Free Shitty AdviceSo You Wanna Start A Band? Part 10

I’ve a lot playing in bands over the years to have some wisdom to pass on. I see bands pass rudeness off as normal behavior and hope I can make the world a better place by helping prevent this. I don’t know everything, if I did I would be writing this from a tour bus and not my apartment. If you disagree with my views I encourage you to share your own. If you have another way of doing things which brings more success I’d love to hear it.

Grow Up

As I’m sure some of you know, I was in a band called Bastard Friendly. Since that band dissolved I’ve been looking for a new band. I love playing in bands; it’s a lot of fun, a great way to express myself artistically and a great way to meet new people.

Unfortunately, most of the people you meet replying to craigslist adds are not the types of people you really want to meet. The first guy I met didn’t seem to know anything about rock music. He liked Nickelback and had an apartment that reeked of pot smoke. I don’t think we’re a good fit. I jammed with a Christian band about a month ago, but I wasn’t quite Christian enough for them.

black-white-little-girl-crying-middle-fingerThe last person I met was the worst. We did the prerequisite emailing and I listened to some demos. They were really bad demos; recorded on a boom box tape deck. They sounded awful, but the songs were pretty good and the type I would love to play.

Then I met the person putting the group together.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. You might meet someone on a bad day. Just because a person rubs you the wrong way on the first phone call or first meeting doesn’t mean they’re an immature, loudmouth, drifter. There were a few red flags: The ad said ‘punk band getting back together,’ which was completely untrue. She was starting a completely new band in Northeast Ohio but using the same name and songs as a band formed years ago in Austin, Texas. A moot point, but something that bothers me.

I also wondered why there was so much moving and bouncing around from Los Angeles to Colorado to Kansas City to Canton, but I never did get an answer. It was hard to get a word in edgewise. She was quite boisterous and loud.

But, in spite of singing so loudly in the restaurant I manage to feel a twinge of embarrassment (something quite difficult to do, but obviously not impossible. (Also something I thought may have been a sign of a good front woman.)), name dropping all sorts of celebrities, brushing aside any ideas I may have had for the bandand generally coming off as a total flake, I was still interested in jamming.

I’m getting pretty desperate for a band and the guitar player seemed like a cool guy. I even checked out his other project and found them pretty good.

But then I woke up the next morning and found a disturbing text. Screenshot_2015-07-26

My first reaction is to think people are joking. That’s usually what I do. But something about the way the word ‘dumb ass’ was stretched out for nearly two lines told me this was a serious message.

I wanted to respond, but found myself speechless. Was my offhand comment saying “Hey, that’s the Ramones” when “I Wanna Be Sedated” came on the jukebox that big of an insult? I hadn’t thought so, but apparently it was. And I hadn’t meant to come off as negative. I like to think of myself as a realist. I’ve played a few shows and have learned a few things over the years. I don’t expect the world handed to me on a silver platter and know I have to work for it.

I also think I’ve already accomplished a few good things in my life. I’m very proud of that Bastard Friendly EP. I’m also very proud of this blog.

This is the first time I’ve ever had a ‘bitch you don’t know me so don’t be telling me how to raise my kid’ moment, but I’ve thought about it and realize I’m just glad my daughter isn’t being raised by someone who’ll get so upset by an offhand comment that they’ll get drunk and text someone at 3:30 in the morning.

At first I felt a little angry, but the more I thought about it my feelings turned to pity. I hope she gets her shit together and grows up a little. And I have ways of dealing with this stuff. I may write a song using that text as lyrics. And of course, you’re reading another big way I deal with this kind of negativity.

I have to agree with her though, attitude is everything. Make sure yours is good.



More Shitty Advice:

Part 2 – So You Wanna Join A Band?

Part 9 – No Excuses

Part 8 – The Covers Debate

Part 7 – Take Advice

Part 6 – Learn to Play an Instrument

Part 5 – People Love Stupid Costumes

Part 4 – Stop Trying To Look Cool

Part 3 – Get Over It

Part 1 – The Right Reasons




going-nowhere-fasterThe Frustration

It’s been four months since Ockym’s Razyr reformed and the wheels have been spinning and spinning without gaining any traction.

Ever since bassist Matt Vance returned from his stint in rehab the boys have been getting together every week, but not accomplishing much.

“We need to get some gigs,” one will say.

