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.

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.

Oct 21, 2014

Day of Doom 2014: Two Years in the Making

I still remember the very first time the organizer of Barcelona's Day of Doom Festival and I spoke.  I was at work on top of a ten foot ladder when I received the call.  I don't normally answer the phone at work unless it's one of a small handful of people trying to reach me. Talking on the phone is not what I get paid to do. Apparently talking on the phone and texting all day is what everyone under the age of 30 gets paid to do, but not me.  On this particular occasion I happened to notice the foreign country code on the phone screen, so I decided it could be interesting to take the call.  A very thick accent on the other end said "Hello!  I am calling from Barcelona, Spain".  Barcelona?  Cool city, but I didn't know anyone there.  I replied "I'm pretty sure you have the wrong number" and I thought that would be the end of things.  I was wrong.  The voice then asked "Is this Steve Shelton?".  Hold on a second, this had to be a prank.  I started looking around from atop the ladder to see who might be watching my reaction.  Within a few seconds I realized this was not a prank at all.  My friend, Braulio kept on working while I spent the next few minutes trying to process the idea that a very rich, booming voice was asking if Confessor would consider flying to Barcelona to play a festival. Scott already lived in China, and we may not even have been 'active' at the time, but hellz yeah, I'd ask the girls if they would be interested in playing one of my favorite places on earth!  When I tried to give The Voice my email address there was a problem with my accent.  It suddenly dawned on me that the mystery fan might speak Spanish, so much to his surprise and delight we finished the last several minutes of the conversation in Spanish. I remember him laughing and saying that I sounded like a bonafide Mexican.  I'll take that as a compliment any day, and it was an interesting way to end a very strange conversation that had begun ten feet in the air.

Oct 19, 2014

Barcelona: Inspiration Around Every Corner

After a week in one of the most amazing cities I have ever visited Monica and I are slowly settling into our comfortable life here at home.  Time will blur some of the details but the impact of our trip to Barcelona will stay with us forever.  We packed our days there with a number of things we were excited to see and experience, and we were worn out by the end of it all.  We would have gladly stayed for a few more days, but sadly the date on our return ticket did not magically change.  We spent our first day back at home laying around with our beloved Ripp and Bella while the two cats seemed just as unmoved by our return as one would expect.  To be sure, they were happy to have someone to annoy again though they are always too detached to exhibit any real emotion.  I have spent much of my time going over the 1,500 photos we took so that we might all eagerly relive the experience with our fellow travelers while we are still glowing from our adventure together.  Hopefully I will be able to begin breaking our trip down for all Pounderers next week before "normal life", or that which happens between adventures, digs its claws into us and time warps us right into the holidays.  This time of year always seems to speed up and life becomes a long series of commitments you barely have control of before year's end.  We will think back to our trip to Spain and remember what it was like to be surrounded by beauty, art and architecture, friends, churros and drinkable chocolate all within a few minutes' walk of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sep 24, 2014

Gearing Up for the Day of Doom Festival

In two short weeks Monica and I, along with most of the best friends I have had in the last several years, will be flying to Barcelona to kick as much of Spain's ass as we can in a total of about an hour and forty five minutes' worth of playing time. I can't tell you how excited I am personally, and as a member of two of underground metal's most esoteric bands to be part of this year's Day of Doom Festival.  We have a thousand things to do between now and then, and no doubt we will have a thousand things to do when we get to Barcelona, but this is one drummer who can't wait to take his seat onstage. This is a show that has been a very long time in the making, and it's really kind of a miracle that it's happening in the way that it is.  Confessor have been trying to make the trip possible since 2012 but the scheduling never worked out. Turns out that having a singer who lives in China makes it difficult to play live.  Who knew?  Now both Confessor and Loincloth are going to perform.  How freaking cool is that?!?!?!  What an unbelievable opportunity!

