Welcome. It didn't die. Despite a lack of critical reviews or indeed, anything else, it's back. It's not bigger, it's not bolder and it's not better than ever. But welcome to 'zine- the revenge'. It's undergone a temporary name change to Y.A.Z, which of course means Yet Another Zine, cos it is, and cos I can't think of anything better. This time round there's well, same as last time really, a bunch of interviews (though with different bands), gig, album and demo reviews, and me giving me unwanted opinion on whatever I decide to give my unwanted opinion on. Oh, and some more piccies were I can nick them, but there's still more to READ in here than to LOOK at. So as ever, pull up a chair, kick back, relax and enjoy. And again, if you think it's bollocks and can do better, then do a zine yourself. There's plenty of good stuff out there, and if's fun to discover. If you like it, get in touch and let me know, and then photocopy it and give it to a friend, hell give it to 2.
Interviews & features.Scratching Post.
3D House of Beef / Scarabeus
Human Waste Project.
Far Tour Journal
Missed it first time around
Venting the Spleen.
Human Waste Project will release Powerstrip as a single on 8 December, followed by the release of E-Lux in February next year, at which time, they'll probably return to tour again.
Vocalist Heath has left Stampin Ground due to personal differences, dunno when, but maybe that's why they didn't do the Voivod gig.
Tura Satana may well return to these shores in February, possibly with Snot in tow.
Voivod are working on a double live CD set which will feature some added goodies. More details next ish, along, hopefully, with an interview
Sometimes you have everything planned out in your mind, you know exactly what you want to happen, and what is going to happen. That was me, going to see Human Waste Project on their first UK gig, opening for Tura Satana. I've been listening to the album for about 6-8 months, love it, have so many questions in my mind. And then the true reflection of my skill at this sort of thing sets in. The band do the gig, which was awesome, and I'm allowed on the bus to do the interview, and suddenly it's like duhhhh. 27 and acting like a teenage idiot. I'd hoped that I was a vaguely sensible person, but faced with a band whose music has been played on my stereo, in my car, in work, more than any other this year, I think I was just grinning like an idiot. Trying to look intelligent. I make no bones about this being objective. This band are one of my favourites at the moment. They deserve to be huge, I'm just glad I've been lucky enough to be in on the trip from a relatively early point. It's always so much fun if you find a band that means something to you early on.
I mean, when was the last time I actually took something to be autographed. When I interviewed Gorilla in the first issue and asked them to sign all the Gorilla and Beyond stuff, but before that. When Perry Farrell signed all my Janes Addiction CDs after the gig in Bristol way back when. But this time I took the CD inlay, got a signed flier. Y'know, silly fan like stuff. It's weird, but that's what this band means to me.
But anyway, instead of it all being so well structured, me asking those incisive questions about the band, the album, music and life in general, it turned into, well, a more general chat really. And my tape recorder was set on too low, so some of the more difficult to hear bits turn out to be the most interesting bits which I didn't previously know about. Bugger. And the tape doesn't tell me that it's finished, it just sits there with it's light on. Double bugger. Say a prayer for the tape recorder, because it doesn't have one. Anyway, excuses over. As a result of my ineptitude, this, as I said, is going to be more of the informal chat than the incisive, cutting edge journalism I'd intended. Maybe it's better that way. Whatever.
But first, the gig. Human Waste Project's first ever in the UK, and believe me, it isn't going to be the last. Coming on to the intro tape, the band open up immediately with one of the real aces in their pack. Powerstrip. Aimee is wearing a face mask, which tends to make her look like someone out of Kiss, but we won't hold that against her. As an opener, it's pretty much as powerful as they come, and probably helps in terms of winning over a lot of people instantly. We're Human Waste Project ... and we're not from here says Aimee pacing nervously round the stage in circles.
The band then progress to whip through a choice selection of material from the album E-Lux, Drowned, One Night In Spain, Shine, Exit Wound (introduced as a song for lovers, by fuckers) Dog (where Aimee messed up I reckon by singing the second verse first), and Drugstore. Requests for This Town are met be a tantalising few words, before Aimee says that we can't do it without Jonathon. I'll do it goes up the cry from somewhere. This is going to get difficult grins Aimee.
As the set progresses, more and more people are gradually being sucked into the HWP spell, by the end, they enticed a pretty good response out of the crowd and won over a host of new friends, something evident by the amount of posters and leaflets that the band end up signing afterwards. Someone mentioned later on the bus, that it was the best opening act reception he'd seen a band get at Rio's.
Disease ends things, with Aimee asking if there is any girl or boy that you really hate, and dedicating the song to them. Are we only allowed to choose one person though. Before the band finishes, Aimee announces that they will be back soon with Coal Chamber. Like I said, the first of many, and this band is going to be huge in this country. Catch them NOW.
After the gig, I'm allowed onto the bus to try and do this interview lark. Nervously I wander in to where 3/4 of the band are sat, only drummer Scott is missing, apparently getting ratarsed. Marshmallow comes the offer, as a bag of them is handed around. Much to Aimees anguish. It seems she loves them, but is trying to avoid them at the moment. So this is what a tour bus is like then, magazines, videos, just like most places really I guess. After introducing myself and being treated to a hug from Aimee as a result of something said. I mention that I was told to do that, she grins, she knows. But I'm too shy for all that, even just walking into sit down and chat is making me nervous. Still, they're all extremely friendly and intelligent people, which is always nice, even if I don't always return the compliment to people. And yes, get it over with, Aimee is very attractive and grabs your attention, but Jeff is friendly and articulate and shares the spotlight with Aimee.
Ok, that's my major ego massage over with.
I start to try and think what the hell it was I was going to ask. I bet I find most of this doesn't come out in the morning I offer. Bastard, why do I curse myself like that. Still, I manage to get Aimee to sign the cd, therefore completing the set.
I start on what I think is safe ground. So this is your first time in the UK right?
"For the band yeah, Mike's been over a few times before though". After explaining that I'm Welsh not English, that there is a difference, more than just dialect, I correct Mike that Sean Connery is Scottish, not Welsh. Mind you, some bands have referred to Wales as being in England. They'll learn some day . Later on Amiee says that some of the accents that she's heard so far are strange, and that we speak faster and you have to listen harder. Wait till she hears a Geordie accent :)
So, after expecting to maybe do the interview before the gig, I now have to change some of the questions, given that some partial answers were given at the gig. So, instead of how are you looking forward to the gig, it was, how do you think the gig went?
"Good", is Aimee's reply. "We were a bit nervous, not really knowing what to expect, and a bit tired from the jet lag, but it seemed to go well. A few mistakes, but you know. What did you think?"
Of course me being me, I manage to stay totally unbiased. Excellent, really good. God I like it when I'm articulate.
Jeff goes on to explain a bit about the tour. "Tura Satana and Tairrie are old friends, and when they offered us the chance of the tour, well, they're a pretty big deal over here, and being friends it's an ideal opportunity."
So have you been corrupted yet? I ask Aimee in reference to her saying in Kerrang! recently that Tairrie had promised to corrupt her on the tour. "Not yet" shelaughs. But there again, it is only the first night.
Which it is, and on the nights evidence, the band are going to grasp the opportunity firmly. But the only thing missing from this is the album. I explain that I've been fortunate enough to own a copy in one form or another, since March, and ask what all the delays were, and if it's been frustrating.
The look from Aimee is enough to answer the question, But she explains. "There was change within the label, there was a new president, and a lot of bands got dropped. But they wanted to keep us, it just meant that the album had to be be delayed, financial and political stuff. So it's put us a bit behind, and we were like in limbo for a while, but in the long run it should be ok."
However, the album isn't officially available in the UK yet, though if you look well enough you can find it. Wouldn't the tour have been an ideal time to release it here?
Again the looks seems to explain it all., but Jeff explains, "We weren't originally going to press for a release date over here, because we didn't expect anything. But then the label were basically telling us there was such a repsonse to us, and they basically sent a request. So, like I said, with the Tura thing coming up we decided to do it.""It was a real surprise, we didn't think anyone would've have heard over here, but there seemed to be a big response, partly due to people like you doing this sort of thing, and finding out and spreading the world"
In fairness, I was told about the band by other people, who then filled me in on the information, and supplied me with the demo and advances of the album. So, how about the Coal Chamber tour. Tonight you said you'd be doing it. I'd been told before that you would, then you were going to be touring the states with Snot instead, so is this definite?
"Yeah", says Aimee. "We were originally going to tour with Snot in the states, but what we're doing is after this tour, going home, doing 3 weeks with Snot, then coming back to do the Coal Chamber tour." "It's a case of raising the profile, and leaving a memory in people's minds, so that it's there when the album comes out, rather than do just these dates, then leave it" continues Jeff.
And Powerstrip is going to be released as a single.
"Yeah, that's right. She Gives that was on the demo, is going to be on there as well" says Aimee. Mike seems particularly pleased with the inclusion of Electra, as it shows another side of Human Waste Project.
I'd been wondering what happened with that song, as I thought it should've been on the album as well.
