Doc welcomes guest, Nelson Blake II, ex-guitarist of NYC-based metalcore band Locked In A Vacancy and professional comic book artist. They talk about Locked In A Vacancy’s recent reunion, the old New York hardcore scene, dissect the complexities of modern black culture and the difficulty going against societally forced identity roles, the psychology behind the toxic aspects of Twitter, get into some NY Knicks and basketball talk, how his career as a visual artist progressed and eventually being hired by Marvel to illustrate Luke Cage and Spiderman, and pick apart the fallacy of God given talent and intricacies of creative work.
This episode features the song “Office Politics” by Locked In A Vacancy from their album Exit The Futility Ward.
Doc speaks with Godless, the former host of excellent heavy metal themed podcasts, Podcast Metal and MetalSucks, about his background in the music industry as a manager, booker, and promoter, how he met Chuck and got into podcasting, studying to become a high level interviewer, debate what being a nerd means, Godless interviews Doc a bit on God Forbid’s career and downfall, the current state of the metal scene, and wrap up discussing politics.
This episode features the song “Half-Duplex” by Jade Telegraph from the EP Half-Duplex.
In this very special 50th episode of The Ex Man podcast, Doc welcomes legendary guitarist, Tosin Abasi, as a guest to discuss Afro-Futurism, the conflict in the metal world between commercialism and credibility, how he became such a prolific guitar player, coming up in the Baltimore hardcore/metalcore scene, how the band Reflux with Ash Avildsen came together, the genesis of Animals As Leaders through meeting Misha Mansoor, cultivating the Djent sound, political identities, the unexpected success Animals As Leaders and he have experienced, the Generation Axe tour, and his launch of Abasi Guitars and his signature Fishman guitar pickups.
This episode features the song “All Came To Light” by Cerebellion from the album Regeneration, and “Ectogenesis” by Animals As Leaders from the album The Madness of Many.
Doc speaks with Judas Priestess vocalist and solo artist Militia Vox about how the topic of race has been unavoidable as it relates to her music career, her upbringing in a very unique and progressive section of Maryland, her rebellious years in performing arts school, getting involved in the industrial music scene and joining her first band in Boston and New York, her years as a touring background singer for big pop stars like Taylor Dayne and Cyndi Lauper, how she decided to start her own solo band, joining Judas Priestess, and have a deep discussion about the #MeToo movement and her negative experiences with sexual harrasment in the music industry.
This episode features the song “Blood on our Hands” by Corpse Paint from their EP Nothing Here In The Dark and “Vow” by Militia Vox from the EP Isosceles.
Here are my favorite albums, films, television shows, and podcasts of 2017. As always, I wish I would have listened to more and watched more, and these lists are in no particular order. I have to admit that podcast listening has sincerely cut into my music time. A lot of stuff didn’t make my list, because I just haven’t gotten around to checking it out.
(Some of these lists go to 11)
Top Albums of 2017
Body Count – Bloodlust
Mastodon – Emperor of Sand
In Search of Sun – Virgin Funk Mother
Sons of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony
Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora
Doc speaks with ESPN1500 Minnesota Timberwolves Analyst and Hardwood Paroxysm writer, Derek James, about how he became a basketball journalist, the evolution of new media, the connection between hoops and heavy music, question whether the dominance of the Golden State Warriors is good for the NBA, how the Cavs and Celtics will fair after the Kyrie Irving trade, the upcoming T-Wolves season, and re-litigate Russell Westbrook’s MVP campaign.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a social justice warrior.
Yes. That headline is meant to trigger you. Yes, it sucks to live in a world where we can’t even use the word “trigger” in a genuine way because of how our language has been hijacked and politicized.
Here is the definition of the ward “warrior” according to Miriam Webster Dictionary:
: a person engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly: a person engaged in some struggle or conflict
If we could miraculously erase all of the ugly American history, loaded language, and bitter culture wars from our minds, wouldn’t we all want our social systems to have tenets that hold some regard for justice or fairness? Not to expect that life will always be fair or that we are all guaranteed equal outcomes despite our efforts or qualifications. Justice should be an ideal we strive for, even if we never 100% master the pursuit.
(Let me add the caveat that I also understand that “justice” itself is somewhat of a subjective concept.)
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.
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.”