Confessor and Loincloth have both been doubling up our practice schedules for the last month to be in the best shape possible for Day of Doom. Metal fans will not know what hit them by the time we are done.  I'm almost salivating at the opportunity to knock people on their asses at the festival.  There are a handful of people who are flying to Barcelona specifically to see us, and I feel as though we owe it to them and to anyone who may have wondered over the years what it would be like to see us live to show them precisely why we do what we do.  The promoter has dreamt of being able to bring Confessor to Spain for years and I get pumped every time we speak on the phone.  Our conversations are about whatever thing we may be trying to organize at the moment, but once those things are settled the tone changes to that of a longtime fan and a truly humbled musician expressing how much they are looking forward to meeting, and to the festival itself. Matei Tibacu, who has been one of The Poundry's most reliable commenters, and is the guy who put together a three hour radio program about me back in 2012 is coming to Spain with his mother to see us.  It'll be neat to meet old friends for the first time.

Sep 1, 2014

Meet Bellazebub!

I've threatened to post pictures of our newest family member for awhile now, and here they are.  Everyone, this is our sweet little Bella!  Okay Bella, look cute... good girl.  Wait!  Don't eat that!  BELLA!!!  We are still adjusting to life with our first countertop surfer.  Bella began to pull things off of our kitchen counters and chew them up after she had been here for several weeks.  We're learning.  The electric cattle prod seems to help.  Every time I leave something close enough to the edge that Bella can get to it Monica zaps me.  Yeeeoww!  I think she likes it a bit much.  The other night she tried to tell me that because I left a light on in the hallway Bella was probably going to keep her from doing my work laundry.  I still don't understand the connection.  Maybe I've been zapped a few too many times and It's beginning to affect my cognitive skills.

Aug 27, 2014

Fake Blood to the Right, Real Blood to the Left: Gwarbecue, 2014

Photo credit: Su Thongpan

I remember the first time I saw Gwar.  It was in a tiny club here in Raleigh called The Fallout Shelter where I used to go see Confessor back when I thought they could really use a drummer like me.  Lots of nights were blurs back then, but rubbing elbows with giant phalluses and blood covered men and women in their skivvies stood out as one of the highlights from that club.  Some of my first shows with Confessor were as an opening act for Gwar.  I don't remember how many, just that there were shows here and in Richmond. At the comedian Gallagher's shows back in the 80's people brought sheets of plastic to protect themselves from his "Sledge-o-Matic", a giant prop hammer with which he smashed watermelons while telling sixth grade level jokes.  At Gwar shows, a sheet of plastic would have been nice to keep from getting fake blood and copious amounts of fake ejaculate all over you.  I never saw them once they were a big deal, so I can only imagine what people had dripping off of them as they came out of their shows.  Sunn were able to combine some of the creepy side of horror movies with music that sounded like a horror soundtrack to create a punishingly loud aural and visual experience.  Gwar took schlock and schlong magic and combined it with a sort of puppet show horror, home movie sex-perience. Perhaps Loincloth have found their niche market, opening for various forms of horror experimentation bands.  Not the worst thing on earth.  Certainly interesting.

Aug 3, 2014

Loincloth Return for the Second "Beatdown Downtown" in Raleigh, Sat. Aug. 9

It's hard to believe that a year and a half has passed since our first show in Raleigh.  There are plenty of moments that I can remember as though the show just happened last weekend. There were lots of friends, old and new, who had kept up with Loincloth's long, erratic history and were determined to catch our first show in town.  Hell, who knew whether or not we'd ever play again?  Plenty of people probably never really believed we were a band until we finally stepped onto the stage, and who could blame them? Well, the time has come for us to do it again and King's will again be the scene of the crime as Loincloth take the stage next Saturday night to deliver our own brand of heavy, contorted metal to those who think they are big enough to take the punishment.  Many jaws were dropped by the end of our set last time and we intend to make no less of an impact this coming weekend.  We have new songs to pulverize you with, so make sure you have some muscle relaxers at the house because you may need them the next morning, and come on down to King's.  We will be joined by "Bandages" and "Enemy Waves" for this tag team ass stomping.  Go ahead and put on your big boy pants and leave the wimps on the front porch. They'd just slow you down anyway!  Oh, and say "Happy birthday" to my mom if you see her, and Monica too.  Mom's birthday is Saturday, and Monica's is Friday.  Once we have all recovered we'll find a nice place to have dinner and talk about how we're too old for all you whipper-snappers and your shennanigans.  We should be easy enough to spot.  We'll be the ones holding our necks and yelling for each other to repeat whatever we just said a little louder.  Oh, how we suffer for our art!