"Well, there's 14 songs on there, and another one would've been pushing it a bit far" reckons Jeff. "We wanted 13, but then we came up with Graverobbers from Mars, which was done in one take, on the spur of the moment, with Ross and Chuck (which is what is being said at the start, it's Aimee and Ross going "Chuck Chuck Chuck") and which we wanted to put on as track 00, but you can't do that, so it had to go as track 1 and we had 14 tracks.". Aimee then relates the tale of that song, and how she ended up singing it through an electric fan! Unfortunately, bits of it are difficult to make out on the tape, and I'm not going to try and tell the tale incorrectly. Still, I'm sure you'll read about it soon enough in all those "professional" magazines.
Anyway, I guess this accounts for why the advance tape had the tracks Spokejam and Catfish down, which disappeared on the tracklisting from the eventual album.
"Yeah, they have basically been tagged on to the songs" says Jeff. Amiee then tells Jeff how when Spain is played on the radio, it now has the little effects part at the beginning of the song. "Including the dropped microphone?" asks Jeff, before Aimee goes on to explain that it's actually an effect that was placed on the track. So everyone learns something new.
This Town was the first time I ever heard HWP about 12-15 months ago. And I still love that song. So I was initially going to ask if they play it live. Course, as I've just seen them live, I think I know the answer. So I ask if they will only play it with Jon as Aimee kind of indicated during the gig?
"I think probably we should relearn it and do it" says Aimee, more to Jeff and Mike more than anything, before they start talking musitalk, y'know, keys, major or minor doobries, scales and that sort of thing. Which hopefully means I'll hear it at some stage on the tour. I'm not overly convinced they want to, but they figure that it's something that people will know.
Amiee is feeling hungry, and the marshmallows are about to be removed. I suggest that as they're in Bradford, there is only one food that can be eaten. Curry. "We had one last night" says Mike, "there's a lot of places round here for them". You're not kidding.
While I sit thinking of what it was I meant to ask
next, talk turns to the reformed Black Sabbath. Jeff says he'd
love to see them, but they're not going to be able to, and asks
whether Bill Ward is playing, as he seems to be omitted from the
poster. Later on, talk once more gets round to reunions, and especially
the Janes Addiction reunion. Aimee particularly appears to be
a fan, which is a relief as I thought that I heard a Janes influence
in E-Lux. So when I mention that I'm not sure about them doing
it with Flea on bass, I'm kind of put in my place, but in a reassuring
manner . "I saw them twice recently" explains
Aimee, "and it was incredible. But Flea played it completely
straight, no fooling around, so there's nothing to worry about
there. The first time was this really intimate gig, and an amazing
party afterwards, it was just one of the best nights."
Some people know how to make you jealous. A fact heightened when
she mentions having seen The God Machine play with Cop Shoot Cop,
"I'm really pleased I got to see The God Machine"
as we reflect over their tragic demise. Still, I've heard the
Sophia CD which Aimee hasn't, so at least I get some points back.
Jeff also asks if I've seen Neurosis, and goes on about how he'd
love one of the air raid sirens like Benji from Dub War uses,
"to use in the background of a song, as that droning noise".
But there was the interview right, so in my spare time, I've remembered to ask about how the recording went for the album, and some of the tales that went on.
It was really good, went really well they reckon.
And there were a few events going on, was there a fire or something?
"Well, not actually at the studio itself, but in the surrounding areas, about 6 acres around it. And then there was a lunar eclipse, I saw a meteor crash, and Jeff nearly got killed. That one's not really been told yet" she says.
So what happened.
"Well, there's this hike that we used to take nearly every day, down this ridge. It's really beautiful, the air everything y'know. Jeff didn't go much, but the one time that he went, he fell down it."
"Luckily I landed perfectly in the dirt," says Jeff, "but getting back up the ridge was terrible". "It's like this" Aimee indicates a sheer face with her hand, "but it's such a beautiful place." A discussion then took place between Aimee and Jeff over the bassist exercise rituals, or lack of it, "yeah, click click" Aimee imitates changing the TV with a remote as being Jeffs sole form of exercise.
They also explain how they started recording on a Friday 13th, finished mastering on Halloween, and the date that they signed has 666 in it. 16/6/96. So your run of the mill recording then.
Aimee laughs, "well I just think of it as us having paid our dues to the Gods y'know."
So with the album having taken so long to come out, like I said, I've been lucky enough to be listening to it for a while now, and as much as I like it, I find myself now wanting to hear new stuff. Is it like that for you.
"Well yeah, we were talking about this only the other day. For us, it's like a year old, and we'd like to do some new stuff." "We basically don't intend going into the studio for about 1 1/2 years" says Aimee, "but we're going to start writing some new stuff soon."
Struggling to remember the next point I wanted to ask, it's time to turn to those cheesy but ever reliable questions, so which singers inspire you?
The list starts rattling off, and throughout the course of my time, more names are suddenly thrown in. "Perry Farrell, Siouxsie, Robert Smith, Sade, Chino, Max Cavelera" are amongst the names uttered by Aimee. I also threw in an obligatory, are there any that you hate? The answers shall remain anonymous.
The other week, Kerrang! described Human Waste Project as being "a cross between White Zombie and Tura Satana, while looking like No Doubt on a cheap day return trip from Hell." I wonder what the band thought of that description.
"Do you believe that" says Aimee with a look of disbelief. "Do you think we do? I mean, no offence to those guys, you know, Tura are great friends and whatever, but I don't really think we're a cross of those bands. And those pictures they used..." she shakes her head. "One day they'll use a picture which actually looks like me" "When they come up with a way of saying Iron Maiden are like The Spice Girls, then maybe I'll understand it" Jeff shakes his head.
Which is a relief to me, because I thought I'd been listening to and seen pictures of a different band.
"But the live review they did of us in the same issue was fantastic" says Aimee. "And we're really grateful that Kerrang! appears to be getting behind us and some other bands. We spoke to the guy who did the live review, and he said that he did that other article as well, and it was ..." a look of disbelief crosses her face again.
Once more, my interview technique is starting to let me down, so talk just tends to happen. Aimee spots the Far t-shirt I'm (proudly) wearing. Ah, safer territory.
"Far, man. They are so good" She says. I explain that it's from the recent Deftones / Far tour, and that the first issue of this here zine had an interview with them and System of a Down amongst others, and this current issue will be featuring Jonah's tour diary.
"Tricky as well, Tool and Seal" Jeff pipes in as well on the influences front "Misfits, The Clash, Skinny Puppy, Public Enemy, Bauhaus"
"See, I'd say we're closer to sounding like Far, and rather be compared with them than this White Zombie, No Doubt on a return trip from Hell thing." They're obviously a bit disturbed by the comparison. Kerrang! will apparently be hooking up with the band in a day or so. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of that. But while we're on the subject of great new bands, we talk about System of a Down as well.
"They're so cool, like Slayer in a way, but without the Dungeons and Dragons lyrics""Yeah, their sound is much more updated" Jeff continues, "and they're such sweet guys, really mellow" She says. Jeff asks what the Kerrang! description of them was.
"They're so funny, and really great live. Serj is funny and his laugh (she then does an impression), and they're so intense live. Their Armenian, and so are a lot of their crowd at the gigs, and when they stage dive, they don't just do the normal dive, they do a little dance before they dive", which Aimee proceeds to demonstrate, minus the actual dive. What was that I was saying about being Jealous of some of the bands she's seen. Grrrr.
While we're at it then, what about the Korn connection in terms of in the UK, everything seems to be pushed down either the Korn road, the Marilyn Manson road, or a British band, The Wildhearts road. And HWP are lumped in with the Korn thing, which is immediately going to turn some people off. Is that a potential problem.
"Oh and Iggy Pop" adds Aimee, "We could probably go on for days". So I think we'll call a halt there. Lets say they seem to be influenced by lots of diverse artists.
But back to that Korn connection. "I really don't mind the connection. It's like we've had similar in the States, and with some of the hardcore bands we've toured with. We're not hardcore, and I'm not knocking it, we have some intense moments, heavy moments, but also more mellow parts as well, but when we toured with these bands and played to their crowds, it was maybe the same. But after a while, I really think that people start listening to us for what we are, and that they begin to understand. If they listen, they'll hear the difference, like you said with the Jane's Addiction influence. So I'm not really to worried about it. I see what you mean, but I think people will come round to who we are."
I hope so, though I'm not overly convinced. I think in Britain, as the way things are pushed, some people will see the Korn connection and immediately avoid it. But they'd be the losers.
What about the name. I mean, surely it's only going to be a matter of time before some clever person rights to a magazine and making certain associations with it.
"Yeah, probably, but it doesn't really matter about the name of the band, it's more about the music than a name associated. I mean, maybe someone is going to link excrement, and we did think of that in the first place. But the meaning behind the name is more a reflection and observation, and we decided to stick with it." Jeff then goes on to explain further the meaning behind it, but as he said at the end, "if you look at Aimee's mom's web page, you'll find what it's all about there". So rather than bore you with that, I will merely encourage you to stop by there.
It's around about now that some other people join us on the bus, others that have done some interviews I believe, and also maybe some people working for the record company. Conversation fragments off in all directions. I sit smugly in the knowledge that the recorder is capturing it all, except it's not is it and its about to run out. Git.
So as a result, I can't tell you the bass setup that Jeff uses. Or the name of the Punk band that Jeff used to play in (or shout as he put it, not so much play).
