The Ex Man Podcast 10 – Mark Heylmun (Suicide Silence)

Mark Heylmun, lead guitarist of Suicide Silence joins Doc to discuss the harsh criticism of their creative changes on their forthcoming album, the band’s “old school” approach to jamming and chemistry, their personal artistic process and how it relates to fans, and Mark ends up interviewing Doc a little bit to get some insight on what hindered God Forbid’s career.

This episode features the song “Doris” by Suicide Silence from their self-titled album set to be released February 24th 2017 on Nuclear Blast Records.

Milo on Bill Maher and The Cult of Trolling

(Credit: Getty/Drew Angerer/HBO/Salon)

Sometimes you have a confluence of thoughts coalesce in way that begs immediate attention, and now is one of those times. After watching Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher and the interaction with controversial guest, Milo Yiannopoulos, I couldn’t sleep. The provocateur provoked.

Everything post the election of Donald J. Trump feels like uncharted territory, and what I thought I knew contained vast holes of ignorance. In my world, the Milos, Ann Coulters, and Alex Jones’ were sordid, fringe figures, and yet what I failed to see was that they were signaling of a change in the culture. That’s the thing about getting older; the culture changes while you’re distracted in self-satisfied comfort of predictable outcomes. It never feels good to be out of touch.

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The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 09 – Bill Hudson (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Circle II Circle, ex-Westfield Massacre, ex-Cellador)

Doc returns from a break from the show with special guest, Bill Hudson, a prolific and virtuosic guitarist for bands like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Circle II Circle, Vital Remains, and Ex Man of Westfield Massacre, Cellador, Power Quest, and many more. They discuss how Bill emigrated from Brazil to join the band Cellador, his early missteps and attitude problems, his transition into becoming a hired gun, and his philosophy on how to make it as a pro musician.

This episode features the song “Of Dirt” by the band Firefly Atlas, and a demo version of the song “E.G.O.” by Bill Hudson.

The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 08 – Andrew “AJ” Jacobs (Mutiny Within, ex-Vext)

Doc rings in the New Year by thanking his gear sponsors ESP Guitars, EVH Amps and Cabs, Dunlop Picks, MXR Effects, Planet Waves Cables, D’Addario Strings, Toontrack Software, Kemper Profiling Amps, Zoom, Samson, and Sennheiser.

He also speaks with Mutiny Within bassist, Andrew Jacobs, about how AJ hustled and masterminded their way to a record deal with Roadrunner even as an inexperience band, navigating the local New Jersey metal scene, the art of networking, the trouble the band ran into with touring and member changes, burning out, working at Warner Music Group, and the current state of Mutiny Within.

This is episode features the Mutiny Within song “Justify” from their album Origins due Feb 10th 2017.

The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 07 – Mike Gitter (A&R for Century Media Records, ex-Roadrunner, Atlantic)

Doc vents about the holiday blues, and speaks with Century Media A&R guy, Mike Gitter, about his start as a journalist in the early punk and hardcore scene, his time in the major label world at Atlantic records, the process of making records with bands, his legacy at Roadrunner Records and working with bands like Killswitch Engage, Glassjaw, and Ill Nino, and reveals what he looks for in upcoming bands.

This episode features the song “Calculating Fate” from Death I Am and a live version of “Numbered Days” from KiIlswitch Engage.

The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 06 – Tommy Vext (Westfield Massacre, ex-Snot, ex-Divine Heresy)

Doc talks with his old friend Tommy Vext, vocalist of Westfield Massacre about growing up in a rough environment in Brooklyn, NY, his first band Vext, how he got involved with Dino Cazares to join Divine Heresy, singing at Roadrunner United, his messy exit from Divine Heresy, joining Snot, his long journey to get sober, surviving attempted murder, entering the witness protection program, and his flirtation with suicide.

Songs featured on this episode are “Horizon” by Animus Complex from the Immersion album and “Build Your Thrones” by Westfield Massacre from their self-titled debut.

The End of Reality – My Quest for Truth in the Post-Truth Era

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Part I – The Diagnosis

For a man of my age (36), perhaps no piece of pop culture spoke to my still-forming personal identity than the 1999 film The Matrix. There are several cultural memes that my generation draws from this film’s enlightening philosophy to this day. First, the metaphor of “waking up” from a sedated conformity could be applied to almost any rudimentary societal norm from a working a boring job to the banality of tradition like church or marriage. Second, the image of Morpheus holding the blue and red pills I think speaks to us all when contemplating ideas of free will, fate, or encountering our most consequential crossroad moments. Third, and most relevant to this essay, is the concept that nothing about your reality is real. This line from Morpheus explaining The Matrix to Neo is something I think about constantly.

“What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste, and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”

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The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 05 – Christian Olde Wolbers (ex-Fear Factory)

Doc talks with ex Fear Factory bassist and guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers about how Christian originally joined the band, Fear Factory’s influence on metal, how and why the band split up, potential of a Fear Factory reunion, and dig into Christian’s passion for firearms.

Subscribe and listen on iTunes HERE.

The Ex Man Podcast Ep. 04 – Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles, Led Zeppelin 2)

Doc laments on the election results, and speaks with his old friend friend Bruce Lamont, vocalist and saxophonist of bands like Yakuza, Corrections House,Brain Tentacles, and Led Zeppelin 2. They discuss Bruce’s journey as a career musician who has found a way to balance art and commerce over 20 years.

This episode features the track “Fruitcake” from Brain Tentacles’ self-titled debut release available through Relapse Records.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes HERE.

Transmissions From The Bubble – How Did All The ‘Smart’ People Get It Wrong?

