A Band Called Death

Death

Last night I had the fortune to watch the highly anticipated documentary film, A Band Called Death. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but in short, it is the story of three black blood brothers from Detroit, MI who formed an energetic rock band in the mid 70’s called Death, that in hindsight is viewed as a predecessor to the punk rock movement.

This story really hit home with me because of the parallels to my own life and musical development. I know what it’s like to start a band in my seminal years with my brother, have an uncanny musical connection, and to later be estranged from that brother. I can identify with being in a predominantly black band trying to make a mark in a white world. It is the tale of truly being an outsider, and Death had it far worse than God Forbid in that they received tremendous blowback from the black community. They were trying to make their way in the capitol of traditional black music and the home of Motown Records. The story pinpoints how their morbid band name strangled the band’s progress like an albatross around their neck.

The element of Death’s story that struck the biggest chord with me was their dedication to the purity of rock n roll. They studied the greats, and put the hard work and time into becoming a first rate band with a high standard of excellence. They wanted to be a great rock band. Not just great for black guys. There was no handicap in being good in spite of their blackness as if it was a gimmick. They also didn’t feel the need to “black” up their music. Their standard was The Who, The Beatles, Alice Cooper, Queen, Jimi Hendrix. God Forbid was the same way. Our standard bearers were At The Gates, Morbid Angel, Candiria, Suffocation, For The Love Of, Pantera, Sepultura, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Machine Head, etc. We weren’t going to be legit until we were at their level from a technical standpoint. And that led to countless hours in the jam room, meticulous studying of our favorite bands, trying to decode the art of being the in the big leagues. Just being a nerd about your craft. Obsession. It never feels like work at the time. You just love it so much that you devour as much content as possible, and it becomes part of your DNA. It’s beyond culture. It’s purity.

A Band Called Death serves as a great contrasting companion piece to the previously lauded rockumentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil about 80’s Canadian glam-thrash, could-have-beens. For me, Anvil served as a cautionary tale as what not to become as an aging musician. They were desperate for stardom probably because of the colossal success of their peers. The 80’s set a standard that allowed for a swath of unreasonable expectations, as documented by The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. This was a generation of people who were not living in reality, and everything that goes up must come down.

A Band called Death is about family. It’s about dedication to music. It’s about holding on to artistic virtue. It’s about doing it for the right reasons. They called the band Death, because death is real. I can back that.

Seeking a Guitar Player For a New Rock Band

Doc & Ravi
 
Guitarist Doc Coyle (God Forbid) and vocalist Ravi (Phyllotaxis) have started an unnamed rock band with drummer Moe Watson and multi instrumentalist Aden Oxenreider, and are looking for a guitar player. Here’s a statement from Doc Coyle:
 
“I started working on material with Ravi almost 2 years ago by trading files over the internet. I was tied up with God Forbid, but now we finally have the time to put together a full band. We’ve included a small music sample and you will hear that it is not metal, although there are some heavy overtones.
 
I am very picky about what kind of guitar player I want in this project, so I will lay out some guidelines. You need to live in the area between New York City, Central New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Rehearsing and playing gigs will require travel so the person must have a car. You need adequate and professional equipment including effects. The band is very ambient and will need someone who understands and likes to create soundscapes. There are some technical aspects to the music as well so you will need some chops. I have to emphasize that this is a rock band, not a metal band. I would prefer a non metal guitar player, but I’m fine with anyone as long as you understand it’s not about sweeping picking at 220 BPM and playing 8 string guitar breakdowns. Our influences for this band are Tool, Muse, Deftones, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Karnivool, etc.
 
It’s also important that I emphasize that this is a passion project. We are here for music and art first, and being signed or getting on the radio takes a back seat to doing something that is meaningful and being part of something that is special.”
 
Please send a written or video statement about yourself, a photo of yourself, along with any examples of any music you’ve created or videos of live performance if these requirements apply to doc4bid@gmail.com
 

 

I Forgot How To Get Laid

swingers-vaughn

This may be the most disheartening title to any of my pieces of writing, but I’m going to push forward. The aforementioned title is a caked in irony in that I’ve been pretty damn good at getting laid throughout most of my adult life. Being tall, somewhat good looking, and living an adventurous rock n roll lifestyle probably contributed to this state of success, but I think that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The real key to getting your fair share of poontang is being focused on it, and seeking it out. with determination Look at this scene from one of my all time favorite films about picking up women, Roger Dodger, starring Campbell Scott and a young Jesse Eisenberg. Roger explains to his teenage nephew how the first component to meeting women is to be in the air of sex, and to make it part of your being and perception of the world.

The truth is lately I’ve been too preoccupied with the day-to-day rigors of everyday life to be in an air of sex, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  My unintentional abstinence really began in the springtime after a woman I had been seeing for a couple months, whom I was starting to develop feelings for and could see some long term potential, took a trip to Africa and decided not to contact me again. (Very Chappelle-esque move if you ask me) Yes, it was a kind of brutal and it hurt, but I thought I would do what Clint Eastwood would do, and walk that shit off.

Continue reading “I Forgot How To Get Laid”

Introducing Paradise City

ParadiseCityFlyer

So back in May, my old buddy, Tommy Vext, asked me if I would do an acoustic set of cover songs for a performance at a benefit show for our mutual friend, Tim No 37, at Tammany Hall in NYC. I wanted a more full sound, so I asked God Forbid guitar player, Matt Wicklund, to play second guitar. Our other old pal, Acey Slade (Dope, Murderdolls, Joan Jett), came in to play bass on a couple songs. We weren’t very well rehearsed, but we had a really good time, and apparently the set went over well enough that the venue offered us a residency to do a rock/metal full cover set. We rallied the troops and have been hard at work to put the most badass show together.

It kicks off this Wednesday at Tammany Hall, and we look to play there every week. We’ve also enlisted my fellow School of Rock brethren and drummer, Moe Watson, as well as New York City rock royalty Ms. Jenn City (Kittie, Suicide City) as a second bassist. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Jamming out some of your favorite songs with your friends is as good as it gets. It’s going to be rock, it’s going to be metal, but above all, Paradise City will be about having fun, so spread the word and come out to Tammany Hall on Wednesdays. We will also be looking to take the party on the road, so be on the look out.

Paradise Fucking City