Friday, May 29, 2009

Metal Inquisition Archives: pencil renderings of metal bands (Part 2)

Here we see Angela Morales, of Emerson Middle School in Bakersfield California. Angela is one of the first students in Metal Inquisition's "Metal And Art For All" program, which teaches kids art through the works of established masters. In this picture, we see her copying my drawing of Slayer. Great job Angela! Keep it up!

This is part 2 of the "pencil renderings of metal bands" series. If you want more background about how/when/why a 10-11 year old version of me (and my brother) drew these monstrosities, read this first. For those of you that already know the background behind these masterpieces, enjoy.

After moving to the United States, I had a very tough time adjusting. I didn't know the language, got hassled endlessly in school because of my mullet, my sweatpants, my gold chains and my Brut cologne. In retrospect, I guess an 11 year old with gold chains and Brut cologne is pretty funny, but how was I supposed to know?

I remember sitting in the front seat of the bus the second week of school in the United States. Back home, I had been a pretty cool dude (perhaps as a result of my gold chains and cologne) but here in the States I was starting way down in the pecking order, and I knew that. School had become a hugely stressful affair, and I was merely trying to make it through each day without making a complete ass out of myself...which was hard since I didn't speak the language and clearly looked like a damn foreigner. That day on the bus, I sat in the first seat quietly, and put on my heaphones. I began to play Master Of Puppets, and sat there looking at the back of the fat bus driver's neck, which looked like a packet of hot dogs with all it's undulating rolls of lard. Suddenly I noticed someone sitting next to me, which had never happened in the week I had been at that school. I looked up, and it was a girl in a full cheerleader's uniform. Back in South America, our school had no cheerleaders, no school seeing that girl wearing that outfit was as odd to me as seeing a real life cowboy or something. I took off my headphones because I realized she was speaking to me. Taking them off made no difference, I didn't speak a word of English. I looked intently at at her, trying to understand what she was saying. She was very pretty, and seemed unnecessarily friendly towards me. She moved in closer to me as she spoke, and began to smile. I was a bit freaked out by this, because it didn't feel right, something was up. I told her in Spanish, that I didn't understand what she was saying. When I spoke in Spanish, she burst out with laughter, and as soon as she did I was hit in the back of the head with something that felt like a baseball bat. I looked behind me, dazed, and saw one huge kid standing there with his fist still behind my head. Along with him was every other kid on the bus, they were all laughing maniacally at this majestic set up I had fallen for. I guess I had fallen for something, to this day I still don't fully understand what happened, what she said and why he hit me right at that moment. It was a pretty good introduction to what the first few years in this country would be like for me. I know what you're saying "wah wah...poor you". But see, I'm merely trying to explain to you how my move to this country went down, in order for you to understand why I suddenly began making these drawings again.

As a result of this tough transition after my family moving here, I often reverted to doing things that made me happy back in South America when I was a bit younger. After not having drawn bands for well over a year (which seemed like an eternity to me back then), I went back to drawing a lot, as well as building plastic models of cars. In retrospect, how did girls not love me back then? Nothing says "stud" like a dude who draws and builds models. Am I right ladies? Anyway, this was all an attempt to revert to an earlier time, and a way to seek some escape from what I felt (rightfully) was a pretty dreadful and stressful living situation. I have no training in psychiatry to back any of this up, but the last time I was in Vienna I visited Freud's apartment, which I feel gives me enough insight to make these claims.

This drawing comes from that time in my life. As you can see, I was somehow introduced to the concept of perspective. I would like to say that this came about due to my admiration of the work produced by Diego Velazquez, particularly his masterpiece Las Meninas. Even if that's not exactly the case (and it isn't), this drawing was just as important in my artistic development, and like Las Meninas, it will be studied by generations to come.

As you can tell by the shirts that the band is wearing (Obituary, Morgoth), my musical tastes had changed radically. This drawing was highly influenced by pictures of a Death studio report I saw in Metal Maniacs, including shots of Scott Burns relaxing behind the board. It was also highly influenced by the pictures on the back of the Terrorizer album, which showed band members (Oscar Garcia in particular) using huge headphones as they recorded. As such, this would be a depiction of a made up death metal band recording at Morrisound. The name of the band, by the way, was Abnegation. I picked out the name from a dictionary, not knowing that an actual band would later use the name. As you'll see in future posts, I drew this band many times...but this is the only depiction of them in the studio.

Please note:
- Plexiglass surrounding the drumset. Something I had seen on Saturday Night Live in order for the drum's sound to not bleed into other microphones.

- Check out the portable little tables that the guitar player's headphones hook up to. This is also from the Death studio report. One picture in particular featured such a table, which in reality was probably just a music stand.

- Classy track lighting at Morrisound Studios

- The logos on the bass drums are covered with tape, something I had seen in an old issue of Metal Hammer. It was King Diamond's drummer that had done this, probably because he was forced to play a drumset made by someone other than his official sponsor at a fest. You'll see this as a reocurring theme.

- Vocalist in the booth is wearing one of those Scum shirts that Barney always wore back then. Was that a club in England or something? I don't even know.

- Bass player is very clearly based on Frank Watkins, but his pose (sitting calmly while rocking the fuck out) is probably taken from Metallica's epic "Nothing Else Matters" video, which shows Jason wearing those rapist glasses that make him look like a Greyhound bus, as he plays sitting down. I always thought it was funny that, although he was sitting down, he felt it was necessary to use a strap that basically looked a damn sleeping bag.

This one is a collaboration. Actually, it's pretty much all drawn by my brother except for the drumset. Wow, where do I start. You see, back in 1988 my brother and I started a "band". Why do I put the word "band" in quotes? Because we didn't own any instruments, didn't know how to play any instruments, and we were basically little kids pretending. Still, after having heard The Exploited, we figured it wouldn't be too hard to play music and put out an album. Much like other kids play house, we played band. Along for the ride came my friend Alejandro, he was our guitar player. The extent of the band was the fact that we once played along to a bunch of Maiden and Alice Cooper songs for my family to watch. This is insanely embarrassing, but painfully true. It took us about a week to prepare for it, and we put fliers up all over the house. We prepared lighting, and made a drumset out of pillows from the couch. I was the drummer, and under me, pointing up, was one of those super hot red light bulbs intended for muscle pain. My brother's bass guitar was made out of cardboard and my dad's old T-square. Luckily, only days before our big concert, Alejandro's dad actually bought him a real guitar. So there we were, in our family room pretending to play along to the music on the stereo....with my parents and my sister watching. In front of us was a Union Jack flag that my brother made as his batik project in art class. In my last trip back to the old country, I sat around with my friend Alejandro and laughed about these memories until we cried. The whole thing was absolutely insane. Along with this concert, we also made an album cover, which my brother drew with color pencils on white cardstock. We even took one of my mom's Donna Summer albums, and covered the center label with one of ours. We came up with a bunch of song names, and eventually tried to record a couple of them with my dad's stereo. The songs that were recorded were "Huecos" (which translates to "holes") and Brain Putrefaction. Yes, the last song was in English. If you're going to ask if tapes of these songs exist, I have to tell you (sadly) that they don't. The recording session amounted to my brother's Casio keyboard providing a shuffle beat, and my brother merely singing the lyrics into a pair of headphones. Since I was the drummer, I was allowed by my brother to hit the "fill" button, which made the keyboard to this absolutely awful shuffle drum fill. "Huecos, huecos para esconderte...huecos, huecossss" was the song's chorus. In case you're wondering, this means "holes, holes for you to hide in, holes holes....." I know, it makes no sense. This is yet another topic that will need an entire post to really get into. Particularly because my brother has digital pictures of the album's cover, which Alejandro still has. Anyway, the drawing above is a fictitious concert from our fictitious band. My brother is on bass, Alejandro on guitar, me on drums.

