Sep 22, 2013

Confessor Welcomes New Blood

Well, I have had a pretty busy week and I have not had a chance to sit down and write about developments in Confessor's search for a rhythm guitarist until now.  I am happy to report that we have found a guitarist and he has accepted our invitation to join the band!  I know that I speak for all of us in Confessor in welcoming Marcus Williams into one of the world's most hard to describe metal outfits.  There have been a lot of smiles in the practice room over the last three weeks as we watched Marcus blaze through some of our material with almost no time to prepare for tryouts.  We are all very comfortable with how he has interacted with us and how he has absorbed the music, and our slightly skewed perspective on the alchemy that is forging different influences into twisted metal.

Marcus is not a complete stranger to Confessor.  We first knew of him when he played with Shawn in "Age of Despair" a few years ago.  As the name would suggest ( not "Marcus", but "Age of Despair"! ) they were a heavy, aggressive band rooted in metal.  Marcus played with Cary in Parasite Drag after our own Chris Nolan stepped away from that project to focus on Confessor, and he also traveled with us to the Maryland Deathfest last year.  Cary had the utmost confidence that Marcus would be able to blend in with us musically and personally. Cary had not spoken to Marcus in almost a year before calling to see if he was interested in trying out for the band.  Two days later, Marcus was in our space with two of our songs almost memorized, and he showed us within that three hour session that he was hungry for the opportunity to join the band.  The following week he had those songs down and two more that he had been working on over the weekend.  When he came out for the third time we wanted to see how he might handle some of the more abstract patterns that we had carved out as parts we definitely want to use for our next record, and he showed that he would have no problem wrapping his head around our writing process.  I had to leave a little early that night, so I sat in the parking lot and sent a text to Cary and Chris saying that if they wanted to go ahead and tell Marcus he was "in" that I was happy to have them do it in my absence. Within minutes Cary and Chris were able to quietly check their texts, use an primitive but effective system of grunts and eye movements to communicate and then ask Marcus if he would "... go with us".  

Marcus is by far the youngest member of the band.  He's still in his mid-twenties, which means it is not out of the realm of possibilities that he was actually conceived in the parking lot of one of Confessor's first shows!  That also means that I get to practice all of my fart jokes on someone other than my eight year old nephew!  If I can make Marcus pee his pants too, I'll know that I have the upper hand in molding his fertile metal brain.  If that doesn't work I'll have to resort to fear and intimidation.  I can point to Jasmine's broken leg as a reminder of how furious and random my wrath can be, and he will be like putty in my hands!  Marcus is also the only member of the band to have tattoos, so in some people's eyes we will finally be a legitimate metal band!  I may have to try and convince him to cover up any tattoos he might have that are representative of other bands.  It's worth a try anyway, just to mess with him.  "Those bands aren't advertising Confessor's name, are they?  Where are your priorities, man!"  I think Chris may have wanted him in the band just so that after twenty years he can finally call someone else "the new guy".  Now it's Marcus' turn to make sure our coffee is just right and that our pillows are fluffed at the practice space.  And he thought this was just about music...

Marcus has more metal in his musical background than Brian had, which means that it should be a little easier to make the turn towards a more aggressive and twisted album than it might have been had Brian stayed in the band.  Personal tastes are just that, personal. But part of why Brian left was because it was becoming apparent that stylistic differences were going to create some obstacles during the writing process for Confessor's third album. Brian took with him a heavy rock vibe that will be difficult for us to replicate, but he had become averse to the writing style that made Confessor stand out in the first place.  There are so many things in a band that must be balanced, and Brian's preferences had been moving in a different direction for a long time.  None of us listen to exactly the same thing, and it is not my intention to be critical in any way, but illustrating the kinds of things that go on in a band is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.  Writing about lineup changes is just a part of the process.  Every band member has his or her own thing that they contribute that becomes part of a band's dynamic, and our dynamic has just changed.  This new blood is exciting to us, and we all feel very comfortable with how things are now that Marcus is in the band.  