Or the changes to the set list that they are planning to make tonight. Aimee was unhappy, with it. I remember for a fact that she said, "I don't know why we played this setlist, but I know we're not playing it again", before going on to explain how they intend to rearrange it. I think Slide may make a return. I'll know tomorrow night I guess. I may even get pushy and try and ask some of the questions which now of course, I remember that I wanted to ask. And clear up some of the bits that I can't quite make out off the tape. If they'll talk to me that is.
Anyway, back to where we were. Tairrie enters the bus armed with a video camera (hide me) looking for some films to watch. So it turns out that Jeff in particular likes The Young Ones, especially the one where Motorhead play. Tarrietells about how one girl whose birthday it was and who knew all the lyrics wanted to kiss her. So Aimee tells how one girl said to her that she wants to be like her when she grows up. And how the couple of girls interviewing her earlier were so sweet, especially wearing HWP necklaces, and when she learns that the interview is apparently for a dedicated HWP zine. Neat. And then it's time to leave before they go the other direction towards Scotland. Aimee is still looking for food. The marshmallows are hidden. Which is where we came in.
Well, I was speaking to Jeff after the Nottingham gig a few days later, and asked him some of the questions I'd meant to ask before. This wasn't recorded, but this is pretty much what was said.
So why was the name of the album changed from Electralux to E-Lux.
Basically because the company Eletrolux (note the difference in spelling) where threatening action because of the name. We'd been considering changing the name Human Waste Project to Electralux, but when that came up, we decided to stick with Human Waste Project and Aimee came up with the name E-Lux.
And so did that have any effect in the delay of the album getting released.
No not at all, that was all down to label, politics money etc. Which is what was explained earlier in the interview.
Have you actually recorded a video for Powerstrip or anything on the album.
Not yet no. Powerstrip might make a good one, or Spain or Drowned. I'm not overly keen on videos, (he goes on to explain a bit, but I can't remember the exact words), but we have a friend (whose name I've now forgotten, but I think it was Josh) whose getting into video, so we may get him to help out. Basically, we're on a small budget, and unless you have a lot of money to spend, a lot of videos aren't very good.
I also asked about "the hat Aimee wears during the Depeche Mode cover" which Serj from System of a Down said about. Jeff explained, but I'll leave you to find out for yourself when the band get more time onstage and are able to include the song in the set. And you may also hear something for during the Coal Chamber tour if what Jeff said is anything to go by. Gulp.
So there you have it, one UK tour down, the rest of the world to go. And still I have so many questions. Guess I'll just have to wait until the return visit with Coal Chamber in December.
Scratching Post hail from Canada. A 4 piece playing music that obviously has a "metal" edge to it, but with enough pop sensibilities to appeal to those whose interests do not allow them to be seen to listen to "metal". If you manage to get hold of a copy of Flamethrower, give it a listen, it's good. This interview took place with Nicole some time in the recent past..
Q: Besides yourself, who else is in the band:
A: Mark Holman: guitar
Jeff Depew: drums
Phil Zeller: bass
Nicole Hughes: vocals, guitar
Q: And how long have you been together:
A: Scratching Post has been together for over 5 years now although not with this particular line-up. We've had about a million member changes with me (Nicole) being the only original member at this point. The current line-up has been together for about a year and a half.
Q: How would you describe the sort of music you play:
A: Well, it's definitely a mixture of pop and metal but when you describe it like that people think Skid Row or Bon Jovi or something. It's hard to explain. I guess the songs are pop-flavoured because of the vocal melodies but the music is metal.
Q: How many albums/eps have you done:
A: We released a 7 song CD in November '95 and our full length album "Flamethrower" was released in March '96. We're working on new songs for our second proper album right now.
Q: I believe you're getting ready to record a new album. How's that going:
A: Like I said, we've been working on the new songs. We're a little confused about what the plan actually is at this point though. Since we were signed to a major and then dropped within 6 months, it's all a little confusing. We re-recorded a heavier version of "Flamethrower" for The Enclave but now that they have folded we're not sure what we're going to do with it. We still may try and get another label to release it. Or, we might just put in on a shelf and forget about it. But, at this point, we are looking towards album #2.
Q: What are your influences:
A: I'll tell you what my influences are since the rest of the band has totally different influences: On the metal side I'm into Voivod, Sepultura, Life of Agony etc. On the rock side I'm into Boston, Styx, Journey, Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Scorpions etc. On the pop side I'm into Weezer, Juliana Hatfield, Seaweed, Rocket from the Crypt etc.
Q: Is it easy for a band to try and break out of Canada:
A: Yes, I think it is really easy. We live in Toronto so that means we're really close to a bunch of major U.S cities--they're all within a 12 hour drive. It's really easy to get U.S exposure that way. Outside of North America I guess it depends on the record label you're on and how well they do at promoting your music in other countries. So far, we haven't had anything released outside of North America.
Q: You've recently been recording at the same studio as Voivod. How did that go:
A: It was great!!! It was the best 2 month-long party!! Michel, Piggy and Eric are all really amazing people. We were recording the new version of "Flamethrower" for the Enclave and they were recording their new album "Phobos". We all became friends really quickly and both bands actually helped each other out a lot. Michel played the gong on our record!! It was great to be in the studio with a band like Voivod because they are such amazing musicians--totally inspiring. We just played 3 shows with Voivod--warm up gigs for their European tour. The shows went really well. I have never seen a band more amazing than Voivod in my life. They are absolutely the tightest and heaviest band I have ever seen. Again, it was totally inspiring.
Q: And finally, has to be asked. Spice Girls. Good or bad:
A:I think they're amazing!!! I actually own the record and a t-shirt (I didn't buy them--it's just that the Enclave was distributed through Virgin in Canada so we got lots of free stuff from Virgin). We listened to it in the studio with Voivod and I'm not going to name any names but I wasn't the only one who didn't despise it!!
If you want to contact the band, the easiest
way is by sending an e-mail to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org Ok, so
get used to the fact that people use e-mail.
This is a tour journal put together by Jonah, the vocalist in Far. It's his thoughts on the tour they recently did with the Deftones. Although it's pretty long, I've used it because I think it's better written than anything I can do, makes for interesting reading and the reflections of someone's first time in Europe etc. And of course, because Far are a great band. Jonah sent the posts out, and has given me permission to use them for this. So cheers to the man for that. I've not tampered with it, any mistakes are as they were, it makes it so much nicer.
10/04/97, on the plane to London
Made it through the LA madhouse. What a kooky, crushed-up two days. I'm not sure if it's the romance of the trip, or the fact that I haven't made a trip of any significant length in while, but I felt pretty overwhelmed preparing for this one. I got a bit of sleep, but it doesn't feel like I've stopped. Ironically, I still feel clumsy and dull writing this. Add to the stress a flabby writing muscle and this is what you get, I suppose. A photo shoot we did went well, oddly enough it was a pretty serene experience. It helped having the photographer be someone we know and who knows and enjoys our music. Our show at the Troubadour was really emotional for me. We started out with 'Love, American Style', and I'm still a bit uncomfortable beginning with such and aggressive blast. The adrenaline felt good initially, just to release after all the planning this and that
Oh, Batman and Robin as the in-flight movie! On a plane, even more than the drive-in, the worse the movie, the better.
Oh, and it was. But sort of perfect. I've met a nice older couple that's giving me tips on London. Hawkins. I've been recommended St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey. As for the other places in England, they have no ideas. They refer to Wolverhampton as a 'big city', which is strange, it sounds so rural to me. I'm excited to discover, to get slain the face of my ignorance. Hmm, that was going to be 'slap in', but typos are neat sometimes. Anyway, the show started strong and brash, but somewhere near the middle I started feeling hollow. I hadn't broken the jitters, just smothered them in energy. It wasn't the best time to go searching for inspiration, and the first time such an emptiness has happened on stage in a while, but I settled, just sat in that strange disconnect, and let it go where it went. I talked about what came into my head, which was seeing Eddie Vedder on that Troubadour stage so long ago, going through something that must have been near where I was. He triumphed wonderfully. We played 'Waiting For Sunday' and I was patient. We were supposed to play 'Boring Life' afterwards, and I wasn't ready for the raveup, so I begged Shaun for 'Girl'. He agreed begrudgingly. It's kind of cute, he always does. It felt great to play it, all odd and slow. My voice finally came to me a bit. Not that it was horrible before, technically it was okay, just not quite there. And that was the road back to something real. 'Boring Life' was an utter mess, but maybe it was the last wretch of stuck. I looked out during 'In The Aisle' and someone was smiling such a big smile at me. I went to the van and sat with a friend for a bit, then came back and settled in to the mayhem, a lot more comfortable than I'd been since arriving. Maybe I was just getting ready to go. I was, I know that.