Please note:

- Backdrop behind the band says "The Nightmare". Maybe there was other Nightmares around and we wanted to let everyone know that we were THE Nightmare?

- The date on the backdrop states that the tour was in 1999. I guess this is what we dreamed we'd be doing in 1999. Boy were we wrong.

- My brother (on bass) is wearing Haro pants? We didn't really ride BMX or anything...but we did share a knock-off Mongoose bike, which I pretended to ride the Tour De France in every the Haro pants are a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe he can clarify.

- The double cross symbol on my brother's shirt (and the "just die") message were like his signature. The symbol on the center bass drum was my symbol. This, I think, the idea for these symbols came from a bunch of places. The most important source would have to be the signature/symbol that was in all Maiden covers (the little circle with the arrow pointing down which was artist Derek Riggs' signature), as well as maybe Led Zeppelin's Runes album...although we weren't Zeppelin fans.

- Logos on the bass drum are covered up, since the drumset I was playing was not supplied by my official sponsor..and I didn't want to get in trouble for playing a different kit.

- Alejandro's boots say "Kiss", as he was a huge Kiss fan. Aside from being into metal, he was also into a lot of 60s music...hence the peace sign.

When I first saw Slayer's performance in the Ultimate Revenge video, back in 1988, I was floored. The music sounded nuts, the solos were noisy and almost painful. The image must have stuck with me, because I went on to draw it a few times over. This is perhaps the better of the Slayer pieces. If you're familiar with that video, you probably remember their outfits and instruments. I'm happy to say that I got most of it pretty damn right. Kerry King's outfit, and partially burned guitar are correct (even if the shape of the guitar is off.) Araya's shirt is spot on, as are Jeff's guitar (including the little chains all over it.) and leather jacket. I did miss the Agnostic Front shirt, and Jeff's hair is dark...but hey...not bad. Also, I'm not sure why I chose ADA as a brand name for amps. This was either me getting confused with DOD pedals, or a result of having seen a commercial for ADA security systems.

Please note:

- Kerry's pedal

- Uncut guitar strings

- Araya's face is as large and round as a flour tortilla, so it's pretty accurate.

- Lombardo just hit one of his cymbals, and it's still moving as a result. Damn, I had mad art skills.

There are many more drawings to go. Maybe way too many to post them all. Still, I'll probably do a couple more posts in the next few weeks, culminating with the grand opening of our online store, which will feature lithographs of these pieces, signed and numbered by yours truly. Not really...but hey...we can all dream.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Metal Inquisition Archives: Pencil renderings of metal bands (Part 1)

This is the first post (I mean "piece") in what will probably be a long series of posts about the contents of the recently found Metal Inquisition Archives. Much like a time capsule that was left behind for decades, the Metal Inquisition Archives feature incredibly telling artifacts from the lifelong commitment to metal that my brother and I have shared. A bit like our ongoing Metal Archeology series, this one will focus on the contents of a single storage bin that was recently unearthed. For many years, most of the contents of the archives were kept secret, partially due to having forgotten about them...but also as a result of my sheer embarrassment of its contents. Some years ago, in an attempt to make Sergeant D laugh, my brother and I shared some key pieces from this collection, and laugh he did. To this day, there are still a few things about the collection that he continues to bring up in order to make himself laugh. We hope you have a similar reaction. So why share this stuff with the world, when we've been hiding it for years? I have no idea. Perhaps I think of our readers as our family. No, that's probably not it at all. I guess I'm just an all-around good guy and want to share the wealth with the world. Either that, or I'm self destructive and hate myself, who knows. Let's get started.

What are these things?
The items I'm sharing with you today are some one of the key pieces of the collection. Both the Smithsonian and the Getty have been after these for sometime, but we turned down offers that totaled dozens of dollars, so that we may share these with you, our readers. You see, these are just some of the amazing drawings that my brother and I created back in 1988 and 1989, although some are as recent as 1991. As you will see, the artistic skills shown in these pieces of art are only rivaled by our lack of understanding of the English language. Sadly, Blogger is not great at showing large images...but don't worry, at the end of this series I'll provide a link so you can download a hi-res PDF of these pieces, which are suitable for framing (Thomas Kinkade, eat your heart out). In the meantime, double click the images, and enjoy them at a much larger size.

Why were these horrible "masterpieces" drawn in the first place?
I don't have a great answer to this question. My brother and I were not exactly loners growing up, but the huge stack of drawings in front of me seems to tell another story. We had friends, enjoyed sports, and took public transportation all over the city where we grew up. We weren't sickly or awkward (at least not too awkward), but I guess we also liked staying at home and drawing away. We were always obsessive as kids, and when metal became a part of our lives, we dove in head first. In South America back then, the chance of ever seeing a live metal band was slim at best. The opportunity of ever seeing a world-class band, or even a fifth-rate thrash band (I'm looking at you Laaz Rockit) was non-existent. Similarly, we had no access to magazines or even metal albums. All of our tapes were tenth generation dubs with no covers, and perhaps as a result of this isolation, our minds were left to wander. Sometimes, we would see a tiny bit of a band's video at a friend's house, and our minds were blown to the point of having to draw the image that had been burned into our minds. Looking at many of these drawings, I'm taken back to that time, and can easily place why certain things are in these drawings, such was the impact that imagery within the realm of metal had on me. It's for this reason that I often feel that those of us who grew up in seemingly distant and secluded nations had a greater bond to metal and other subcultures. This is not something I'm particularly interested in debating, as I'm certain I could be proved wrong, but when I think back to just how insanely obsessive we were about metal, I'm often left to think that it was more about our surroundings than our personalities. Like a religious fanatic who praises the unknown, metal seemed like a distant heavenly thing, and we worhsiped at the altar of metal.

How/when were these masterpieces drawn?
The majority of these pieces were done by me (each one signed and dated on the back), with a few being done by my brother as well. A few were done as collaborations since my brother was way better at drawing hair (especially mid-headbang), and I was better at drawing drumsets. You see, I badly wanted a set of drums, and my brother wanted a bass guitar. Although we lived in an extremely populous city, there was only one instrument shop in the whole city. We had never been there, as it was well over an hour we also fetishized musical instruments as much as we did bands and metal in general. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the first time I ever saw a set of drums in person, I nearly fainted. I was so excited that I simply couldn't contain myself. Again, this speaks to the level of isolation that we lived in. Still, it was a great childhood, and many of those positive memories took place at my desk, drawing these amazing pieces of art. My bedroom was next door to the family room, in which my father's Sony stereo system sat. Since I didn't have a stereo in my room, my brother and I took one of the oversized speakers (one of those huge ones with the fake wood veneer), and put it in my room so we could listen to music. In order to play a tape, we would have to go into the other room, start up the tape, and then go back into my room to listen to the right channel only, since we only had the one speaker in the room. To this day, there are certain Slayer and Venom songs that sound weird to me as a result of now being able to hear both channels. From time to time, we would play radio DJ for one another, plugging a set of headphones in the other room and using them as a mic. "And up next is a killer track from Slayer", we would say into the set of headphones, trying to entertain one another as we drew for hours. My brother was particularly good at it, taking care to mix music behind his talking, a skill that would come in handy years later when he hosted his own metal radio show for about four years. Keep in mind that I was 10-11 at the time. I'm not saying my age makes it any less embarrassing, but I'm hoping it puts things into context for you.

