You ever feel let down?
Like everyone you know is just a complete and utter fucking idiot? That the people in your life are all part of some gigantic plot to test you to your very breaking point? That you're in some fucking game that you don't even want to be playing in, and yet, somehow you are forced to roll the dice over and over again, so that you can lose, and learn some goddamned lesson you're supposed to learn, but are never sure if you do learn the lesson, because not shortly thereafter, you have to roll those same black and white squares again, and the same irritating cluster of black dots comes up, and the identical result happens.
That's what I feel right now.
So unbelievably frustrated beyond belief.
A hamster wheel, continually spinning under my feet.
Groundhogs Day, you wake up and the same thing happens day in and day out. You just watch it, powerless to change it. You wake the next day, and the same people are doing the same things, and you just have to fucking take it. Take it, and take it, and take it, over and over and over again.
Swallowed by the suffocating silence of a breathless watery abyss.
At the bottom of a spider hole, staring at the faintest light up above, so far away. Clawing at the jagged rock walls until fingers are bloody nubs
A thick black fog behind my brow, forcing eyes closed.
A dream, running as fast as you can, feet stuck in some invisible quicksand.
A dream, flying, for one brief moment in the air, free... some inexplicable reason you start to fall... nothing stops the descent.
You want to change it, you try to change it, you fight to change it, and just before you hit the ground you wake up. Or you don't... like some slow motion scene in a movie, you watch your body slowly break apart. Smash on the concrete. Shatter in the dirt. Guts splattering. Bones breaking. It doesn't hurt, but you know it's bad, it's very bad.
And then you wake. "Is this dying?", "Is this the afterlife?"
You realize you're awake, heart racing, normalcy sets in, you remember it, understand, take it in.
That every failure, you have to own, it was your fault, that you deserve it, that there is no one to blame but yourself.
Nothing is going to change. Nothing will change.
There's no happy ending.
What did Mitch Lucker write?
"The dead are living".
Sink to the bottom.
Beneath the silt.
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Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the world’s biggest hard and heavy music touring festival announces its electrifying sixth-year lineup. Artists performing on the 2013 thunderous fest include main stage metal and horror legend, festival closer, Rob Zombie, plus, the triple gold certified Five Finger Death Punch and a monster lineup that includes additional main stage bands Mastodon and Amon Amarth. The festival area is led by stage closers Children of Bodom and Machine Head as well as Behemoth, Job For A Cowboy, Emmure, Born Of Osiris, Motionless In White, Butcher Babies, Battlecross, Huntress, Thrown Into Exile and City In The Sea. Four stages will be presented this year for the first time ever and the stages include the Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage, The Jagermeister Stage, Musicians Institute Stage, as well as, the Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Concourse Stage (local bands performing on the Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Concourse Stage will be announced in June).
All tickets go on sale March 22nd at 12:00 Noon local venue time via
www.rockstarmayhemfest.com or www.livenation.com. The tour will stop in 26 cities across the United States and Canada as it makes its way to the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas on August 4th, 2013. Dates and venues are listed on the Tour page.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAIN STAGE
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
JOB FOR A COWBOY
MUSICIANS INSTITUTE STAGE
CHILDREN OF BODOM
BORN OF OSIRIS
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
THROWN INTO EXILE
SUMERIAN RECORDS/HEADBANG FOR THE HIGHWAY STAGE
CITY IN THE SEA
3 LOCAL OPENERS
Very sad news. One of my favorite drummers and a huge influence on me as a young drummer. To me, he brought punk rock drumming into heavy metal. I can remember walking into the Hemisphere Arena in San Antonio to see Iron Maiden and seeing Clive's white kit on stage.
I about crapped my pants!
I just stood there in awe looking at the actual kit that I had been staring at on the back of the "Killers" album cover for the whole summer. I was a HAPPY kid!
He will always be an inspiration to my drumming. One of my go-to guys when I'm trying to find different drum fills and beats, or I'll ask myself "what would Clive do?".
For more on Clive Burr: http://www.metalsucks.net/2013/03/13/clive-burr-original-drummer-for-iron-maiden-passes-away/
For March is Metal Month, the good people over at MetalSucks are interviewing one metal musician each week and asking questions which focus on that particular artist's subgenre! This week, Robb Flynn got the nod. On the subject of how he got into thrash in the first place, he said:
"I began playing in a thrash band back as a junior in high school in what would be considered the golden-era of thrash with my friend Jim Pittman. While we grew up in the Bay Area, we were really thirty to forty miles away from everything and too young to have a car, so we just heard about it, imagined it, and dreamed. "
Read the rest of the interview here.