“No, we need to get the songs polished before we play out,” another says.

“Why don’t we just write some new stuff?” comes out occasionally.

This has been going on nonstop for FOUR MONTHS. So far they’ve brushed up on several of their old songs and polished off many cases of beer, but they haven’t set any new goal.

“I’m just not really sure where all of this is going,” guitarist Eric Shawn says. He’s the new guy in the band and most of the time he’s spent with these guys has been downtime.

“I’d really like to get out and do some gigs,” drummer Josh Randall says. “Let’s get out there and rock. It’ll be a great way to get back in the game.”

“True,” Matt Vance says. His sobriety fell away shortly after the band regrouped and he’s now chugging beers like there’s no tomorrow.

going-nowhere-fast-gary-kaemmer“I just think we could use a little more work on the songs,” says singer Adam Gillis. “I’d like for them to be really tight before we go out and share them again.”

“That’s a good point, too,” Matt says.

“I’d like to write a few more tunes,” Eric says. “I’ve been with you guys for close to two years and I don’t have any songwriting credits at all.”

“He’s making sense,” Matt grabs another beer.

“What do you think, Hal?”

Guitarist Hal Levatine has been noodling since practice started. He’s the only one who seems committed to his instrument. He just shrugs and says, “I’m down for whatever.”

“You know what we could do?” Josh says. “We could set up at Front Street Tavern. They haven’t been having bands there.”

“Yeah, that’s a great idea.”

“What? Like we just take our instruments there and practice there?” Adam asks.

“Yeah, they don’t have any bands there anymore so we could just be like the house band.”

road to nowhere“I don’t think they want bands there any more,” Adam says. “I’m pretty sure that’s why they haven’t been having bands play. I’m guessing they were sick of all the fights and are looking into a more mellow atmosphere.”

The group gives him a blank stare.

“Well, we could still look into it,” Josh says.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“So what do we do now?” Eric asks. He looks to Adam. Adam looks to Josh. Josh looks at Matt. Matt chugs his beer. Hal practices sweep picking.

“I guess we should play a song.”


More idiocy from Ockym’s Razyr

Part 15 The Post Treatment Interview 8/3/2015

Part 14 The Intervention 7/3/2015

Part 11 The Christmas Party 28/12/2013

Part 3 The Road Trip 5/1/2013

Part 2 The Jam Room 23/4/2013

Happy Ocean Day

So today is Ocean Day, but only in Japan. It makes alot more sense to have Ocean Day instead of Earth Day. I know Earth Day is supposed to be for the whole planet and all, but it doesn’t seem like planting a tree is going to help out the large bodies of water that make up 71 percent of the surface of our planet. I wonder how they celebrate Ocean Day in Japan. Do they eat extra whale? Or do they make sure to recycle plastic to prevent it from flowing to the Great Pacific garbage patch?

I think it would be a good day to clean up a stream to prevent more trash from flowing into the ocean. Or just to listen to this Pearl Jam song.

Marilyn Manson “The Pale Emperor”

Manson-Pale-Emperor(15 January 2015; Hell, etc.)

I had a pleasant surprise the other day when I clicked a link on Facebook. The link was for Marilyn Manson’s new video for “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge.” The link reminded me that Manson is in the habit of making pretty good videos, but that wasn’t the pleasant surprise. I found the video dull and the song didn’t really appeal to me. Sure, I’m an alcoholic, but I only ever had three day binges. I don’t have access to the amounts of cocaine Manson does.

But then I remembered that I really enjoyed the lead single off The Pale Emperor, “Deep Six.” I liked it so much I put it in my top 10 for 2014. So I went to Spotify to check out the album and found it is surprisingly good.

Like most angry, disaffected, ill tempered teenagers around the late 90’s (I assume) I thought Marilyn Manson was the coolest thing since sliced bread. What was there for a counterculture loving youth not to like? Everything about him seemed tailor made to piss off my parents and make me think he was awesome. There was the overt satanism, the omnipresent partial nudity, the thought provoking (though in retrospect somewhat juvenile) lyrics. It was great. (I have the added benefit of living about 20 minutes south of Manson’s hometown of Canton, OH which I’m sure did nothing to curb my enthusiasm.)