10/06/97, Wolverhampton, 5:50am
Couldn't sleep. Need to remember those gloves Dana gave me, my hands are freezing as I type. I'm on the roof of our hotel, waiting for the sunrise. I'm listening to 'All Go Down' off of the Godmoney soundtrack. I'm so undyingly happy that I created something that can give such a feeling to me. I have Radiohead, I have Miles Davis, I have Cocteau Twins, and I choose a song that Chris and I wrote. And it's beautiful. The wind cuts in, it's hard to see the keys as I peck. I'm really glad I woke up, that I just got up and did this. Wolverhampton is -- Is someone here? I'm a little scared. I think it's just the building waking up. The water heaters maybe. Clicks and low rumbles and the metal catwalk under my feet start to vibrate. It's spooky up here alone. I was lying in bed, sleeping and awake, (click, shake), stomach still sour. I whispered to Chris, but he was either asleep or more committed to getting there than me.
There is no one up here in the dark with me. That's scary too. There is a flag flying in the dawn, and it's not America's. It's another place. Wolverhampton looks like any city at 6am. Bleary glowing, waking up. There's nothing unique, but I have to remember to get up at 6am more. It's gorgeous and cool loneliness. I think I'll get down off this roof before someone locks the window I climbed out of. I think I'll walk, and put away this computer and it's neato little CD player. I'll leave the headphones on to keep me a bit warmer.
7am I'm on a bus now, a big double-decker! It feels neat up here. I'm riding to Dudley Station, only to turn around there and come back. Just a fun way to ride around, stay warm. The people I was asking when I was researching the adventure seemed a bit bemused, but that's all right. The streets here are tiny. The sky is finally bruising, turning a gorgeous purple. I hope I see the sunrise. Maybe I'll get back in time to head up to my perch on the hotel roof. I bought a phone card, seemed a decent rate. I can't wait to call you, Hannah.
Oh, Radiohead... So glorious. Driving through England dawn listening to Radiohead. Circling on bus lines, jostling my computer. I need to find a working phone converter and send all the stuff off. 'Uptight' as purple to gray, and the phrase 'English contryside' becomes real.
I think a couple is arguing a few seats up. I heard a voice, raised above the music. But maybe not. 'Exit Music' plays and reminds me of the sadness there is here. Maybe no more than America, but different. There was a Car Rental company called 'National Breakdown', and the 'Yield' signs say 'Give Way'. I even think of Elton John singing about Princess Di, something about a Country lost without her. It seemed romantic, but pathetic too. Maybe it was like Kennedy dying or something. Was it? And what was that like? 'Transport, motorways and tram lines, starting and then stopping, taking off and landing, the emptiest of feelings, disappointed people, clinging on to..." Can't understand the rest, but I feel like I'm in Asbury Park listening to Springsteen.
I believe it's in the Rock Rule book that you need to start the diary for the first show of the tour with a Spinal Tap-ism. Who am I to question Nigel Tufnel? Especially when the show is in ENGLAND. Luckily, the show was free of Spinal Tap mishap, but complete with all the good rockin'. It was a big, beautiful room. We were received really well; new songs, old songs, fast, slow, they went right with our moods. The barrier was pretty far from the stage, but I went and sang to them a bit, it was nice. During the last song they pulled me up into the audience and someone relieved me of my shirt sleeve (and then asked me to sign it later. Really.) I felt better when Chino lost his shoes during the Deftones' set. It wasn't violent out there, though, just crazy and playful. When we played a fast song, they wouldn't mosh and kill each other, they'd just hop madly, it was great. I wish American audiences would take note. After the show, they were just as nice. I gotta say it, I love hearing so many people say 'cheers!' It's just so cheery. Wow, I must be in a good mood, making a joke that dumb.
All in all, a great first night.
I met some really nice kids and had a pub meal with them. We traded pronunciations; I taught them to say 'Adidas' correctly, they taught me to say 'Palin' (as in Michael Palin, the Monty Python genius). Real cultural exchange : ) It was really nice just to spend the afternoon and talk about music, really. Now we drive to Glasgow.
On to Glasgow
Manchester, England, 10/08/97
"Manchester, England, England/across the Atlantic sea/and I'm a genius, genius/I believe in God/and I believe that God believes in Claude/That's me" - Hair
Remember that old hippie movie/play? Great stuff, and that song is still in my head.
We're three days in now, up in our little phone room in Manchester. We had good water pressure this morning, so I'm doing well. Rainy and pretty cold, but romantic cos it's England : ) We're playing at a University tonight, so there are students everywhere, which is way better than spending the day with roadies. I'm not staying on schedule and walking around as much as I'd like, but I'm still getting in neat stuff. Went to the Glasgow University yesterday and checked out a museum there with an amazing reproduction of a house that belonged to Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He designed all the rooms, from furniture to wallpaper to light-fixtures to fireplaces, and it was incredible. Tiny holes in the wall filled with colored glass that matched the fabric of the chairs. I don't know much about Mackintosh, he was recommended by a friend, but his architecture and design are amazing. One neat thing; some of his art was hanging in the house, and it bore a remarkable resemblance to the style of Gustav Klimt. Turns out they were great friends. I felt like such a scholar (which I'm definitely NOT). Anyway, check his art/design out if you ever get the chance, it's great.
The show in Glasgow last night was the classic Far show. The people wanted to ROCK, I'm sure they were ready for the newest 'LA Metal' band (a big catch-phrase in the rock mags over here, forget that the 'Tones are from SACTO) to pump them up. So we open in our delicate Far way, with 'Waiting For Sunday', and throw people for a huge loop. And it just gets more confounding from there. We rip in to 'In The Aisle, Yelling' and everyone goes nuts, then a few songs later we get to 'Man Overboard' and people sway and wonder... Then, just as the metalheads are completely exasperated and starting to throw things, we kill them with 'Love, American Style' and 'Punchdrunk'. The gig itself feels lukewarm, but then tons of people come up after the show and gush about how much they loved it and how much they weren't expecting a band like us and they GET IT and it's good. It's weird, I know that if we came out and said all the lines and did all the moves and never let up, we'd have a more instantaneous thing, but I love that it takes a bit for people to sink in. All the music I love is like that, so I'm happy that we're turning out that way too. For all the Coal Chamber fans that we may never have (and good riddance), we'll have that many people that love us for at least reaching.
The club was gorgeous; huge parachute-type things on the high ceilings that rippled with the air that we moved, ornamental stairwells, a nice attention to aesthetic that lots of mid-sized American venues lack. They turned it into a dance club when the show was over, that was funny. It was a neat curiosity, but it quickly became clear that the difference between Sports bars in the States and Sports bars over here is.... Well, nothing. The music was HORRIBLE. One song that really stood out featured a helium-voiced lass emoting this deep sentiment: "it's okay if you don't love me, cos I don't care / we can make love / and I don't care". Over and over and over again. I think it was sort of the Brit take on Alanis or whomever, marketing female sexual 'liberation' shamelessly. And of course, all the girls were singing right along, looking like a Virginia Slims ad (we've come a long way, baby).
A mildly humorous anecdote in the 'wow, maybe the Brits really are depressed' category: I was inquiring about what was considered a good-luck charm over here. A few people at the store were tossing out the average rabbit's foot, 4-leaf clover thing, and one older man said, "well, I guess we don't consider ourselves that lucky a Country really". Oh, Um. okay. Pass the prozac.
Really, though, everyone I've met has been super-nice, save a couple of drunk girls that laughed at me for having my laptop out in a late-night restaurant. But then, people do that in America too : ) I'm looking forward to the show tonight. More confusion, more good conversation resulting from it.
Love from London!
Another great night. Another REALLY great night. I'm on the bus, heading to Nottingham, in a beautiful mood. We're listening to Brad, Shawn Smith is a beautiful singer. I got two cool Radiohead singles today that I would have paid a bundle for in the US, and a U2 single that has a song on it that's better than anything on the record. More nice music for the road. We're starting the tradition of playing a song called 'Bron-yr-Aur' before we go on. It's a beautiful acoustic instrumental off of 'Physical Graffiti', it sets a wonderful mood. The show is starting to feel more and more like a nice ritual. Just before we went on tonight, we stood for a bit, in a little huddle, just being quiet while 'Bron-yr-Aur' played. It was a good moment of serenity. We played at the London Astoria tonight. There were more than 2,000 people there. It was like playing the Warfield. Funny that we're playing a place that big over here first. I don't regret it or anything, it's just the way it happened. We're going to a castle tomorrow, it's the one Robin Hood invaded. And, built into the side of the hill near the castle is the oldest pub in England. It's from somewhere around 1175 according to our tour manager. The story goes that the soldiers would go to this pub and have one last pint of lager before going off to the Middle East to die in the crusades. Yikes. Today started hard. I'm going to bed and waking up way too late, and I was in no shape for London today. Got a little walk around and visited some record shops, I'm hoping to snag a bit more proper culture when we're here on the last day. Still in all, a dream of an experience. Chris and I are talking about how many of our childhood dreams we're actually living. Lots more to do, but it's nice to sit back and just be thankful and proud.
What a Beautiful Night.
