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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Album Review: Railcars

Railcars - Cities vs Submarines
written and performed by aria jalali*
recorded and produced by jamie stewart
engineered by jamie stewart and shaw waters
mastered by thomas dimuzio
album artwork by claudia o'steen (

*(tracks 2 and 4 - some percussion / mandolin: jamie stewart)
*(track 5 - glockenspiel: dasha bulatova)


Railcars is a one-man-band out of San Francisco. I know, I know, you're asking yourself 'why are you reviewing a band from San Fran, dude?' But it's been tough getting out to any shows lately and these guys (err... guy) were was nice enough to send me this 5 song EP with album art and photos and stuff.

Some background for you: These songs were recorded in the kitchen of Jamie Stewart, whom some of you may know from the band Xiu Xiu.

from the liner notes Aria sent me...
"cities vs submarines is a ten minute journey into aria jalali's most vivid, reoccurring dreams. railcars is an attempt to bring the images that have haunted aria's mind to life using drum boxes, synths, and noise pedals with sentiments recreated in lyrical form.

the current four member lineup for railcars' live performances was established by jalali when asked to play some shows with handsome furs in april 2008, however aria jalali mostly perfors railcars sets by himself, with only a laptop, guitar, a few boss loop station pedals, an ipod shuffle, some radio wires, some noise pedals and some broken keyboards."

I gotta respect a guy who does it all himself.

Full Review:
There is Ice; It is Blue
- This song consists of ridiculous amounts of synthesized electronic noise. I'm pretty sure I heard a cell-phone ring tone layered in there somewhere. The singer (if you can call it singing on this track) sounds like an angry drunk trying to convince someone that they are an asshole by yelling and puking at the same time. I liked this track. the louder you play it, the better it sounds.

Saints are Waiting for Me (Outside my door) - this song has a good amount of electric noise, and a driving drum beat. However, I just can't get into it as much as There is Ice. It seems disposable; in fact, it is about 30 seconds longer than There is Ice, yet it seems to be over a minute shorter. I can't put my finger on it, but this song is missing something; like trying to bake a cake when you forgot to throw eggs into the mixing bowl.

Concrete Buildings - The first song with recognizable guitars. This is very Strokes-like, which isn't necessarily good or bad. I guess that is a matter of personal taste. Simple beat behind it, the vocals sound like they are underwater, which is actually kinda cool. The best part is the ending; the song closes with this noise that sounds like some sort of electrical device being shut off. Jesus, that was a vague description. Think of the sound an old camera flash makes when it charges up - then imagine that sound in reverse.

Through the Trees Lay Smokestacks - 48 seconds of eerie coolness. I wish this was longer. It's just so... weird. In fact, I'm gonna play it again right now.

Bohemia is Without a Sea - An upbeat track with perhaps the greatest amount of lyrical content on the whole EP. This might be my favorite song out of the 5. There is a lot of stuff going on but not enough to be considered excessive to the point of detracting from the song.

Capsule review: An interesting listen with some unique ideas. Play it loud when drinking PBR or Heinekin at your scenester friends' house.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

4 Song Review: Your Favorite Assassin

(Official Page)
I first saw Your Favorite Assassin a few years ago at the Billiard Club. Later, I saw them play an opening slot at Cafe Bourbon Street. At the Billiard Club, they played a fine cover of Peaches' "Fuck the Pain Away." I honestly don't remember any of the songs they played at Cafe Bourbon Street, but I remember thinking that they had a more dynamic stage presence there than at the Billiard Club. Their live show is fast paced and pretty exciting. A lot of that has to do with their Frontwoman, known as the DBK. Their Myspace page lists their impressive influences (Notables: Bad Brains, the Dwarves, X, New Bomb Turks, Brainiac). They have a couple singles recorded and 1 full length album and an EP out now, with another full length due out this fall. I recommend checking them out if you can catch a live show.

This song is fast and furious. DBK's vocals are loud and fuzzy (both are good things) and backed by... well I'm not entirely sure, but I'll assume it is Mike the guitarist. Heavy guitars and drums through the whole song. The chorus sees the female lead wailing like a banshee with the male back-up singing behind her. I'm not a fan of that style (it seems too close to Linkin Park rap-rock to me), personally, I would rather just hear the chick scream. Bass is drowned out, which is unfortunate, but you honestly won't miss it. A fast dirty track, I could listen to this a few times in a row. In fact, I just did.

Deeper the Wounds
A slower, acoustic song. Not indicative of their other work. This song is has elements of the aforementioned 'X' in it. Unfortunately, it is kind of generic. The subject matter of the lyrics is nothing new. Everything you know is a lie, everyone you know will betray you, yadda yadda yadda. However, the recording is crisp and clear. I can see this song being a favorite for disaffected teenagers who have yet to come to grips with the fact that life sucks.

Like a Saint
This song reminds me of the glory days of 80's metal. I'm sure my metal purist friends may disagree, but the vocals and breakdowns just have a badass-ness that I can't quite put my finger on. Probably the singing. You don't hear too much actual singing in heavy songs anymore. It's either raspy screaming or dog-fart grunting. The bass is loud and clear, and the guitar compliments the singing. Good stuff. Like if DRI teamed up with Lita Ford.

Blood Oranges
The singing at the beginning of this song is ok, but what really caught me is when her voice got quiet about 20 seconds in. The transition from upper-register to the low, near whisper was very much like Jucifer (who are bad ass btw). This song seems like it was recorded as an experiment in using different vocal effects. FX aside, Blood Oranges shows the range of the singer and along with Like a Saint, really shows how powerful her voice can be.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

4 Song Review: Verner Caliper

Veteran Columbus rockers Verner Caliper seem to be a local enigma; they've been playing together for over 13 years and have yet to produce a full length album. They are also producing some of the most original rock songs that you (yes, YOU) have recently heard. Several of their songs are posted on their website, but to get a true sense of their sound, you must see their live show.


The recorded version of this song found on their site is a few years old. It is charming at times, but tends to drag on a bit. The current version of the song however, is something to behold. This song reminds me of an old steam engine. It starts with a slight jolt and quickly finds its chugging rhythm, pounding steadily down the track. The older version of the song arrives safely at the next station, but in its current incarnation, the train loses control and settles into a barreling rampage. It does eventually reach the station, but the passengers are shaking and the conductor is drunk.


This song is still one of VC's staples even after 10 years. It begins soft and sensitive with a chiming, almost hypnotic guitar riff. The drums and bass join in and soon we are on a march to musical freedom, at least until the chorus rips our heads off. The maturity of this song is impressive, especially having been written in high school.

Cut and Dried

This catchy, fun little ditty will have you tapping a foot and maybe bobbing a head. Its high energy, feel-good rebelliousness, and 2 minute length will leave you wanting more.

In Response

While not technically a "new" song, this song is "newer" in terms of the Verner Caliper timeline. The opening electric riff is accompanied by a twelve string acoustic which combine for a haunting effect. If I had to compare this song to any other band it would probably be Rush, simply because of the complexity of the material, the timing changes, and the chops to pull it off. Songs like this just aren't made very often.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Concert Review: Here Comes Your Weekend Parking Lot Blowout III

Surly Girl Saloon/Goody Boy Parking Lot, June 5 2008
Surly Girl (myspace), (Official Website)
Columbus Music Co-op (Myspace)

Here Comes Your Weekend Parking Lot Blowout is an annual concert/mini-festival sponsored by the Betty's-family restaraunt group, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and the Columbus Music Co-op. It is Free Admission, goes from 3 - Midnight, and had 11 bands play this year.

A great idea, run by great people.

I did have a problem with the concert as the sound up front was pretty terrible. The vocals were coming out of speakers positioned about 10 feet in front of the stage, which means they were behind all the people in front of the stage. What this means in layman's terms is that if you wanted to actually be able to see a band play, you weren't able to hear the vocals.

Here is this years line up, from first to last (with nifty descriptions and links!):
The Kyle Sowashes (link) (another link): too early for me.

Bush League All-Stars (link): I've wanted to see 'em for a while, but didn't get there in time.

Vegetative State (link): They were finishing their last song as I was walking up. I wish I could have seen them, as I like their sense of humor and flashy ways. They describe their sound as "Shitt Christian homocore."

Church of the Red Museum (link): I'll be honest, they weren't as impressive as I had been led to believe. With the exception of the girl with the horn and violin, they were all very trendy and d-baggy. Sorry Tom Butler, but you seem cooler on the radio. Musically, I think there is simply too much going on. They're trying to go in every direction at once. Also, something else that bothered me is that everyone; guitars, bass, horn, violin, drums, electric piano, all played on the same beat. Hmm... maybe I didn't phrase that properly. Every instrument played a note at the same time as every other instrument. There was very little overlapping sound. It might seem like a minor point, but it makes the music sound choppy. Perhaps that was the intention, but I didn't care for it.

Lara Yazvac: Didn't see her as I went to the Surly Girl for some shade and a place to sit. Ms. Yazvac is the singer for the Tough and Lovely. It would have been interesting to see what she did on her own without the rest of the band. You can listen to the Tough and Lovely here, as Lara doesn't seem to have her own web site.

Brainbow (link) (another link): What hasn't already been said about Brainbow by better critics than I? They were incredible, which is pretty neat-o for an instrumental band that looks like Vikings who have been on vacation too long. They sounded great, they held the crowd in the palm of their hands. I really wish I saw them play with Blueprint.