But then, like most artists, he began the long, slow descent into mere celebrity. If you see Manson on a TV show or in the news today you don’t always thinks so much of his music as the public figure he’s created. Which is sad. Portrait of an American Family is still a singular album that has never been duplicated. Antichrist Superstar is a truly brilliant metal album. Mechanical Animals was half good and half filler. The Golden Age of Grotesque was a great album with the brilliant John 5 on guitar and Eat Me, Drink Me was an interesting collaboration with Tim Skold.

But a few of his records are just boring and derivative of his better work. Holy Wood, The High End of Low and Born Villain were not enough to keep me interested. The songs titles themselves sound like parodies of what Manson was in his heyday (“Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon,” “Pretty as a ($),” “Murderers are Getting Prettier Everyday”). Even having Johnny Depp join him for Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” wasn’t enough to rekindle my interest.

marilynmansonsolo2014promo_638But that great guitar work on “Deep Six” along with the punny lyric “You want to know what Zeus said to Narcissus? You’d better watch yourself” was enough to get me to listen to the album the other night. I have to say it’s much better than his past few albums.

I suppose the main reason behind that is that the album was made with film composer Tyler Bates. Bates has a pretty hefty resume. He met Manson working on Showtime’s Californication and has also scored most of Zack Snyder’s and Rob Zombie’s movies as well as a few other gems. His musicianship and songwriting makes for the best Manson album since Eat Me, Drink Me. 

While there are still some stereotypical Manson-isms (“The Devil Beneath My Feet,” “Cupid Carries a Gun”) His delivery and melodies are better. There are still a lot of the silly pun lyrics, but they’re sung much better and make for much better tunes. My favorite may be “Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” because of the way he rhymes ‘Mephistopheleeeeez’ with ‘Los Angeleeeeez.’

I find the music to be more entertaining also. Instead of the straight ahead industrial metal of the past umpteen albums there’s more of a blues-meet-drum machines feel to this one. It sounds more organic and fun than Born Villain or Holy Wood. The deluxe edition even comes with some cool acoustic versions of “Day 3” and “Mephistopholes.”

While this album won’t rally any new fans to Marilyn Manson, I’m sure it will reinvigorate some old ones.


50,000 LPs Stacked in Garage Not Nearly as Warped as Record Collector’s Mind

If you haven’t already checked out the Hard Times I would very much recommend that you do. They do the same sort of news parody as The Onion, but with a Punk Rock spin. I find it hilarious and commend them on providing new and interesting content nearly everyday (I think they take Saturday off).

Anyway, today’s post made me think of a lot of the people I follow in the WordPress communty. I hope you guys get as much of a kick out of this as I did.


Shocking New Photos of Lemmy

LemmyHave you ever noticed that in every picture you see of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister he looks dirty and menacing?He sort of reminds me of Bronn from Game of Thrones. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but he just has the look of a total dirt ball. He looks like a garage smells; like gasoline, motor oil, whiskey and cigarettes.

I’m guessing this is partly a marketing ploy. Motorhead’s music is best listened to in the vicinity of an engine. I listened to a greatest hits collection on my MP3 player at work and thought it was shit. I was ready to sell it back to FYE, but then I listened to it during a road trip and discovered that if you crank it up while driving down the freeway it ROCKS!

So I think this is the reason that Lemmy looks like a garage smells. And also becuase when you see him right out of the shower he looks like this:









rocko as lemmy

That’s right. When completely washed and clean shaven Lemmy looks just like Rocko, star of the 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon “Rocko’s Modern Life.” I was just as shocked as you.

Foo Fighters – Self Titled

foo_fighters_album_coverPlatinum Anniversary Albums

(Capitol/Roswell Records 4 July 1995 )

It seems weird to look back and realize that in 20 years the only Foo Fighters album I’ve owned is their self titled debut. I remember picking this up in lieu of a patriotic souvenir on my 8th grade trip to Washington DC along with Korn. I meant to get The Color and the Shape, but never got around to it. Plus, with the Foos being the biggest band in rock at the moment there is almost something inherently ‘uncool’ about them. I mean, to be as popular as they are there must be something wrong with them right?

As far as I can tell, no. The Foo Fighters are an uncommon instance of a band being great and really popular at the same time. This hasn’t happened a lot in my experience, but somehow they’ve managed to pull it off.

