Happy Independence Day


While I don’t think anything can top last years post of the Descendents’ “Merican” I have to try something new.

This ode to the Reagan years seems really fitting now that we have another celebrity candidate vowing to “Make America Great Again.”

 

BREAKING: Slipknot wins Republican Nomination at Iowa Caucuses


pg-38-slipknot-1Des Moine – In a bizarre turn of events the Iowa nu-metal band, Slipknot has been named the state Republican Party’s choice for the nomination to President.

“At this point we’re really just pulling names out of a hat,” said local Republican Robert Alcorn. “I saw a poll the other day that said Nickelback was in third place in this race. As long as it’s not them or Trump, I’m happy.”

The Donald was less than pleased with the news, citing the fact that most members of the band don’t even live in Iowa any longer and also use satanic imagery on their albums and in their stage show.

“As long as their not Muslims or gay, I don’t care if they worship the devil,” said 83-year-old Dana White. “Trump seems like a nice man, but I think if we play that music on the border those pepper bellies will keep to their side of the fence.”

Perhaps the people most shocked by this news were the 9 members of Slipknot.

“What?” asked percussionist Shawn Crahan. “How the hell did that happen?”

It appears that the Republican Party is in such disarray and so full of hatred that the only way to connect is through angry shouted lyrics with hooks like “People = Shit” and “I Push My Fingers Into My Eyes.”

“How the hell would that even work?” asked singer Corey Taylor. “Would we all be president? Or would just one of us be president and then the rest of up fill cabinet positions?”

“I want to be head of the FBI” said a visibly drunk Mick Thompson while rubbing the scar from where his brother stabbed him in the head last March

It appears that if Slipknot wins the nomination then Stone Sour will be their choice for vice president.

 

Eyes Set To Kill “Masks”


Eyes Set To Kill - Masks

(17 Sept 2013, Century Media)

Masks is a strange pairing of things I love about modern metal and things I hate about modern metal. And it’s all rolled into one nice package like a burrito made of Barbecue Pulled Pork and mushrooms. It mixes the delicious with the disgusting, but thankfully it’s heavy on the delicious.

As I wrote the first time I saw them with Wednesday 13, the thing that interested me was that they were described as a female fronted screamo band. I’ve never been a fan of screamo, metal-core, post hardcore or most other -core genres of music; but I’ve also never seen one fronted by a female. When I saw them, they didn’t seem like a screamo band, but that was after vocalist Cisko Miranda left the band. Miranda was credited with ‘unclean vocals’ on the album, and the thing I dislike most about screamo is the screaming. It’s not that I’m against screaming. I just really don’t care for the monotonous, arrhythmical way of belting out (supposedly) deep and emotional lyrics that metal-core singers have. If you’re going to sing something worth hearing, sing it in a way I can understand.

Thankfully, most of the songs are sung by guitarist/keyboardist Alexia Rodriguez. She’s credited with ‘clean vocals,’ but her delivery is a little bit forced. By that I mean that she’s screaming just enough to make her voice a little scratchy and not the usual female pretty that you hear from most chicks.

I love the songs she sings like “Where I Want To Be” and “Infected.” “Little Liar” is the song they played at that show where I decided I would buy the album.

 

I’m hoping that they focus more on the Alexia songs going forward. I look at their past records and see that they’ve always had a male voice doing unclean vocals so I’m not really that interested to check out their back catalog, but I am looking forward to their next release.

Another thing I don’t particularly care for with this band is how every picture focuses on the Rodriguez sisters (Anissa plays bass) without including longtime drummer Caleb Clifton. I’m wondering if the departure of Miranda was less about musical differences than a marketing ploy to feature the eye candy in Eyes Set To Kill. As a father I’m always on the lookout for positive female role models who target talent over good looks. Sure, they’re beautiful girls, but what got me to buy the album was their awesome hard rock songs, not their legs (although those are nice too).

I Fuckin’ Miss Ozzfest and SOTU


 

At the beginning of this century there was an annual ritual called Ozzfest. What happened was that Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne would get together all of the great metal bands touring that year and put them together on an awesome bill. Then in 2005 another awesome fest called Sounds of the Underground began trekking across the country. Unfortunately by 2010 both of these awesome metal tours dried up and we were left with only Warped and a few sponsored by energy drink companies.

Ozzfest___Possessed_by_gomediaNow don’t get me wrong, I did make it to Mayhem Fest in 2009 and I enjoyed it. But Mayhem and Uproar don’t do nearly as good a job as Ozzfest or SOTU did of consistently booking bands that were worth the cover price every single year. They also can’t claim to have the same sort of impact on the genre of heavy metal music. Were it not for Ozzfest bands like Coal Chamber, Slipknot and Otep may never have achieved the level of popularity they have.

