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?

I had toyed with the idea of having a multiple choice "Where the hell did Steve the Great go?" survey with some interesting choices.  It would have gone something like this:  

1) Alien Abduction - Whilst finishing a paper on my research into promising cures for cancer I was whisked away into an alien mother ship where I was probed and prodded mercilessly by long, slender humanoid type creatures in search of the perfect drummer for their interstellar war on four four timing.  Eleven months later they realized I posed a greater threat to their advanced civilization because I was so powerful that they would not be able to contain me after decimating their monorhythmic enemies.  Polyrhythmic thought, not exclusively confined to the realm of musical theory, would spread across their population and lead to extreme creativity and thinking of all aspects of life from different perspectives. Their advanced, utopian civilization required that all people think in perfect lock step.  In fact, it demanded unanimity of thought.  Everyone must hate the things the higher ups told them to hate.  Everyone must tolerate all forms of expression, no matter how self destructive, or how much they sucked up valuable resources.  In their world, any who warned about the dangers of self destructive behavior were shamed into silence and called "haters". Monorhythmic thought had been bred into their youth through a corrupted education system whereby the State began to shape the minds of the young who soon lost the capacity to think of things outside of the myopic, self serving statist modes etched into their brains by a government run education system. Any creative thought based on the ancient "human" concept of common sense would expose their perfect world as the "fauxtopia" it had become.  Their civilization, which was built on symbolism instead of tired, boring facts, would have been upended and their brain dead minions and carefully constructed monopoly of thought would crumble before their long, coal black, upside down tear drop shaped eyes.

These extraterrestrials decided they'd rather have everyone who had become completely dependent upon their lies and distortions continue to praise them during the inevitable destruction of their societal existence.  Instead of risking their death grip on power by introducing polyrhythmic thought they pressed the gas pedal harder, mowing down all who suggested they think twice before driving their civilization into the side of a mountain.  They thanked me for my efforts in destroying their enemies, but ultimately they felt they could control a population by preserving the straw men "bad guys" they taught everyone to hate up to the very last second far easier than they could control a population that was equipped for the first time in generations to think around the mental roadblocks they had relied upon for thought/reaction control.  At the last possible second I was teleported back to Earth with the haunting echoes of never ending cheers from their happy, clueless, and now very incinerated supporters.

2) Satan Realized He had Gone Too Far - As a member of the "No Bullshit Super Heroes Club" I was surprised to get a call from The Dark One himself asking for my help in dismantling something he had started over one hundred years ago.  Hatred is a human emotion that is indeed ugly, but when individuals hate they are typically only capable of harming a select few other people.  Normally that hatred simply festers within the individual, ruining any chance of emotional growth, and hampering the growth of those most closely attached to that person.  "S-Dawg" as the Dark One likes to be called, began an ideological movement at the turn of the 20th century that sought to legislate away many "undesirable" human characteristics, but the only way he could control people's desire to be left alone to exercise their free will, good and bad, was to create politicians who would lie to their constituents about the state of things.  By appealing to envy, another ugly human characteristic, these politicians were able to divorce people from the common sense that most used to guide them through life without interfering with the lives of others.  Slowly but surely, everyone's lives were being interfered with via the promises of "equity" that were impossible to attain but did give ever increasing power to the elected elites making such insane promises.  By continuously offering to level the playing field by tearing a group of people down instead of actually lifting the downtrodden up, hatred and revenge became the most common of human emotions. When hatred was left to the individual, most people lived completely normal lives.  If one person had them in their crosshairs they could brace themselves for it and deal with it on a relatively even playing field.  When hatred was used as a method of controlling people for the purpose of consolidating power, the elected class were soon causing far more havoc than The Dark One ever thought possible.

One hundred years after beginning this experiment in social engineering, S-Dawg realized that he had made himself irrelevant as society began to vomit forth one narcissistic ideologue after another at the highest seat of power.  Humans were about to lose their humanity as these power mad elites continually pointed to innocent people exercising what little free will they still had and proclaiming them "enemies of the state".  People became less interested in their own well being and far more interested in focusing their collective hatred on others.  By taking an ugly, but powerful human emotion away from people, the masses became inhuman.  By then filling them with an unnatural, designed, or "politically correct" hatred, the elites were able to create vast armies of screeching zombies, hungry for the blood of the free thinkers who realized all too late that their days were numbered.  The hate filled, and rudderless masses dutifully gathered their pitchforks and torches and began to burn down their fellow men and women simply for not marching in lockstep to the social engineering designs of the state. Without humanity their was no longer a need for a satanic presence.  In fact, this new, blind evil was far more than S-Dawg ever desired and even he understood the need for balance in the world: Good and Evil, if you like, or the balance struck by differing opinions among civil people.  

The two of us devised a plan over the last eleven months that would pitch two candidates so utterly ridiculous in their corruption, hypocrisy and tone deafness that all would see how twisted and bastardized our system of politics had become, and people would drop their torches and pitchforks and demand better, more honest representation.  We talked about a race between a completely inhuman "Pander-Bot 2000", and an oversized loudmouth we called the "Orange Chaos Machine" but we felt that no one in their right mind would ever take either of them seriously.  Depressed, The Dark One thanked me for being willing to try and find sanity in an insane world and insisted that I continue to pursue my musical dreams so that he might find joy in the confusion people would find in my brand of polyrhythmic drumming.  I understand a desire to return to simpler times.  I don't know what became of our idea of a Pander-Bot 2000 vs. Orange Chaos Machine election.  It does sound kind of crazy now that I think about it.