Fly Union (link): This was one of the worst rap groups I've ever seen or heard. Unimaginative, derivative, unoriginal, boring. At one point their DJ simply slid in an M.I.A. CD and hit play. I swear to god I am not making that up. The organizers would have been better off resurrecting the Columbus Mob's carcass and putting them on stage. Columbus Alive should be seriously questioning why they put these guys on their "Bands to Watch" list.

Great Plains: Ron House's newest (actually, oldest) endeavor. Great Plains was House's band before the Slave Apartments, back in the '80s. Before watching (and enjoying) Great Plains play, I hadn't noticed just how much an influence Keith Morris (of Black Flag) had on old Ron. Which is both odd and sad on my part, as I've seen Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments more than a couple times and love early Black Flag. Meh, shit happens I suppose. Anyway, for looking like he's 100 years old, the Old Man still has more fire in his left pinky finger than most front men have in their entire bodies.

El Jesus de Magico (link): El Jesus de Magico... I'm not sure what to say. Darlings of the Columbus music press and, El Jesus de Magico sounds ridiculously good. Although the singing tends to sound like someone yelling unintelligible gibberish. All the members of the band are fun to watch; interestingly enough, the singer/frontman is probably the least fun to watch. Although I did like how he timed his thrashing with the cymbals. Also, i KNOW I've seen the young lady who plays bass somewhere else. Is she in another band?

Times New Viking (link): Ok, I suck. This is one of those bands whom I've been meaning to see for years and just never got around to it. Now they are blowing up and this was their last show in Columbus before going on tour all over the place. Fuck. Oh, and of course I missed seeing them again this time.

Deadsea (link) (another link): I vow, right here right now, that I will see both Times New Viking and Deadsea before I die. And as a side-vow I pledge to be sober enough to remember seeing them!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Concert Review: Fly Union

Surly Girl Saloon's Weekend Parking Lot Blowout III, July 5 2008
Fly Union (myspace)

Recently, a friend of mine asked me why I don't review Columbus Hip Hop. The reason I gave was my unfamiliarity with the scene. At that point, I had not yet heard Fly Union.

My first exposure to Fly Union was at Surly Girl Saloon's 3rd annual Weekend Parking Lot Blowout. My second exposure is listening to their music as I write this.

To be as blunt as possible, Fly Union represents virtually everything I despise about modern Hip Hop. Shout outs, commercialization, uninspiring lyrics and beats, derivative sound, shameless and pointless sampling. the list goes on and on.

Seeing them live, I was less than impressed. They wasted more than half of their 40 minute set by instructing the crowd to "put your hands up," and "When I say fly, you say U." That's actually a pretty conservative estimate. I think I only heard about 5 minutes total of actual rapping. Four guys on stage and NONE of them rap?

Am I at a Mim's show?

At one point towards the end of their set, during yet another call for the crowd to throw their hands up, the DJ played the opening riff from The Clash's "Straight to Hell." I thought, "how many rappers are going to sample this song now? It must be the new 'hot' track to sample." But no, they weren't sampling The Clash, they were sampling M.I.A. In fact, they weren't even sampling, as the DJ simply played the fucking M.I.A. song! As in, he popped in the CD, and hit 'Play'.

Listening to their tracks on Myspace, I'm still not impressed. It seems that all they are trying to do is sound like every other mainstream, commercial rapper on heavy rotation on Mtv or BET. Listen to just one of their songs, and you will be saying to yourself, "Gee, this sounds like [insert lame rapper's name] with [insert lame DJ/producer's name]."

Originality is NOT a bad thing. To me, Fly Union is the rap equivalent of all the lame-ass rock bands that try (and unfortunately succeed) to sound like Chavelle and Jack's Mannequin; a fucking travesty.

I wouldn't mind having someone volunteer to write Hip Hop reviews for me, as I have no time to add more concerts to my calendar. But please God, PLEASE, don't make me listen to this derivative, pointless shit again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Concert Review: Darynyck

Ruby Tuesday, June 26 2008
(Official Website)
Darynyck was playing with the Fancy Lads at Ruby Tuesday. Two bands I haven't previously seen live (but I have wanted to for a while) and a venue I like. So of course, I had to go.

I was sitting on the patio cooling off when my head started bobbing reflexively to some half heard music coming from inside. The sound was very poppy and joyful. I thought it was the Fancy Lads, as I thought they were first up. I went inside, and lo and behold! It was Darynyck pouring forth the joy!

This being the first time I've seen Darynyck live, I wasn't sure what to expect. How could two guys perform the rich tones and sounds I've heard on recordings in a live concert? Ok, the only recordings I've heard have been on their Myspace site and their official band website. And we all (should) know by now how sucky Myspace's compression is, combined with MP3 'quality' sound. But those MP3 Myspace recordings sound good. However, I reviewed 4 of their songs already so back to the show.

The stage lights were bright at Ruby Tuesday. So bright that the band had to ask the people in charge to turn 'em down. From an audience standpoint, one of the things I like about Ruby Tuesday's is that the stage is lit up while the audience area is dark. Think about it, how many other places around town are actually like that? A lit up stage and purposely darkened audience area? no strobes or disco balls? It's like being in a theater.

Like other bands I've seen and liked (foid, for example), Daryn and Nyck exchanged instruments for different parts of the set. This exchange didn't slow the pace of the show or ruin the mood either. That's a pretty good feat to pull off.

At one point, Nyck (I'm pretty sure it was Nyck, if I'm mistaken, I apologize) played a cornet while drumming. Literally. Now, it wasn't like he was blasting out some Louis Armstrong while beating out some Neil Peart drums, but the fact that he kept a beat with the drum AND played a cornet at the same time impressed both me and my date.

Speaking of my date, she was, in her own words, "swooning" for the band. The non-offensive but thoughtful lyrics and happy and rich music, as well as the two dudes' winning stage personalities made them a great band to see live.

After a somewhat stressful and tiring day, a cold beer and some Darynyck was the best possible way to relax.

My only regret was that I had to leave immediately after the last song (Chaotic, one of the songs on the 4 Song Review I wrote earlier) and missed the Fancy Lads (and missed picking up Darynyck's CD too).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Concert Review: Burning Brides, Evil Queens and Micah

Ravari Room, Thursday June 19, 2008

Burning Brides (band site) (Myspace)
Evil Queens (band site) (Myspace)
Micah (Two Cow Garage) (Myspace)

Last thursday, my lovely companion and I strolled on over to the Ravari Room for a little booze and a lot of rock 'n roll. To be perfectly honest, we went there to see the Evil Queens, with whom i've had a musical crush on since I saw them open for High on Fire many years ago at Little Brothers. or did they open for the Melvins? Jesus, I must have been drinking that night.

anyway, I'm familiar with Two Cow Garage's work to some degree, but not familiar with Micah. The following is the story of my first encounter with Micah from Two Cow Garage.


oh yeah, i didn't actually 'encounter' him. I just watched his set. I probably should have been more clear on that.

Seeing a lone guy with an acoustic guitar take the stage always makes me instinctively wince. In fact, I remember precisely the only two times that I didn't cringe when confronted by a lone acoustic guitarist on stage: the first time I saw Derek Deprator (but only the first time) and the couple times I saw Wolfgang Parker's solo act at Andyman's Treehouse.

However, this particular time seeing Micah clamber up the stage at Ravari Room, I immediately felt The Fear overtake my senses. It wasn't until he started singing, that I knew why.

Micah is a wild eyed, wild haired guitarist who likes to make earnest, angsty faces while playing. He's one of those dudes who is SO into what he's singing that his body crumples into itself by the sheer weight of his depressing acoustic rock. His knees together, feet far apart, hunched over with his eyes closed, explaining how a girl who takes her clothes off for money is a product of circumstance.

All of his songs had an everyman (or everywoman) quality that reminded me of John Mellencamp. And that is when I smacked myself in the forehead.

Micah is Columbus' own John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, John Mellencamp, John Whatever-the-fuck-he's calling himself this decade!

Musically or lyrically, there is no discernible difference! The lyrical content of the songs is strikingly similar; rock 'n roll failings, country woes, sad strippers, bad luck, redemption, and generally sad shit.

His banter with his crowd of supporters was by contrast very upbeat and he seemed like a very personable fellow.

Before his last song, he struggled with a handless harmonica set-up and jokingly warned the crowd that the last song might not work as planned. He then said, "This is my last song. I might need some help from my friends."

Impressively, he played guitar and harmonica at the same time, to the amazement of the crowd. The guy in the Confederate Stars and Bars cap was especially impressed. The song started slow and much like the previous songs.

Halfway through the song though, a bunch of dudes jumped on the stage and started plugging guitars and bass into amps and a big guy jumped behind the drum kit. I turned towards my ridiculously hot companion and said, "I think this is about to become awesome."

And it did become awesome.

The song dropped from acoustic tear-in-your-beer douche-baggery to a full scale electric assault. The "friends" Micah mentioned earlier were none other than the Evil Queens! They (along with Micah) played fast and furious and ended the set on a definite high note.

The Evil Queens are hands down my favorite (and therefore the best) hard rock band in the city. Guitar-driven madness, I tells ya. So guitar driven, that a few times I completely forgot about the drummer. Not that he isn't any good, in fact, he's bad-ass too. He has to be, in order to be in such a kick ass outfit.

