Nov 9, 2015

While the Machine Sleeps

We here at The Poundry would like to apologize to the families of those who decided to hold their breath until another article was posted on our blog.  We appreciate their dedication and commitment, and we ache with the news of their passing.  They would have been formidable warriors in the inevitable takeover of the world The Poundry has been planning for years.  The coming World Poundering will commence once we have found suitable replacements for those brave men and women who gave everything while awaiting further instruction.  Their presence will be missed, and as a show of respect we ask that all of us observe a moment of silence that should last at least 1.3 seconds, but no more than 1.7 seconds as a reminder that life goes on, at least for the rest of us.  The fallen will observe a moment of silence that will last for all eternity and that will give me the strength to carry on for the rest of us who seek to change the world through the power of twisted metal.  Rest in peace, fellow Pounderers.

Okay, the one or two of you who still click onto The Poundry to see what is going on at the Confessor and Loincloth Command Center might be happy to know that both bands are still kicking and that I have survived any attempts to wrest control of the rhythm section that underpins the coming World Poundering.  One of the things that I wanted to do with this blog was to show what it can be like to be in a band.  Usually I have something that I can be excited about to keep my creative juices flowing and my enthusiasm up and I have relied upon that enthusiasm to keep writing about things that I felt people would be interested in as music fans.  Not everything that happens within the experience of being in bands is inspiring though, and there are times when the spark that usually keeps the flame burning goes out. Sometimes there are no ticker tape parades on your way to practice after work.  Sometimes the billboards with your band logo and your face on them disappear.  When the parades dry up it can be difficult to find the hookers and blow that one needs as reminders of why we do what we do as metal agents of change.  Without those crucial elements in our daily life we need to rely upon our inner strength to get us through the dark times.  My own dank, dark tunnel has finally seen a flicker of light at its end.  I am holding my own breath now and crawling towards that light, hoping it proves to be the coming dawn of metal enlightenment and not some curious adolescent with a lighter who wants to see if naturally occurring methane really will explode into a ball of fire when introduced to a flame.  They say that things appear darkest just before The Dawn.  Things also appear pretty damned dark right before The End.  When I emerge from this dark tunnel will I plop out into the middle of another glorious parade, carried high on the shoulders of enthusiastic fans and hookers alike, or will I roll out onto a flaming bed sheet surrounded by pimple faced stoners laughing in disbelief at the basic chemistry experiment that concluded with the dull crack of a medium sized methane cloud bursting into a small but impressive ball of flame?  I guess that's the question we all ask ourselves when following our dreams.  

In a nutshell, a few months ago I had a lot of things to really look forward to in the world of music.  Both bands were writing for their respective records and there were things happening around my own personal journey as a musician that had me completely pumped.  That energy was real and empowering, but it was a fire that needed fuel to sustain itself and many of those fuel lines dried up.  Things beyond my control began to slow down forward momentum and eventually ground it to a halt.  I have been going up to Richmond as much as possible to help Tannon record guitar tracks for Loincloth's new record, and Marcus and I have been meeting regularly to write for Confessor.  Those are both great positives, but they haven't been enough to sustain the kind of momentum that had me rolling earlier this year. Recently things have shifted a little, and the recording process with Tannon has progressed enough that we are about to enter another phase where the control will be in my hands for a little bit. It will be nice to be able to dig into something again without having to wait for other people to jump on board.  I feel like I have been waiting to kick ass instead of being cut loose to do it. Timing has as much to do with how things unfold as any other part of planning.  A race horse that is primed and raring to go eventually walks away if his gate never opens.  What may have happened in this particular horse race is that I never got the message that the race was delayed.

I want to focus on the positives right now.  For starters the Loincloth record is indeed progressing.  From mid-May on I have been driving up to Richmond every other weekend except for times of sickness or other planned events so that Tannon and I could finish writing and begin recording our next album.  It will be a very different experience for all of us in the band because the basic guitars are going down first, and I will have to play to something instead of being the one to get things "right" first.  It takes almost no extra concentration to 'lead' the band as its timekeeper, but it requires a lot of concentration to try and match something that is already there.  We are down to the last couple of songs before I get to take my little magic show into the studio.  The one and only Greg Elkins will once again be relied upon to make it sound as though I know what the hell I'm doing.  He has done it before, and will no doubt shine as the heavy metal alchemist that he is, turning worthless beats made of lead into majestic towers of drumming gold.  "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain..." but do tip accordingly.  