Jul 19, 2014

Am I Dreaming? The Skull Are Performing One of My All Time Favorite Albums in Barcelona!

If I had to name one band as being the most influential in my own creative journey, I could do it in about three seconds.  I could tell you exactly which album pointed me towards heavy music.  There were a few bands that caused me to turn down certain alleys when I was younger, but they really just kept me moving along a path. The Beatles made me love music, so there will always be an argument for them to wear the Crown in this discussion, and Rush, or more precisely Neil Peart was responsible for making me want to be a drummer.  But lots of people who like music piddle at drums, or guitar or saxamaphone ( calling Homer Simpson ) without ever being passionate about playing or creating music.  The band that hit me in such a way that I knew what I wanted to shoot for in my own music was Chicago's hidden treasure, Trouble. As luck would have it The Skull, which is comprised of Trouble's singer, bassist and original drummer, will be performing at the Day of Doom Festival the same night as Confessor.  Not only that, but they will be performing the record that made me love heavy music and all of it's dark promise... the legendary "Psalm 9"!  Will someone please pinch me?!?!?!

Jul 1, 2014

Barcelona, Here We Come!

Playing in a band is pretty damned cool sometimes.  I'd be lying if said that I didn't enjoy having lots of people explain that they have never seen another band quite like us, or that our music inspired them to see how far they could push themselves artistically.  Their enthusiasm can be intoxicating.  It's even cooler when you've traveled to some new place and hundreds of people have gathered to cheer you on as you play songs they've known forwards and backwards for years.  I have never once been told at work to hop on a plane and travel to some far corner of the world so that throngs of adoring fans could pump their fists in the air while I perform amazing feats of manual labor.  Once I was asked to autograph something while I was coming down off of a roof at work, but that was because a Confessor fan recognized me from the parking lot, not because I had just blown someone's mind by cleaning off the roof of their apartment in a way that made them think about ladders and blowers in ways they had never contemplated before.  Music makes people love something, and love you for opening them to new experiences.  Work does not.  

Jun 22, 2014

Confessor and False Prophet Bring Down the House

Last weekend Confessor played live for the first time in two years, and for the first time ever with Marcus as one of our axemen. We wanted a show that was out of town but not so far away that no one knew who we were. That way we could all have a more laid back experience for Marcus' maiden voyage. The evening was a headbanging success! Everyone in attendance was pumped to see DeadThrone and Dogbane warm things up. It was one of those shows where everyone seemed to know each other, and to an extent there was an "extended family" high school reunion feeling in the room.  We used to play around Greensboro and High Point pretty frequently, so there were several familiar faces.  I like feeling like we are among friends because those people always treat you right and they seem to appreciate what you do more than a club full of people who don't know what you're about.

Jun 13, 2014

Confessor Poised to Rock Greensboro

If any of you are searching for the perfect Father's Day gift this weekend, I have a suggestion. Nothing says "I love you Dad, and I appreciate all that you have done for this family over the years" like taking him to a metal show!  So everyone, bring your Dad's on down to Greensboro's hottest joint in town this weekend, "The Blind Tiger" to check out Confessor and False Prophet!  He'll love having his ears blown off the sides of his head!  Wallets and belts are for sissies... metal is the only way to express love. Look it  up, you'll see.

Confessor's show with False Prophet tomorrow night will be our first in over two years, and it will be the "homecoming" show for False Prophet, who have just reassembled after years of inactivity.  We played several show together back in the day so it should feel like a high school reunion, which is always a lot of fun.  This will also be our first show with Marcus!  It's his ice breaker show, and will serve as a warm up to something we have going on in October, which I will elaborate on after we get back from the show tomorrow.  So ladies, tell your boyfriends that you need some space and come check out our young Marcus before you commit to anything too serious.  Hell, there may be some single dads out there who might buy you some drinks after some strategic batting of the eyelashes.  We are all mostly harmless, and pretty easy to figure out.  And guys, just in case Marcus doesn't have enough bras draped over his amp during our set, feel free to fling those tighty whiteys his way!  A compliment is a compliment no matter who it comes from, right?  Don't forget about Chris either... it'll be his birthday, so line up to fling your socks, wallets ( actually, I'll take those! ) and whatever article of clothing has been keeping you from feeling free.  Come on and join the party tomorrow night at The Blind Tiger!

