Aug 29, 2012

Joining Confessor

I started playing drums when I was seventeen years old.  One of my best friends had been trying to talk me into getting a drum set for awhile so that we could rock out.  I bought an old Pearl set (orange glitter, no less) from another friend of mine who was dating the girl I eventually married.  My parents were supportive, but no one wants to live in a house while their clumsy son tries to figure out the concept of timing on a drum kit!   We agreed that I wouldn't play when anyone was home.  That allowed me a small window between when I got home from school and when my younger brother got home from his school.  I was a shy kid, especially if I was out of my element, so playing in front of people was a huge hurdle I had to get over.  I wish there was a video of the first time I ever played drums around the friend who talked me into getting them.  He lugged his cabinet upstairs into my bedroom and I made him stand with his back to me for nearly the entire time.  As I recall it took over an hour for me to stop laughing nervously every time I was supposed to start a song!  My brother was sitting on my bed with headphones on to protect his ears and it was his job was to keep the beat for us.  We finally made it through some things but it was clear I had many, many areas to work on.

One afternoon the doorbell went off while I was playing.  I went downstairs to open the door and it was Scott Jeffreys.  I knew who he was from my senior year in high school.  He sang in a metal band called No Coment (yup, just one 'm') and I was in the best crossover band no one ever heard called Bloodbath.  Clearly, with a name like Bloodbath, and the fury of the punk gods coursing through our veins we would have kicked No Coment's ass in a street fight, but I spared Scott his life because he was a visitor at our house and I was curious about what may have brought "the competition" to my door.

Scott was seeing a girl in the neighborhood and had heard me playing a few times as he drove past our house.  He was trying to find a drummer who might be able to do a little more than the drummer of his current band, Confessor, was comfortable with and decided to ring the doorbell to see who the mystery drummer was.  He gave me a tape of his band and we were to catch up later.  I liked the music, and I had some ideas right away that could spice things up if I ended up being their guy.  I was intrigued.

I had always wanted to meet No Coment's lead guitarist, Graham.  I knew who he was from high school and he struck me as someone I would have gotten along with.  As it turned out he had become the lead guitarist for Confessor, and we probably met within a few weeks of Scott giving me that tape.  Graham and I hit it off right away.  I remember that the two of us went to five different places to eat the very first time we hung out together!  No, we didn't end up slurping up opposite ends of the same piece of spaghetti like in "Lady and the Tramp"... it was an onion ring from Burger King, thank you!  Or maybe a double with cheese from Wendy's...  hell, I don't remember.  I just know that we became inseparable from the beginning.

It took me just at a year of nagging Graham before he finally acquiesced and brought his rig over to get heavy with me.  I had moved out of the house by then, but I was able to keep my drums in my room.  I lived in a house with Reed Mullin from Corrosion of Conformity and a revolving door of other friends who either lived there or stayed on the sofa for the entire time I lived in the house.  Seems like all of the houses I lived in were like that.  Anyway, Graham came over and we played some Confessor, Trouble, and probably some Black Sabbath.  I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but it was damned sure a lot of fun.  Yes, he was allowed to face me. An hour of creepy giggling would probably have been viewed as a huge negative!  Within a few weeks he came over again with his rig, only this time he brought all of the guys in Confessor (minus the drummer, naturally) to check us out.  By then I had met them all several times.  They decided to give their drummer a couple of months to figure out whether or not he really wanted to dedicate himself to the band.  In the meantime I made sure that I knew all of the Confessor songs in case I got the spot.  I had been studying the tape quite a bit, plus Woody from COC and I used to go see them play all the time at the Fallout Shelter about three blocks away.  I was very comfortable with the material by that time.

A couple of months later, I was in the band!  My first show with them was on July 27, 1987 at the Brewery on Hillsborough St.  I'm not sure at what point the universe fell through a time vortex and 25 years were lost, but my calendar tells me that 1987 was a quarter of a century ago!  I think that makes me about twenty seven... or something close.  The band began to write more challenging music right away, and I think we were in the studio recording our first of three demos early the next year.  By the summer of '91 we had recorded our first album, "Condemned" and the rest as they say, is history.  Actually, the band have just begun a new chapter!  We were invited to play at the Maryland Deathfest earlier this year and we have just started to write another album.  I'm excited to return to what Confessor always did best, and I relish any opportunity to try and create something new.  There are many ideas that have been waiting for this chance, and I mean to take full advantage of it now that it is here.  More as things unfold...

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