It's strange, how things can just be going along, and suddenly things just light up. The last two show have been good, really good. I'm having a blast, we're all having fun, people are enjoying us, no complaints. But then, tonight, something just happened. We turned out the lights, we played a bit of the 'Fire Walk With Me' soundtrack, and we walked on. Right from the start people were just so there, the prefect energy. And the set was perfect, it felt like home. It just happens once in a while, but to have it happen with 1100 people you've just met, that's special. Then, when it was over, they kept going. We've sold a reasonable amount of stuff, pretty much what we expected as an opening act. So I was at the shirt table, giving away stickers, and all of a sudden people start asking for CD's. We sell out of what I have there for the night, I think it was 36. I run to the bus, grab a bag of about 40, run back in. Gone. I run back, grab 40 more, the last we have. They're gone in five minutes. People were buying shirts, everything. Check this out: The CD's were selling for 4 pounds. People were giving me fivers and telling me to KEEP THE CHANGE. Just bizarre. Talked to people for a long time afterwards, just kind of dazed and grinning. Everyone kept asking if I went getting annoyed with them cos I was signing all this shit, and I was just laughing, trying to tell them how happy I was that they were so excited about our music. Now, if it keeps going like this, great. If not, that's fine too. Tonight was a blast, and I can't wait to get back to Manchester. 'Til then, though, I'm taking the spirit of this with me.
On the way to Amsterdam, 10/10/97
I'm riding a train to Amsterdam. We drove the bus from Nottingham to a ferry that took us across the North Sea (I think) to the Netherlands. There are thoughts from Nottingham that I have to remember to transcribe off of my recorder. The show was great, again. Not quite as magical as the past two, perhaps, but nice cos we had to work a little harder for it. The soundcheck and stuff was kind of rushed, and Chino&Frank got left in London somehow, so everyone was pretty stressed. When we went onstage, the place was still filling up (the line was apparently massive outside), but 'still filling up' meant several hundred people anyway, it was a massive club. We played hard, cut a couple songs from the set, and it went really well. In fact, some people that were at the London show said that last night was better, which was inconceivable to us cos the Astoria was such a dream. I really like spelling cos like that rather than 'cause. Anyway, I went to the merchandise table at the end of the show and tons of people bought stuff and said how much they liked it. I've already started getting e-mail from people here who have seen shows. Here's one of my favorites:
>>>>THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE SHOW. That night was the greatest gig of my life, I travelled four and a half hours to get there but it was definitely worth it. You can tell all the band that you've won over a load of new fans. Jonah - your voice is phenomenal me and my mates couldn't get over the melodies and dynamics of your singing. The guitarist (sorry I don't know names) really puts his all into it, I loved the way he was going off. The bass and drums were just as good and they helped to create my favorite aspect of your music - the groove the whole band could so easily fit in too. I watched half your set from the balcony (don't worry I got up close after that, even got to shout into the mic, thanks Jonah). The collective output when you hit that groove was amazing and real heavy. I just wanna say thanks for a great gig. I hope you come back after the new album is released, I can't wait.
Isn't that neato? I got another letter saying they'd written to Kerrang! about us, hope it gets printed.
I feel like such an Amerikaner now that I'm actually in Europe. In the UK, I completely took for granted that everything was still English, albeit with different accents. I woke up this morning and I woke up. Menus, phones, everything. At first it was very disconcerting, but then I just laughed about it. I found a train helper to Amsterdam. Her name is Esther, she's very nice and disarmingly beautiful, as are most of the people I've seen here. We talk about the usual things, life dreams and all. We talk about how all everyone talks about in Amsterdam is the hash bars and prostitutes, and how silly that is. We talk about drinking, and that she doesn't know anyone that doesn't drink. It's an interesting difference, I have no special insights on it. She explains that it's quite different between Italy and more Northern parts of Europe; she says in Italy it's just more casual, i.e. with a meal, and up here it's more to excess. Just talking, it's nice to talk. The land goes on for miles on either side, big green fields and no hills that I can see. We cross rivers, a big tugboat leaves a big wake, sheep and cows stand in lines and circles.
I'm meeting Ethan in Amsterdam, I've known him for almost twenty years now. He's over here studying. It will be great to add this little European chapter to our friendship.
later... Ethan and I have been walking and talking for hours. He met me in Amsterdam, we toured that, then went back to Rotterdam where he lives. My feet ache, but it feels so nice to rest and talk with an old friend. I could have just slept this day away, a nice day off. I'm glad I motivated and did something.
I like this Country a lot. Lots of interesting City Planning decisions that are progressive and smart and I won't bore you with them. Maybe later. Some of the people are a bit standoffish, but the people at the show are very nice. I've learned to say 'thank you' (donkey vell) and 'you're welcome' (Owshtebleef). The crowd was interesting, a lot more reserved than in the UK, but very attentive. I kind of liked the calm, actually. Hmmm, I had lots of other thoughts but I'm feeling foggy. Off to Amsterdam. Oh, a neat thing from last night walking around with Ethan was this great little bar; there was an 85-year old guy playing the accordion, and all the people in the pub, young and old, were singing traditional songs. A beautiful, multi-generational vibe. Okay, got to get on the bus to Amsterdam.
I don't even know what day it is. The blur is on. I have lack-of-internet-access syndrome, a condition marked by increased distraction and compulsion to try every phone jack in the WHOLE HOTEL, regardless of the fact that the last several haven't worked.
I had a beautiful walk yesterday around the City. Walked up to the Sacre Coeur, took the train over to Bastille to try and find a little Cafe that my Uncle recommended, then walked along the Seine and through the little streets behind the big buildings. I hit the Eiffel Tower, a truly grand and gorgeous thing. Then, waling back to the venue, I ran into the Deftones crew eating dinner. A truly odd coincidence, like running into someone in the middle of New York.
In the train station, there are armed guards, like armed with M-16 machine guns. A spooky reminder of terrorism and the hostile place we're at.
I'm at the Deftones Hotel today, I stayed with them for the day off while the other guys went on to Koln. They're doing press, there are an alarming amount of journalists in the little mezzanine lobby, all smoking way too much. I need to have another walk today. It's a bit rainy right now, but I'll brave it anyway. I wonder when the Musee D'Orsay is open until. I think we're a bit outside the center of town right now, but there's a Metro nearby.
Last night was a triumph. The crowd was definitely there for Deftones, the show has been sold out since May. We played hard, had fun, communicated. There was a real, fresh excitement by the time we hit 'In The Aisle' at the end of the set. More friends. Stephen was just talking about journal writing, how it's hard to write 'it was good, it was bad' in a different way every night. It's true, I'm sure I repeat myself a lot, because of my limitations with words, or the inherent limitation in words themselves. But there is always a special image that can define the unique quality of any given moment. Last night the thing that stands out came halfway through the set. There was occasional mayhem on the floor, a decent energy in general. The club was very small, but had a balcony, shaped in a semicircle, like a tiny opera house, where people stood and looked down on us. Everyone was watching, and it felt like they were paying attention, but there were two guys that really stood out; they weren't going nuts or anything, but their heads were bobbing the whole time, and it was so great. I said hi to them during the set, then tried to throw a shirt up there for them at the end. They really seemed to appreciate it. I know I did.
10/?/97, Hamburg, Germany
I find myself in so many situations where I just have to stop and say, 'I'm here because of music, because I'm doing what I love'. I was in Paris, after having eating the most amazing assortment of shellfish I've ever had, then this yummiest of desserts called Profiteral, which is little round pastry shells with vanilla ice cream in the middle and hot yummy chocolate sauce poured over them. My Uncle Paul recommended it highly, and I was not let down. So there I was heading towards the Eiffel Tower, beautifully lit up as it was, and I was so elated that I broke into a run with Chino. I went to hop up over a bench, which was a very slippery bench. So I pulled a Charlie Brown missing the football cos Lucy pulled it away and landed squarely on my hip. All the shit I do on stage and I mash myself running around Paris like a geek. It didn't feel so good in the shower later. Anyway, I was STILL in a great mood, even in pain. That's how amazing this has been. The show last night in Germany was right on par, just clicking in a surreal way. Everyone packed in, no big barrier like the UK shows, it reminded me more of home. Just hot and sweaty and organic. Talked a bit about grim histories before 'Seasick'. At first the Germans thought I was just putting them down like so many other people have, but I when I put it into the context of America's not-so-brilliant legacy, and confronting the past while moving beyond it, it turned into quite a moment of empathy and understanding. And 'Seasick' rocked especially hard afterwards. I'm not usually one to repeat things onstage, but it seems especially apt here, so I may do the same tonight. Actually, despite all the ultranationalist tendencies that are splashed all over the US press, as far as I can tell America is moving into a more right-wing place than Germany, which still actually has Communist communities in it. I still have a lot to learn, but it's great to talk to young people here and not rely on the evening news. Oh, in Paris I visited the most beautiful cemetery. Jim Morrison's grave was the pop-culture attraction, but it was way outclassed by the old, gorgeous burial sites with big, knotted trees growing up through them, uprooting them and literally turning them back into earth. Beautiful portraits of people long since gone. There were some really intense monuments to WWII resistance members and to all the other people gassed and otherwise exterminated in that horrible time.
An interesting segue into Germany, no doubt. The sense of continuity as I move through all this may even be heightened by the little glances I'm getting, like memories flashing.