Right now we are showing Marcus a lot of the older material, but we are also in the process of culling through some of the riffs that have been waiting to be used.  Since Brian is no longer a member we need to pull some things from the list of "next track" ideas.  We will still use a couple of his ideas, especially the ones that have been around long enough that they have morphed into Confessor's 'vibe', but we don't want to rely too heavily on ideas from someone who isn't part of the band anymore.  I mean, he's welcome to pay rent anytime, but I doubt he'd feel like it was worth it at this point.  We are all excited and happy for both Marcus, and the band as a whole.  It does feel good to be certain about where we are headed and to feel as though everyone is eager to forge ahead.  I don't think that any of us would object to a sudden bump in the 20-30 year old female audience levels at shows, either! Marcus, you need to make sure you bring it, because Cary and Chris have quite a set of devoted, fairer sex fans as well!  All I ever see checking me out are the prog nerds turned serial killer/stalker.  Always male, always sketchy looking.  It keeps me out of trouble that way, as long as I don't make too much eye contact...  then they want to "jam" sometime.  I tell myself that they mean they would love to play music sometime, but because of the more creepy fellows I can't forget that they might mean to "jam" an ice pick through my temple. Without giving out too much information, I have heard of someone writing creepy stalker letters to a guy in a band we toured with.  "Jamming" is always an awkward proposition, no matter the circumstances surrounding it, which brings me to this:  

The last time Monica and I went to the State Fair we walked past Marcus on our way out.  I had met him a few times down at the practice space with Shawn, so we spoke for a second.

"Hey dude-whose-name-escapes me!" I said with the appropriate, non chalant, upward head nod.

"What's goin' on, Steve, God of Music and Inventor of Coolness?" replied Marcus, in complete disbelief of his good fortune.  "Might I suggest you have never looked so dashing?"

"So kind of you to notice!  Thank you!  My friends call me Steve, but you can call me Mr. Shelton.  Please maintain a personal buffer zone of no less than six feet throughout the course of this exchange."  Sadly, one can never be too safe during these kinds of interactions and I was pretty sure he was holding an ice pick in his hand, though he hadn't struck me as being the usual stalker type when we met before.

"Of course, of course!  I hope I have not seemed overzealous to you in my excitement."  It's something I've seen a thousand times. Comes with fame.  He looked suddenly unsure of himself.  Unpredictable.  It could have been nerves but then again, why the ice pick?  He had no ice.  Maybe his nerves were from the adrenalin rush of cornering a victim.  Did he want to rock sometime, or get to stabbin'?  I was about to find out.  "If it pleases you Mr. Shelton, maybe we could get together and jam at the space sometime."

Great!  A "jammer"...  I needed an out, fast!  "You read my mind, young Marcus!  What a smashing jam we would have together!  Sadly, I have several telethons and walks for various crippling medical conditions to host in the next several weeks.  After that I'm building a hospital wing, then a library.  Perhaps if I find a spare minute we could have a nice 'jam'.  If my patent goes through next week cancer will be eradicated and many of my walkathons would be unnecessary."  I felt like I had thrown enough at him that I might have thrown him off of his game plan.

Marcus seemed unable to absorb all of what I had just said, and kind of stumbled off muttering something like "Yeah man, that should be awesome.  Good luck.  See ya' around!" But then he took the ice pick out from behind his back and looked at it longingly, and obviously deflated, said "Maybe next time, my sweet..."

Whew!  That was a close call...

While I may be a little off in my recollection of most of the conversation, I do want Marcus to know that I remember that chance meeting a handful of years ago.  I guess you are the first person I've ever "jammed with" after talking about it.  Hope you like it!  Expect a lot of laughs, and some kick ass riffin'!       


  1. it is worth joining Confessor just for a post/welcome such as this one thou have bestowed upon us!!! how kind of him to acknowledge that you invented Coolness. i too believe in credit where it's due!

  2. Your writing is always so entertaining haha
    Can not wait for new Confessor stuff...exciting times ahead!!

  3. I would like to thank my loyal minions... yes, both of them, for checking in. We should get together sometime on a street corner and air drum our way to world peace! Today an intersection... tomorrow the world, and then... total domination! Just when the public thought they could final count upon their new leaders to be honest stewards of global interests... POW! Drummer rule for all eternity. We just have to make air drumming the most accepted public display of anglo-nerdery. Count your days, hacky sackers! The seed has been planted.

  4. I'm totally in Steve! I'm just gonna grab my imaginary Pro-Mark 2bs and await further orders...