The first three songs on Foo Fighters were also their first three singles. I’ve always loved the way the album opens, that’s the sound of an electric guitar being plugged in if you didn’t know, and then it’s off to the races. “This Is A Call” is one of those rock songs with occasional quiet parts, but the quiet parts in that song rock harder than the heavy parts in some other songs. “Big Me” is one of those great songs that manages to put a smile on my face any time I hear it. It’s just so upbeat and bouncy. I almost want to put a smiley face emoji here to describe it.


“I’ll Stick Around” and “Alone + Easy Target” both seem somewhat stock to me now. They’re still good songs, but there’s nothing that really sticks out about them.

A lot of the other songs feature great singalong choruses and interesting guitar parts that you wouldn’t expect from the drummer of a rock band. I”m guessing this blew a lot of minds when it first appeared in ’95. I remember an acquaintance saying, “Dave Grohl should just give up. He’s never going to be as big as Kurt Cobain.” I think it’s safe to say he can eat those words by now.

“Weenie Beenie” and “Wattershed” surprise me by being more hardcore punk than I ever thought possible from the eternally affable Grohl, but he can scream with the best of them. During the chorus of “Good Grief” he just screams ‘I hate it.’ “Oh, George” features one of my all time favorite guitar solos. It’s not flashy at all, but that’s precisely the reason I love it. It serves the song instead of the guitarists ego.

If you’re not familiar with “For All The Cows” you need to remedy that right now. Something about the riff and clean chords makes this one of the best Foo Fighters songs ever. (Well, at least in my limited experience.)


Both “X-Static” and “Exhausted” are great slow rockers that would be great closers, but it was “Exhausted” that won the draw and gets to end the album. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose between them.

I suppose the reason I’m still a fan of the Foo Fighters even though they’re the biggest rock band in the world and sell out massive stadiums is that unlike most other rock bands there is never a sense that this is about money for them. Some bands (Kiss, Metallica, Taylor Swift) can really turn me off by saying how much they want to make a profit, but Dave Grohl didn’t need any cash when he recorded this album. He’d already been the drummer for the biggest rock band on the planet so there was no reason to go out and be the singer for the next one.

But by keeping it fun and focusing on having a good time he managed to do just that.


On a side note, I’ve had a short science fiction story published in the magazine ‘Robbed of Sleep.’ If you’d like to check it out here’s a Kindle Link and here’s one for a Print Edition. If you’re curious about what my short fiction is like check out my other blog The Sewer. 


For more Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Clutch – Self Titled

Filter – Short Bus

Mad Season – Above


Weezer – The Blue Album

Soundgarden – Superunknown

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Crow”

The Summer Nationals Tour 2014 

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day.

This is by far my favorite patriotic song. It sums up a lot of what I love about being an American. And a healthy dose of what I hate too.

We flipped our finger to the king of England
Stole our country from the Indians
With god on our side and guns in our hands
We took it for our own
A nation dedicated to liberty
Justice and equality
Does it look that way to you?
It doesn’t look that way to me
The sickest joke I know

Listen up man, I’ll tell you who I am
Just another stupid american
You don’t wanna listen
You don’t wanna understand
So finish up your drink and go home

I come from the land of Ben Franklin
Twain and Poe and Walt Whitman
Otis Redding, Ellington,
The country that I love
But it’s a land of the slaves and the Ku Klux Klan
Haymarket riot and the great depression
Joe McCarthy, Vietnam
The sickest joke I know


I’m proud and ashamed
Every fourth of July
You got to know the truth
Before you say that you got pride

Now the cops got tanks ’cause the kids got guns
Shrinks pushin’ pills on everyone
Cancer from the ocean, cancer from the sun
Straight to Hell we go

[Chorus 2x]

En Esch – The Spank! Tour

En Esch The Spank! Tour 2015The Spank! Tour

28 June 2015

Fastbacks Brewhouse and Grill; Brookpark, OH

One Man’s Failure, Blight Vs. Blight, Syringe, Ghostfeeder, En Esch

I was a little hesitant to attend another Industrial show after the last one I went to was such a downer and my feelings on the genre have changed over the years, but I was pretty excited to see longtime KMFDM member En Esch playing at a small venue in Cleveland so I took a chance that it would be worth it.

Turns out it was a great show!