The Queens played some oldies, but also at least one new song that they never played in Columbus (and perhaps elsewhere) before.

Sorry if I can't go into more detail about their set, I was too busy rockin' out on the floor and drinkin' pints of PBR (hey, I'm poor and PBR is cheap). There were a lot of people at the Ravari Room for a Thursday night, which the Queens' singer made note of at least twice.

The Burning Brides were up next. I've previously seen the Burning Brides at least 4 times, and probably more than that. To be honest, I don't remember much of this particular set. But i'm sure it was pretty much the same as the other ones that I do actually remember, as all of those were pretty much the same.

The dudes rock out, the chick rocks out (why is it that virtually all lone girls in a guy group play bass?), the crowd rocks out, the end.

well, that's it. I suppose it's funny how the meat of this review dealt mostly with the Micah, whom I didn't care for, and very little with the two bands I do actually like.

Until next time, enjoy our Wild America.

Monday, June 23, 2008

4 Song Review: Darynyck

Darynyk (Band web site) (Myspace)

[Disclaimer: I hate to admit this, but these guys might be too good for me to review. Aw hell, i'll try i guess. - TR]

no time
Starts slow with an acoustic guitar and soft, earnest vocals. This song makes me feel sad and introspective. Song slowly builds as electric guitar and bass are introduced. God, I want a beer to weep into. What have I been doing with my life? Daryn and Nyck's vocals complement each other. very nice tune.

thankfully more rocking than "no time." This is a bit more light-hearted and straight-forward. "Oh, you got it." Yeah, you do. Did I hear claps? Dang, I like songs with clapping in 'em. Makes me happy.

Geez, I was unprepared for the word, "Fuck" in this song because I don't recall any swearing in any of the other songs. This is a break-up song. And a damn good one at that. I'm really diggin' the harmonica and the vocals. Actually, I like everything about this song.

people get together
this song is like a mash up of every single 60's everyone-be-happy song ever written. Tambourines and bell-bottoms, sideburns and Lennon sunglasses. A very happy song.

Dang it, I'm not used to having nothing to complain about. Damn you Darynyck! I'm going to go reread my review of Avionix to return myself to a more comfortable pissed-off state.

4 Song Review: The Injured Heads

The Injured Heads
"Down by the river and i feel so good, O-HI-O" This would be a great song to listen to while smoking a pipe and fishing. The chorus is simple and catchy. Acoustic guitar and light drums. The recording could use some work, and the drums sound a little off around 1:30. That aside, it's a nice summer time song.

Crossroads to Nowhere
Heavy electric guitar and drums on this one. Reminds me of early Black Sabbath. Ends abruptly at 1 minute, so I doubt it's even finished. But I suppose that just goes with the title of the song.

Once again, heavy guitars and drums. Unlike "Crossroads," this has vocals. Sabbath-y riffs, with punk drums. Sloppy in places, but I can see myself bangin' my head to it.

Opening percussion reminds me of that 80's song, "Hey Mickey." That is, until the guitar jumps in. Some heavy punk shit here. Mostly instrumental; there are vocals but they are hard to make out. And then the song fades out. Track ends with someone (I think Jimmy Z) saying, "Let's play Ohio." So I'm thinkin' these tracks were all recorded in one take at the same time. which isn't a bad thing.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Concert Review: Avionix

Billiard Club/Pub 161, May 30

"One of these things is not like the other."

that was my first thought watching Avionix headline at the Billiard Club/Pub 161. Visually, Avionix is 3 frat "bro's" and the fat kid they picked on freshman year. The frat kids needed a bassist, so they went to the fat kid promising they would stop making fun of him and get him laid.

Ok, I admit that was pretty mean. But I find it hard not to be mean after the excruciating pain my ears went through listening to their college-top 40-rock crap. If i wanted to listen to the radio, i would have turned on a fucking radio. And then I would immediately turn it off, cause the only music coming out of it is shit.

Just like most bands of this type (guys with a little bit of talent who just want to get laid by groupie sluts), they are more concerned with sounding like someone already famous than finding their own sound. They are all decent musicians, but there is little creativity at all. There is no soul.

My friend from Vegas who was in attendance described them thusly, "It's like Muse without the talent."

Another friend at the show said, "It's one continuous horrible song that never ends." I know for a fact that it wasn't just one long, terrible song because the singer/guitarist kept offering the audience song titles. However, if he hadn't of done that, i would have just thought they were playing the same song over and over again, using different effects pedals at different parts.

For all the unkind words, Avionix does have one thing going for them. They have a built in audience. College-age preppy girls eat this shit up. Anything remotely sounding like a Muse/Chevelle/Maroon 5 cover band is going to be pretty popular in certain places in the city. Avionix will probably be very popular (if they already aren't) in places like CBR's, or any number of campus bars.

oh, one other thing. Bass player, is it really necessary for you to perform a ridiculous amount of arm and leg stretches before you take the stage to just stand there and play a bass? I know you probably thought it made you look tough and edgy, but dude. seriously. You weren't leap-kicking off the drum riser or anything.

In closing, I will paraphrase Wolverine and say that;

Avionix is good at what they do, and what they do ain't nice.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Venue Review: Andyman's Treehouse

so, Andyman and Quinn Fallon (that guy from X-Rated Cowboys who is running the bar EVERY TIME i've ever been to the Treehouse) have decided to sell Andyman's Treehouse. I don't know to who it has been sold, but i DO know that i don't like this news.

If you haven't been (and you should go tonight, tomorrow, saturday and sunday before it changes hands on Monday) Andyman's is named after the CD101 dj who co-owns(ed) the joint. it is called the Treehouse because it has a decent sized tree growing in the center of it. around the tree are benches, for you see, you can sit in the the tree, and watch a band play. or listen to a stand-up comedian. or chat with whoever your with. or drink in solitude.

good beer selection, always friendly bar staff (well, it used to be. i don't know what's going to happen after Monday), comfortable couches, an elvis lamp, only 1 pool table and a coed restroom.

Andyman's Treehouse is (or was) the cat's pajamas.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Song Review: Emocide by Yesterday's Youth

Yesterday's Youth is a hardcore band. sounds pretty simple, huh? there's a little more to it than that. the term "hardcore" in music can mean a lot of things these days. It can mean a bunch of little whiney pussies whining about how their pussies hurt.

OR, it can describe a band of violent, drunken bastards who want to smash, crush, and destroy everything in their path.

Yesterday's Youth is the latter. Their song "Emocide" is about the former.

keep it up guys. we need you.

Yesterday's Youth don't slouch in the touring department either. They are always on the road. check them out on Myspace for songs and tour dates and such. Also, i hear their singer will give you a tattoo.

Song Review: Anthills by Blue Eyed Gunslingers

"Anthills" starts with a great little rockabilly intro. It quickly turns into a Monster Magnet-ish rock jam, and then reverts back into the previous rockabilly awesomeness.

i like knee-slappin' music, and this song delivers that, albeit only temporarily. If the entire song were like that, it would be awesome. unfortunately, i can't stand Monster Magnet.

have at ye.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Venue Review: Billiard Club/Pub 161

The Billiard Club/Pub 161 is one of those places that could be awesome, but for a few annoying reasons, it isn't. It is mostly a hard-rock club and has a Tuesday Night Acoustic Open Mic.

Good points: Lots of pool tables; both coin and hourly.
Servers who take orders from the pool tables. Impressive beer selection compared to a lot of other places. The bartenders are not stuck-up bitches. Lots of tables in the bar section; several booths along two walls. Good P.A. system the last time I was there, but previous visits were not as impressive.

Bad Points: Lots of thugs and wannabe-thugs. This probably has a lot to do with the location. All of the booths are along the walls, which means you can't see the stage (or get only a partial view) if you sit in a booth. The club charges about 2 bucks for both Coke AND water! Rarely is there a large audience, most people come to see their friends play and then leave.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Song Review: Vampire by the Black Canary

the Black Canary

"Vampire" is richly layered, but at the same time not all that complex musically. This isn't an insult, as i think making the arrangements more complicated would have possibly ruined the song.
the vocals are somewhat interesting. Softly sung, but always complimenting the instrumentation.
Mood music, as the title would suggest, but it doesn't sound cliche.

the Black Canary are masters of dark, layered music of varying complexity. Another song of theirs, Mansions, is one of my current favorites.

have at ye.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Concert Review: Verner Caliper

Billiard Club/Pub 161, Friday May 30

I need to take a little time for a small rant:
The Billiard Club charges $1.75 for an 8 ounce cup of pop that comes filled to the top with ice. So in reality, you are paying almost 2 bucks for about 3 ounces of pop. The bartender also said that on weekends, "we only sell bottled water. We have to make money somehow." This was on a Friday night and the place was dead. Perhaps if they didn't charge 2 bucks for a pop or water, more people who show up? Water should be free, and hell, pop should be free too. God, I wished I owned a bar.

My recommendation: If you are the designated driver, or simply don't want to drink alcohol, walk over to Tim Horton's and get a FREE water, or simply bring your own beverage.

On to the review:
I was going to review the entire show, but I had to leave early for various reasons. So I am only reviewing the opener, Verner Caliper.