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That sinking feeling in your gut. Acid swirls. That sick feeling of unease. Your mouth is dry. You can’t eat. Your heart pounds through your chest with anxiety as you try to sleep. I wasn’t alone feeling like this in the days surrounding Donald Trump’s Presidential election. Others cried, fumed, took to the streets.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

I can only relate the feeling to an intense heartbreak or a period of mourning, and in truth what amplified this feeling for many of us is how caught off guard we were. During the election, people like me perused 538.com analytics after debates and significant events to test the pulse of the country, and quell our fears. The experts were wrong. The intelligentsia was wrong. I WAS WRONG.

After the fact, I am grateful for this feeling, because it has made me wonder, is this how half the country felt when Barack Obama was elected? I can have a greater empathy for how someone’s victory is another’s suffering. In this case, I do feel the country lost, and not me personally, even if I’m sure many won’t believe that. I didn’t love Hilary Clinton, but I thought it was a duty to have anyone else but this man in office. Clearly, many disagreed with that sentiment.

What has erupted is a circular firing squad of blame and negativity that I haven’t experienced in my lifetime. The tears of liberals bring joy to those who support Trump or those who just despise liberals. Bernie supporters blame the corruption of the DNC. Pretty much everyone blames Hilary Clinton for being corrupt, establishment, or just a bad candidate. Those who didn’t vote for Trump, but happen to hate Hilary blame liberals for being smug elitists that ignored the white working class. Liberals blame Trump voters for being racists and misogynists.

We’re probably all to blame somewhat, including myself. On a recent election themed Ex Man podcast with Phil Labonte from All That Remains, I talked about how I had to put politics in a box of entertainment, so that it wouldn’t affect me so much. I was wrong. This shit isn’t entertainment. It’s real. And I was lying to myself about not taking it that seriously. I did take it seriously, but I just didn’t admit it to myself.

That’s what that sick feeling in my gut was. It’s that feeling that in an instant, you do not know what’s going to happen next. Uncertainty. All you know is that world has changed. The course of history has altered. I experienced real fear, and I dismissed others who held fear about their issues be it terrorism, crime, immigration. Even if I didn’t agree with them, I got to taste what fear actually was. I can’t lie, I’ve had it pretty good lately, and I got comfortable. Maybe all of us in progressive enclaves like Seattle, and Austin, and Brooklyn who have “cool people” jobs got really comfortable. We thought the tide had turned.

I too am stuck in that bubble of the professional and artist class in urban utopias with our dope coffee shops, food trucks, and weed dispensaries. I like the bubble. It’s the one I chose, but the other bubble has different news, different facts, and different fears.

You can call Trump voters racists and idiots, and some of them are, but it doesn’t help anything. It just pushes them further into their own bubble, because they’re feelings about how awful the left is are validated.

Liberal America has to reform it’s views on political correctness. I think this is the real reason Trump won, not the economy, or even Clinton. The balance between sensitivity and free speech is apparently a tricky one, but this again is where our bubbles shield us from understanding that we are living in different worlds.

I tell myself to be as objective as possible, but I have my biases, and I have to do better to get out of my bubble.

My main job right now is to listen and try to understand people, regardless of whether I agree with them. The other thing about that sick feeling of uncertainty is it is a signal that you have to do some soul-searching. I have to soul search, and engage in a personal reckoning, because things are going to get tough.

Fight or flight kicks in and I have to decide 1 of 3 options – 1.Get off the sidelines, and become a true activist. 2. Forget politics altogether, and just live in blissful ignorance. 3. Develop a serious drinking habit.

Truth be told, I haven’t made a choice on how to be, hence the soul searching that has to be done. And to those who think it’s funny that people are crying, and are “butt-hurt”, you have to do your own soul searching. Women, people of color, Muslims feel like the entire country rejected them, and thinks they are 2nd class citizens. This is a massive deal for people. If others misery brings you joy, then I understand the content of your character, and perhaps Trump’s rhetoric has affected the country more than I would have hoped. Empathy is a 2-way street.

Also, singling out the worst offenders of the opposition and stereotyping all liberals or conservatives as that is dishonest and immoral. This tactic has only been emboldened by social media. It’s viral propaganda. There are racist Trump supporters but not all or most I believe. There are radical, destructive protesters, but most anti-Trump people don’t take to the streets. We have become bigoted towards those we disagree with. If you find yourself denigrating the “other” side consistently on social media, check yourself. Ask if this is productive or self-satisfactory mud slinging. All sides of the political spectrum are capable of hypocrisy and betraying core values.


And how do I feel about a Trump Presidency? I am worried, but I and all the other “smart” people were wrong about this. So let’s hope my fears are overblown, and all in my head. I have to be fair and judge the reality on the ground, not my paranoia. Those who are staying optimistic are counting on that either Trump was not serious about what he said he will do, or that he is incompetent to achieve his aims. I don’t have as much faith. With control of the Presidency, House, Senate, and soon Supreme Court, there won’t be much to stop his goals. I really hope he does help the working class (I am one of the them), but I remain skeptical.

If his agenda go down as planned, expect a very turbulent, divided 4 years – Affordable Care Act – Gone (20 million without health insurance including my father), Muslim Ban, Roe V. Wade – Gone, Climate Change work – Gone, Reinstatement of Torture, Nationwide Stop & Frisk, Southern Border Wall, 12 Million Undocumented rounded up by force.

I’m sure if he got your vote, you support all of these measures, but it will be devastating for those who disagree. It will be ugly. If you voted for Trump, I don’t judge you. I want to communicate with you. I hope you want to communicate with me.