Dec 31, 2016

Adios 2016 and Hello, Future!

As I sit here in my adult pajamas with an empty coffee cup beside me contemplating what has transpired over the last year I am left with a feeling that is both strange and new.  I know this feeling is not purely a reflection of the last three hundred sixty six days ( this was a Leap Year, after all ) but more of a certain style of communicating that has spilled over from one segment of our daily lives and infected nearly every nook and cranny of popular culture.   This bizarre sensation is a mix of disdain and cautious optimism.  Out of respect for the human condition I will try to contain my delight while slamming the door on how things have been, and tossing the key into a pit of fire.  But likewise I will temper my optimism regarding our future with a dose of reality.  The "pathologically dissatisfied" will always find a way to ruin everything for everyone else.  They can even ruin music.  In fact I think it's fair to say they have been trying to ruin music in much the same way they have ruined film making.  Everything has to have a deep message and as such, everything within their reach has been politicized.  They are incapable of affecting the world with anything they might be able to engineer, so they flex their muscle by feigning outrage until those who can produce are so hampered by fear of retaliation from The Mob that they become effectively paralyzed.  If you have wondered why life isn't as much fun as it used to be, you can thank those people.  That dynamic will always exist.  Not everyone wants that, though.  Some of us just want to create some music and mirth.  What makes this day different for me personally is that for the first time in my adult life I actually have a little hope that light will be shined on the dubious intent of those who make up The Mob.  

Dec 24, 2016

Metal Christmas!

Okay, which of you was the wise guy who flipped everyone's calendar several months ahead to December? Are we experiencing the "dog year" effect where time moves seven times faster than usual? That could explain the new body aches and the inability to remember anything that happened more than thirty seconds ago.  Short term memory is for losers anyway, right?  Oooh, that reminds me... I need to write a Happy Holidays post at The Poundry. 

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and happy times to all who curse under their lips during this occasionally irritating time of year.  Hopefully watching other people enjoy themselves will take a little of the pain away as "Santa Baby" grinds its way through your head for the thousandth time this month.  Seeing people who mean something to you is nice this time of year but most every thing else can get old fast.  I feel ya'!

Be well, be safe, and keep it interesting! 

Nov 19, 2016

Why Yes, I Do Accept Bribes... I Mean "Donations"

In early September I had an opportunity to do something I had never considered when I started playing drums.  I was asked if I might be interested in being one of three judges at Guitar Center's annual Drum Off at their Raleigh store.  I was honored to be considered but I wanted them to know what they were getting, or maybe it would be more appropriate to say, what they were not getting with me.  After clarifying that not knowing a damned thing about music theory or having even a remedial understanding of drumming concepts would not be deal breakers, I told them they could count me in.  I was happy to feel as though I was contributing to the local music scene in a different capacity.  And who hasn't wondered what it might be like to have on nothing more than a long, black robe and tennis shoes?  Plus, I get to be called "Judge Shelton" and "your Honor" now.  I can work with titles like that!

Nov 13, 2016

A Diamond in the Rough Mix, Part Deux

As the first day of recording Loincloth's second album drew to a close I felt as though things had gone quite well at Pershing Hill Sound.  Thankfully, I don't get anxious before going into the studio anymore.  I have accepted the fact that there will always be a part of me that feels ill prepared, and that things beyond my control might, and probably will happen.  All you can do in those situations is to roll with the changes.  I was bolstered by Tannon's excitement as he heard many of my ideas for the very first time while "tape" was rolling.  For him, Loincloth has been nothing more than endless guitar files since we finished writing everything in Richmond last year.  He needed to have his pilot flame reignited.  I was confident that would happen, and when it did I appreciated his enthusiasm.  Since he and I have ended up having the greatest veto power it was nice to see him smiling like a kid in a candy store.  It was too late to make any significant changes, so seeing his approval turn into giddy excitement was a relief.  When I was a kid I never had a cheering section to push me along. That is one thing he and Monica are both great at, and it makes a difference.  I hope all of you have cheerleaders among your friends and family.  Not the ones who throw a beer bong in your face and yell "Chug! Chug!", but the ones who really hope you do well in life.  Maybe being the beer bong champion means a lot to you.  We don't judge around here.  Not unless you suck.