I was scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, and I stumbled onto Randy Blythe’s page. It’d been a while since I last visited his page (sometimes I disconnect from all social media for a week or two just to get away from it all) so I checked it out and MAN! He has a REALLY good page!! If you didn’t already know, Randy became an amateur photographer when he went sober; I'm assuming to keep his mind occupied. I remember he started taking photos of us around 2011 and he's good, he knows "what" to shoot and how to "frame it."
He's always been an inspired writer, great lyricist, and just a really all-around smart dude. But, the writing he's put up alongside the Instagram pictures while he was in Prague awaiting his trial... it's truly some of the most emotionally honest and raw writings I've come across in forever. It was so painful, almost uncomfortable to read. The rollercoaster of emotions he's been on, it's powerful stuff, everyone should read this.
"Earlier today I walked across the Legion Bridge to see the Memorial to the Victims of Communism. It is a series of male statues going up a forested hill, each statue appearing to dissolve a bit more until only a single foot is left. It's an amazing memorial. I climbed up the stairs and looked back towards theVltava River and Staré Mesto ("Old Town" in Czech). This shot pretty much shows how I've been feeling for a whole now-torn in half, stuck in between two worlds, neither here nor there, waiting and watching for an answer to come, so that I can move forward again as a whole man. What direction I will move in, I do not know yet. Regardless, I am ready for the waiting to be over. I will move forward no matter what, and I will not be split in two anymore, no matter where I wind up. This is frustrating for me, but I am slowly learning to be a patient man. Life just happens. Deal with it."
One of the last photos he put up, he spoke about how's he's been writing a "gratitude list." Basically a list of things he's "grateful" for. It reminded me that Genevra and I had once discussed doing this. We had gone to some classes to help us with patience when it came to the realities of raising kids. We were going through a rough time, it’s the best-est-toughest job you'll ever have, and with both of us having come from dysfunctional families, we felt it would be a good idea to seek advice, learn some coping and additional parenting skills. They were great, very helpful, and one of the things they spoke about was the 'gratitude list'. To make a simple list of all the things you're grateful for.
"Big" things: Your kids health, awesome job at factory, tons of money, nice car, great sex...
To the "smallest": Healthy food, a heater that works in your house, at least one true friend...
Genevra and I had discussed doing this, but we never got around to making our lists, life just works like that sometimes.
I'm gonna make my first "gratitude list" tomorrow; I think I need that in my life right now. Inspired, in part, by “witnessing” Randy's ordeal/journey through Instagram and also in the fact that I’ve been “on the wagon” for over 70 days now. Although I have come up “a bit short” at times, it’s something that has been working for me during this REALLY stressful past couple of weeks, months.
I’ve realized that I think about having a drink everyday. I’ll think to myself, “it’s just to escape for a bit”, but the truth is, I want to drink and I want to escape it all, all the time lately. It's crazy to me how much I think about it. Maybe I'll get to a place where I can control it again and have a few drinks and a little fun. But, maybe, I'll never be able to control it again and have to accept the fact I’m better off without it. Who knows??! I Don't.
…But either way, there's always something to be grateful for.
What are you grateful for?
Randy's Instagram: http://instagram.com/drandallblythe
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Why do we play?
Why does anyone start a band?
Back when I was a kid I just wanted to get out of Fremont. As far as “dreams or goals” I didn't care about being famous or making money, getting laid would've been rad! But truthfully, playing guitar and whipping everyone into a circle pit frenzy would’ve been the ultimate goal in my young mind. My friends and I wanted to thrash the backyards, schoolyards and community centers of Fremont, California. But truthfully the ultimate dream stood about 30 miles, and a lifetime away. That dream my friends was to play The Stone in San Francisco and Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley, without question the Thrash epicenters of the Bay Area.
So who were these under aged kids with dreams of clubs and circle pits in their heads? Well back then it was Jim Pittman and me. Another friend of ours played bass, his name was Steve Lombardo. In due time guys like Noel Plaugher, Leroy Mendez, John Tegio and Craig Locicero would share in these lofty thoughts, but in the very beginning it was just Jim and me.
Shit, here I go reminiscing again…
I first “discovered” hard rock and metal when I was living in San Lorenzo with a friend of mine, Lisa Sgroe. We started with Van Halen, AC/DC, and Devo (and Duran Duran, but we won't go into that right now) and I was off and running. My family then moved from San Lorenzo to Fremont and one of the first friends I made was a girl named Lori Kibby. She turned me on to the "Heaven and Hell"-era of Black Sabbath and I flipped out on it! Clement and Vernon Leung turned me on to the Pop-rock of the time. Another friend, Rene Sanchez, his older stoner brother would get us all stoked on the bands we knew, as well as plenty of others. Rene was a good kid though, and when I wanted to start smoking weed we ended up drifting apart. Looking back it was kind of a bummer, we were close.