I want to say that the reason behind this has something to do with the rise of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal bands in the early aughts and the tendency of major labels to cash in on the trend, thereby ensuring that a young concertgoer like myself would have an interesting and pleasing plethora of bands to sate my highly refined palate.

And while I’m sure that argument would be true, that’s not the real problem.

2004demonThe real problem is that I’m old. I find myself watching bands occasionally and thinking, ‘damn, I would have loved these guys ten years ago.’ Sometimes I think ‘I don’t understand this. They’re just jumping around, screaming and banging on instruments.’ I also occasionally think ‘Gotta stay out of the pit. Gotta go to work in the morning.’

So while I saw and enjoyed nearly every awesome band that was touring from the year 2001-2009, these days I have trouble finding awesome bands to go see live. And I don’t think it’s because of a lack of awesome bands, I think it’s because of my heightened standards of what is awesome.

What are your thoughts? Do you still love going to shows or are you happy to stay at home and jam to Spotify? Do you find yourself tempted to drop the money for Uproar or pine for the days when you’d buy and Ozzfest ticket without even knowing the lineup?

Rock on the Range 2009


2009 Rock on the RangeI was hoping to make it to Rock on the Range this year, but the ticket prices are a tad too high for me. Not to fear though, I’ll still cash in on the events popularity by digging up this unpublished review from the vault that I did way back in 2009. Hope you enjoy!

Columbus Crews stadium is close enough to the freeway that with the windows rolled down you can hear the bands playing on the way to the venue, which is great because you’re rocking before you’re parking. A gentleman with a couch on wheels pulled us to the front gate on a bicycle. Once inside we were surrounded by all the summer festival staples: bongs, t-shirts, overpriced food, portable toilets, and an ATM in a van. I loved the irony of seeing roaming beer vendors soliciting in the child play area. But we weren’t interested in elephant ears or $4 bottled water, we wanted rock! And rock we received.

I kicked off my day in a pit; from there it was a nonstop journey across three stages watching dozens of bands. The sky was overcast but anyone who’s ever been to an outdoor festival will tell you that this is preferential to blue skies. The clouds block out the sun’s heat and keep the day cool. Plus stage lights would have been asinine on a sunny day. The open-air stadium was a great place to see a show. The staircases and landings offered multiple views of the side stages. We even headed up to the nosebleed section and turned around to get a bird’s eye view.

Once Flyleaf took the main stage the clouds parted and the sun broke through, proving once and for all that Christian bands are good for something. But the clouds would not be deterred for long and soon the rains fell. Solid drops only lasted about five minutes but a light mist persisted throughout Chevelle’s set. The drizzle didn’t last long and a few women took the opportunity to remove their wet tops during All That Remains. (The singer for All That Remains tried to make a grand entrance by running onto and leaping on the stage. The rain made the stage a little slippery and he ended up slipping on his face). I usually have to shove dollars into garters to see so many boobies! The crowd was crazy at this show; I even saw a wheelchair that had to get in on the crowd surfing action.

After a scrape on the knee and a few kicks to the head we found some great seats for Alice in Chains. The question of the day was how well could the new guy sing these songs? William Duvall filled Layne Staley’s shoes so well he should be submitted to weekly drug screens. And even if he passes he should be sent to rehab! The only downside to seeing this classic band was that the wind blowing through the arena prevented me from holding up my lighter during “Rooster.” (During which they were joined by Duff McKagan)

After ten straight hours of bouncing back and forth between the stages and having to pick and choose between bands playing simultaneously it was nice to relax a bit and check out the great view of the Columbus skyline the stadium offers. Once Slipknot hit the stage the night was over. We sat in the bleachers and watched the crowd bounce back and forth, savoring the last moments of our day at Rock on the Range.

 

Cleveland Narrowly Averts Tragedy


mr_brownstone-nye

17 April 2015

House of Blues; Cleveland, OH

Masters of Destruction Tour

Mayhem and chaos nearly spilled onto the streets of Cleveland last night after a stop on the Master of Destruction tour featuring tribute acts of Guns N Roses and Metallica.

“It was a total rip off,” said one concert goer. “I would start a riot, but the tickets only cost $20. So I’m not really that pissed off.”

The trouble began when The Four Housemans’ singer/guitarist Anse ‘Devil’ Hatfield was wounded by some misplaced pyrotechnics.