It was through that old, piece of doo-doo Sony stereo that we would make dubs from our friend's tapes. The stereo, I should tell you, did not have two cassette decks, oh no. The way we copied tapes was by playing the cassette on my dad's stereo, and placing a small boombox by the speaker, which recorded the sound from the stereo. We surrounded the speaker and the boombox with pillows, and made sure not to talk or make any noise during the full duration of the dubbing session. Now that you have a clearer picture of when a 10-11 year old version of me worked on these drawings, you can enjoy them that much more.

The masterpieces

Let's just get this one out of the way right now. I know it's Mr Sergeant D's favorite, so this one's for him. Why on earth I shared this drawing with him many years ago, I'll never know...and why I'm posting these for all of you to laugh at me is also beyond me. First things first: yes, his shirt and the sticker on the guitar say:

Welcome to the hell

Did I warn you about my lack of English skills back then? I was 10 for god's sake, and all the English I knew was from Slayer songs and Eddie Murphy movies. This piece is unusual, in that it only depicts one member of a band, in this case the band is E.S.S., a made up crossover type band. When I say "crossover", I don't mean like DRI circa "Dealing With It". That would be way too cool. I mean, more like how Anthrax thought they were crossover by virtue of merely using the NYHC symbol on their guitars, and by having posed twice with a Variflex skateboard for a picture in RIP magazine. The band's name being three letters was a cue I took from bands that seemed to play har(d)core or punk, although I had never heard most of them. DRI, GBH, SOD, MOD...they all seemed the same to me. Again, I can't explain enough how detached I was from music and reality at large. Why his fretboard says "harcore", I'll never know. First of all (as a reader pointed out) it's missing a "d". But see.... I guess, he loved har(d)core music and wanted to let his fans know. Hey, no one gave James Hetfield any guff when he put that man/wolf design on his go take it up with him. The same is true for the backwards baseball hat, which I (for some odd reason) thought was a sign of being "har(d)core", and crossover. No one where I lived wore hats, it was a very American thing, and it seemed so odd to me. Note the GBH patch on his leg, which I erased for some reason. Lastly, I should point out that the guitar depicted is clearly a Jackson Dinky with a reverse headstock. I'm proud to say that after all these years, I'm a proud owner of that guitar, which I bought from one Sergeant EMG pick-up and tremolo included.

Please note:

- The unbelievable detail on his fingers. The poor guy's left hand looks like a packet of hot dogs.

- E.S.S. stood for Eat Shit Stupid. I have no idea where I came up with that. If only I had access to the Nocturnus time machine, I'd use it to go and ask the 10 year old version of me what I was thinking.

- Highly realistic pose, at least as far as the legs are concerned.

- The guitar strap realistically shows the slack created by the dude having picked up the guitar to do his sweet solo. Come on, give me some credit here!!!

Another made up band, this time it's Satan Sons, not Satan's Sons...just Satan Sons. Apparently possessive nouns were a difficult thing for me to learn in the English language. As I think about it now, it sounds like a plumbing business. Toilet clogged? Are your drains slow? Call Satan Sons, they'll fix you right up.

Considering when this was drawn, I would have to say that the influences for this piece were primarily the Ultimate Revenge video, and seeing the back of the Venom Black Metal album cover. What is the bass player on the right doing? Honestly, and I'm not even kidding, he's doing some sort of salute or prayer to the devil. Seriously. I remember thinking about this, and you will see it appear in other drawings. I guess that's what being raised in a catholic country will do to you. Can you imagine walking into your 10 or 11 year old's room, only to find him drawing this?

Please note:

- The bass player is using a chain as a guitar strap

- The lines coming up from the top of the page are my highly realistic depiction of the amazing light show that Satan Sons no doubt had.

- Guitar player on the left has an SOD patch on his trenchcoat (kinda' funny since the name of the band shows I didn't know how to speak English at all)

- Slayer t shirt

- sweet band logo, which predated Deicide's trifixion

Let's just talk about the obvious thing first. Yes, the band's name is Anti Posers...and yes...the slogan behind them says "slay a poser, & get a free yo-yo". Even typing it out, I get the shakes, and begin to laugh. I have no rational way of explaining this at all...except that I must have hated posers back then, and felt the need to convey it through a made up band that I drew. As far as how the band ran this promotion, or if it was their label or management that gave out the yo-yo's I don't know. You have to give it up to these guys, for feeling so strongly about a single message and really running with it. The was no mistaking their stance on posers...they were like Bikini Kill, Nocturnus, Voivod, Earth Crisis or Nile when it came to their singular lyrical focus.

Please note:

- The dude on the left has an "I hate posers" shirt, while the guy on the right has a shirt that repeats the yo-yo giveaway promotion they were currently advertising on that tour. These guys HATED posers. For real!

- I clearly got sick of drawing, and chose to cover the faces of two dudes with hair...thus minimizing my workload. I was smart, even as a little kid.

Another piece featuring a band you are now well-acquainted with, E.S.S. This one features the usual rubbery legs (see guitar player on the right), oddly shaped people (singer and bass player) and that all important "ahh fuck it" moment. What do I mean? it's the moment when I clearly decided I had been drawing long enough, and just wanted to be done. In this case, you can see how little effort was put into the drummer. His arms make no sense, the drumset sucks even more than everything else...I had clearly had enough and wanted to be done. If you're wondering where else in the world of metal this "ahh fuck it" spirit can be captured, look no further than the cover of Death Angel's Act III album. As Sergeant D has rightfully pointed out in the past, the artist wasted like six weeks getting the drapes to look realistic as hell...and when it came time to paint the people in the seats he just said "ahh fuck it", and drew repetitive stone statues. Speaking of Death Angel, when did they go from looking super sweet, like this:

(Note the short-shorts, and the all-white outfit.) To looking like this:

Which basically amounts to the dudes that change my oil with a nasty case of Tommy Victor's Disease. Which reminds me...a lot of white people make fun of Cross Colors clothing, which many-a-minority rocked in the early 90s. Well, its payback time. Let white people (and some Filipinos apparently) get laughed at for wearing Affliction. Okay, back to the drawing.

Please note:

- "Not Man" t-shirt, an homage to Anthrax, whom I loved at the time.

- E.S.S. flag being waved around by the badly drawn, chubby singer. This is definitely influenced by the Anthrax home video, where Scott waved that huge "NOT" sign.

- Check out the guitar player on the right, he's doing a killer solo as he slides on the floor. Weee!

- lots of guitar picks taped on the mic stands, which means they were probably throwing out tons of them to their adoring fans.

- bass player is wearing bermuda shorts, another Anthrax nod

- The guitar player on the left, is the same guy that was depicted on the first drawing. See his fretboard? It also says "Hard(c)ore". In this drawing I found yet another way to spell the same word incorrectly. I deserve some kind of award. Apparently he plays for a hugely popular band, but still prefers the warm, bluesy sound he gets out of his small 2-12 Fender amp.

- The bass drum on your left says "don't you fuckin' look at me", an obvious Antrhax reference.

- The monitor on the left has a number on it, 83. I remember seeing rented equipment being numbered like this when watching large concerts on TV, probably by someone like Jose Feliciano.