Another thing that is going splendidly is the way young Marcus, affectionately known to us as "Skidmarcus", and I are writing together.  Marcus and I have been going to the practice space, parade or no parade, twice a week for months now playing around with ideas and tweaking things so that Confessor have riffs to work with.  It provides the band with riffs, but it also gives us both an outlet for our creativity which is at least as crucial as having riffs accepted.  Without that outlet things become even more complacent and eventually sloth becomes the new "comfort zone".  No good metal can come from that place, and for now the two of us have been able to present riff ideas and arrangements that have lifted the eyebrows of the other guys in the band.  I know that not every idea we love will make it onto Confessor's next album, but I have an idea about how to present some of the riffs that prove too cool, or too heavy for the other guys in the band.  Once I have finished recording the drums to the Loincloth record I will be able to put more energy and scrutiny into Confessor and into the idea that Marcus and I are excited about that is outside the experience of Confessor.  There will be a technology learning curve, but this has the potential to be a lot of fun with very little actual "work" once we get our method down.

Finally, I have at long last received the finished versions of the drum videos I wrote about so many months ago.  I broke my own code of silence regarding the release of those videos before they were actually completed.  Part of that was out of the sense that I had to give you loyal Pounderers something to be excited about, but I also believed that things were going so swiftly and smoothly that it was safe to talk about the videos.  Let's just say I was kicked squarely in the ass with one of life's lessons; never count your chickens before they hatch!  When you are in a band you have to accept the painful truth that many of the great opportunities that seem headed your way never materialize.  If you talk about those opportunities ahead of time the likelihood of them coming to pass is reduced to almost nothing.  If you are foolish enough to boast of them as though they are done deals then you will be forced to tuck your tail between your legs and let all the world know that you were full of crap and your band isn't as blessed as you made it sound.  I knew better than to mention the videos but I let my excitement speak for me instead of keeping things close to the vest as is my preferred way of handling things that I look forward to in life. Fortunately I didn't go on and on about them and the gods cut me some slack and delivered the videos despite my premature announcement.  Now I just have to figure out how to get them onto YouTube.  To say that I am computer illiterate is an understatement of mammoth proportion, but I will soldier on until someone feels sorry enough for me that they do it for me.  I wonder what Monica is doing tonight...  Oh right, she has a business to run and can't always drop what she's doing just because I'm standing there pouting and batting my eyes.  Drat!

With fingers crossed there will be more to write about in the very near future.  Time may be the biggest obstacle as the more weekends I spend away from home highlight the need to be there in whatever capacity necessary when I am at home.  There are always a half a dozen things going on that require attention.  Constant tiredness and six weeks of limping on a knee that occasionally swells to the size of a small grapefruit hasn't helped in that regard, but it has bought me enough pity to be able to lay around in my pajamas and crank this post out on a rain day when I should be knocking out things on the eternal List of Projects.  Here is an awe filled tip of the hat to all of the people who manage to knock their goals out methodically and efficiently without going insane, and a heartfelt thank you to every one of you who cares enough to check out this blog, whether I am able to crank out silly observations at a somewhat steady pace or I simply disappear for nearly four months.  Keep it real, keep it metal, and be true to yourself.

Editor's Note - 

The image at the top of this post is a photo I took a few years ago and is one of my personal favorites.  It reminds me of H.R. Giger and it's the only photograph of mine that has his vibe. It's called "While the Machine Sleeps" and was meant to be an homage to Godflesh.  I have described their music as being the soundtrack to machines' nightmares. Like Godflesh's music, this image is dark and ominous but it looks like something you could possibly sneak around without disturbing.  It has nothing to do with the post, but I wanted to add a visual image since it has been so long since I posted anything.  Just a little eyeball pleasure from me to you.


  1. Hey Steve. Great to hear from you. I presumed you had returned to your home planet and that my "he's not human" theory was indeed correct. Looking forward to those drum videos. And of course any more news involving Confessor and Loincloth.
    I picked up some of those Vic Firth "Metal" sticks. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to drum exactly like you now...that's how it works, right??
    In the meantime, I continue to fight the fight and spread the word...your ever loyal servant - Keith : )

    1. Hey, Keith! Man, it's good to hear from you too! Going so long without a post has a lot of downsides ( oops, blatant Confessor reference ) and one of the big ones is not hearing from your e-pals. I assume by now that you've written the rest of the drums to both the Confessor and Loincloth albums, so maybe I will return to my home planet with the knowledge that my work here on this little ball of paradise is done. I assume that you at least know what you are doing behind a kit whereas I was very uncontrolled ( crap, I did it again! ), but that's no secret ( hmm... this might get ugly ). Tell you what, since we all know that you broke into our highly secured Confessor Fortress and stole the drum tabs for Condemned meaning that you could probably replace me any time you want, if I can't figure out how to upload the drum videos I'll send the disc to you and you can Photoshop your head on my pasty, lizard body so it'll look like you actually played on Condemned and IBOS, but I get to keep my gig as Raleigh's most abstract, ginger metal drummer. Deal? Thanks in advance my ever loyal servant.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Interestingly, my response posted twice and I don't even know how to do that. This does not bode well for my future attempt to upload videos to YouTube!

