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

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.