Hope you liked these, and hope I didn't oversell them. There are many more to come, as well as other weird crap from our archives. Another post about amazing art coming up this Friday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Metal Inquisition Archives: I'm seriously overwhelmed

The picture above may look harmless enough, a simple storage container with random pieces of metal ephemera. I must tell you, however, that this image cannot begin to show the amazing contents held within. This weekend, my brother and I completed an important rite of passage in life, we successfully moved the last remaining bits of our lives from the house that last lived in with our parents. We are both old enough that we should have done this long ago, but in true latino style we kept dragging our feet in doing so. What you see above is the last bit of our life that had been left behind, and what an insanely amazing collection it is.

First, I should admit to all of you that continuously posting on this blog can sometimes be tough. Last summer, I was the only one posting for weeks at a time, sometimes almost three times a week. While that may not seem like a a whole lot to many of you, it certainly was to me. Recently, I've had to slow down in my posts (I mean, "pieces") due to being busy with other things in my life aside from writing embarassing stories about my past in metal. Having found this amazing archive of stupidity and metal, I'm now happy to say that I easily have ten years worth of material to post about...all of it amazing (I think) and insanely embarrassing. Actually writing it all out, and scanning this stuff will be a whole 'nother thing...but I'll try my best. If you are wondering what types of items live inside this amazing box, let me give you a sneak preview...but this is only the tip of the iceberg...a huge, funny and weird iceberg:

- Hundreads of drawings made by my brother and I, of real and made up bands in live settings. These are pencil drawings depicting Iron Maiden, Slayer, Helloween and many bands that we invnted mid-concert. It's hard to explain these, as they basically amount to our artistic renditions of a metal concert, since we had never been to one as little kids. Our drawing skills were very poor, but that didn't stop us from drawing tons of these. They are usually in A4 or Letter sized sheets of paper, and depict the whole stage, complete with lights, speaker cabinets and (in the case of bands like Maiden) the entire stage set. These date back to 1988 and are awful and funny as all hell. Some drawings are extra funny due to our insistence in writing things in english from time to time, even though we didn't speak the language. The results were disastrous. This part of our archives also includes many drawings of things other than bands, like album covers and many many band logos and flyers for made up concerts.

- Tons and tons of autographed items from amazing bands like Flotsam and Jetsam, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Excruciating Terror, Recipients of Death....including weird items like a flower drawn and signed by Trevor from Obituary. Each items has a nutty story behind it.

- My brother and I were obsessive collectors, and we have the scrap books to prove it. Many, many binders of what basically amount to metal scarpbooks, including the dated receipts to many of the tapes we bought. Did you ever wonder when and where I bought my first Believer tape? You'll find out soon.

- Did you ever wonder what our book covers looked like in school around 1991? You'll find out, because we kept them.

- Many letters I received and saved from people like Pat from Hellwitch and Richard C from Wild Rags...all circa 1991 or 1992. These are weird and funny. Pat from Hellwtich gives me updates about the Tampa scene, and tells me about his new house that he just bought.

- The zine my brother and I did in 1991, including the original manuscripts (in cursive, of course) to articles for it. Believe me, when you read my barely-coherent "piece" about Kreator which I wrote as a little kid... you'll be depressed ...but will laugh at the same time.

- Hand written transcripts to many songs like GWAR's "Slaughterama"

- Enough show fliers to choke a donkey, many signed by the bands.

- Programs to a few Milwaukee Metal fests, many zines and a few copies of The Wild Rag.

- Fan newsletters for many bands, including Miami's infamous Raped Ape

I know this post kinda' sucks, since I'm merely tickling your ass with a feather here. But trust me, it's gonna' be great in the long run. I'm just overwhelmed, and don't even know where to start.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Thursday post about a case of the Mondays

I'm an idiot. I meant to post this on Friday, but mistakenly put it up today. Oh well. It's a holiday weekend here in the US of consider this your weekend fill.

Like most of you, I have my bad days. I know what you're probably thinking, that due to the popularity of this blog, my life is filled with endless parties and prestigious events to which I am driven to in my 62S Maybach. Well, that's all certainly true...but with that in mind, I must also tell you that I sometimes have a case of what overweight American women call "the mondays". Just this past Monday, I actually had a case of "the Mondays", one I simply could not shake. I tried the usual remedies for this condition, anything that would cheer me up. I listened to Obituary, but it didn't work. It merely reminded me of when I was younger, happier and got to hang out with Obituary in order for Donald Tardy to sign a drumstick for me. I tried listening to Dream Theatre, which usually makes me laugh for hours upon hours, especially that one song that has the salloon-music like piano part. But then I remembered that poor Mike Portnoy can only afford to live in a town called Coopersburg Pennsyvlania. Can you imagine playing that awful garbage to dozens of acne-scarred fans every night...and only being able to afford a pseudo-Mc mansion in Coopersburgh PA? Nothing was working, I was still bummed and feeling blue. It was time to take drastic action, so I brought out the big guns...the only thing that will always cheer me up and make me laugh. Am I talking about Megadeth's cover of Anarchy In the UK? No. Am I talking about the Megadeth tribute album entirely made up of French bands that I own. No. Am I talking about the entire Hanger 18 video? Nope. I'm talking about the Manowar commercial for German TV.

Even after watching it, I was still not feeling cheered up. As such, I instructed my driver Helmut to drive me around town in my Maybach so that I could find someone to laugh at. I thought surely there would be a pack of Juggalos somewhere out there, waiting to make my day brighter. Sometimes, god smiles down upon you...and last Monday was such a day. At one random intersection I saw the most amazing metal specimen known to man...a very rare one. Much like seeing the rare Pinta Islan Tortoise in the wild, catching a full blown, early 20s black metal douche bag (complete with full leather pants in a day when it was nearly 90 degrees) is a rare sight. At least around here. I mean, you know they're out there...and you can find them at shows and stuff...but to see one crossing the street is amazing.

I know this photographic evidence is poor at best, but you'll have to forgive my driver Helmut, as this was the best shot he was able to get for me.

The beast was majestic, complete with black plumage, combat boots, oversized backpack, portable CD player (did you just read that? Portable CD player...its 2009!), sunglasses and a Bathory shirt. Was it the mere sight of such a specimen that cheered me up. Not really. You see, in the picture above you can see a middle aged black woman, walking away from the young metal fan. This is where it gets good. Although I found myself a few feet away from the action, I could hear the exchange between these two pretty well. Originally the woman was standing next to Mr Bathory shirt, waiting to cross the street. The whole time they were standing next to each other, Mr Leather Pants was totally hitting on this chubby 40 something lady. He was dead serious, and was definitely using his A game to lure her back into his black metal lair. "Where are you going to now?" He asked her suggestively, as he looked her up and down, almost licking his lips. I felt bad for the guy, I was seeing him at his most vulnerable, and the woman was not even acknowledging his existence. I'm sure it probably reminded him of that other awkward conversation he once had with a woman. His mother. It went a little something like this:

So there he was, trying to hit on a much older woman...and being insanely persistent at it. "Where do you work? Come on, you can tell me." She was having none of it, and wouldn't even look his way. I couldn't hear everything he said to her, but his ongoing questions were met with complete disregard from the lady, a reply that most male metalheads know well. "You don't even want to look at me?" he asked. The woman suddenly turned around, looked at him, pausing on his leather pants. Once she looked at him, she walked away from him, angrily putting her bag over her shoulder and murmuring to herself. It was this moment that I caught, I driver Helmut, caught on camera. Feeling dissed by the lady, Mr Black Metal kinda' bobbed his head to the rhythm of the grim tunes on his sweet portable CD player, and fixed his hair and headphones as to say "ain't no thang". Upon seeing a black metal fan trying to pick up a middle aged lady on the street, and failing...I found myself suddenly cheered up. Everything was right with the world, I was officially in a good mood once again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life of Agony has the method of groove to grab your attention

There are few bands I listen to more often than Life of Agony. They've been there through thick and thin, like an old baseball glove or a girl who you call to fuck and borrow money from every time you're single. With that in mind, it's high time Metal Inquisition sings their praises, album by album!
River Runs Red
Theme: "I wanna mosh."