Fastbacks Brewhouse is located right next to the Ford Engine Factory in a suburb of Cleveland which it makes it a perfect venue for Industrial music. It’s not an ‘industrial wasteland,’ but I’ve always associated Industrial music with factories and there’s a huge one right across the street.When I first walked in I worried I was in the wrong place. Alan Jackson was playing on the jukebox and I couldn’t hear what was happening downstairs. I visited the men’s room and was surprised and confused by a handful of pennies in the urinal. I’m wondering if this is a variation on the practice of leaving coins on soldier’s graves. Perhaps a penny just means I pissed here. Maybe a nickel means I saw another guys wiener. I’m guessing dimes and quarters denote some George Michael type shit.

Blight Vs. Blight

Blight Vs. Blight

I’ve gone on record saying I don’t like performances with one guy and a computer, but One Man’s Failure gets a pass because he was playing a guitar. I can’t be totally mad at someone who makes it as much of a live performance as he can and lets me know what an EBow sounds like. I thought one of the riffs he was playing was Alice in Chain’s “Sludge Factory,” but it wasn’t. If he had rocked that I would have loved it.

The last time I saw Blight Vs. Blight I remember thinking that what he does is really close to hip hop. He’s the only guy-with-a-computer band I’ve ever dug and I think it’s because the focus was always on the beats and his voice. I never heard much prerecorded crap and was able to just enjoy the basic groove of his music. Now that he’s added live drums and guitar the band has only gotten better. Adding dark Industrial beats with some thrash guitar is always a recipe for success as far as I’m concerned. Plus you can’t not like a guy who screams “no swimming allowed” in such a way you get it stuck in your head.

My only problem was not being able to hear the guitar solos. This could have been due to the acoustics in the room or the amp settings. I’ll have to check them out in the future to see if I can hear them. I was surprised at how low tech this show was. I didn’t see any drum mics and very few for instruments. But with as small of a room as it was there wasn’t much of an issue.


It was great to see Syringe play a good show. After writing them off quite a while ago I was surprised to see them rocking out and playing through amps instead of running through a computer and stage monitors. This gave their live performance a healthy dose of presence and allowed the sound to come through cleanly instead of being blended together. It was nice to hear the drum machine and synth in the background where they belong. I’ll take live drum fills over prerecorded ones any day.


Ghostfeeder managed to confuse the hell out of me. I’ve seen a few bands where 2 guys play keys and/or guitar over drum machines, but I’ve never seen it done well. The stuff they were playing was upbeat, in key, in time and (strangest of all) enjoyable. With their backdrop and light show I couldn’t help wonder what they were doing at Fastbacks and not at SXSW or Lollapalooza. I think if they put some more ‘suck’ in their sound they could really go places. If they just work on it a little bit more so they can drive a guy like me outside to get away form their music they might just be the next big thing.

En Esch 6/28/2015I wasn’t really sure what to expect from En Esch. His former band, KMFDM, just played the House of Blues in Cleveland and will be back on Aug 8. I know what to expect from them, but what do I get from him? It was a very small intimate show with a small crowd, just a few guitars, drums and a laptop. I was surprised there weren’t more people there, but I was happy about it. The atmosphere was much more like VH1 Storytellers than a rock concert. They started off with a bluesy number sung by co-vocalist Lady E and Esch showing his chops on a black Fender strat. I’m surprised Industrial and the Blues haven’t been mixed more considering the big industrial label, Wax Trax!, was based in Chicago.

From there is was onto the dark dance music I know and love from KMFDM. I’m sorry to say I only recognized 2 songs, “Leid Elend” and “Juke Joint Jezebel,” but I did find myself singing along to one tune I heard from Spank! I couldn’t believe how low key the show was. The dread-locked guy I thought was a roadie for Ghostfeeder turned out to be Esch’s drummer and GF’s guitarist Luke Dangler joined them for most of their set. 

Patrick Nicholls of Syringe singing "Juke Joint Jezebel" with En Esch.

Patrick Nicholls of Syringe singing “Juke Joint Jezebel” with En Esch.

I think the most impressive part of the night was when as I was leaving Esch was chatting with members of the opening bands. I’ve never seen that before. It’s nice to see someone who’s been playing music and touring the world as long as I’ve been alive still taking an interest in the scene and his fans.

I’m definitely going to be listening to a lot of KMFDM and Esch’s other project, Slick Idiot, over the next few weeks. Then the next time he comes around I’ll recognize more of what I’m hearing. I just hope it’s still in a small intimate venue.