Jun 11, 2014

Trailer Trash Rock Stars

When Loincloth were in the studio three weeks ago, we ended up having to do some things I never thought I would do for a recording.  In the past I've always had most everything completely mapped out well before we hit the record button.  I always knew where I wanted to go with my drums, and I was relatively comfortable with my ability to play my parts.  I say "relatively" because you lose a certain amount of comfort in the studio, in large part because you understand that you are about to leave the only lasting version of your vision for the world to hear.  It's final, and there is no turning back once you say "Okay, that's it guys."  Once that little bit of comfort is gone your confidence, or at least my confidence, can easily be shaken.  Throw in headphones that never sound great followed by a handful of mistakes you don't remember ever making before and soon you find yourself wondering if it isn't too late to be the guy who sweeps up after the elephants at the circus, or perhaps a food taster for an unpopular dictator... anything that might be more glorious than discovering that you are the worst drummer to ever enter a studio.  Fortunately for me, this round in the studio was different in that reality forced me to roll with things and experience kept me from stressing out about the 'unknowns', of which there were many.

May 28, 2014

Cramming and Jamming: The Loincloth Story

Sorry folks, I couldn't resist the title.  One of the biggest problems with being raised by a pack of wild smart asses is that you can never let an opportunity to make a joke slip by.  If you do, you'll remember that moment and how funny you know it could have been for years.  Regret is a killer.  Best to let fly with the sophomoric humor and allow that part of your personality to weed out the condescending snobs from your life.  There are plenty of places for them far, far away from this drummer.  To be fair to myself, this really is a photo of us "jamming" ( I hate that term! ) as we were in fact "cramming" before we went into the studio.  The title of this post is appropriate, after all.  I took this photo while watching a video on Tannon's phone he shot a couple of nights earlier down at the space.  I've seen way too many horror movies.  The video starts with Tannon looking down at the camera while he set it in place before walking back to strap on his guitar.  I couldn't help but think he was about to walk back to my limp body and start removing one limb after another, until eventually he found zombie gold in what would appear to be a couple of feet's worth of link sausages with thick, crimson slime dripping down his arms.  As it turned out, what I saw instead was the two of us conjuring up some sort of reptilian servant of the underworld with our heavy, creepy, dark Loin "jam".  Hmm... shall we get back to tall tales of Loincloth's weekend in the studio, and whatever-the-hell a "dark Loin jam" might be?  I think that's a splendid idea.

May 24, 2014

Pershing Hill Sound: Loincloth Grind It Out in the Studio

Man, was I sore after our intense recording session last weekend!  You name it, and it ached.  Sore shoulders, sore arms, sore hands, sore butt, sore back, sore legs, a scab on my forehead and a ringing in my ears that's still as loud as anything in the background. Hmm... kinda sounds like most Sunday mornings when I was in my twenties, except for the part about the sore butt.  I want to be clear about that.  That body part never ached.  Draw your own conclusions, just keep them to yourself.  Loincloth were bloodied and sweaty by the end of our weekend in the studio, but oh! how sweet the fruits of our labor!

Tannon got into town Tuesday of last week and we began putting together the final rounds of tweaks in the songs we planned to record.  We were to record six songs, but only three of them had been played in their full form, and one of those had an ending that we still needed to figure out.  So two of six songs were done except for any minor drum things I was going back and forth about.  A third song needed a finalized ending, the fourth song had to have some things flushed out and some of the "fat" needed to be trimmed.  That song also had an ending that we had never played together, and my pattern at the end was one of those that I could play just fine by myself, but because of the way it wove in and out of the guitar it was a real bear to get right with someone else playing with it.  The fifth song had never made it out of the rough draft stage, but that wasn't even the real kicker. Our sixth song was nothing more than a series of riffs that we knew we could put together somehow but that had never been played together in any combination whatsoever!  There was only one riff that I had spent much time playing, but that was well over six months ago. The other riffs that went with it back then were scrapped and Tannon came up with a new batch of companion riffs.  I had some guitar files Tannon and I had been working with via emails to sculpt our arrangement, but the most we had ever played the riffs was when we tried them out around two o'clock in the morning a month ago so I could get them "into the system", so to speak.  We didn't have any ideas about how we'd put things together, I just wanted to get my toes wet.  So you can see, we had a lot to do and we were supposed to load in at the studio about forty hours after Tannon's flight got in.  Talk about the hot seat!