When I wrote that theme, I sang it like Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" and thought of how great many 80s songs about dancing would be if you changed them to being about moshing: "All She Wants To Do Is Mosh," "My Girl Wants to Mosh All The Time," and so forth.

Anyway, I like to think of this album as the gay version of Carnivore. It has brutal mosh parts, but also lots of "wah wah, I hate my daddy" parts. I used to hate this album because of the unusual vocals. I just wanted to hear Bulldoze and Dmize, but now that I am an old, lonely man full of little else but despair, hopelessness, and shattered dreams, the vocals sound pretty good to me.

Unwilling to change for society, Keith is gonna be who he wants to be! He is the underground, the underground- yeah!

The songs seem to be broadly divided into two sets: songs about how they will mosh all over you if you step to them and their crew, and songs about crying. On the mosh tip you have tracks like "Method of Groove" in which they make sure you know that their method of groove will grab your attention. Then there is "Respect," which informs the audience that someone or another has a thing to learn about respect. I am not sure who it is supposed to be targeted at, I like to think that it's about a jerky cop who kicked me out of the Safeway parking lot in 1995 when all I wanted to do was skate with my bros. He definitely has a thing or two to learn about respect!!

There is also plenty of crying. For example, "Bad Seed," in which Keith passive-aggressively suggests that he is going to kill himself:
So please don't keep on asking
If there's something wrong
'Cause you know damn well if I was fine
I would've never ever written this song
It reminds me of this Scott Baio movie from the 80s called "The Truth About Alex" where he finds out his best friend is gay and is going to kill himself. He tells his little brother melodramatically, "You can have all my records... I won't need them where I'm going!" Then he drives his Camaro off a cliff. I feel like Keith Caputo is also crying out for attention in songs like "Bad Seed" and "My Eyes." I like feeling sorry for myself too, though, so I'm cool with that.

Theme: "I wanna cry."

On this album, Keith abandons the songs about moshing and talks a lot about how he misses his mommy. I don't get along all that well with my mom, but I am a sensitive pussy, so this is my favorite LOA album. Every time I get my heart broken by some 23 year-old hipster girl (usually two or three times a month), I put this album on, curl up into a ball and hold myself while I rock back and forth in the corner and cry myself to sleep.

Buru Buru Dog and Keith Caputo both like to sit in the corner and quiver while they cry

I also like to put on "I Regret" and "Lost At 22" when I look back on my life. I wish that I could say that it has been one spectacularly disappointing choice after the next, but I'm such a loser that my failures aren't even spectacular. I'm not even interesting enough to be a trainwreck, I'm just slowing puttering down the road to fizzling out. Eventually I will just sigh deeply and crumple into dust as my soul escapes through my mouth... probably around the age of 34. When I think about this, I put on "I Regret" and fill page after page of my diary by scrawling "SHED MY SKIN AND START AGAIN!!!" over and over. It's what Keith would want me to do, I think.

My favorite LOA song, though, is "Coffee Break." Just like Keith says in the chorus, "No one understands me." In fact I am sure I am going to die alone because of this. All I want to do is listen to BrokeNCYDE, watch Bridget Jones and snuggle with a nice girl, but I am more convinced it will never happen every time I listen to this song. Keith is the only one who really gets me, I think.

Soul Searching Sun
Theme: "I wanna rock... while I cry."

On this album, LOA decided that they wanted to be a rock band. Basically this record sounds like Creed, which is cool with me because I like Creed, although it does represent quite a change from the old days in which they sang the praises of moshers who were unwilling to change for society. I half expect him to ask the audience if they can take him higher.

An incredibly pussed-out version of "Let's Pretend" in which Keith wears a windbreaker with the hood up the entire time

For example, "Angry Tree" reminds me of that one Belly song about the tree or whatever. It's hella 90s, I don't remember the name but I liked it a lot. The singer was hot as I recall, although if I went back and watched it now, I would probably vomit because she's probably wearing Doc Martens or something, not to mention what must be a giant bush lurking beneath her striped tights. And odds are their is someone with a Dr. Seuss novelty hat in the video somewhere. Mucky Pup proved that much. Writing songs about trees is definitely a relic of the 90s.

Nuclear Death was much better at writing metal songs about trees. For example, "The Corpse Tree" from their 1992 7" "For Our Dead"

Keith wants you to think that he is done being a crybaby on this album, but I beg to differ. For example, in "Hope" he says "This song is meant to uplift you, not to tear you apart." Really Keith?? I don't believe you! I think you want to bum us out so we will listen to you play acoustic Bob Marley covers!! (In case you haven't heard it, LOA actually did an acoustic cover of "Redemption Song") You're not fooling me! Not cool bro, save that sensitive shit for Cyco Miko.

Life of Agony has a song for every mood and every time of your life! Lifting weights, tending to a broken heart, crushing despair, whatever- Keith and Joey Z have you covered! By the way, is Joey Z related to Johnny Z from Megaforce?? I hope not, because I feel like Joey Z would never have signed Overkill. Anyway, don't be an "I only like the demo" guy and tell me that "River Runs Red" is the only good album, because they all jam for their own reasons!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Short But Sweet: Heaven and Hell Fan Freaks the Fuck Out

In case you missed this, here's a video of a fat, old, insane Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath minus Ozzy Osbourne plus Ronnie James Dio) fan freaking the fuck out at a signing. This guy might be even more insane than SLAAAAAAAAYEERRRRRRRRRRR fan!

Monday, May 18, 2009

On Wiggers, Niggers, and Spics: An Interview with Bill Zebub

Before there was Metal Inquisition there was The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds. Founded by Bill Zebub back in 1991, The Grimoire is a print zine that features hilarious and brutally sarcastic articles, reviews, interviews, and pictures of half-naked semi-attractive women. Bill Zebub is a legendary ballbuster and never one to shy away from confrontation or controversy. He is an inspiration to all us here at Metal Inquisition and an enemy of posers worldwide.

Bill's other great passion in life is making low-budget films. You may be familiar with such titles as Assmonster, Breaking Her Will, and The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made.

Bill also hosts a radio show on WFMU 91.1 FM (the longest-running freeform radio station in the United States!) on Sundays from midnight - 3 am (Eastern Standard Time) as Professor Dum Dum.

1. How did you come up with the idea for the Grimoire and the whole Bill Zebub persona?

I had interned for Roadrunner Records and my job was to deal with the fanzines, so I knew that I didn't have to make an award-winning and flashy mag in order to be taken seriously. You know, I am actually developing a script for a movie called "Fanzine Editor" that will give a rundown of the absurd history behind my mag. I think it may be a comedy that would appeal to a lot of people even if they never read a 'zine or listened to metal. The whole thing has been in a constant evolution, so my persona now is a bit different from my starting stages. And alcohol was the fuel for everything.

2. As a proud resident of the glorious state of New Jersey I'm sure you've seen plenty of wiggers in your day. What are your thoughts on wiggers invading both death metal and black metal?