10/?/97, Copenhagen, Denmark
I'm tired. Water at a slow point, not all frothing and jumpy. I look around at the tops of buildings, that's a good place to look for history and difference, cos the bottoms of buildings in cities are all too similar. Beyond the chains even, the little convenience stores are what they are, the big fashion stores reek of the same perfumes, the record stores sell the same big hits for too much and unknowns for nothing. Rammstein are a German band; dark industrial metal. They've sold a million records in Germany. There are 70-80 million people in Germany. 1 in 7-8 people own the Rammstein record. I thought of them as a funny thing, I was ready to buy the record as an oddity, for fun. Then I hung out with a guy from Epic's German branch, and his disgust with their success reminded me of how I'd feel if I were that inundated with crap (hi, Alanis). Rammstein are not the Spice Girls, and yet they are. Utterly LCD (lowest common denominator), utterly cereal, just a different sound. It reminds me of malls, and how behind the food courts I think there's just a big machine that says 'product' and each chain presses the appropriate logo and out spurts what their product, be it burrito or big mac or fish stick, should look like.
I don't feel angry writing this. Quite peaceful, really. There is a gorgeous gray sun out the bus window, one of the prettiest skies I've seen this whole trip. I feel peaceful, just seeing things, Letting them in and through.
Last night in Hamburg was one of my favorite shows. Started as this odd, bar-type atmosphere, and for the first time in a while I wasn't daunted by that distance. The beginning of 'Man Overboard' was SO quiet, and I drew people in to the silence with us, and they never left after that. Made new friends that were actually from the States as well, but living in Germany for a while now. Had a mutual friend in Chico that hooked us up. They traveled with us from Koln to Hamburg, it was great to spend time, and having interpreters around was pretty darn cool too. I'm going to walk the streets of Hamburg now.
10/19/97, Stockholm, Sweden
The last day of the tour. There's a 20-hour drive back to England, and several hours to walk around there before the plane, but this is it. I've had a classic Jonah in Europe day; walking around on a Sunday when nothing is open (something I like), trying to exchange my Danish money or get my bank card to work and then walking all through town to the Central Train Station (only open exchange place), finally heading back to a Cafe I'd been yearning for all morning. I've found that I really trust the term 'cafe'. Totally ridiculous, but it's served me well and found me decent, pretty cheap, not totally McAmerikas food. The one I visited today was no exception. Not a word in English, so I got to laugh with the counter-person trying to decipher the menu. It took an incredibly long time to actually order, the whole rhythm of the place was very relaxed and talkative. I was waiting in line forever, but not minding it, and having the same leisure to contemplate different teas and desserts was nice. I had a great veggie omelette and the yummiest apple crumble something pie, with vanilla sauce and whipped cream.
Everyone was crammed in, sharing tables. I struck up a conversation with some really cool women, talked about America/Europe stuff, the invasion of American pop culture, etc. They told me the unfortunate tale of a friend of theirs that has been an exchange student and ended up in Orange, Texas for a year. What an odd view of America. I put them on the list for the show, I hope they come and see what it is I do. They're all in University, studying law, physics, and one to be a midwife.
There's a beautiful park near the club, I think I'll walk there this evening before we play. I daydreamed of seeing some people there throwing a Frisbee. The leaves look so beautiful, big and autumn as they are.
10/21/97, Over the Atlantic between Europe and America
A 27-hour bus ride from Sweden back to London.
A brief, great, gorgeous dawn hang-out with Darren and Rick, two
of my favorite not-so-new-anymore friends. Looking at a British
magazine called Kerrang! with a picture of me in it and a caption
calling me 'emo king'. Darren and Rick talking about all the people
talking about us and the recent shows. Them being in London to
screen Darren's movie that Rick stars in. Horribly mushy egg slop
that I actually enjoyed. A few hours of sleep. Using up my British
pre-paid phonecard, talking to my Mom. A ten-hour plane flight
back to America. A plane with a TV screen on the back of every
seat, no more craning necks, technology on my face. 'My Best Friend's
Wedding', a real button-pusher, but pretty good nonetheless. A
Sparklehorse song featuring Thom Yorke from Radiohead that was
neat, but I was hoping for glorious. My laptop battery going down
like eyelids. A drive back to Sacramento that hasn't happened
The return of the Beef/Scarabeus alliance. Or Beef Vs UK round 2. Whichever way you look at it, they still pick the time of the year when it all starts going cold to tour the UK. But they're back, and so what are they up to now. Before, during and after the gig at the Wheatsheaf in Stoke, I tried to find out. But let's face it, the UK probably never stood a chance anyway.
First things are the visual changes. Phil (Petrocelli) the drummer is still the same, still as amiable as ever, and still trying to collect every CD ever issued, but there's a different face on the bass, and Nial is dreadlocked no more. Maybe I should've said some different first words to him, but I was genuinely shocked when he and the rest of the bands recognised me from last year. So instead of being friendly I was in shock, so you retreat into defensive mode, and stupid things come from your mouth., which means I also manage to make a hash of things meeting Danny, Phil and Andy from Scarabeus again. Like Duh Dave. Anyway, "Sold out to the man" Nial grins about the lack of dreadlocks. Actually it seems to have been pretty hectic for this man recently, as well as recording new material, finding a replacement bass player, he's just spent the last 2 months gigging around Europe with Deathline International, and had flown in from Germany to join the rest of the band for this tour. After being treated like a rock star, it's now "Back to reality" he says looking round the Wheatsheaf. But at least this time it's warm, and there are people lurking at the back, unlike other times.
While Scarabeus get ready, Nial and I have a bit of a natter about Neurosis and basically how great they are, and the Alternative Tentacles record label and the Virus 100 album (a great album, includes Dead Kennedys tracks recorded by Neurosis, Faith No More, L7, Sepultura, Napalm Death etc). And then Scarabeus take to the stage, to be blinded by lights and smoke, and cries of take your cap off from both Nial and Phil to Rich (Scarabeus guitarist/singer).
Scarabeus run through a decent set, which seems to be culled mostly from their latest demo, Southern Magnet. And pretty good it's sounding too. Since last year, they've progressed their sound, "updated it" to reflect our tastes as Rich said later. as well as the Seps like crunch, there's a Kornesque new metal flavour to it now. Phil joins the band to add vocals to their customary cover of Sepultura's Slave New World, and stays to perform another new Scarabeus song, Nucleic if I remember correctly. As ever it seems, there's not much reaction from the crowd, but when is there ever a reaction from people if it's not in response to the latest media induced frenzied future of rock, so the band finish off with the delicate song, dedicated to all lovers, Gargoyle. The band seem happy enough afterwards, especially given that they sold all the shirts that they brought with them. And a few demo's too I expect, which isn't surprising, as their demo's as some of the most professionally packaged that I've seen. They put A LOT of bands to shame with that. You should have a look and take a listen. Find things for yourself. It's fun.
So, to the Apocalypse Now theme, sub sonic sludgers, (damn, I knew there was something I forgot to ask), 3D House of Beef take to the stage and once more hammer out a sound that 3 people should not reasonably be expected to make. Given that this isn't my first experience of the live Beef sound, I think I know what to expect. I'd forgotten though that they are, in my opinion, even more powerful live. The songs, like Sedition and crawl seem to come alive that little bit more. The new track, Biffo, doesn't sound overly different to the old stuff, and is powerful as hell, and in spite of the lacklustre crowd response, of which I'm as guilty as the next person, the band still seem to give it their all. A professionalism which is admirable. The lead off track off the new sampler tape sounds excellent. It sounded a little more accessible than some of the older material of the self titled CD, but the absolute highlight is still Live Coward Live. That is one classic song.
So how do you describe the sound, I guess sub sonic sludgers sums it up. It's heavy, it's distorted, it's slow, it's challenging, it's not The Spice Girls, it's 3D House of Beef. And that's the best way to describe any band, as having their own sound. From a listeners perspective, if you can listen to Neurosis and like it, first, well done for having some taste, and second, listen to 3D House of Beef, cos you might just like it. They're not the same, but they pose similar challenges and questions to the listener.
"It's just too surreal". Says Nial. I thought he meant the place, but really it was watching the video playback of the gig about 5 minutes after it had finished. Which is fair enough I guess. Not too sure that the video will be seen on Top of the Pops, but that's their loss. But anyway, while others break their backs lugging all the equipment downstairs, Nial and Rich sit down at a table at the bottom of the stairs and allow me to make a fool of myself in trying to interview them. And then others join and stare and intimidate me. But still, ever onwards.
The first thing to find out, is that after last year and snow, rain, dodgy attendances and venues, why in hell did the bands decide to do this all over again?
"Because we had such a great time last time" comes back the enthusiastic answer from both of them. "It was a natural thing to happen. When it finished last year, we knew we had to do it again, it just had to happen" says Rich before asking Nial "Do you think it's better this time?". "Yeah, because we don't have whining bass players from hell this time."
"I think we know what to expect more this time round, and for that reason I think you milk the good times a lot more and get more out of it. And the shows have been better this year than last time", offers Rich. According to Nial, the bands have "wised up this year."
Diplomacy fails me once more, so I manage to bring up the subject of Drew, as it turns out, former bass player for 3D. This is met with a deep laugh from Nial, before he goes on to explain "well, we sort of had a big old argument. It was one of these escalating things and finally he was like Fuck you, and we were like No, Fuck you, and so, we said that's that, byebye, and he said my involvement with 3D House of Beef is now over."
So no musical differences then?