As a friend from out of town who was at the show said, "they don't sound like anyone!" Which is true. Try as I might, i could not, and can not, label this band. However, since people like to label everything in terms that are familiar to them, I will describe the band in generic genre-terms as "groovy hard rock." This is one of those rare creatures in rock music... a band with an original sound. While their website lists influences ranging from "Radiohead to Rage Against the Machine," you can't really hear the influence of any other band.

Their first three songs were evidently so new that they haven't been named yet, although all three were incredibly tight, groovy hard rock songs. The third song in the set had a couple awkward transitions, but was otherwise tightly played, tightly structured, and an all around great hard rock tune. Unlike the previous two songs, Andy Clark (singer/guitarist) turned his voice into a menacing growl and played a sick quitar solo mid-song.

That's Why is a quick, groovy hard rock song that could be a single if they wanted it to be. It's short enough for the kiddies to not get bored, heavy enough for the dudes and melodic enough for the chicks, and displays just enough technical precision for snobs to like it.

Our Flaws are Logical starts out as another groove induced hard rock song, however, it seemed to go on forever. I found myself zoning out several times and wondering if i was still listening to the same song. It's good, but maybe shave off a minute or two?

The bass player, Andy W, is perhaps one of the most startlingly adept musicians to grace a 4-string that i've seen in the city. He constantly switches styles of play during songs. I just wanted to put this out there because bassists are often overlooked.

I didn't catch the name of the next song, but it started out as a slow, quiet ballad and rapidly progressed into a full-bore hard rock jam. Towards the end was a crazy-fast guitar solo, which immediately dropped the song back down into slow tempo. Very nice, very interesting.

The song Background is on
VC's Myspace page, but the recording on Myspace does not do the song justice. Played live, the song is ridiculous. This, like most of their songs, is simply a technical marvel, but is not inaccessible to those without a critical mind.

The band broke the mood with a strange and delightful southern fried ditty called Scrambled Eggs on a Paper Plate. Hilarious, fun and quick, this was a great song to break the hard rock/metal tension built up from the previous songs. I think it should have come a little earlier in the set though.

Lacking a better place to bring it up, Jimmy the drummer, is simply fun to watch. He doesn't just play his kit, he beats the shit out of it. It's like he hates the drums and is trying to make his drum kit pay for that hatred.

Verner Caliper ended their set with a song called Sick In Sin. Simply put, this was fucking amazing and a brilliant song to end to. It's a longer song (I didn't time it, but i'm guessing 5-6 minutes) but it never gets boring or tired. Towards the end the tempo builds and builds until the song practically crashes. Beautiful.

There was only one sad point that I can make; the Billiard Club was practically empty. Not many people beyond the bands' friends got to hear them. Verner Caliper would probably get a much better reception at a venue like the Ravari Room, opening up for a national or regional act than puttering around in a crappy dive, opening for jock-rock wannabe's who will break up in 6 months.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Venue Review: Skully's Music Diner

For those that care, Skully's is consistently voted, year after year, Columbus' Best Singles Scene. I have personally witnessed many a drunken hook-up at Skully's so I can attest to this.

Good points: There is always at least one band worth listening to on any given night. They usually have at least one free concert per week too. They have 18+ shows all the time. Ladies 80's is a HUGE draw. Coat check in winter. Decent food. Service Industry Night on Tuesdays (Service industry employees pay 1/2 price for drinks). Smoking patios in the front and back.

Bad Points: Only 1 pool table (however, it is located on the balcony, which is awesome), the bartenders can be dicks (or bitches as the case may be). The scenester kids can be either incredibly hilarious or ridiculously annoying. It is impossible to not be accosted by bums if you're standing out front. I recommend using the back patio to smoke, as it is much larger and enclosed by a fence.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Concert Review: As Tall as Lions

Columbus, OH, The Basement, June 12, 2007

Originally posted at

Before the As Tall as Lions concert at the Basement started, I was sitting on the concrete outside the Lifestyles Pavilion. A tall lanky scene-kid walked past me and gave me a funny look. A few minutes later, he walked by me again, but this time he purposely veered towards me just to step over me. He was all but demanding to be noticed, as scene kids always are.

When the Lions got onstage, I realized the tall lanky scene kid was actually the bassist, who metamorphed from a “vintage” t-shirt and jeans into a pretentious vest/slacks combination. But for bands like this, pretentiousness is worn like a badge of honor. Everyone in the band was in a vest and slacks, except the singer who was in a suit. Even their roadies wore matching vests. It was kind of creepy in a very Killers-esque kind of way.

The crowd, which was unfortunately very small, was divided between young, hip scenester dorks and preppy coeds slumming it and pretending to be lesbians of the lipstick variety. There was much dancing of the “nod your head and shuffle your feet” variety, as well as the always hilarious “trying to walk in high heels while drunk” dance. That's one of my favorites to watch.

Musically, the Lions aren’t bad. By that, I mean that they aren’t incredible musicians, but what they play works very well for what they want to do. And that is far better than what a lot of bands can say. What struck me the most about their performance is how clean and precise they sounded. You could tell that these guys not only practice their songs, but they love them as well. On almost every single song, any given band member could be seen singing along with the lyrics. Even their roadies sang along and played air guitar and air drums. It was like being witness to some sort of bizarre, trendy, indie-rock cult.

Although the crowd was very small, the band played to them like they were in a sold out club. The singer is an able frontman who kept the 30 or so audience members in thrall throughout the concert. He even suggested getting the “lesbians” some more drinks to loosen them up.
The aforementioned bassist was very animated; quite possibly the most lively and energetic bass player I’ve ever seen live. His face was constantly contorting into odd grimaces while he jumped aound the stage like a man possessed.

The tunes ranged from cookie-cutter “indie style” (believe me, I hate using that term) soft rock, some fast hard rock, and some sappy ballads. They only played one cover, Gnarls Barkley’s Transformer, which they turned into a slowed down R & B song.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Concert Review: Kings of Leon, 2007

Kings of Leon, Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, June 13, 2007

Originally published at

For one night, the Kings of Leon were the kings of the Newport. They rocked, they rolled, and they played their hearts out. And the sold out crowd loved every single second of it; singing along with every song, clapping with the beat, smiling and laughing throughout the show.

The Kings seem somewhat shy onstage. Very little banter between songs, no excessive showboating by any of the members of the band. The most that Caleb Followill said to the crowd was that this was their last show for this tour, before a two-week break. The rest of their roughly hour and 45 minute set was devoted to the music, and the fans appreciated it greatly.

While the Kings are more famous on the other side of the Atlantic, often hailed by the British music press as “the best band from America in years,” there was no sign at the Newport to make one think they aren’t just as loved here. More than 1200 people packed the venerable concert hall, mostly young, stylish, college folk. Many of the young women wore heels, many of the young men wore girl pants. But all showed their love for the Kings music in the same ways. Singing along with On Call, Molly’s Chambers, California Waiting, The Bucket, among many others.
The outstanding moment of the night happened at the end of the first set, before the encore. Caleb was playing his guitar so fast that his strumming hand was a complete blur. His guitar pick flew out of his hand into the front row of the crowd, however, he never even paused; continuing to play with his thumb for another full minute before the song ended when he smashed the microphone stand down to the stage floor. I couldn't tell if his hand was bleeding, but i have to imagine it was.
If you don’t understand the hubbub surrounding the Kings of Leon; see them live, before they start playing arena’s and stadiums. You’ll come away with a much more profound appreciation of the band. I went to this concert with no sympathy for the band or their music at all, but came away wishing the show hadn't ended.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Venue Review: Ravari Room

To see a metal show, the Ravari Room is the place to do it.

Good Points: Small enough and discriminating enough to bring in real metal and punk acts. Servers with Hounddog's Pizza menu's until Happy Hour is over. The best Happy Hour in town. 3 pool tables. Friendly (with 1 exception) bar staff. Awesome jukebox. Pinball.

Bad Points: Parking can be a pain. One of the bartenders (squirrelly looking dork with glasses) is a complete asshole. But there are several others who are very nice. Restrooms are always nasty. That's about it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Song Review: Idiot Thesis by Parishioners

"Idiot Thesis" is a pretty good tune if you're into '60s flashback psychedelics. Excellent music for a summer's day.

Musically, it is straight-forward psychedelic pop music. Poppy guitar work backed by drums and piano. While the song meanders in parts, it never loses direction.

check out Parishioners on Myspace

Venue Review: Newport Music Hall

The Newport is the oldest continuously running concert venue in the United States. Virtually every big name has played the Newport at one time or another, which is sad because of the state of disrepair the venerable building is in right now.

Promowest doesn't seem to know what to do with the place. On the one hand, they seem to recognize that Columbus needs a venue with 1200 person capacity to attract mid-sized bands and that they can make money out of that need.

On the other hand, Promowest doesn't seem to give a shit about upkeep or their customers. They removed the only drinking fountain, the restrooms haven't been cleaned in years, and they vastly overcharge for water and beer.

the water thing is what really pisses me off though. when i was a teenager, that water fountain was the only thing that kept me alive through many a nights' mosh pit. and those pig-fuckers at Promowest took out the water fountain and force dkids to pay... what is it now? 3 bucks for a bottle of water?!?!

fuck promowest. someone needs to buy out the Newport before those shitheels run it completely into the ground.

Venue Review: Bernie's Bagels and Distillery

Bernie's is the best place in the city to see a punk band. It is truly an underground marvel set about 20 feet below street level. the stage is only 2 inches high to give the bands headroom from the pipes and electrical conduits in the ceiling.