First of all, I am not a proud resident. I just live here. Whenever my movie credits indicate that the movie was shot in New Jersey, it's just to piss off snobs who think that California and New York are the only official movie states. As for wiggers, I was puzzled by that phenomenon when I went to a mostly-black high school. I kept my identity, but most of the white kids adopted a sort of minority-personality. In some cases it was ridiculous because the whites talked like spics. I almost wanted to take these whites aside and ask them if they are aware that spics talk like that because English was not their first language. It's an accent, not a willful way of talking. But years later I studied evolutionary psychology and have found some interesting explanations. Those whites who suddenly adopt a black or hispanic personality are the low-level humans, intellectually. They cannot break away from their brain-wiring, so-to-speak. They are blind conformists. Conformity is essential for a population to thrive. Groups that have high cohesiveness tend to compete with greater success than populations that have lots of free-thinkers, or that have higher numbers of selfish people. So a wigger, or a poser, is a red flag. That person will never be your true friend. He or she will betray you whenever there is a choice between loyalty to you or loyalty to the group. But even before I knew this stuff I always regarded wiggerism as just something to pity. When rap metal bands started emerging, I just ignored them. It's just not something that I like, so I don't seek it out, not even to bash it. There never was a unified metal scene. At any show, now or in the past, you could easily find many people who had conflicting opinions. It's not a group that is of one mind. If there were no wiggers, there would still be stupid people present. So when someone talks wiggerly or dresses that way, or has gay piercings, be thankful for that early warning of total worthlessness. You might have otherwise wasted time with the person, ha ha.

3. If you could borrow the Nocturnus time machine from Mike Browning for one day what would you do with it?

I do not know your specific example, but supposing that a time machine allows time travel, I have some serious regrets that I would love to go back and make right. That can never happen. Maybe if parallel universes are real, there are versions of me who do not carry these chains.

Bill loves Jesus THIS much Jesus!

4. We here at Metal Inquisition are obviously huge fans of your work. Along with Don Rickles and Beavis and Butthead, the Grimoire is one of our biggest influences. Who inspires you?

I am helpless to resist the humor of Laurel and Hardy. It's actually getting harder to find people who even know who this slapstick duo were. I know that some people have only been able to catch "March of the Wooden Soldiers" on TV and maybe one or two other shorts, but these guys were quite prolific. I have almost everything that is available on VHS, and I am waiting to authenticate a DVD collection that is available in England. Maybe their tempo is a bit slow for most people who have become accustomed to the present style of movies that cater to the short attention span. There is one movie by the director John Waters, called "Desperate Living" that I saw a long time ago. It was the first ultra wrong thing I had seen, and it was extremely inspiring. When I say "inspiring" I mean that it stimulated my imagination and made me want to create. It doesn't mean that I wanted to copy.

5. Heavy metal is inherently retarded. That's part of why we love it so much. So why then do you think that so many metalheads lack a sense of humor and insist on taking themselves seriously in spite of this and the fact that most of them are balding, aging virgins that still live in their parents' basements?

Ha! You should be very careful when you make generalizations like "most" and such. Even someone trained in quantifying statistical data would be hard-pressed to make statements like that about such a diverse population. In my particular past, I experienced a shitload of really humorless metalheads when the Grimoirie first started to get majorly distributed. I remember one particular show in Connecticut when a couple of friends and I stormed a club with heaps of free mags and passed them out in a frenzy. When we got to the other end of the club, tons of people were furious. They were ripping up the mag, twisting it as if they were torturing it, and pretty much foaming at the mouth. Later I found out that this was in reaction to the way I interviewed Morbid Angel. Don't get me wrong. There were tons of people who were pissing themselves laughing. But I had never seen so many people become so wretched. I think that part of that bad reaction didn't have so much to do with being humorless as it had to do with people feeling defensive. They CHOSE to be offended. If they hadn't read the interview as an attack, they may have smiled. Yeah, I'm sure that there were some idiots and wet noodles who were part of that angry bunch. Keep in mind that some of the visceral parts of metal attract some really stupid people - to them, some of the vocabulary used in lyrics is as foreign as Latin. There's less outrage these days, possibly because I have paved the way for other mags to walk on the insult road. The funny thing is, when I first started, almost every other fanzine editor told me that my retarded magazine would never last. I outlived them all!

6. Out of all the interviews you've done over the years who was the biggest douchebag you’ve ever interviewed and why?

There have been so many that I can't really single any particular one out. I usually only remember the douchy behavior if it's funny. If it's 100% annoying I tend to forget it. When I first interviewed Phil from Malevolent Creation, he was very care-free and happily discussed his use of the word "nigger" in one of his songs. When I did another interview with him later on, he was trying to hint to me to refrain from the racial humor. I totally didn't get his hints and I thought he was trying to be funny, so I asked even more intense racial questions than I would have otherwise. The reason why he didn't say anything to me outright was because he knew that once the tape starts rolling, I don't edit anything. So if he asked me "Please don't goof on the niggers today" you would have seen that in print. He later explained to me that the band had some problems in Germany because of it, to which I responded, "Where was that anti-racial attitude during World War 2?" It's too late. No matter how anti-fascist they try to be, they actually killed people. It just looks stupid for them to have that new attitude. Anyway, Phil recorded a new record for Nuclear Blast and an interview was set up. When I picked up the phone, Phil asked, "What's up, nigger?" So I was happy that the bullshit was over with and we had a really fun interview that was loaded with super nigger jokes. I published it on my site immediately. I do that now, by the way. I publish stuff on my site first and THEN it gets to print later, possibly edited for length reasons. So I Emailed the record label to give them the link to the interview and they shit their pants. I got frantic Emails begging me to take that interview down. I explained very calmly that I have been doing racial humor since 1993 and I assured them that nothing bad would come of it. They didn't trust my experience. I came home one day and saw my answering machine blinking like an eyeball that had a nigger in it. These were actually voice messages about the interview. I felt bad because Phil left a message saying that Nuclear Blast is actually thinking about dropping the band. I couldn't believe my ears. I didn't want to hurt the band, but even if I took it down, the Internet already has cached pages, which means that the interview would never disappear, and I would look like a fag for taking it down. Well, nothing bad happened, just like I predicted. Political-correctness is just fiction. It's an artificial construct that is contrary to human thinking. And it was invented by the Nazi's, by the way.

7. How did you get into making shitty horror movies? And more importantly, how do you talk women into getting naked in them? I certainly hope you're bribing them with the prospect of fame and fortune.

I never talk anyone into anything. I am just amazingly cool.

What's more metal than a water-damaged bathroom ceiling?

8. Who do you think has a bigger collection of Nazi memorabilia, Jeff Hanneman or Evil D (AKA David Vincent)?

I don't know and I don't care and you can eat my underwear.