The first time I ever got high was with my buddy Elvis Faria (I shit you not, his name was Elvis) and his dad smoked. So Elvis would go in and steal some weed from somewhere in his dad’s bedroom. On that fateful day when I smoked for the first time, Elvis put on Black Sabbath's ‘We Sold Our Souls For Rock N Roll.’ "Paranoid" was the first song he jammed and I'll never forget it as long as I live. It wasn’t just the music, those lyrics hit me like ton of bricks. I'd never heard something so dark and depressing.
Lyrics like "Make a joke, and I will sigh, and you will laugh, and I will cry, happiness I cannot feel, and love to me is so unreal." What the fuck? This was heavy and fucked and not the usual “let’s take-on-the-world” kind of stuff, but more “I-want-to-die” type shit! It scared the crap out of me and I thought I would go to Hell for listening to it, like instantly… so I asked him to change it. But you know how kids are. A few days later there we were, cutting high school and smoking weed and I asked him to put on Black Sabbath again. This time I was “ready,” this time, I fell in love.
As I got more into smoking weed an older buddy named Vance Sterbank, who lived down the street would play Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" and Gary Numan's "Down In The Park" while we got high. Then one day he put on "N.I.B" by Black Sabbath. The intro, the sound of the bass riff when it kicked in... in my stoned haze I asked him, "what is THAT?" "What makes that sound?" It was the heaviest thing I'd ever heard. He said "that's a bass, I got one, wanna try it?" He pulled out a bass his dad had picked up for him and I fiddled around with it and said out loud to him, "that is the sound I want to make."
Smoking weed and listening to music became my default thing to do in high school. Well, that and frying on "purple micro dot" mescaline, trying to "maintain" and not let the teacher see I was about laugh-to-death hiding behind my book. Tripping was mostly with my friends Matt Williams, Jim Barger, and Elvis. Aerosmith’s "Live Bootleg" was one of our favorite “go-to” records to listen to while stoned in my buddies bedroom at night. Fuck man, it rocked, hard. And while these dudes were my friends, we weren't really "friends." When I finally met Jim Pittman in high school art class, even though he didn't smoke weed or know any of my stoner friends, we really bonded. I talk about him in the ‘Remembering Cliff Journal,’ he’s an important character in my “story” for lack of a better word.
By the time we met I had a 4 string classical guitar with nylon strings that my dad had picked me up at a flea market. I say 4 string because 2 of the string were missing, but I didn't need the high strings anyway, I wanted to play riffs! The first song I ever learned how to play on guitar was “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin. I wasn't particularly enamored by Zeppelin at that time, I didn't really like them as I was definitely WAY more into Black Sabbath, though Sabbath wasn't on the radio. But if you lived in Northern California at that time, Zeppelin was on endless loop on the 2 rock radio stations, 92.3 KSJO and 98.5 KOME. I do however remember really liking their song "Ramble On."
So there I was, just noodling on the guitar and I just happen to stumble on those notes to Zep’s “Lemon Song.” All single string notes, no chords, but I knew they were the right notes, don’t ask me how I knew, I just did. At this time I had no lessons of any sort, (though I'd take a few and get fed up enough to practice more... alone) but it was my weed dealer and a real-all-around-jerk named Roger _______ that taught me my first power chord!
One day we were stoned in his bedroom and I decided to show him that I had learned the notes to "Sweet Leaf" by Black Sabbath. He then turned to me and said "yeah, but can you do a power chord?" I was curious, "what's a power chord?" His answer was perfect stoner wisdom, "It's exactly like it sounds, it’s the sound of power." That’s all it took. It totally felt like one day I was noodling, single notes, and the next, I was working on my power chords, learning riffs. My life literally changed directions in that moment. Prior to this all my time and effort went back and forth between Jiu-Jitsu and the guitar…that week I quit Jiu-Jitsu and started playing guitar non-stop.
I began to play all day and my dad could see I was into it, so he "rented" me an electric guitar from a music shop (whose name I can't remember) at the Fremont Hub. The rental was 45 bucks for 3 months, 20 bucks for the amp and distortion box. If I stuck with it he would then match me on whatever money I saved and we'd buy a guitar from Allegro Music in Fremont. I practiced like the world was ending tomorrow. Eventually I saved $200 bucks, my dad matched me, and the first guitar I bought was a total look-at-me guitar, a candy-apple-red Ibanez Flying-V.
Where I had started with Van Halen, Aerosmith and AC/DC, thanks to Jim, my musical tastes were now about to fuckin’ explode! Soon enough Jim was turning me onto all these bands that no one I knew had even heard of. Bands like Accept, Raven, Metallica, Exodus, Discharge, Holocaust, Exciter, Witchfinder General. Furthermore Jim’s brother had a drum set and he'd let Jim play on it. It wasn’t long before he talked me into singing and playing guitar. "Steve has a bass already, you should play guitar." I was like, "OK." A few weeks later he said to me "you seem like the singer, you should sing," and again I was like "OK."