May 18, 2014

Farewell, H. R. Giger...

For all of us who love good sci-fi and horror movies, dark art and metal, one of our visionary leaders has left us this week. H.R. Giger died Monday, and the world of black surrealism may never find another artist to replace him.  Best known for his work on the sci-fi masterpiece "Alien", there is almost no corner of underground metal or of horror film making that has not been influenced by Giger's own brand of erotic, techno-occultism.  Even if you are a fan of all things scary and heavy and are not directly influenced by the man's work, there is no doubt that someone whose creations you do find inspiring has been shaped by his paintings.  

H. R. Giger was able to create a completely hopeless world of demonic ritual and overcharged sexuality cast almost exclusively in blacks and greys by combining two completely opposite painting styles.  He was a master airbrush artist, which was easy to forget because he always tempered the free flowing nature of airbrush with the cold, defined rigidity of stencils.  Whatever "life" there was in his paintings was typically engaged in some type of sex act or demonic sacrifice, was dead or dying, or was some freaky, menacing alien thrown against a backdrop of mechanized static.  Simply beautiful!

May 3, 2014

Crunch Time!

Well, Loincloth only have two weeks before we find ourselves knee deep in microphone cables and hypnotizing electronic gizmos.  Phase One of our plan for total world domination cranks up two weeks from yesterday once we begin to load all of our equipment into the studio to record our second album.  To say that I have a lot to figure out between now and then would be an understatement, but I'm up to the challenge.  One benefit to having no idea of what you're doing at any time behind a drum kit is that you aren't held captive by convention.  The term "thinking outside the box" implies an awareness of a "box", and I have zero awareness of any collection of do's and don'ts.  Or of anything at all... ever!  While I have been accused by more than one person of being nothing more than a 'rock drummer' ( my apologies to any 'rock drummers' who may take offense to that label ) I can assure you that my basic skills pale in comparison to anyone who can actually 'rock', or who has even studied drums for more than a week... between commercials!  No one ever told me there was a box that showed you how to be accepted!  My own 'strength' such as it is, lies in a willingness to give most anything a shot, and in the fact that I can count to four several times in a row.

Apr 1, 2014

Loincloth: Counting Down to Studio Time

As a musician in performing or occasionally performing bands, there are two things that really make all of the hard work and endless mental energy that go into writing our quirky brand of metal worthwhile. Two scenarios in which the payback is so immediately gratifying, and so close to tangible that you feel nearly removed from the hours and hours of arranging and rearranging riffs, and you can almost 'feel' what it's all about.  For yours truly, those two things are the reactions people have when they see you perform live and that precious moment in the studio when you finally get to hear all of the hard work played back through the studio monitors.  With that in mind I am pleased to announce something... Stop the presses, ladies and gentlemen, Loincloth have a date in the studio!

Mar 1, 2014

Terry Bozzio Pays Raleigh a Visit

There are drummers who are good, drummers who are great, and there is Terry Bozzio. Terry Bozzio might be a bona fide force of nature, or perhaps he's actually unnatural.  It's hard for me to say.  He outdoes any other drummer I've ever heard in every conceivable way. He is not only on a level far beyond any other mere mortal, but there is no path for others to take to even come close to achieving the kind of mastery of the drum kit he commands. Roughly two hundred drummers packed Raleigh's "The Pour House" Monday night just to sneak a peak into the polyrhythmic world of Earth's most evolved drummer.  None of us were really sure what we saw or heard, but we all knew that through some type of dark sorcery, Mr. Bozzio was able to produce something with the same kinds of sticks and drums that we use, but that we'll never hear coming from our own kits.  Maybe I've been holding my sticks the wrong way all of these years.  Maybe I should have chosen a different instrument!  A kazoo, or a tambourine... hell, Terry Bozzio would probably blow everyone away on a kazoo, too.