“It sure is a good thing we can’t use real pyro,” lead guitarist Randall McCoy said. “As it turned out he only burnt himself on a sparkler. It was when he lost his balance and stumbled to the ground in front of the fog machine that he was really wounded.”

Hatfield was treated for smoke inhalation at the Cleveland Clinic. He also suffered 1st degree burns from the sparkler.

“Unfortunately Devil has been injured and will not be able to finish the performance,” Drummer Lars Upchuck told an apathetic crowd. “We’ll make this up to you on our next stop in town. We now leave you in the competent hands of One in a Million.”

Guns N Roses tribute act One in a Million took to the stage 2 hours late and only played somewhere from 20-30 minutes because, as singer Prince Edward Arthur Charles Exl said, “We’re a true GnR tribute act. And that means that when a member of a Metallica tribute act get’s burned onstage we have to cut our set short. Even if it doesn’t happen in Montreal

Fortunately most of the audience had already left by the time One in a Million took to the stage so there wasn’t enough of a crowd to start a riot by the time they left.

“We really dodged a bullet tonight,” said a Cleveland Police Officer who wished to remain anonymous. “We could have had a sad, depressing day just like any other day in Cleveland, but instead something awesome happened and we get to be part of rock tribute history.”

One in a Million lead guitarist Slit could not be reached for comment.

 

You Know, GWAR Is Actually A Pretty Good Band


The only reason these guys look so cool is because they wrote songs like "Sick of You," "Saddam A GoGo" and "Fuckin an Animal"  If it hadn't been for that they'd look as stupid as you.

The only reason these guys look so cool is because they wrote songs like “Sick of You,” “Saddam A GoGo” and “Fuckin an Animal”
If it hadn’t been for that they’d look as stupid as you.

I’ve heard people say a lot of stupid things in my life. Some of them came out of my own mouth. I hear ridiculous things all the time like, “Can I save the internet at work to use at home?” “What happened to Pluto now that it’s not a planet anymore” and one of the most mind boggling: “I’m not racist at all, but Obama is a lazy nigger.”

One of the things that really makes me scratch my head is when people tell me “You know what, GWAR is actually a pretty good band.” No shit? I have about 10 of their albums, I never would have guessed. And even if I wasn’t a fan, they’ve still managed to stick together for 25 years and become one of the biggest underground acts of all time.

I suppose a few of my acquaintances live in an alternate universe where shitty, awful morons with no talent are able to sell hundreds of thousands of albums. Sure, there are a lot of truly horrible bands that grace the top 40 every week. But it could be argued that all of them possess some modicum of talent, strong will and/or hard work ethic. Even those tools who use auto tune and choreographed dancing have learned something I never have: how to be really good looking.

GWAR-GOODNIGHT-MOON-facebookGWAR is actually one of the things that got me into writing about music. It’s been a dream of mine to write the authorized biography of the band. I’m pretty sure this would be the greatest book ever. Think about it: On one side you have the story of a bunch of dudes from Richmond, VA who got together, formed a band, released a whole bunch of albums, appeared on numerous talk shows and became legends in their own time, and the other story is that a group of intergalactic warriors came to Earth to enslave the indigenous population. Either way you slice it, it would be a great read!

I’m not sure if that dream died with Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) last year. It’s sad that such a huge part of the GWAR team, their voice and their leader, is gone. But I give props to the band for continuing on. I haven’t seen their new show yet, but I hope to. A world without GWAR is not a world I want to live in. And if any of you guys like my idea of a biography I can be reached via the comments section below. (I actually pitched this idea to Todd Evans of Mobile Deathcamp who used to be in the band, but I was told he’s not really in contact with the GWAR camp any longer.)

 

I did manage to meet Oderus at Sounds of the Underground 2005 when he was signing autographs. I’ve never been so nervous about meeting a rock star. This was probably because he walked around the table and dry humped the girl in front of me while singing “White Wedding.” It also probably has something to do with the way he scribbled ODE on my album cover, tossed it aside and then tossed the table aside before retiring to the corner of his tent while merch people cleaned up the mess. It was definitely an experience.

I suppose the thing that really miffs me about the “GWAR is actually a good band” comment is that the people who have said that to me were in a band just like GWAR! They wore elaborate costumes and had an intricate back story. Their main goal seemed to be to shock. Yet, they had never looked at the kings of shock rock who lorded over the genre so high no one has ever been able to touch them, and likely never will. It’s like if a punk band never listened to the Ramones, a metal band never listened to Black Sabbath or GWAR had never listened to Alice Cooper or KISS.