Surprisingly large beer selection, an outdoor patio, cheap cover charges even for national acts.

Bernie's is currently, and has been for quite some time, my favorite place to see a show.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Song Review: White Devil by Unholy Two

Sounds like a broken Public Service announcement in the midst of the final nuclear holocaust. Naked aggression and violent feedback, mask the intention of the song. i say "mask" because like every Unholy Two song, no matter how important the lyrics are to singer Chris Lutzko, they fall on deaf ears to whoever hears them. The distortion and feedback, not only in recordings but in live performances as well, is so overbearing that the lyrics (and for that matter, the vocals altogether) simply don't matter.

I've read elsewhere about Lutzko's hatred for all things and how he's the most evil man in columbus music.

I really don't see it.

While i don't personally know him, I've seen his act live. They didn't do anything bad or say anything that i thought was provocative in the least. Then again, i'm the guy that says God kills children because he wants naked boys running around heaven.

all that being said, i dig this tune, as i dig most songs by Unholy Two. Also, in case you are wondering, they play shows every week, so they are pretty easy to see.

Venue Review: High 5 Bar and Grill

High 5 is like the unfortunate middle kid of the family, with Bernie's being the older brother, and Ravari being the younger sister.

Bernie's gets the good punk bands and real underground shit, Ravari gets the best metal bands and some really good punk acts, and poor High 5 gets the crap that's left over.

Back in the day, before High 5 was bought out and renovated, it was a dark, seamy night club that had a dark seamy atmosphere. Nowadays the entire front wall has been replaced with huge windows, the DJ booth looks like some kind of flying saucer, and the bartenders are some of the biggest assholes in the city.

With the exception of the occasional MC Chris concert, there really is no reason to go to High 5 anymore. Unless you want to be treated rudely by people with lame tattoos who wear pants 3 sizes too small.

they serve food, but i've never ordered anything. the reason for this is because i've looked into the kitchen when the door swung open. no thank you.

all that being said, High 5 always has an exceptional beer selection. which is amusing since 99% of all High 5 patrons drink PBR. you know, PBR, the beer for douche-bag scene kids.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Venue Review: Germain Amphitheater

Even though it no longer exists, Germain Amphitheater has left a legacy in this city.

The very first concert I ever attended was at Germain (then called Polaris Amphitheater). It was a hot and balmy August evening in 1994. Opening was Willie Pheonix, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and headlining was The Cranberries.

My friend Ryan and I stood around trying to find someone to buy us cigarettes (since we were 14 at the time), finally finding a dude who looked to be in his 20's (he was actually 16). But they sold to him because he looked old. Hell, they probably would have sold to us if we had thought to ask.

Germain brought a lot of big names to Columbus and a lot of big festivals. Yeah, the prices of drinks and food sucked, but they do everywhere. But where else could you see Queens of the Stone Age or Dragonforce share a stage with Jane's Addiction or Black Label Society? Or see Rush one night, and N.E.R.D. and The Roots the very next night?

After every concert I attended at Germain, I always said, "That is the last time I'm going to that shit hole." But I always ended up going back.

Germain had problems like bad acoustics, no shade from the sun, and no smoking under the pavilion. But for a lot of people, it provided a lot of good memories.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Venue Review: Rumba Cafe

The Rumba Cafe is a sweet little spot on the corner of Hudson and Summit.

Friendly bartenders, reasonably priced drinks, and a nice atmosphere suitable for fun-drinkery. I don't recommend going to the Rumba to drink your sorrows away. Unless you want to hear whitey-jazz, whitey-reggae, funk, and some rock, while you drown your pain, that is.

The Rumba has a great enclosed patio in the back too. Several covered tables to sit and keep the sun out of your eyes. Lots of plants and greenery and a tiki bar make you feel like your in another country.

The clientele ranges from starving-artist college students to young professionals, to scene-kids, to old men who look like they should be in a smoke-filled blues bar. a lot of hippies and wannabe hippies too.

Oh yeah, and they serve food and have a GREAT happy hour.

Concert Review: Megadeth

Columbus, OH, Nationwide Arena, September 23, 2006

Pyros, concussive devices and over 20 years of experience couldn’t save Megadeth from the one thing they can’t control; their age. Headlining a tour with young and hungry groups like Arch Enemy and Lamb of God, Megadeth looked like the cool uncle that’s nice to visit every now and then, but hang out with him enough and you realize he’s kind of creepy.

It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re pushing 50, you shouldn’t wear leather pants and silk shirts; especially an American band known for its aggression and tough-guy personas. European metal bands don’t even do that anymore. And explosives on stage just signify a band with no confidence in their own performance (see: KISS). It’s simply overcompensating for a lack of showmanship on the musician’s part.

Dave Mustaine can still pull off his growling singing style, and can still (even after nerve damage in his left hand) play a guitar like no one else, but watching Megadeth perform after Opeth and Lamb of God; you can’t help but think that the only reason these guys aren’t playing the State Fair with Styx and REO Speedwagon is because they’re lucky that metal music is once again gaining popularity, keeping Megadeth relevant for another year.

Megadeth played most of their hits, including; Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, and Hanger 18 (with back-up vocals from Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, and Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, among others). Fortunately for everyone in attendance, they avoided anything off of their 1999 album, Risk.

The songs were all technically proficient and the band seemed to be having a lot of fun playing, but there was just something missing. The songs just lacked their edge and their meaning in such a large arena. A more intimate venue would have been much better, such as Promowest Pavilion or dare I say it, the Newport, where the sound would be superior and less open space would make it seemed more crowded and frantic.

The sound quality inside of Nationwide Arena is absolutely atrocious. The best place to sit is directly across from the stage, unfortunately only a few people were lucky enough to be able to sit there. Standing on the floor in front of the stage is a good spot too and gives the best view of the stage, plus the opportunity to mosh. If your ticket puts you on the side, you’re screwed. I recommend sneaking to the far end of the arena, across from the stage.

For fans of the band, the show did not disappoint. It was a competent, if uninspired, showing for the band. For those who’ve never seen Megadeth before; well, you might not have stayed for the whole set.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Concert Review: Hatebreed, Black Dahlia Murder, Napalm Death, and Exodus

Monsters of Mayhem Tour
Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, September 21, 2006

The crowd was mostly younger, as in late teens and early 20’s. For many, it seemed as if this were their first concert. The mob was also small, around 500, and didn’t seem to want to move. However, this changed as the night moved on.

The mighty metal warrior’s known as Exodus opened the show. Even though they were blasting explosive guitar riffs and tearing it up on stage, the younger crowd refused to mosh, dance, or perform any kind of mobility exercise in the pit. New singer Rob Dukes tried his best to get the crowd riled up, but to no avail. A few fans tried to start a mosh pit, and Rob pointed them out to everyone else as being truly hardcore. Older fans throughout the Newport could be seen playing air guitar for the entire set. the band was impressive and tight, but the combination of the younger crowd (who had probably never listened to Exodus) and being the first band of a rather impressive line-up didn’t help them.

The band that coined the term “Grindcore” to describe their music came on second. Napalm Death roared through their set like their namesake roared through Southeast Asian jungles. They played the title track off their first record, “Scum,” a Dead Kennedy’s cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” and a few songs off their newest album, “Smear Campaign.” In between songs, Barney Greenway talked to the crowd in his very polite, very British accent. It was a sharp contrast to his singing voice, which sounds like an angry, hungry, dying tiger about to devour its last meal. The pit got moving for Napalm Death, with arms and legs flying everywhere. A fight even broke out that spilled out onto the floor. Napalm Death delivered an intense show as promised and surely sold a lot of CD’s and T-shirts at the merch booth that night.

The Black Dahlia Murder blazed through their set with few breaks. TBDM played what was hands down the most vicious, hardcore set of the night. “This next song is about fucking people up. You know what to do.” And the animals in the pit did know what to do. They tore each other apart. TBDM’s singer, Trevor Strnad, looks like a bigger, meaner, WAY tougher older brother of Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Chuck Taylor All Stars and geeky glasses aside, Black Dahlia kicked ass. Their set was no nonsense, no prattling to the crowd about war and religion, just straight up metal. They were the first band of the night to get a circle pit going that consisted of more than a dozen people.

Hatebreed, obviously the most popular band present being the headliner, put on a fast paced, smash mouth show. A look at the crowd showed who came to see Hatebreed. As one Napalm Death and Exodus fan said to me, “there’re a lot of Emo kids here.” The band put on a great hardcore show, they almost always do, but their fan base has taken a radical turn. This is attributable to Jamey Jasta’s insistence on making every single song an anthem of some sort. Hatebreed shouldn’t be blamed for this though, as almost every single hardcore band does this now. But it does get tiring hearing, “This next song is about being your own person!” “This song is about not letting people tell you what to do!” “This next song is about getting the respect that you deserve!” “This song is about being the best you can be!” You get the point. The Hardcore scene is turning into an After School Special. Hatebreed played a good show, the band was tight and energetic and gave the crowd their all. The crowd, for their part, was wild. The entire floor was thrashing and moshing.