  2. You mentioned Confessor's next"album".Thank you sweet baby Jebus.Thank you.Awesome to see you posting again Steve.The news you guys are progressing with the new material.Well it's like Xmas come early.As your loyal fans.We couldn't wish for better news.Well maybe a tour aswell.Along with at least 12 shows in Ireland.Seriously, whenever you guys hit the road again.I plan on travelling to some of those shows.(Hey Keith,pack a bag mate).Keep us updated if you can Steve.Wishing you guys all the best.

    1. David!!!! So good to hear from you again! I see that Ireland is well represented in the comment section of The Poundry and Romania has fallen well behind. Is it because of my Scottish blood that we have this unspoken kinship? Is it the music? Or is it just because we're so damned handsome? Okay, you guys are quite dashing at least. I still look homeless in photos. I was limping across someone's yard at work the other day with a 6' long hedge trimmer and I couldn't help but think I looked exactly like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining" as he entered the maze barking out "Danny" before he froze to death. That's about as good as I get in the looks department. Maybe you guys just feel pity for me. Whatever the case I'm happy to know you both and thrilled to have brought some enjoyment to your lives. Perhaps the first official planning session for the eminent Poundering of the World should take place in Ireland! David, please check in every now and then. I loved every minute that we got to hang out in Barcelona! What an inspiring city, and what a magical week for us. I'm happy that it meant something to you, too. Take care, David!

  3. Hello Steve,

    I hail from the Norfolk area, where our band BUZZARD has seen several years of absolute stasis, awaiting the inspiration of its three members to pursue a long-awaited recording. In the meantime I am languishing in the hinterlands of Williamsburg, VA, not far from Tannon, with whom we used to play gigs many years ago... I think he was in the Kenmores then.

    Really liked the Loincloth LP. Bad-ass. I miss Pen, but only because he's Pen, not because the music is lacking in any way at all.

    I play Warr Guitar now in addition to bass... but my "band" rehearsals are limited to a 2-piece with the BUZZARD drummer, and only occasionally in spite of the quality of the writing happening. Lots of practicing on my own, lots of recording and negotiating faux drumming via EZdrummer. Not very much real human interaction, through no fault of my own.

    Very stoked that you are keeping your own thing happening. Looking forward to more. Am I correct in assuming a new Loincloth release is forthcoming?


  4. Welcome to The Poundry, Kev! I know the stasis of which you speak. Bad habits lock in and it takes a miracle to pull even the smallest things together. At least you are able to stay active with drum programs and an occasional, real human behind a kit. Sometimes even if everyone shows up it's really just a social club that breaks into loud music every now and then. I hope that you and your mates can find a way back to the spark that got you together in the first place.

    Thanks for your kind words re: the Loincloth LP! I miss Pen, too. His journey has taken him elsewhere and I wish him the best. He has a lot of admirers. You are correct in assuming that a new Loincloth album is on its way. We hoped to have everything done by the end of the year but once you enter the holiday season it's difficult to orchestrate things with other people. I may still be able to put the drums down within the next few weeks. Confessor's next album will take much longer than the Loincloth album, but we are chipping away at it at our own pace.

    Hang in there, Kev! Thanks for checking in. You're welcome any time

  5. Ah? ...yeah, I know all the Confessor and Loincloth stuff, easy! But you know what, I'm gonna let you record the new stuff first. If it's bad then I'll step in and do it properly for you! Ya know, because its so easy and stuff. So, Prepare Yourself (couldn't resist) and as always, look forward to more updates : )

  6. Sounds good, and that's awfully big of you to throw me a bone like that. I need to feel needed. You have picked up on that, I see. You are very perceptive, Keith. It must be a handsome drummer thing.. I hear they are the coolest, most interesting people you could ever meet.

  7. Hey Steve, thanks so much for the card, really appreciate it! Hope you guys had a great Christmas. All is well here. As always, looking forward to more Confessor/Loincloth news and any blog posts in general! Cheers Dude. Happy New Year and talk soon : )

  8. Hi Steve,

    this is the random dude that crept up on you today in BCN. Just realized that I forgot to say that you're actually my favorite drummer in all of metal! So surreal yet so inspiring to bump into you so randomly. Hope the rest of your vacations are going well & also hope to see you next time you return here!

    All the best!!


  9. Okay, unfortunately the eleven month lapse probably means that you won't see this. However, it's great to hear from you! I hope the guitar (?) was in proper working order when you two got back home. It was great to have such a random encounter in a city we both obviously love so much! Hope to see you there again one day. By the way, thank you so much for the compliment! That's quite a claim! Take care!

  10. Okay, unfortunately the eleven month lapse probably means that you won't see this. However, it's great to hear from you! I hope the guitar (?) was in proper working order when you two got back home. It was great to have such a random encounter in a city we both obviously love so much! Hope to see you there again one day. By the way, thank you so much for the compliment! That's quite a claim! Take care!