"No it was just a gradual personality conflict thing, and it kinda detracted from the dynamics of the band. We recorded that tape (the sampler tape), and if you soloed his bass tracks he just didn't give a shit, and didn't care about his playing, it was sloppy, and he didn't want to learn his parts. He just didn't want to be there." Right, think that explains enough there then.
At this point, right on cue, the new bass guy wanders down the stairs, and after being introduced, we shake hands. course me being me, I missed the name, and I can't figure it out off the tape. Well, I never said I was good at this. But anyway.
The night before all this took place, the band were scheduled to play in Leeds, but due to the minor problem of the venue claiming to know nothing about it, and having other bands booked instead, a quick re-arrangement was in order, and so, after a few phone calls, the band played in Nottingham instead. A slightly more successful outing than last years according to the bands. "It worked beautifully" claims Nial, before both bands crashed out at Bekkis for the second time on this tour. The halfway house as they call it.
They go on to explain more about the tour.
"This time round I think actually arranging the tour has been harder work, trying to get shows out of the UK. The whole setup for the scene seems to have changed so quickly, places that we played last year that were really good and gave us decent deals didn't do it this year, so it was difficult. But that's just one side of it. The whole thing of just going away, knowing each other so well now after last year. The amount of laughs and fun we have, that's probably more to me than the actual gigs" offers Rich. "The amount of strange Wurzel fanatics we meet in Birmingham" laughs Nial. "And this year, there's been no sleeping in the van, and Phil's loving it because the weather isn't so cold."
"So we're drawing to a close really. Only two more days to go. Reading should be the highlight, we're working on some quick collaboration and get everyone on stage", says Rich, with Nial explaining further, "we're going to try for like a Tribe of Neurot thing, just like some ambient, tribal, aggressive weird like thing. Just try it, we've got the resources."
"I mean, we've done the Slave New World thing with Phil, and Nucleic off the new demo, so he's going to do the whole fucking set next year" Rich laughs.
So there'll be a next year then? the UK Vs the Beef round 3.
"Yeah, we're going to try and do Europe as well"
But is Europe ready for 3D House of Beef?
"No" offers Nial with a wry grin. "It's never going to be ready" according to Rich. Nial explains. "We just have to do loads and loads of work. Press, radio and college. trying to find out which countries are more beneficial ones to bother touring with."
So is the press getting any easier then
"Well for us at least it's kinda of like this tidal wave that keeps building and building, and we've got like these press kits that are ridiculously thick with all these other reviews that people have sent. So we just send the whole thing out."
For Scarabeus however, it's a slightly differnt story as Rich explains. "For us being a UK band, it's pretty thin on the ground. We had a favourable review in Terroriser and various bits like that, so there's a bit, but only as much as you can expect from the UK really. So there'll be a 98 if we can. I'm cursing it half the time, but it's like a drug, and you end up missing it".
So then, the chances to play are somewhat limited.
"Well we only really started playing again this June. We've done a number of things like writing and, recording. But we can't tour every 3 months, it's something you need to be able to do with another band."
Ah, talk of new material, so what's going on with it. The 3D stuff sounds like a fairly natural progression on first listen.
"Really?" is Nial's response. Which probably means that I need to clean out my lugholes, and listen to the tape a bit more. Although in fairness, since this took place, I have listened to it, and there does seem to be a bit of a change, with the songs sounding a bit more accessible and even maybe conventional than previously. Still, I don't think there's a radical change in there.
Scarabeus on the other hand, have obviously been updating their sound somewhat. And in excellent fashion it must be said. The new demo, Southern Magnet is a fine piece of new breed style metal or whatever you wish to call it. And supremely well presented. Get a copy.
At least Rich agrees in part with me when it comes to the new Scarabeus sound. "We just basically updated our sound and followed where our influences lie he explains. A few people said to us why change direction, but we haven't, this is the direction we were naturally going in anyway. That's how we've gone, that's the sort of thing we're into and that's the way we'll continue to go." Nial adds "it's disheartening to realise that you work and work and work at something and then you look at the destination and think, fuck, it's a dead end y'know."
But do you carry on with that then because it's where you want to go?
"It depends where your interest lie. Ultimately if you're satisfied with the music you're playing that's what matters the most, not what it is. But you know, your tastes can change as well, i don't listen to the same music this year as I did a year ago, or even 3 months ago. What I find excellent music today I might not find cool 6 months from now. There's things that carry on through the music, like standards you should strive for, and ideas that you should change, but the actual music itself can be anything."
So, on your new tape, are the songs long and drawn out.
"No, the longest is actually 7 minutes, the other 2 are under 5. No epics yet."
Because with the CD there was some long stuff, and I was wondering where you think the line lies between being creative and something becoming self-indulgent.
"It's mostly a feel thing, but when you're playing live in front of people also, it helps immensely because if an audience are really keyed in but don't know your material its really easy to read the feedback from the audience, like when you feel they're listless and bored it's like, hmmm, maybe I should cut that part a little shorter or not build it up, or do the dynamics differently to keep their interest peaked. I mean there is the whole gradual thing, maybe when you get to be the size of bands like Neurosis, you can take those luxuries, but for us, you've got to get peoples attention and grab them and shake them, otherwise it'll be like, well they were great, BUT. We want people to go away from the shows thinking oh fuck this is the greatest thing I've ever seen in my life. End of sentence. I don't know if it's happening, but hey".
So, talk turns to the music scene in Britain, and how both bands see it. We seem to disagree.
"Dire" is Nial's verdict. "I just think it's not a problem with the bands, but with everyone else" opines Rich to much laughter before continuing, "there's 2 aspects, the whole money side, which when you come down to it, to make music work, it's got to have the money behind it and that's only from the business side of things, it's only going to make sense if you can sell the product. And that's corrupted anyway, everyone knows that. And also I think the punters are a bit lazy, you know in coming out. But with all the live stuff at the moment, it's really saturated. I mean if you look at the metal scene, or what was the metal scene, there's a few bands that have survived but ..."
Amen to that, at least in the apathetic part. I disagree on the state of the music scene, but maybe there's the difference between being in a band and not. At this point some girl asks if someone can look after the skull on a stick that she's carrying. Which kinda detracts from what I'm trying to think of and everyone else is saying. And around this time, my interviewing technique, such as it is deserts me once more, and I end up talking of nothing really. Except seeing Voivod in London the other week on their only UK date.
"It's a common trend with a lot of bands, that you can try and play 10 dates in the UK and not really get anything out of it at all, but if you're up for doing 2 dates or a date in the UK and then going over to Europe" offers Rich, before someone comes down the stairs selling off 3D t-shirts for 1 pound.
"The live scene is really dire these days, and I can't put my finger on why, but my opinion is that people have become so saturated with major label stuff that I can't tell what's good and what's crap, and the cost of music at the retail, people aren't taking the risk anymore. Y'know, I can either eat or buy this CD. So people are being a little more fickle instead of being like, cool, it's on this record label. The other thing I'm hearing too is that a lot of the big distribution houses are kicking out a lot of the small indie labels because they're just not profitable anymore, so a lot of really cool music, which should be made, and released and sold and heard isn't. And it's becoming very polarised, and there's very few tiny independent bands, and then there's masses of Pearl Jam's and Symposiums."
Once more I start plugging bands like Human Waste Project and System of a Down. I've gotta learn to stop that, and we get into a discussion about clone bands and bands being railroaded down one direction, and being labelled with a tag which often isn't really warranted.
Rich says, "at the end of the day it's all down to money." At which point a few more people join in the argument and blame everyone from Andrew to someone's mum. And still we watch the others shifting the gear. Phil arrives, and in search of a decent quote, I ask him to say something.
"I really love to rock the funky beats" is the offering. I promise to use it as a title, and so there you have it. Anyway, back to wherever we were. Ah yes, that's right, the interview technique rapidly falling apart, so it's time to turn to those trusty questions saved for such a crisis.
If you could put together an ideal bill, what would it be. Ok, so it's cheesy, but what the hell.
Anyway, come on Nial. "Slint, Big Black, original Godflesh lineup, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd when Syd Barret still had brains." Phil adds in "Aphex Twin".
The skull starts to become the centre of attention, so it's time to ask, Spice Girls, good or bad.
And I'm not even going to mention the banana and what you could do to it and still eat it.
And so outside into the cold night air. A quick chat with Phil to find out how the CD quest is going. "I need to visit a shop for some. I have a list of what I'm after, mainly electronic music. But we've not really had time with Nial joining up and rehearsing and everything. But hopefully soon". We share a few experiences of recent good gigs, and a mutual admiration of Far. King Prawn get a mention, as of course do Gorilla, and the awesome Voivod gig in London the other week. Phil mentions a few bands who I must admit I've forgotten now, but one I remember is Mindset. And then talk turns back, as it did last year, to Mr Bungle, and a promise that I will send that copy of the OU818 demo. And I will, honest. And then it's time to find the car, find Nottingham and face the realisation that interviews don't get typed automatically. Git.
So, same again next year then everyone. Europe, take cover.