All around a great show by every band involved. The crowd (which at shows like these are almost as important as the band) left much to be desired, but walked away knowing they got their money's worth.
- Tim Razler

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Festival Review: Ozzfest 2006

Columbus, OH, Germain Amphitheater, July 21, 2006

Ozzfest returned to Columbus with a vengeance with acts such as Atreyu, Black Label Society, Dragonforce, Hatebreed, Disturbed and System of a Down. While heavyweights System of a Down and Disturbed headlined the show, the smaller bands that played throughout the day proved to be Justas entertaining.

Atreyu and Black Label Society closed out the second stage with a bang. Atreyu had an enormous crowd for their set and the band obliged them by spraying the crowd with water to combat the heat. The band had a lot of energy and seemed genuinely happy to be there. In between songs, singer Alex Varkatzas profusely thanked the crowd for braving the heat and made damn well sure that they knew that Black Label Society was next and Dragonforce was playing the main stage.

After Atreyus set, Black Label Society got ready to take the stage. A huge black banner with the bands logo blocked the stage from view as roadies moved equipment behind it. Wylde's chants tore through the crowd. An air raid siren blasted form the stage and a voice challenged the Columbus chapter of the Black Label Society to raise their beers and joints to the sky. The curtain fell revealing Zakk Wylde and his cohorts who proceeded to show the crowd what metal music is all about. They played three songs before Wylde introduced the band. He then played a screeching near-10 minute guitar solo that culminated in a cover of the Star Spangled Banner. He played behind his head, he played with his tongue, he played like a metal god before his loyal subjects. USA chants broke when the solo ended and Zakk raised his drink and said, "God bless the mutha' fuckin' troops!"

Dragonforce took the main stage by storm with a unique style for this year's Ozzfest. It was almost like having a flashback to 1985 complete with guitarists leaping off the drum riser, kicking the air, playing while leaning on each others backs, and best of all a keytar. Yes, you read that right. After their third song, the keyboardist jumped off of his riser, picked up a keytar and jammed on the fourth and last song. A longer set would have been much appreciated, but with some many bands on the bill, someone has to get cut.

Lacuna Coil took the stage after Dragonforce with no introduction and a mild crowd interest. While female vocalist Cristina Scabbia and male vocalist Andrea Ferro offset each other providing a good melody, the timing of the band on the first few songs seemed to be off. The high point of the set was a cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence, which garnered a surprisingly strong crowd response.

"Its not going to get much heavier than this," growled Hatebreeds Jamey Jasta. And he was right. Hatebreed took the stage with a fury that got the pavilion crowd to their feet and mosh pits started out on the lawn. Jasta worked the crowd like a pro and more than likely gained many new converts to his style of hardcore music. Jasta got the crowd to take off their shirts and wave them over their heads like helicopters. Hatebreed played a new song off their newest release, Supremacy, and they dedicated their song, Puritan, to the Black Label Society and everyone else in the "old school."

Avenged Sevenfold took the stage just before Disturbed. As soon as the crowd saw the skull with wings ascend behind the drum kit, everyone went nuts. Most of the crowd was on their feet for the entire set of guitar solos, pounding drums and amusing stage lights. The biggest crowd pleaser was a note-for-note cover of Panteras Walk, to which M. Shadows dedicated to the best fuckin' guitar player who ever played metal, Dimebag Darrell. The last song they played was Bat Country, a song that sounds little like anything else in their set. It was somewhat of a letdown from the more classic-style metal they were previously playing.

Disturbed didn't need an introduction, as the entire crowd knew they were coming. More than a few fans could be heard yelling that Disturbed should have headlined the show. The entire crowd was standing for their entire set. After the first song, singer David Draiman, with a theatrical flare, introduced the members of the band. Two songs later, he then asked the amphitheater guests to hold up their lighters; before the sun had even gone down. Disturbed played all of their numerous hits in a solid by the numbers set.

System of a Down never ceases to amaze, and Ozzfest was no exception. Concentrating mostly on their last two albums, Mesmerize and Hypnotize, System did not disappoint. Classics like Chop Suey! proved to be great sing-alongs. In fact, most of Systems set had the crowd singing along. Mini mosh pits broke out throughout the amphitheater for almost every song.

While disappointing that Ozzy Osbourne himself wasn't present, Ozzfest is proof positive that metal and heavy music are making a comeback in today's popular culture that is dominated by hip-hop and pop punk acts. The entire show was entertaining and had something for most people, weather its body painting, glow in the dark thongs, marijuana leaf leis, or just people-watching; Ozzfest delivered.

- Tim Razler

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Interview: Mike Justian of Unearth

So what sets III: In the Eyes of Fire apart from your previous albums?
What sets it apart from our previous records is that it is a more band-oriented experience, it was a collaboration. Everybody in the band, not just a couple guys writing the bulk of the material. Everybody coming in later to orchestrate it all. It was just a raw… the word organic has been thrown around a lot for this record but it’s true it is a more organic, stripped down process where we recorded the album live and did some overdubs and a few little tricks here and there but for the most part it is a real, true record. That and I think it is a more abrasive record. The sound and the songs in general are faster and more aggressive.

What was it like making the album with Terry Date? Was it any different than using a different producer?
Of course, with different producers come different areas of expertise. Different approaches, you know you have some guys who focus on the performance and the tones. You have other guys who rework your material and pull out their tools and fix any of the problems the band has with writing music. For us, we all felt relatively confident with our scheme of writing; we didn’t need any one dictating to us what was right and what was wrong. Terry was instrumental in helping us extract good performances that were still believable and didn’t sound like they had Pro Tools all over it. And he’s just a really relaxed guy, really easy guy to work with.

III: In the Eyes of Fire performed pretty well on the Billboard charts reaching #35 based more on word of mouth than radio airplay. Since all styles of metal are gaining or regaining popularity again, why do you think rock radio is so slow to start playing what people are actually listening too?
I think that the radio is still obsessed with the instant gratification appeal of music. They want their pop stars and they want them now, regardless of what credibility they have. Metal and more agitated music, there is a certain degree of credibility because it starts with people having their ears to the soil and it goes from there. As opposed to being some big grandeurous cloud in the sky that just kind of dissipates after a while. I think heavy music will always have its place and its status, I mean, Slayer won a Grammy last night, that’s fantastic. Whether it will get all the press and radio play it deserves is yet to be determined. I think as long as it stays true to itself then it doesn’t really matter whether it’s going to get played on the radio. There is a market out there and legitimate fans for legitimate music. That means more to me than getting played on some syndicated radio program or some conglomerate.

The video for Giles was one of Headbangers Ball’s Best of 2006. What was it like making a video? I’ve always pictured it being kind of irritating.
It was especially irritating for me cause I had possibly the worst hangover any human being can possibly conceive of. It was to the degree that I apparently passed out three stories up on the ledge; the balcony. Woke up the next day feeling like someone was punching me in the side of the head over and over again. Suffice to say, the video for me was not a terribly enjoyable experience. But working with Darren Doane was a tremendously enjoyable experience cause he’s such a cool guy. He’s really focused and knows exactly what he wants to achieve and is really efficient. We spent the day doing that video, and it was us in a big studio in Burbank California. It was just us playing the song, except that we weren’t actually playing the song. It was us really performing and putting our hearts into it. We did it for 12 hours.

Unearth has had a long association with Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, who produced The Oncoming Storm and The Stings of Conscience. Is there a real sense of camaraderie with bands coming out of Boston?
Yeah. A lot of really talented outfits come out of Boston, and I don’t really know why it is the Mecca or the breeding ground that it is. There are a lot of talented people there, and rightfully so; there are a lot of talented people everywhere. It just so happens that a lot of the more noteworthy bands are from the Boston or Greater Boston area.

Are there any rivalries, friendly or otherwise between bands in the scene?
Always. There is always a friendly competition with other bands. I’m not afraid to say that. Everyone wants to see everybody succeed because we’re all ultimately… we all have the same common interests and the same goals. But sometimes, by having the same goals and common interests, situations were there is one at the top, you’re the one who wants to be there.

Do you think that competition makes the music better?
Well yeah, I think that it is a healthy thing to have a symbiotic relationship with your peers and other bands and musicians. That propels you to get better and grow and develop. If there is no competition there is no reason to continue to grow.

Who are your favorite bands today?
Neurosis will always be a big favorite of mine. For heavy music, the new Planes Mistaken for Stars is one of my top five. Nothing against the bands that we’ve played with, but I don’t really listen to most of the bands we’ve toured with. And I’d like to play with more of the bands that we don’t tour with.

Who do you think is the best drummer in the world today?
Best drummer in the world? I mean, there’s billions of drummers; trillions of drummers. There is probably drummers in other galaxy’s. Jon Theodore, he was with The Mars Volta for a while; one of the best contemporary rock drummers around. You have, I can’t think of the cats’ name, the drummer from Hella (Zach Hill), is just a retarded drummer. I think he is literally from another planet. Then you have guys like Abe Cunningham; just true monsters. But I can’t even begin to speculate who the best drummer is. How about not me. How about that?

What do you think about Winger reuniting with the original line-up?
I really couldn’t care less. Rod Morgenstein, there’s a good drummer. Kip, you know, maybe he should stick to ballet and composing.

What interests do you have outside of music?
Outside of music; playing, composing, listening to it… I don’t know, playing with my dog. Yeah, you know, copious amounts of binge drinking extravaganzas, which I’m trying to ween off of.