I'd love to sit here and say I had all this confidence in myself and knew it was my fucking "destiny" or some bullshit. But if it wasn't for Jim it would have taken a lot longer or it may not have even happened at all. He pushed me, and I just rose to the occasion. I always wanted to be onstage. I always tried out for (and got) the main character in school plays and sang cover songs at talent shows. Maybe he saw something in me I couldn't even see, yet... but he was so into it, he made me into it. We began jamming songs in Steve's garage and later we moved to my dad's garage. When the neighbors complained, my dad was cool enough to let us jam in the living room.
We would cut 2nd period to 4th period and jam all morning, mercilessly stealing Slayer and Exodus riffs to make them our own. Then jam again after school. Jim and I continued jamming in my living room and we eventually got more people involved like Craig Locicero, Leroy Mendez, and John Tegio. We went thru awesome names like Inquisitor, War Witch and finally settled on Forbidden Evil, which we stole from the song title of a band called War Cry on Metal Massacre 4.
Eventually my dad kicked us out (when the neighbors narc-ed us out for cutting school) and we went and jammed in Leroy's grandma's garage. Then we found vocalist Russ Anderson through an ad at the music store at The Hub. Russ was a killer singer AND was old enough to buy beer which was a HUGE plus! We then moved on to Craig's parents’ garage and shortly after we were playing backyard parties, kegger parties and community centers.
It was amazing! Here we were playing cover songs of our favorite bands. We’d play “A Lesson In Violence” (6 months before it was released) from Exodus, “Black Magic” by Slayer, maybe “Whiplash” and a couple of originals. The first almost-song I wrote was a blatant Slayer rip-off called "Thrash Til Death." But my first Song-song was a massive Mercyful Fate rip-off called "Egypt Has Fallen" (probably the best song title EVER!). We debuted "Egypt" at Craig's high school Washington High for a raging lunch hour thrash-fest. Craig booked most or all of shows at the time. He could just call up someone and make it happen, he had that knack, still does. I was too introverted at the time.
I was obsessed with guitar, I played anywhere and everywhere. It's all I wanted to do. The night I graduated from high school I discovered speed and that was it. Now I could play guitar for even longer, my focus was insane (don't try this at home kids!) I'd practice an arpeggio for 3 hours, another for 2 more hours, staying up til 6AM. I had an ear too. I could play along to tapes, records, and hear all the right notes and none of my friends could do that. Even though they might have been better players, when they’d play a song I could hear that they were doing it wrong.
I'd learn Exodus songs from live bootlegs Jim had traded. I could play most of ‘Bonded By Blood’ a year before it was even out! I learned every Mercyful Fate song there was, be it demos, EP's, whatever. I took my crummy Radio Shack tape recorder and would record a song once on guitar, and then play along to it so that I could figure out the harmonies. I would figure out later it was a great way to learn to play with another guitar player.
Eventually Craig scored us a gig at Ruthies Inn, but that's a story for another day...
A lot of buddies I run into from that time say things like "they knew it would happen." But I don't buy it. It’s not like I had some kind of plan. I was pushed into it, was good at it, it worked and I loved it, needed it. It filled a hole in my life. But don’t forget I was clueless, introverted, and insecure. I was getting good on guitar, good at singing /screaming, good at performing, and getting good at writing songs. I was able to get "good enough" at these things that I KNEW no one could take that away from me. That no matter what anybody said; parents, friends, better guitar players, no one ever could ever deny me what the guitar gave me.
It was the first time that I believed in myself.
Subscribe to The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman... And Other Ramblings
Fender/Jackson booth Hall 4.0 booth E08
Thursday 11th @ 14:00 with signing session at 15:00
Friday 12th @ 13:00 & 16:00 with signing session at 14:00
Saturday 13th @ 13:00 & 17:00 with signing session at 14:00
Bologna @ 19:00 Sunday 14th
Music Academy 2000's Theatre
Via Torquato Tasso 13
Milan @ 13:00 Monday 15th
Lucky Music Store
Via Carlo D'Adda, 29
Helsinki @ 19:00 Tuesday 16th
Hermannin Rantatie 10
Gothenburg @ 12:00 Wednesday 17th
Stockholm @ 19:00 Wednesday 17th
S:t Eriksgatan 58.
Paris (Juvisy Sur Orge) @ 19:00 Thursday 18th
50, Avenue d’Estienne d’Orves
91260 JUVISY SUR ORGE
La Garde @ 17:00 Friday 19th
151 Chemin Alphonse Lavallée
83130 La Garde (South of France)
Brighton @ 18:30 Saturday 20th
79-80 North Road
Glasgow @ 14:00 Sunday 21st