Nov 10, 2016

A Diamond in the Rough Mix

The dust has finally settled at Pershing Hill Sound after three intense days of recording drums for the next Loincloth album in our endless pursuit of sublimely twisted metal.  My monster drum kit and I set up camp in Master Greg Elkins' studio to lay down the beats that could potentially lead the world to a better place for all humanity.  A place where drummers are the ones who get the lead roles in movies talking about snares that go "up to eleven" and singers are those who spontaneously combust onstage. A world where gingers like myself have songs sung about them instead of being ridiculed for their superior intelligence and intimidating good looks.  A world where percussive brilliance buys access to the highest levels of power.  A Stevetopia where tolerance for all is based upon one hundred percent acceptance of my ideas and only those fools who disagree are led to reeducation camps, or shamed into silence.  That is the scale of Loincloth's dream, and as of two weeks ago the world is one step closer to its realization.

Oct 30, 2016

The Pershing Hill Sessions

Well hot damn ladies and germs, the day we have all been waiting for has arrived!  The drum tracking sessions for the new Loincloth album have begun!  No doubt an important topic, perhaps The Topic at dinner tables across the fruited plains, Sheltonian drumming will impact us all whether we are made aware of it or not.  As a nation we all wait with baited breath as the blueprint for future progress and the evolution of mankind is laid down in a humble but well equipped studio near central Raleigh.  Let's see where history files this new release in the Museum of Things that Changed the Trajectory of Mankind. It should go something like this: First there would be fire, that's a given.  Everyone from gourmet chefs and Richard Pryor on down to angry mobs needs fire.  Hell, Frankenstein would still be around were it not for fire.  You have to be careful though.  A wise man once said "Fire burn."  Then you'd have the wheel, without which we'd all have to carry our cars on our backs, and that would be an unbelievable strain on us all.  Can you imagine trying to parallel park a car without wheels?  After that there would be "the interwebs".  How else could billions of people share photos of cats, their twelfth selfie of the day and pornographic material?  And then the biggie, Loincloth's second album.  

Oct 23, 2016

Studio, Sweet Studio: But First, Some Sound Sarcastic Advice

There are several benefits to being a world famous musician. Obviously, having your pick of stunning models to accompany you to all of the grand social events is one. Being chauffeured around to all the best private Hollywood and Bollywood parties is pretty nice, too.  If you've never been the guest of honor at a lavish party that spontaneously breaks into big song, it's a gas!  And the food is out of this world!  Never having to wait at posh restaurants, there's a time saver!  Being able to scam fans out of millions of dollars in donations to your relief projects is another advantage.  But there are some tedious aspects of mega fame that one must endure that keep you in touch with the struggles of the common people who occasionally have access to your music.  Take for example having tiny, germ covered newborn humans entrusted to you by complete strangers for baby kissing photo ops, or quick selfies with world leaders and political wannabees alike, many of whom are one in the same. Then there are the hassles of trying to find a bureau large enough to hold the honorary keys to large metropolitan cities around the world, or the burden of never being able to leave the house without the correct $400 sunglasses.  Mega fame is not without its difficulties.

Oct 19, 2016

Tough Riffs Interview

Hello there, dear Pounderers!  No need to check your calendars.  Eleven months have not passed since my last post.  That was actually only a few days ago.  I said I'd be back at the helm and I surely meant it.  This is a tight ship that we ruuuuu... hold on just a sec... where the hell is my coffee intern?  Who is in charge here?  Is that a brown M & M?!?!?!  Oh, the humanity! Well, there are a few things that need to be whipped back into shape, but we will not be deterred.  Onward and upward we go!

I want to let you all know about an interview that was just published at Tough Riffs' website. I was contacted by Dima Andreyuk, who writes for the 'zine, a few weeks ago about doing an interview, which I am always happy to oblige.  Within a few days I had a list of very insightful questions in my inbox.  Unfortunately for Dima, he got the wrong guy to answer them.  Just kidding folks!  His questions were very thoughtful, and it was obvious that he had either done his homework or had wanted to ask them for a very, very long time.

Oct 12, 2016

Alien Abduction

Whoa!  That was weird...  Have any of you ever experienced large chunks of "time loss"? It's a fairly common occurrence with alien abductions.  People might be putting groceries in their car and then the next thing they know they are back at home and it may be three hours later.  What the hell just happened?  How did they get home?  Why can't they account for the lost time? Would you believe that I was abducted by aliens back in November of last year and came to only to find myself toiling away at work as though nothing ever happened just a few days ago?  Yes?  No?