Jul 12, 2015

A Brief Tribute to a Bass Icon: R.I.P. Chris Squire

One of rock's legends passed away last month when Chris Squire of the band 'Yes' lost his battle with leukemia.  Monica and I both listened to Yes throughout the weekend to celebrate the contribution the band made to rock, specifically prog rock, and as their long, dramatic and very experimental songs filled our home I was reminded of why Chris Squire was my first favorite bass player.  His bass sound was the first truly thunderous bass sound I was ever exposed to and without realizing it at the time, he set the parameters for what I seek in bass players.  Chris Squire made the band surprisingly heavy at times but he also provided a smooth sense of melody and whimsy when it was required.  It may be that in the very same way I 'rediscovered' The Beatles one night around the age of thirty, I just this weekend rediscovered the man who should sit atop my list of favorite bass players.

Jul 1, 2015

Cleaning Out the Closet

Wow, here's a blast from the past!  I thought you guys might get a kick out of these old Slayer photos.  I flipped out when I first heard Slayer way back in high school.  Slayer's first album and Trouble's first album were what pointed me down the long, dark road of underground metal.  I had an opportunity to see Slayer back in 1985 when they were touring for their second album, 'Hell Awaits'.  I was traveling with Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. here on the East Coast at the time. D.R.I. were friends with Slayer and had a show booked with them at L'Amour in Brooklyn, NY.  I ditched my hometown pals to hobnob with one of underground metal's true heavyweights.  One broken down van, an hours long wait in a hotel restaurant and several train rides later, all while dragging D.R.I.'s gear, we finally made it to the club. Sensing that I would eventually become a household name, at least here in my own household, I was granted access backstage and eventually found myself onstage while Slayer played, hence this shot of me and Dave Lombardo.  Yes, that is yours truly behind him; yes they were playing at that precise moment and yes, I really did dye my hair jet black for about a year.  I watched a home video at my grandparents' in which I felt like I looked a little too much like Eric Stoltz from the movie 'Mask'.  I think I bought a box of blue-black dye the next day! There was no helping my mug, though.  One must pick one's battles.  Don't ask where my other hand is in this shot.  I have been sworn to secrecy, though the look on Dave Lombardo's face might  make things clear enough.  That may have been the last time he let someone he didn't know on stage!  He was a great sport, and I even got him to make a goofy, 'Walk Like an Egyptian' pose right before they started a song.  Were it not for him stage security would probably have kicked my ass as well as the ass of Felix, D.R.I.'s drummer. We were rapidly heading towards an altercation with security when Dave Lombardo saw what was going on and told security to let us up onto the stage.  It was quite a night, and many years later it is still quite a memory.