9. Who really is the hot dog king of Clifton, Rutt's Hutt or The Hot Grill?

Funny thing you should ask that. I was talked into going to a horror convention in Texas. An acquaintance offered to drive if I split the gas - he also wanted to attend as a vendor. Well, the whole ride to Texas consisted of us calling each other gay as often as possible. Gay, gay, gay. As soon as we got to the convention, the pranks started. While the... I don't want to call him "friend" so I use the word "acquaintance" - while the acquaintance was distracted I write "Kissing Booth - Men's Lips Only" and stuck it on his booth, but what I didn't know is that he made a banner for me out of several sheets of paper that read "" and taped it over my own banner. So people are coming up to both of us, laughing their asses off, and I am laughing at my acquaintance while he is laughing at me, totally unaware of the double faggery. Along came a movie crew and I was asked if I would participate in an interview for a documentary. They were shooting on real film, and had multiple people assisting, so it was a bit daunting. Anyway, the first question I was asked was, "So what do you think of this place?" I was not ready for that. I thought that the interview was going to be about me, not about the horror convention. I struggled to think of something nice to say because the people out there are really polite and not so accustomed to sarcasm. As I searched my mind for something to say, I remember someone advising me long ago that if I am in a new place and I need to make a compliment, I should say something about the food. I was only there for a few hours so I didn't know anything about the food, but then I remembered a commercial for HOT GRILL, and I yelled, "Well, I sure would love to have a Texas weiner in my mouth." Suddenly the whole place froze. People were looking at each other in total confusion. The interviewer had no idea what to say about that answer and moved on, and I was so embarrassed that I set off some kind of panic spiral in my brain and totally stuttered for the rest of the interview, and when it was over, people just walked away without saying anything. See what happens when you fuck around too much with insults? I was saying gay jokes for two days and some residual gay joke came out at the worst time. I later asked the interviewer to give me another chance, and he asked me to explain what happened. I told him that in New Jersey there is a place that has TV commercials for their most authentic Texas Weieners. Nobody in Texas calls hot dogs that. They call them "Conies" for Coney Island in New York. If only everyone called them "hot fogs" I wouldn't look like a total fag on that documentary. No, I am not telling you what it is called.

10. Now that Anvil has become the subject of a critically acclaimed documentary what other second tier metal bands would you like to see telling their sob stories on the big screen?

Not being a fan of Anvil myself, and having never watched that documentary, I can just say "Good luck" to the people who got that going. I often wondered why there wasn't a documentary about Mercyful Fate. From time to time I think about calling up King and asking him if he'd be interested in something like that, but I am a bit swamped with projects at the moment.

11. Who would you rather hire as your personal trainer, King Diamond or Kane Roberts?

I don't know who the other person is, and King Diamond has a herniated disc...

12. We here at Metal Inquisition are a bunch of bitter, jaded, old men. As the years pass and we watch our relationships and ambitions crumble before us we often regret not having dedicated more of lives to getting laid, or perhaps getting into an Ivy League school, instead of joining the Wild Rags street team and collecting King Diamond picture discs. Do you have any similar regrets about your life in metal?

I had regretted turning the magazine all-glossy and changing from a free magazine that was distributed more than A.I.D.S into one that was for sale at large chains, like Tower Records. Part of that had to do with showing the world that death metal is so cool that a magazine can be 100% devoted to it and say "fuck you" to hardcore, rap metal, or anything gay. Death metal didn't have to just be revered in a photocopied 'zine. I regret that because I was the king of distribution, but when the mag got into those big chains I started fresh in a new realm and didn't maintain my armies of minions. When Tower Records and other shops crumbled, I transformed the mag back into a fee publication, but the world has changed. I have to build my minions anew. But you know, even if I had remained free all along and kept up the free distribution, the free distribution actually cost a shitload of money that was paid by the advertising dollars from record labels. As more and more people download or share music without paying for it, advertising budgets for record labels shrink more and more. Years ago a great death metal band would sell 110,000 copies of a CD worldwide. Now they can't even hit 40,000. So fans who download are killing metal. They are killing the band, killing the record labels, killing magazines, and killing me softly.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Metal Archeology: Artifacts of a lifetime devoted to metal (Part 5)

Look, I know what you're thinking:

Soundgarden? I thought this here blog was all about metal, is this a joke?

Hold on, hold on. Let me explain. Like my other "metal archeology" posts, the point of this piece (calling it a "piece" and not a "post" makes me feel like a journalist) is not the actual item pictured above. Oh no. The point of it are the stories about the time and place of when this item came into my life. Again, I'm merely sharing the memories that having found this item brought back. I found this CD at my brother's apartment, and was instantly taken back to another time and place. So, let's all gather around on the magic, story-time rug as I tell another one of my long-winded tales. One of you can sit on my lap (ideally a thin female, and not a fat beardo)'s story time with uncle Lucho!

Pictured here is Hellen Rabinowitz, showing kids at Bay Shore Elementary in Hialeah Florida my Nuclear Death "Carrion For Worm" poster. Hellen has been instrumental in taking our Metal Archeology Series Story Time Program (MASSTP™ for short) to schools across the country. The program is designed to bring a real sense of metal history to kids who would otherwise not have access to such information. Thank you Hellen!

The year was 1991, and my brother and I lived in sunny Miami Florida. Death metal was blowing up, and we were close to ground-zero. Extreme metal was in the air, you could smell it...and because we were in Florida, it smelled a bit like old retired people, and salt water. It was a grand time to be involved in metal. Within a matter of about a year, my taste in metal had quickly escalated from Slayer to Napalm Death. Metallica had died, musically speaking, and I had to look for another musical home (so to speak) to live in. Imagine coming home from school as a kid, and seeing your house burn down. What are you gonna do? You just turn around and look for some other place to live, I guess. That's how I felt back then when I saw the world premiere of the Enter Sandman video, and in retrospect I feel like a huge douchebag for having put that much thought into Metallica's musical output. I mean, the members of the band sure didn't put that much thought or effort into why did I? I'm not sure...but I was a kid, and music meant the world to me. Kirk had grown a mustache, Jason had shaved the sides of his hair, and James had somehow become a midwestern redneck. I was confused, and chose to look elsewhere for musical entertainment.

These Peel Sessions records all had the same cover. As a result, I was fooled so many times at record stores, I thought I'd found a nice clean copy of the Napalm Death record...only to find it was June Tabor or some other stupid record.

I first heard Napalm Death's Peel Sessions tape in 1989, when I dubbed it from my friends copy. At first, I didn't know what to make of it and seldom listened to it. As the bands I once regarded as being important in my life began to wither away, I turned to that Napalm Death tape for all life's answers. Sadly, all the answers I got from that tape were short, badly produced, and contained lyrical content with the kind of depth you'd expect from a sixth grade writing assignment. Nevertheless, it was a direction...a path. You see, In 1991 Nirvana became the most important thing to lots of people in this country. Since I went to a school that was about 99% latino and black, there were very few white kids around. As a result, most of the student population around me didn't know anything about Nirvana, and were actually more excited about Ice Cube's "Death Certificate" and "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted", as well as the first Cypress Hill album (which in retrospect are all good albums, even if Cypress Hill turned out to be douches in the long run, and Ice Cube turned out to have a softer side.) Still, grunge was somewhat in the air, even in Southwest Miami. Along with grunge, a subtle scent of Metallica could be detected in the air. In case you're wondering, a "subtle scent of Metallica" smells like, allow me to explain. The scent that was detectable had a hint of the greasy smell that naturally comes from Kirk's slightly hairy upper lip. Along with that smell, simply add the stench that comes from Lars' huge, untrimmed pubic bush (see below). That's the smell I'm talking about.

Please note Kirk's maniacal smile and his hand, which magically seems to have disappeared into a strategic place inside his robe. If you are ready to dry-heave, you may look at the not-work-safe version of this picture here.

I think it was around that point in my life, more than likely as a result of Metallica becoming so popular, that I started to have a general kneejerk reaction against ANYTHING that was well known by the masses. Like a jilted lover, Metallica had left me...and I took it out on everyone and everything around me. I had been a bit more understanding of pop culture and music before, but it all stopped around that year. If it was on the radio, it was bad. If it was on TV, it was bad. This kind of childish outlook on the world lasted for about two years, until I began to enjoy other forms of music and I finally began to let things go. Like a bad cold, however, this view of the world kept coming back from time to time throughout my twenties in different iterations. Seeing the world in such a black and white manner is attractive, as it lays things out rather nicely. How sad. It's perhaps for this reason that I find it so amusing to see metal fans and punk rockers in their thirties or forties still hold on to that belief system. Popular is bad, unknown is good. TV is always bad, by the way...but movies are good. Go figure. Hmm. But I'm getting off topic once again. Way off topic.

