Nov 17, 2014

Salvador Dali, Chocolate and Goodbyes

When you head somewhere for a week long vacation you wonder how on earth you will find interesting things to fill the time.  Then when you wake up on your last full day you inevitably wonder where all of that time went, and how it's possible you are already packing your bags to go home. When Tuesday morning rolled around we were feeling a little sad about having to leave the next day, but we were thrilled to be able to see the Salvador Dali museum an hour and a half away in Figueres.  The museum was designed by Dali himself and is, predictably, a very unique space.  I assume that most of you are familiar with Salvador Dali, but if not you may recognize "The Persistence of Memory" with its famous melting stopwatches dripping off the edges of tables and trees.  Dali is widely considered to be one of the masters of the surrealist movement. To me he is The Master. My views do not necessarily represent the views and or opinions of the producers of The Poundry and furthermore... wait a minute... I guess they do.  Ha!  In your face, Magritte! Dali was my first "favorite artist" going all the way back to when I was a kid staring at a poster my parents had in our living room.  Through thick clouds of smoke I used to stare at "Suburbs of the Paranoiac-Critical City: Afternoon on the Outskirts of European History" and think to myself "The woman with the grapes looks so friendly, but that place is weird and kinda scary".  It's hard to know how much of my fascination with the poster was due of its dreamy nature and endless details or the contact buzz I grew up with, but Dali seemed to me a freaking genius and DAMN, those grapes looked delicious!   Those and a pack of candy cigarettes would have kicked ass!  That's right all you pathologically oversensitive guardians of everyone's wellbeing, candy cigarettes...  Filterless.  They were even better with a beer during cartoons, but I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

Nov 16, 2014

La Sagrada Familia: Spaceship, Batman's Cave or a Cathedral?

Confessor were ready to take on the world in the early '90's after our first album, "Condemned" came out.  That album was released in 1991 and within a few months we were part of the legendary "Gods of Grind" tour with Cathedral, Entombed and Carcass bringing our own brand of twisted metal to hungry metal heads throughout Europe, and audiences were floored by the bill everywhere we went.  We were young and bulletproof and that tour was a really big deal.  Every night there seemed to be as many headbangers as possible packed into each venue and while I was excited about all of the shows, I became increasingly excited about the show scheduled in Barcelona. I had been checking out as many of the historical spots as I could walk to everywhere we went without really knowing very much about what I might find.  There were so many amazing things to see, and I didn't want to waste any opportunities to be mesmerized by what people were able to accomplish centuries ago before modern technology gave us the skyscrapers we know today.  One of the only places that I had any prior knowledge of was La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and I was chomping at the bit to see it in person.

Nov 11, 2014

Park Guell

Monday arrived leaving us with two full days left to absorb the biggest things on the "to do list" we had made for our trip to Barcelona. This was to be our Day of Gaudi. Our first stop was Barcelona's fantastic playground, Park Guell situated on the edge of town and offering one of those high vistas that make a city appear to stretch on forever.  I love finding myself at such high points in big cities.  You almost feel the history of a place when you see so much of it at once. Our own home town has nearly doubled its population since I was a young teenager but it will never have the "weight" of a massive city.  Raleigh is very spread out and mostly suburban.  Whenever I've traveled with the band I have made it a habit to look for the tallest building, usually a cathedral, and walk towards it if there was time before soundcheck.  Sometimes those walks only took fifteen minutes and other times they took an hour or more.  Often I would wind up at the highest point in the city, or close to it, and be able to look out at millions of people and centuries of history.  It's an exhilarating experience every time.  Park Guell offers several views of the capital of Catalonia, but what makes it so unique is that you have already spent so much time wandering around in what I call Gaudi's Playground that you forget where you are until you crest a hill or find a clear view of the city. It really is the icing on the cake.  Being able to see so much of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea makes the park even more magical, and I can't imagine how inspiring Gaudi must have found his creation while he lived right in the middle of it for most of the last twenty years he was alive.  Hopefully you'll see what I'm talking about in the next few minutes.

Nov 7, 2014

After the Doom...

