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.