Why are drummers always the first to leave a band?
Because I think that drummers are the most adaptable. There’s fewer good drummers than anything else, so there is always a demand for great drumming. And because drummers are so adaptable they are constantly looking to expand and play with other musicians and other outfits. From a purely ego standpoint, drummers are probably the first to leave bands because they are the last to receive any real credit.

Since the murder of Dimebag Darrel, have you noticed any changes in the security practices at concerts and has security or a lack of it ever been a problem at any of your shows?
Very few times is it just right. Very seldom do you come across a situation at a venue where it’s adequate security without being overwhelming. It’s either no security, or too much security. Very few times is it solid in between.

How did you feel the first time you had your own tour bus?
Uh… I felt drunk despite the fact that I was completely sober. It was exciting; I was ecstatic. That’s a huge mile marker in the success of any band. It doesn’t have to be, but for me it was. One of the reasons why I play this obviously is not just because of the sheer fact that I want to play music, but I want to make a living out of it; I want to be able to sustain myself doing it. And like, being in a situation where you can afford something that’s as astronomically expensive as a tour bus, lends itself to the notion that you are doing well financially.

What do you think of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force “bomb scare” a few weeks ago? Do you think they overreacted?
I’m not even going to dignify that. I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.

What was your first concert?
My first concert was two Boston bands and one band from Maryland who is actually still around and doing really, really well. Salem Black Church, Boston Treat, and Clutch. I was… 12? And I’m 27 now. Great band, and that’s another great drummer; Jean-Paul (Gaster of Clutch). Really underrated drummer.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve been
My most memorable concert would be Neurosis. Neurosis is… it’s religious. It’s like a religious enlightment. Unlike anything you’ve ever seen ever before.

If you could kick the shit out of any drummer in the world, who would it be?
Like, literally? Or musically?

Well I was going literally, but musically will work too.
Uh… I don’t know. Maybe Dustin (Schoenhofer) from Walls of Jericho. Kidding! Kidding. They call him the ‘Knockout Kid’ pretty much take your head off with one punch. I don’t know, [laughs] guitar players who play drums, how about that? Any guitar player, and guitarist that thinks he’s a drummer; I’ll fight that dude with both hands tied behind my back.

That’s actually been happening a lot lately.
Eh, well, what can you do. Besides fight him with your arms tied behind your back.

Which do you think is better, Boston Clam Chowder or New England?
… Wait; hold on, Boston clam chowder or New England? There’s a difference?
[Woman on the bus] Isn’t one red and one white?
That’s Manhattan, that’s like Manhattan clam chowder; that’s red. Boston or New England, there’s no better chowder in the world; I’ll put it that way. Seven Presidential Inaugurations cannot be wrong!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Interview: Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil

[This interview took place on Lacuna Coil's tourbus. Jason Pearlman, the photographer who got me this interview, was with me. No other members of Lacuna Coil were visible, but their tour manager, a stern and muscular irishman (if I remember correctly) glowered at us while eating a Wendy's cheeseburger with a knife and fork. Cristina walked up from the back of the bus wearing baggy pajamas and no make up, leading me to the obvious conclusion that she just woke up. Regardless of being woken up by an angry emerald islander just to be pestered by two dorks three hours before taking stage at the Newport, Cristina was, not to sound like I'm 85... completely charming and wonderful to speak with. -Tim 11/13] 

I heard rumors that the only television you watch when in the U.S. is the Food Network.It's not the only one, but is definitely one of my favorites, yes. I have a few favorite channels. I love, for example, Cartoon Network when it turns into [Adult Swim] as well. Food Network is... I'm food addicted. I love to eat. I love to cook. And I like to watch all the programs because American food culture is completely different from the Italian one. Sometimes I look at it just to steal some tricks or sometimes I look at it to laugh at it, you know, when they show some Italian, some Italian recipes and they are completely wrong. Sometimes I laugh at it, but it's always good. But Food Network is not the only thing I watch.
What are your favorite shows?On Food Network?
On anything.On anything? Ah, in the U.S. you mean or just in general? Cause it depends. I'm not like T.V. addicted. I use it as a background in a way, when I'm doing something else at home. But it depends; cartoons, movies, reality shows.
[I could tell she was bored with this line of questioning, so I switched to something else] 
You have an advice column in Revolver with Vinnie Paul. What do you give advice on? Is it all musical, or...No, no, no. They are sometimes musical. Sometimes, most of the time they are asking how did I start the band. Most of the time the people that write me they are really young so they are just starting a band so they want to know how did I start it, how I met my partners in the band because they have no idea how it works. So I share my experience with them. Or they ask me sentimental advices, you know, like they may have problems with their friends, boyfriends, whatever it is. I just give the woman perspective. When I started, I had no idea what it was going, what I was going to meet, with the letters, especially because the Vinnie Paul page is very, very masculine. [laughs] So I think it is cool to have on the same page a woman's perspective, so you can have both sides.
What is the bands' process for writing songs?It depends. Most of the time we are starting from an idea, a riff, a melody. We build the music first and then add vocal lines and lyrics. Of course there are some songs that started from vocal line an idea. We're working all together and we're just working for the song so it doesn't really matter where the idea is coming from. We're not like, ego-freak.
Being on tour constantly for months at a time with the same group of people, do you get on each other's nerves?Sometimes yes. I think that is pretty much normal because you spend 24 hours a day together. There is no privacy. The only privacy you get is in your own bunk, so I think it's pretty normal that we fight sometimes, like in a regular family. You can have discussions, but they are always for the good, we love each other to death, we know each other so well. We know perfectly when it's the case to let somebody, on his own, chill out for a bit.
[Looking back, I should have asked a follow up to this question] Your vocal range is very impressive. Did you have any training?No, I wasn't trained at all.
Have you ever met any of your musical idols?Well I believe so, yeah. Basically in the music industry, we meet so many icons in metal from Iron Maiden to Slayer to Whitesnake [laughs]. We've met so many bands and toured with so many we love. Type O Negative and Anthrax and Rob Zombie, P.O.D., System of a Down, Disturbed, Slipknot. We met so many artists in ten years.
You were on tour with Danzig recently...Yes, we did a tour with him right before the In Flames tour.
He's pretty notorious for having a very abrasive personality.A what?
Um... he's famous for being an asshole.Seriously, from my opinion and I've met him twice. I'm talking about the tour we did now and the Blackest of the Black we did with him a few years ago. He's always been nice with us and been really kind. So from my point of view, it's a lie. But then, it's really easy for certain people to categorize, get a certain opinion of someone from one look. Maybe one day you're sick or tired and have your own problems and you're kind of grumpy. And someone sees that perspective and says, "Gee that's an asshole. He doesn't like to hang out. He doesn't like to talk." But that doesn't mean they're like that all the time. Maybe they just want their privacy. Can you imagine being a person like him being chased for years from the fans? I think it comes to the point where you just want to relax, be on your tour bus, to rest your voice, especially, because you know it's not easy, especially for a singer. And I'm saying that because I'm the one who would love to hang out every night, but I simply can't. Because if I start talking the day after I will be fucked up.
How do you keep your energy up between shows? Tomorrow you're playing in Chicago right?Well first I try to sleep a lot. I drink a lot of tea. There is a special tea that is good for the voice. Now I'm trying to warm up before every show, because this is something I wasn't really doing in the past. Not that I'm warming up now, but at least for a few minutes I try to. And then it's the passion that keeps you going. Cause we love what we do, even when you are tired, like, one minute before you go on stage, you just need to hear the scream from the crowd. That wakes you up in a second.
Italy isn't really well known for producing lots of metal bands. Do you see yourself and your band as being inspirational to...Of course yes. You always need a point to start from. And assuming as you say that there isn't a rock n roll/metal history coming from Italy: we are the first export band. The first band that made something out of Italy, so a lot of new bands are looking at us as an example to follow and they see that we made it so they have much more hope than before, they can think 'they made it, they started it, so we can follow them.' Basically I think we are a big inspiration for a lot of newcomers from Italy cause now they know that they can do it as well. And a lot of labels are getting more and more interested in Italian bands, because before they had no idea that there was a little bit of potential.
Why do you think that is?I just think that there was no history. So due to the fact that there was not rock n roll, metal music on the charts, not a lot of people was following this music so it was pretty natural for any bands playing something different that could, maybe, give them more success in music, no matter what. I believe it is due to that, cause there are a lot of bands that are really good.
How did you come to the decision to cover Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence?Basically we wanted, in Karmacode, to include a song that everybody could know and everybody could sing along to at the shows. So it was not meant to be a single, but people released it as a single. But we knew that it wasn't the most original song to cover, simply for the fact that it is so famous and a lot of other bands have covered it. But we just liked it and as soon as we started to practice the song in the practice room we found out that it was really similar to the Lacuna Coil style. So I mean it was perfect and picked it up, but we had other songs we that we tried, but they weren't fitting that well.
Is it difficult being away from your friends and family?Of course. I think it is difficult for everyone but it's a choice. There is a balancing between the two, because of course I love my family, my friends, my partners to death, but at the same time I love my job as well. I've been able to find a balancing of the two on tour. So I stay in touch with them on the Internet and the phone. When I see them it is the best thing in the world. It is still my job; it is the thing is chose to do.
How does it make you feel being the object of lust for millions of teenage boys?[laughs] It makes me laugh because as you can see me now, I'm not walking in high heels, I'm not... you know. To be honest, what I'm really happy about and really proud about is not to be the object of lust for the guys who have this kind of imagery about me. But what makes me really proud is that I get a lot of mails from young girls, and young guys as well, who are looking at me as a role model. Because they just see me as a person who has been able to improve herself and to give the best out of herself. Because I'm not perfect, I'm not a model. I know that you can be sexy in different ways, not just in cliché ways that you can see in Playboy and stuff. There is something special in the natural beauty of a normal person and I'm glad that people following us, following the art, just discovering that and they can be more sure of themselves, thanks to what I do and what they see about me, so that makes me really proud.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Interview: Paul Allender (Cradle of Filth)

Cradle of Filth- Paul Allender

Originally posted at

How’s the tour going?
Good, it’s going very well. We played in Mexico a couple days, over a couple days, which was really amazing.

