for the way I play drums by those who don't know me.  Let's call that "fluff with flair".  Hopefully those who do know me will miss me for other reasons after I'm gone.  Maybe I'll be the one to outlive everyone I know, in which case I'll spend a lot of time in my twilight years thinking about all of the fluff while I go mad in my old age.  I remember when forty seven seemed like old age to me, so maybe I'm already mad.  Will my mid-life crisis hit me next year?  Will Monica wake up one day to a 1972 Corvette Stingray in the driveway with a college freshman waiting for me in the passenger seat?  Nah, I don't have the time, money, energy or interest for any of that. Great, we have proved that I'm not mad.  Not yet, anyway.  Hmm... what color would the Corvette be?

Nov 26, 2014

Giving Thanks... to Carcass

A few weeks ago Carcass paid Raleigh a visit as part of what Bill Steer described as their tour of "B markets".  As far as I know this was their third trip to our quaint little home town. They may have stopped here once before I knew anything about them, but I doubt it. Raleigh may not actually rise to the level of a "B Market" stop. We're growing, but you have a six hour trip to Atlanta, Georgia from here.and a five hour trip in the other direction to Washington D.C. with two other cities that come closer to reaching that oh-so-exalted "B market" status between here and either city.  It's rare that Raleigh gets great shows, but it does happen from time to time.  Chapel Hill, which is considerably smaller than Raleigh, is considered a mecca of sorts for collegiate alternative music.  Some of the best shows I have ever seen were in Chapel Hill.  Mr Bungle takes the cake for their show at The Cat's Cradle during their California tour, and Slint's reunion tour performance of their album 'Spiderland',  considered by many to be the catalyst for the 'alt' explosion, was absolutely stellar.  You will not however, hear about real metal bands playing there.  Raleigh has a couple of clubs where metal is allowed to step out of the shadows, but for years there were almost never good, touring metal shows.  Fortunately that seems to be turning around. However it came to be on November 4th, Carcass were in town ready to thump