Monica and I awoke Sunday morning to a new world without Doom.  No more metal, no more adoring fans, and no more feeling like we were surrounded by people who flew to Spain just to see us.  If we had not decided to make a full fledged vacation out of the trip we would probably have had a brief emotional crash.  Quite the contrary though, we were absolutely jazzed about seeing what Barcelona had to offer.  We had seen a little already because Samo lived within the historic Barri Gotic, or "Gothic neighborhood" and we loved how very different everything was compared to what we have back in the U.S., and certainly in our own home town.  It was time to put on our tourist fanny packs and gawk at one of the most inspiring cities I've ever visited.  

Traveling in larger groups will create divisions based upon levels of curiosity and interest. There were a couple of people I hardly saw again after the shows.  Some people had to leave earlier in the week than us and they had to budget their time accordingly.  Not everyone wanted to do the things that Monica and I were excited about and likewise, there were things that other people wanted to do that were stupid and sucked.  Monica and I are not interested in things that suck.  We weren't able to see everything we wanted to check out, but we were able to see the big things on our list.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if one day we found ourselves back in Barcelona.  Monica certainly wouldn't have to twist my arm very hard to get me to sign on for another trip to Spain.  For your own sanity I'll keep these next few posts brief.  I really just want to share some of the pictures.  Think of this as a testimonial for Spain's Department of Tourism.

Nov 6, 2014

Festival Leftovers

Okay, as the title suggests these are some random photos of things around and during the Day of Doom Festival that didn't seem truly necessary to insert into the stories of our adventures.  The photos do help paint a picture though, and helping to create a sense of some of the experiences bands have was one of the original ideas that prompted me to begin this blog.  Since you are a captive audience until you decide to go back to the adult entertainment window you have minimized, you have to suffer through these shots. Just pretend that you're amused by my witty banter and you can commiserate with the other people who have to put up with me blathering on and on as though I ever have anything interesting to say.  That's what my family has to deal with too, so you'll be in good company.

Nov 4, 2014

Loincloth and the Day of Doom

Day two of the Day of Doom Festival was much like the first day except for a group of people from North Carolina who may or may not have been nursing some serious hangovers.  I won't name any of the bass players who might have tied one on the night before.  Maybe there were more like eleven or twelve that had been tied on... and then there was the whiskey bottle that seemed to have a hole in it   Well. it's better to be hungover in Spain than your own house, right?  Let's get back to the festival, shall we? The organizers had another large group lunch planned at a different restaurant right around the corner from where we had eaten the day before.  It was another gorgeous day in Barcelona, but things were running a little later than planned.  That seemed to be how things worked in Spain.  Behind schedule.  Not much of a leap from how life in Raleigh has always played out.  Hmmm... maybe musicians aren't the most reliable people around.  You know, the thought has crossed my mind a time or two over the years.  Today, the headlining band were the ones who threw everything off schedule.  As it turned out lunch was really just for Confessor and Loincloth, which was pretty damned nice, I have to say.  Lord Vicar showed up after we had ordered but they kept to themselves as it was apparent they were still unwinding from their journey. My friend Matei managed to find us all by the water and joined us for twenty or thirty minutes before we started making our way back towards the venue.

Oct 28, 2014

The Day of Doom Festival Begins...

Our first night in Barcelona came to an end after a nice, relaxing dinner out on the sidewalk at a Greek restaurant where a friend of Samo's happened to wait tables.  It wasn't our intention to go there, but since we were so good at getting lost it seemed like as good a place as any to get off of our feet and unwind. We would have gotten lost trying to find anything else anyway, so why not go to the place across the street?  We learned that first day that trams and metros are not the same thing, and that streets coming in at subtle angles make it very difficult to retrace your steps to your hotel.  Fortunately Monica and I paid for a new cellular service plan for the trip and we were able to text "Help!!!" to our caretakers every time we realized we were not where we thought we'd be.  Someone kept screwing with the maps in our GPS apps while we were boldly walking towards what we just knew would be the precise spot Samo described as a meeting place.  We had read that Barcelona had the best pick pocketers in the world.  In fact there were signs on the metros and in certain areas of the city warning about professional robbers, but no one said anything about them stealing your phone and editing the map you were using before stealthily placing the phone back in your pocket.  What evil bastards!  Maybe that's what they do to people like us who clearly don't have any money to take so that we don't feel excluded from participating in their finely honed craft of picking pockets.  Well the joke was on them ultimately, because even though it was their fault we got lost I rather enjoyed my falafel and papatas bravas.