How about some history first; how old were you when you decided that being a musician is what you wanted to do?
Oh, I dunno. I must have been, what, twenty? Twenty, twenty-one. I mean I started playing guitar when I was 14, but I was twenty when I started wanting to do it properly.

Do you remember what your first guitar was?
Yes I do. As a guitar, it was the biggest piece of shit going.

Sounds like my first guitar.
Well, you got to start somewhere.

When you left Cradle of Filth in 1996, you founded The Blood Divine. What made you leave that band and return to Cradle?
Blood Divine pretty much had run its course. When we wrote the first album, it was amazing, ya know. For the second album, with just the guitars and drums on there it was absolute fucking blinding. But we started having organ all over it, and I hate having organ. Big time. And then the singer, Darren, well his vocals were fine on the first album, but on the second album, he tried to sing normally and he couldn’t sing. So, I was like, you’ve ruined the fuckin' second album by having organ and clean vocals. That’s not what it’s about. And I left and started a band called Primary Slave. I was about to sign a contract with Primary Slave, which is like some Fear Factory/Strapping Young Lad-type stuff. Then Dani (Filth of Cradle of Filth) phones me up and asks, ‘Do you wanna come back to the band?’ So I spent three or four months actually thinking about it and then sat down and had a meeting with him about it and everything seemed to be alright. So I’ve been in the band now, seven years is it?

Is there any single overall reason why there are so many line-up changes in Cradle?
Um, yeah. People just can’t handle the workload. Both myself and Dani, we really believe in, ‘This is the end. This is your one chance you get.’ And its full on 24/7 working your fingers to the bone. And if people are in the band with us, they have to do the things that we do. Cause we’re not going to carry people. And that’s why a lot of people drop out. They can’t handle it.

Have you heard of the video game, Guitar Hero?
Funny you should say that, I actually haven’t. But last week I was in NAMM and they had it there and some kid was playing it. But I’ve never actually been on it. Why, is it any good?

Well, I’ve played it, and it’s incredibly addictive. It’s, well it’s horrible. It’s kind of bad because there’s been a small uproar with guitarists over this game because it makes playing guitar seem a lot easier than it actually is.

Cradle of Filth has pretty much been at the forefront of the resurgence of the popularity of metal in the States of the past few years. Like VH1 has been doing a lot of metal programming and the cartoon show Metalocalypse has also been fueling metals’ popularity again. Why do you think metal is making such a comeback? At least in the U.S.?
I really don’t know, I’m just sick and tired of all this Emo shite, ya know? The industry puts together all these bands ya know? And it’s weird because first of all it was like, boy bands; then it was industry-based bands put together and they’re as bad as the bloody boy bands. So I think they’ve gotten sick and tired of it and want people who can actually play. Or not actually play, but can write their own songs and are in an actual band, with mates, for a long, long time, and not put together just to make some money. It’s cool though; I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a long time.

How did you hook up with Dani and the rest of the band?
Originally I was in, ah, I got a band together, a really bad, bad band together when I first started playing. We played our first gig in a club in my hometown, and Dani, Paul (Ryan) and Ben (Ryan) came along to watch us. And pretty much after our first gig, Paul comes up to talk to us, blah, blah, blah, this that and the other, just kinda talking. And he asked, ‘Do you want to join our band?’ [laughs] And that’s pretty much how it happened.

How do you keep your energy up on tour?
To be fair, it is tiring. But at the end of the day, you just got to try and look after yourself. But, if you’ve done it for a really long time, you kinda get used to it. Because we just got off a six-week European tour. We basically had four weeks off? Three weeks off? Something like that, before we came back out here again. So we didn’t really have time to get out of the touring frame of mind. So, we’re… we’re pretty much used to it.

What passions outside of music do you have?
I do a lot of artwork, I’ve got a thing called Vomitorium where I show my pictures. I do that… I teach martial arts. That’s pretty much it really. Martial arts and artwork are my interests outside the band.

Any particular style of martial arts?
Yeah, it’s called Yoseikan it’s an open form of karate.

Who do you think would win in a fight, GWAR or Mayhem?
[laughs] I dunno, I’d say it was GWAR if they got their costumes on, when you hit them it wouldn’t hurt cause of all the padding.

And GWAR out numbers them…
Yeah, there’s like 12 people in the band isn’t there?

On Midian, and after Midian, the band took a more melodic turn, and some fans, die-hard fans, of Cradle’s earlier work didn’t take that too kindly. Do you think those people are too stubborn to evolve with the band?
Yeah, and I never mind them as well. If you’re into a band, you’re really into a band, like what they’ve done, you’d be into them regardless of what they’ve done; what happens. That’s one thing I really hate about this industry. It’s the fact that there’s lots of these tunnel-vision people, and it’s like if a band looks a particular way they have to sound like this. Or if a band starts off playing one particular style that they carry on like that regardless whether the bands career suffers for it or not. As a band, and other musicians would agree with me, if you’re in a band, then you really like music. Therefore, as you get older, if you still want to carry on doing the band as a job, the music has to evolve. If we had stayed the same band as we were seven years ago or five years ago, I don’t think we’d be around now. Cause if we kept turning out the same stuff; fans would just get bored. At least it keeps people interested and on their toes cause we change it; every album that comes out is completely different.

On the new album, Thornography, you’ve previously said that you aren’t comfortable calling yourself a lead guitarist…

But there is quite a few solo’s on this album; what made you decide to write more towards soloing?
Well, the previous Cradle stuff didn’t really have room for it, ya know? And I don’t believe in putting solo’s down for the hell of it. You know they have to be structured properly and therefore, cause this album, the way this album came out; as far as I’m concerned a metal album definitely needs solo’s on it. So we consciously thought to put solo’s on the album, and so lets write the rhythm parts structurally so they fit properly. And it turned out really well. Plus it lets me practice my shredding [laughs]

What prompted the move from Sony to Roadrunner?
When we signed with Sony, what happened was when it actually came to promoting the album, they didn’t have a clear idea. And the band started going slowly downhill. Because they just sat on it doing nothing. They didn’t know how to work it. So when the second album came around, we told them, we have the option; we don’t want to sign with you. Because, like, you don’t know what to do and if we stay with you there isn’t going to be a band left. So they let us go, and Roadrunner had been waiting to sign us. Which was cool. I mean, Roadrunner has been trying to sign us for, God, at least ten years.

Some of your fans that knew I was going to interview you wanted me to ask you some questions. Sarah Jezebel Deva; she’s been on virtually every Cradle of Filth album but she’s never been recognized as a full band member. Why is that?
I don’t know. She does other stuff. I suppose, there is no particular reason, it’s just stayed like that. It’s nothing to do with us, really. Just the way it’s turned out, ya know? She’s got other bands and stuff, so I think she’s got more… she’s busy with that. You don’t have to be a feel member to play with us, ya know?

Who are your musical heroes?
Judas Priest. I’m still into the Defending the Faith album. It’s fuckin’ amazing. As far as I’m concerned K.K. Downing is the best on the planet.

Do you have any other influences other than Judas Priest?
Oh, the fast stuff, early Megadeth, Metallica, ya know. Especially the stuff in the 80’s when I was growing up as a kid, listening to it. When all the good albums were out [laughs]

Where do you see Cradle of Filth in five years? Or yourself in five years?
Still doing what we’re doing basically, but getting the band bigger. I’ll still be writing music, still be making artwork. I’ve just had my guitar released, my signature series. So I’m going around promoting that.

Were you at NAMM with your guitar?
Yeah, it was good. I went up there with my signature series guitar, which comes out in March for sale at shops. So yeah, it was really cool. I’ve actually got to play there next year. Didn’t this year, but I will next year. I’m working on some stuff, some originals of some heavy metal type stuff to play at the next PRS party. Which will be good because they’ve never really had that sort of stuff there, but now I’m endorsed by them and have my own guitar. So I’ll join them onstage and play some… that’ll be fun [laughs]

Do you see Cradle of Filth as someday being as big as say, the Rolling Stones?
Ha, ha, no. [laughs]

Do you think you guys will go on for that long?
Hopefully go on for that long, but I can’t see us getting that big. Because we’re in a really good market, but it’s like a niche market. Even though we’re on top of it, it’s still small compared to the whole music industry. And whereas the Stones, they’ve completely covered the whole thing. The whole fucking industry. We’re like Kings of one particular section. But yeah, I hope it’s going to get bigger. Hope it gets a lot bigger. We’ll still work at it hard to get it bigger and take it as far as we can possibly take it. So that’s what we plan to do. But who knows? If we get as big as the Rolling Stones, that’d be fucking brilliant! [laughs] Heavy metal to the masses.