3) Murderous Spree - A self explanatory, and totally believable option to explain my sudden absence from the helm of The Poundry.  You see, life is full of nitwits who hamper our right to the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our nation's Declaration of Independence.  The biggest obstacles to that are as follows: our own insecurities, and elected officials.  After nearly fifty years of suffering the shackles imposed upon us all by the morons whose foolishness prompts politicians to "protect us from ourselves", I decided to take matters into my own hands and impose a sort of touring judge and jury one man torture show.  Since no one would be impressed by the terms "Suicidal Maniac" or "Suicide Spree", and because I have an aversion to pain anyway, I decided to use my creative side to create a more balanced world by taking out some of the most offensively opportunistic rabble-rousers out there. Unfortunately, my own insecurities kicked in and I abandoned that dream on day one. See how insidious insecurities can be?  Now I simply fantasize like the rest of us that someone, anyone might hear what I have to say and think that the world is a better place for what seem like normal, sane opinions.

Reality Check:

Okay, that was a little disjointed.  The last several months have been that way for me.  Not everything has been a challenge, but many things not named Mrs. Stephen Shelton have been.  The real reason for my prolonged absence has had to do with ups and downs in both Loincloth and Confessor.  Back in December of last year I was certain that one of the two bands had just blown itself up.  Not in a fiery explosion, but in a figurative way.  There were a lot of "un-positive" feelings that led up to that point, so for several weeks before that moment it was difficult to stay positively motivated to write about music.  In the end, the band did not cave in to negativity and we are marching along with our dream of a world filled with delightfully bleak and chaotic music.  Things are as they should be with regard to that band, if not a little behind schedule.

In the meantime, the other band has had less dramatic ups and downs that became all too familiar.  In fact, only one week ago I was afraid that band was on the verge of calling it quits.  Not everything has been negative about the band's trajectory but there has been a curious lack of interest, whether real or only perceived, that ultimately began to manifest itself in real negativity in others.  I believe that the air has been cleared and that everyone feels better about things now, but there had been some doubts that began to sour people on the promise of another album.  At present, we are all working together towards that same goal of beautifully bleak music. 

When I began this blog I really wanted to have some lighthearted fun with our fans and to show what it can be like to be in a band.  I didn't want to shy away from things but I believe that focusing on negatives only brings out more negativity.  I like to be diplomatic and talk about the band in terms of being a unified team.  There will always be differing opinions, and those are fair to write about, but to single any one person out would be improper and hurtful. Ultimately, whether we all agree or not about any one thing, we are in this together and we all have to give up a little of our sense of independence for the larger goal of writing music together.  When negativity began to overshadow my underlying optimism I couldn't shake the feeling of being completely fake in searching for things to write about.  Soon a month or two had gone by without any ideas for new posts.  Then I stopped thinking about the blog altogether except for feeling guilty about not being able to bullshit my way through some innocuous posts.  After awhile I began to think of The Poundry the same way one thinks of a friend you haven't spoken to in ages. "They know I love 'em.  I'll try again some other time when I'm not so busy".

There were other things I had alluded to that seemed to be on the horizon at the end of last year.  Things that still have not come to pass, and I was ashamed of myself for breaking one of my rules in life; to never talk about something that has not happened yet.  I let excitement cloud my judgement and as has been the case every time I have ignored that rule, I was left with an embarrassing bowl full of nothing.  Fortunately that has not slipped completely out of grasp. So hopefully I will have some more news for you all.  I don't mean to tease, but being cryptic is a bit of a defense mechanism right now.  I mean to get this post behind me and carry on as though nothing shitty ever happened in 2016.

So for anyone left out there, I will be back at the helm here at The Poundry, with a much better sense of how to continue writing about music and about drums specifically during less optimistic times from here on out.  I do love writing in this loose essay format.  If I ever decide to venture into politics again, however vaguely, it will not be on this blog.  No worries for any of you that this will become a platform for preaching.  I have always played music with people who have found my positions utterly foolish, and since I do think of bath bands as "unified" I would never pretend to speak for anyone other than myself.  My rule for not taking myself too seriously is to always keep in mind the fact that many people far more intelligent than myself think I am nuts, and many others think I'm dead on, so who's to say what's "right" for anyone other than themselves.  That should be enough of a glimpse into my general thoughts about governance to see that I am not a true ideologue.  Maybe you think that's nuts, but I probably think you're crazy, too.

Alright then... I hope everyone is well and that the last eleven months have been good to you all.  Yes, both of you.  Mom, are you still there?  Okay you then, with nothing better to do... I hope your life has been great.

More to come...  


  1. Holy crap, I was worried sick young man! Don't do that again.
    All good here Steve. Nothing to report. Great to hear from you, as always.
    We love you too dude! You know we'll wait here patiently for any updates, no pressure from us. I did think your lack of presence was Satan related though, to be honest..

    1. Good to hear from you again, Keith! Everyone here in the States is totally stressed out right now. Friendships are ending, couples are getting divorced... it's nuts! Monica and I are great, but we are figuring out which country we'll escape to later. Satan and I have a weird relationship. He mellows out around me. I think he feels comfortable opening up when it's just the two of us. Plus, I get the inside scoop on all of his nefarious plans so me and my family can avoid the crazies. He knows he is where he is because of the choices he's made in life, and he accepts his role in the universe. I just try to learn from other people's mistakes, so it's actually a valuable relationship in that way. He does help make some great music and art though...