Why are they wearing sunglasses? If you were one of the people responsible for their awful body of work, wouldn't you also try to hide your identity? This is the group of guys who brought you "The Unforgiven", parts 1, 2 and 3. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I like And Justice For All...but the best Metallica songs are the ones they cover. At best, I think they make a pretty good Misfits cover band.

It was during that time that the infamous Metallica/Guns N Roses/Soundgarden tour came to the Orange Bowl. That poor stadium, I'm sure the Orange Bowl never saw sucking that bad until the 2007 Dolphins season. Even then, I doubt that a 1-15 record could compare to "November Rain" AND "The Unforgiven" being played in one venue, all in one night. Ouch. So, although we thought Metallica pretty much sucked by then (and had always hated Guns N Roses, since we weren't posers), we went to our local Sears, which was located by the Dadeland mall. There, we attempted to buy tickets for the show, since Sears was a Ticketmaster outlet. We wanted to get tickets for my brother and his girlfriend (who owned a cool Testament tshirt), our friend Aaron and me. Quick side story about Aaron, a guy who deserves an entire post on this blog. Aaron was a huge Danzig fan. Oddly enough, Danzig is huge himself these days.

Yum, yum. The baby in Danzig's belly wants some cake!

Aaron was from the Dominican Republic (or was it Puerto Rico?), and was black. He apparently didn't know he was black, and commonly made racist remarks. My brother would often say "hey, that's not cool to say...and you're black by the way!" He would get extremely angry when my brother told him he was black, which he most certainly was. There would be absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind, believe me. Anyway, Aaron was way into Wolverine, and comic books in general. It didn't dawn on me until recently that the character Wolverine is supposed to be very short...and that lots of stupid short guys love him for that reason. Did you know that there are actually some Wolverine fans who are angry that the character is being played by Hugh Jackman who is " too tall"? Even as a short man myself, I get severe douche-chills just thinking about anyone giving a rats ass about this...but many do. So, short dudes like Glenn Danzig and Aaron are big fans of Wolverine because he was short and powerful or something. I hate comic books, so my knowledge about the subject ends there. Aaron had stupid Wolverine sideburns, wore a huge Danzig pendant, and loved the tiny man from New Jersey (no, I'm not talking about fellow MI staffer Mr. Gene Hoglan's Balls.) Perhaps the greatest story about Aaron is that he once came into a class he had with my brother in High School and loudly yelled out the following to my brother, as he entered the room:

"Good news! My mom is letting me relax my hair!"

This of course, was as a result of him not being able to have flowing locks, like his hero Glenn Danzig. Now I must ask on earth do you not realize that you are black when you have to relax your hair in order to have a Danzig-like mane? I know many people identify with their nationality, rather than race (as a Latino I'm well awere of this) but this kid was a trip. I hereby urge my brother to write about our dear friend Aaron.

Where was I? Oh we went to Sears to buy tickets for the Metallica show. By the time we got to the counter, the guy said there was one ticket left. Just one. We didn't get it, and were bummed, while at the same time knowing that we all kinda' hated Metallica by that point. Still, I had never seen Metallica...and thought I should see them once. It's like going to see the grandmother you never knew about in the old folks home. It's a bit of a bummer, you know? We left Sears a bit down, and probably headed over to Y&T records, to drown our miseries away through metal consumerism. I'm sure I bought a Broken Hope cassette, and all was forgotten.

My favorite part about this album is the song "Swamped in Gore", particularly the part that goes "Gore, Gore, Gore, Gore". It's like they took lyric writing lessons from The Exploited or something.

As the months passed, we forgot about the show. More and more posers were listening to Metallica by then, and we figured that not going to the show was the more metal thing to do anyway. Around that time, Headbanger's Ball began to play the video for the Soundgarden song "Jesus Christ Pose", and I was mildly entertained by it. It was no Obituary, but it was certainly better than the Firehouse videos they were playing well into 1992. Shortly before the Metallica/Guns N Roses concert happened, we found out that Soundgarden (the opening band) would be doing an in-store appearance at Y&T Records on the day of the show, and we decided to go. They weren't a favorite band of ours, we actually didn't even own one of their records...but we went anyway. We went to that store about once a week anyway, so it gave us an excuse to go again. On the day of their signing, my brother, his friend Eric and I went. Eric was a very fat guy, who proudly rocked an awful teenage mustache, and had hygiene habits that were questionable at best. My brother was good friend's with him, and he once gave him a handwritten transcription of the full lyrics to Gwar's "Slaughterama" (including all the talking parts). It was like three pages long. He's another character that deserves an entire post. His mustache was thin, thus Kirk-like and gross, and yet his saliva was as thick as Elmer's glue on a cold day. Eric's brother was friends with Malevolent Creation, and had lots of VHS tapes of entire episodes of Headbanger's Ball dating back to when Adam Curry hosted the show. His brother, I should also mention, had this awful pair of sweatpants that was covered in skeletons having sex in different positions. Talk about depressing. By the way, I tried to find a picture of such sweat pants, but was unable to find any. I mean, what should I look for on Google "extremely depressing, awful sweatpants"? I don't even know where to begin.

But back to the story, I apologize for continuously getting sidetracked. I remember waiting in line at the signing, and realizing I had nothing to get signed. The line was short, maybe ten to twenty people or so. Luckily, the label was giving away free promo CDs, so we each took one and got the one you see above signed. Since we were the last people there to get something signed, the guys in the band stood up, and started looking around the record store along with us once they signed our stuff. I remember looking at the death metal vinyl, standing side by side with Chris Cornell. As we were standing there flipping through Revenant records, a store employee told the guys in Soundgarden that they could each pick a shirt from the wall, as a thank you from the store. Still standing next to me, Chris Cornell looked at the wall-o-shirts, trying to make up his mind. He turned to me and asked:

"What do you think, Black Sabbath or Slayer?"

I told him to go with Slayer, and he did. It was a horrible shirt, which had all-over print...that awful trend of oversized screening from the early 90s that thankfully never really took off. It was like an alternate t-shirt format, much like VHS and Beta or Blueray and HD-DVD. The format failed, because Blue Grape Merchandise didn't really get behind it. They were heavily investing in hockey jerseys at the time. At least that's how I remember things. Perhaps Guav can give us more info, since he's our industry insider. Back to the actual shirt though, I always wondered if Chris Cornell wore the shirt that night at the show, in front of a packed stadium. Maybe he did. I remember seeing him about a year later on MTV, wearing what I believed to be this very shirt under a jacket. I would be lying to you if I didn't admit that back then it made my day.

A few years go by, and Soundgarden become huge. I was at the end of my High School education, and I suddenly found the extra copy of the promo CD that my brother and I had. We had each gotten one that day, but only got one signed. Without even thinking about it, I took a Sharpie marker, and copied the signatures from the one we got signed, to the unsigned one. My forging abilities were not great, but good enough. I even took care and used a red Sharpie to duplicate Chris Cornell's signature, (since he signed the real one in red) as though it mattered. I took the CD to school, and told the kids at my lunch table the very story you just read. Upon finishing the story, I brought out the CD, and asked who wanted to buy it. Some kid I barely knew, who was way into Infectious Grooves, bought it from me. I think he paid me about twenty dollars. I hope he enjoyed the hell out of his fake Soundgarden signatures. I know I enjoyed his twenty bucks.