Feb 9, 2014

Confessor and Loincloth Updates, Plus More Decompositions Studios Images for Enhanced Eyeball Pleasure

Confessor have been working on our first really mathy song for the new album in the last couple of weeks.  It's great to see everyone excited about how the track is coming along, and I have had an avalanche of ideas and patterns to play with.  The original riff is one that Brian wrote a long time ago that I have played with from time to time, keeping it in mind as a 'must do' riff whenever the right time came.  This has been one of those occasions when each minor tweak leads to another vicious dynamic worthy of exploration, and I came up with a brother riff with equally endless opportunities to create very different beats and rhythms without having to change the actual riff.  Restraint will be essential so we don't turn this into a lifeless, robotic exercise, but if there is one thing that has sunk in from writing with Confessor's evil twin, Loincloth, it is the ability to cut things out for the sake of brevity.  Confessor will always have more room for things to expand, but to stay mean you have to avoid being too longwinded.  We want this song to beat you up, and judging from everyone's reactions and excitement in the practice room we are on the right track with this one.  It's a damned good feeling!

On the Loincloth front, Tannon came down from Richmond last weekend so that we could get the ball rolling with a few different ideas.  There is a certain kinship that Tannon and I share when we write music together that is always inspiring in a sort of jubilant way neither of us has experienced before.  Don't get me wrong!  Being excited about a new idea with other people is always the thing that makes playing worthwhile, no matter who it is.  Something about the frequency with which Tannon and I find ourselves saying "Oh yeah...  This one is going to be a beast!" makes it different.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that he and I usually see the same kind of potential in riffs almost right away, and  the speed with which we understand each other makes it really easy to rip through little tweaks.  We came out of the pressure cooker experience of finishing 'Iron Balls' more attuned to one another's way of thinking, and now we have no problem getting right back to ideas when months have passed since playing together.  In short, it's a blast being in Loincloth and Confessor right now and my hope of being able to feed off of each other's energy seems to be kicking up a little.  Both bands are totally psyched about new music, and that is a wonderful, wonderful thing indeed.

Jan 26, 2014

Sweet, Sweet Jasmine: 1999 - Jan.21, 2014

Those of you who have followed The Poundry for the last few months are aware that we had been trying to work with our vet and Jasmine to rehabilitate her broken leg since I tripped over her back in June of last year. That's a long damned time!  Seven months translated into dog years, with adjustments for Jasmine's size, becomes something like three years of rehab for our sweet little girl.  Yikes!  Can you imagine that much time with your leg bandaged? That much time hobbling from one pillow to another, waiting for someone to bring you your meals and to carry you outside to use the bathroom?  Jasmine had always been a puppy at heart, and her unbridled playfulness probably complicated her recovery at first, and gave us a false sense of progress that made it that much tougher when things started to get more difficult a month ago.  We lost Jasmine to pneumonia Tuesday afternoon.  That is a loss we will carry with us forever.

Jan 20, 2014

Homework: Working Out Drum Beats Without a Kit

Time, it's one of the two things all of us would like to have more of in order to accomplish the things we fantasize about. The other is of course, money.  In a perfect world we all have plenty of time to do whatever we want and no one needs money to provide the basic necessities of life.  Our coolness causes everything to work out effortlessly.  We are all Ferris Bueller in our own heads.  In my head, throngs of people cheer me on everywhere I go.  There are tamale trees around every corner, and water fountains flow with the sweet nectar we call iced tea.  Not that god awful, bitter leaf juice that sophisticates drink in coffee houses, or that offensively fruity crap that companies try to pass off as a drinkable substitute for real tea.  I am talking about the good stuff; sweet, southern iced tea.  You can't find it north of Virginia, at any point west of North Carolina or south of South Carolina. The good stuff is found here, in this little beverage oasis the rest of you look down upon, though half of you retire here. In a Sheltopian society, Mexican and Indian food mysteriously appear whenever I begin to feel hungry, and there are no bills to pay.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  That's what allows me the time I need to write all of my drum parts for Confessor and Loincloth in that perfect world where album pre-sales always lift your releases to "platinum" status before you even go into the studio. Sadly, here on Earth things are very different.