The Sound of White Noise

They Live 01

I have always been fascinated by American race relations. Ours is a history that has always been colored by race, no pun intended. Being bi-racial probably gives me more objective standpoint than most, but no one can claim pure objectivity. We’re all victim to our upbringing, environment, and even genetic tools of intellect we’re born with.

Barack Obama’s election was supposed to be dawn of the post-racial society, but instead I believe that it has been a powder keg for racial tensions that have been brewing in all of the decades since Civil Rights breakthroughs of the 1960’s. It seems as though race is the backdrop to every other scandalous news story: The Trayvon Martin case, the Donald Sterling debacle, and now the firing of radio show host Anthony Cumia of ” The Opie and Anthony Show” on Sirius/XM.

Continue reading “The Sound of White Noise”

Vagus Nerve Announces First Ever Live Performance

Vagus Nerve Rehearsal

 

After a couple years of trading files, false starts, long drives to jam, hiccups, looking for band members, my rock project turned actual band, Vagus Nerve, has decided to make it’s first live appearance ever at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday night, March 22nd.

This show is all due to the ever talented Ms. Meghann Wright and her birthday celebration. I would like to thank her personally for helping make this happen.

Vagus Nerve is: myself, Ravi Orr (Phyllotaxis) on vocals, Aden Oxenreider on bass guitar, Moe Watson (Aliens) on drum, and Mike Gowen (Mother) on 2nd guitar.

Vagus Nerve music sampler and show flyer after the jump!

Continue reading “Vagus Nerve Announces First Ever Live Performance”

Guest Guitar Solo for Vext

Doc & Tom Acoustic

Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing a handful of guest guitar solo’s I’ve done for a few friends. It’s all stuff I’ve done in the past year or so, and will give you a good idea of how my lead playing has been developing. It’s always a challenge writing solo’s for me. I try not to repeat the same ideas, and keep it hooky and know when to go for it, and when to keep it calm. Not over play.

This was one of 2 guest guitar Solo’s I did for the most recent Vext EP for my good buddy Tommy Vext. On the final release, they ended up only using the 2nd half of my lead, and guitar wizard, Angel Vivaldi, did a ripping lead for the first half. I thought it would be cool to show my full version for full context. I probably would have done something different for the 2nd half if I knew I was playing off of his solo. Cool stuff either way. Enjoy!

The Cookie Crumbles

A Blue Ice Cream Cone Accident On Ezra Street
As a write this, I am doing my best to arise from a creative malaise. It’s no revelation to most of us “artists” that creativity is a muscle that weakens without consistent use. The blank canvas, empty page, or barren Pro Tools session can seem like a tall mountain climb when you haven’t produced in a significant period of time.

I’ve had several ideas floating around my head, but I haven’t written an in-depth blog piece in almost 2 months. Despite my intro, I wasn’t creatively blocked. I just didn’t have any damn time. As many of you know, I took a touring gig filling in on bass guitar for metalcore heavyweight champs, Unearth. The month before the tour was a whirlwind of busy activity. In addition to tying up loose ends with my new rock band (Vagus Nerve), cover band (Rebel Noise Group), picking up extra shifts bartending, teaching guitar at School of Rock and privately, and curating an educational performance for Tomato’s House of Rock in NYC, I still had to learn 14 Unearth songs in whatever free time I had. Thankfully, all of the tasks were completed, but I was left little time to be creative….in any arena.

Continue reading “The Cookie Crumbles”

I am Playing Bass with Unearth on their Fall Tour

Unearth Doc

 

I will be filling in on bass guitar for Unearth bassist, John “Slo” Maggard, on their upcoming US tour as direct support to the legendary Sepultura on the “Tsunami of Metal Tour” also featuring Kataklysm, Dark Sermon with Scar The Martyr and Anciients featured on select dates.

I have to say it is a complete and total honor that the boys in Unearth have considered me for the position. Unearth and God Forbid came up together in the mid/late 90’s hardcore scene slogging it out in the same VFW halls, basements, and Rec centers. They are truly dear, old friends, and I can’t wait to spend a month together smelling their farts. I am especially psyched to hit the road since it’s been almost been a year since I’ve toured. Let’s see if my headbangin’ neck stick works. Tour dates after the jump.

Continue reading “I am Playing Bass with Unearth on their Fall Tour”

In Memoriam – A God Forbid Retrospective

gfep1
It’s only been a week since we closed the door on God Forbid, but with so much outpouring of affection, sharing of memories, disclosures of sadness bordering on mourning from friends, fans, fellow compatriots in the music industry, and my own reflections burrowing their way from my subconscious to the surface, I thought I should share some of my thoughts about what kind of legacy we left.

In all honesty, it feels silly to use a word like legacy when talking about my own band, but I was actually having some sentimental feelings about the musical catalog God Forbid has amassed when I was preparing for the last couple shows we did, before I decided to leave the group. I was practicing a few songs I hadn’t played in a while, and in that time, I started listening back to some songs and albums I hadn’t heard to in quite some time. And in that moment, I felt a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. For perhaps the first time, I heard a distinct sound that permeated from our first album to our last. Although that sound had evolved over time and become more nuanced and composed and lost some of it’s teeth, much of the feel was there. The groove was consistent. Dynamics always played a part. Darkness and melody persisted and coexisted. The words spoke about pushing through and striving for better.

Continue reading “In Memoriam – A God Forbid Retrospective”

I am leaving God Forbid

I am sorry to say that I am indeed leaving God Forbid. I started playing with these guys since I was 16 years old. Now I’m 32. You do the math. To say this is difficult and a big move for me would be an understatement. It has been very emotional and very sad for me to actually follow through with this, but I feel in my heart and head that it is the right thing to do.

Let’s first remove the elephant from the room, and explain why I am leaving. I don’t want to leave the band, but there are elements of disorganization and unprofessionalism within the group that have made it impossible to be an effectively active band. I don’t feel like I’m being treated in a way that meets my standards, so I have to remove myself from the equation. I’m not going into great detail because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus. I still love all the guys in God Forbid. They will always be my family even if there isn’t a working band. But just because you love your family doesn’t mean you can work with them in a professional sense.

Continue reading “I am leaving God Forbid”

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