Gorilla finally return with a new deal, new label, new management, and in part, a new sound. This is a much more stripped down, straightforward sounding track than the band's previous work. It has a chorus which can be sung along with, and almost makes you do so, which is something not all their previous work has had. It still gets pretty heavy, but the stripped down verses stand out. The violin in the background shows that the band still aren't afraid to mess around with things. Probably not going to set the charts alight, but that's more to do with band visibility and sales than songwriting, and is something the label will be working on.
98 Grand, the second track, is in a way a more typical Gorilla song. Heavier, featuring a fairly simple riff, before exploding into the chorus, which unlike the lead off track, doesn't get you singing immediately. But like much stuff they've done, it works it's way into the brain after a few plays, and then you've had. Not the immediacy of WWTSTWA, but maybe an even better song. Neil's drumming, like on so many of their songs, stands out. One of the best, busiest most inventive drummers around.
Glassed is the least immediate of the songs, and maybe a little bit of a let down after the other 2. Slightly heavier, it's not a bad song at all, hell, I don't skip over it, it's just the first 2 are so good.
Overall an excellent single in my opinion. Yeah,
I'm biased cos I think this band is vastly underrated and under
appreciated. Still, don't take my word for it, go and try and
find the single yourself and take a listen.
SNUB hail, as far as I'm aware, from Bournemouth. I don't know how many demo's they've done up to now, but their latest, Zero Tolerance, is a fine set of metalcore tunes. It features a nice heavy production, which gives thing's a professional feel despite being a 4 track recording.
The songs themselves have a Rage Against The Machine feel, though not too strong, and ride along on the back of some strong grooves. Current favourite for me is the final track, Campaign of Hate. This demo is further proof that the UK music scene is actually pretty healthy and diverse. If you like the so called new metal style bands, then be sure to check this demo out.
For more information, contact the band on 01202 571760 or 01202 537524.
Well, finally I'm going to review this. It'll be short and sweet. This is the third demo by LAs System of a Down, and with the band currently recording their debut album, looks like being the last demo.
3 tracks, and not a duff moment in sight. From the start, they manage to present music which is both exciting, familiar yet different to grab the attention. It's heavy, in the manner that fans of Machine Head, Sepultura or Korn will enjoy, but then suddenly they throw in a little more subtlety.
Serj vocals are a standout, changing from a raging hardcoreesque style to a more gentle manner. This is a band with their own style. Despite Serj telling me otherwise, I still think that there is an Armenian style sound to songs like Peep-Hole. Whatever it is, it sets them apart.
The album will be released hopefully in the first half of 1998, and then watch things take off.
There's no point saying much more. If you're interested,
get in touch and I'll sort you out with more details and whatever.
Have to say, this was an excellent excellent gig. Should've known it was going to be a good night from the moment that the Bad Brains Quickness was played on the PA. You don't hear it often, and the Bda Brains were something special. And then came Far. Now I like this band. They're powerful and emotional, yet have a few more musical bases than some of the current bands. But, they're unknown in the UK, what with Tins Cans having not yet been released. That meant that I was a bit worried for the band. But in the end, it was a magical sight to see them win people over.
Opening with Punchdrunk was a winner. For me at least, as it is one of my favourite Far songs. Then, second song in, Love American Style, Jonah spots someone singing the words in the chorus, so for the chorus the second time, he comes down and sings it with the guy. About 2 foot from my face. And the pleasure that seemed to be on Jonah's face at this. You can't explain.. Man Overboard is requested, followed by Jonah saying that he had absolutely no idea what had been said. So they promptly play it. Others are Joining the Circus, Mother Mary (I think) from the forthcoming album, What I Wanted to Say and Seasick, featuring a guest spot from Chino. Which was a nice touch, spoilt by the fact that the crowd spot him and chant Chino Chino Still, Jonah didn't seem to mind, and it gave him the chance to introduce himself.
I'm sure they played some more, I just can't think at the moment. Jonah was at pains to point out that they are from Sacramento and not Los Angeles. He also taunted a little in asking how many people had heard the new Deftones album, and that he had. Then a little controversy, by saying how it was going to blow away copycat bands like Coal Chamber. Ooooh. Still, I don't know the story behind that, so it's not for me to judge. At one point Jonah mentioned that it was the last of 5 nights in the UK and that he didn't want to go back to the States. He wanted to stay. Well, it would've been nice for them to do so. Hope they genuinely enjoyed the trip.
They certainly worked a decent reaction out of the crowd. So much so that they sold out of T-shirts at the end, ran out of stickers, almost out of the album CD, and, this is the bitch bit, they'd run out of the Soon EP in Manchester. Bollocks. Still, it's good for the band. I don't know how the band felt about the gig, whether it was good or not. I can only judge on what it was like for a band at that venue. And it was good. May they soon return. And next time they can make things complete by playing Girl. Catch them soon. A great band.
Ok, so I'll stop going on about Far. Now the Deftones. Who were Awesome. First things first. As the comparison is always there, I have to say they blew away the Korn that I have seen on the last few occasions. Chino is a star. So much energy and charisma. The guy was in total control. Hell, how many people can go crowd surfing, return, have had their show nicked, ask for it back. And GET IT. Or how many people can be crowd surfed all the way to the bar for a vodka and orange. Ok, so he asked for a vodka and cranberry juice. But hey. It's the principle. And reminding someone to pick up the bill.
Where Korn are becoming let down, is in their failure to communicate with the audience in a live situation. As Chino said, music is about FUN. In this respect, the Deftones have no problems. The snippet of Slayer's South of Heaven was awesome. Admitting that the Crow II sucked, but still playing their contribution. The gig was a blast from start to finish. Trying to remember what they played, hmm, there was Root, Fireal, Birthmark, Bored, 7 Words (the Deftones one song syndrome), Bored and Teething. New stuff, which sounded good, but as it's the first time I've heard it, I can say no more.
Jonah returned the favour by coming out to do background
vocals on one of the new tracks. The band seemed to enjoy it,
I don't know if Chino heads towards the bar at every gig, but
the rest of the guys seemed to enjoy watching anyway. Overall,
one of the best gigs this year. And I do mean that. Hope both
bands come back soon. They proved that music can be heavy, angry,
emotional and still fun. That people can communicate with the
crowd, without falling into Rock Star Ego status, and basically
leave you with a shit eating grin. Awesome.
The next time I think I have a good idea, someone shoot me. Drive down to London he says, to see Voivod. Not accounting for the fact that the couple of days before I drive down, I get a shitty cold and feel like death. Still, a round trip of 300 miles, 5 hours driving. There's only a few bands even I'll go to those lengths to see, and one of them is Voivod. Still, good ideas and me seem to be relative strangers these days.
So, having had this great idea, I thought there'd be 3 bands, but as it turned out, there wasn't. Dunno what happened, or if that was how it was supposed to be all along, but Stampin' Ground weren't there. And I only managed to catch the last couple of songs by Cynical Smile, but from what I did catch, I will be catching them again. Good powerful stuff, and Ed the singer, seems good and powerful and energetic. They've got some tracks on the second Organ Radio CD, and should be recording their debut album soon. Good band. Check them out.
But not much compares to the mighty Voivod. Phobos is probably the best the harsh Voivod has sounded. Certainly better than Negatron, and the album dominates the set. And in fact, it actually sounds damn good live, better than I thought they'd be able to recreate. The time flew by. Rise, The Tower, M-Body, Phobos, Bacteria, Forlorn and Mercury are all offered up. Mix in a couple of tracks from Negatron in the shape of Project-X and Nanoman and Tribal Convictions and Astronomy Dominie from the older albums and you have a crushing main set that literally flies by.
Actually, apart from the fact that it's in support of a new album, it's not that much different to the last time they played in the UK in support of the Negatron album. Basically, it means that they are supporting the stuff recorded with Eric, and throwing in some old stuff as well. Which works, and is fair enough. But it probably means I'll never achieve my ambition of seeing the band perform the Nothingface set. But that's my bad luck for missing out on them when it happened.
They're also a lot tighter live than in a way I'd expected. As they do so few gigs over here, you tend to forget that they probably have done a lot of touring in the last few years. And more importantly, they look like they're having fun and enjoying it.
The band deserve so much more than being forced to play one lousy gig in the UK, to a few hundred people. This is a band with style, flair and vision. You can only imagine at the kind of spectacle it would be if they had the opportunity. But some of that may lie in the pre-conceived notions of the masses. Voivod they're a thrash band aren't they or are they STILL going. And as nice as it was to see Eric honouring London's finest by wearing a Maiden Killer's T-shirt, that almost summed up what could still hold them back. That people associate them with the past instead of with NOW. Sure, it makes for a nice intimate gig, but the band deserve so much more. I mean, selling the CD that you've just performed live, basically because the distribution in this country is so shit. It's sad. And when the magazine's just don't even bother to cover them anymore. Yet they pissed all over Megadeth's gig last week, and were a damn sight better than Bore O'Negative were. In fact, better than a hell of a lot of bands. But people are just not interested.
Still, the band seem genuinely grateful of the turnout,
coming back to do 2 encores, including a ludicrous version of
In League with Satan. They promise to come back. Last time I saw
them I wondered. And they did. And I am thankful. Next time. Well,
if there is a god ...
Character building. Isn't that the phrase people tend to use when an expected outcome isn't the reality. Things don't go as planned or hoped, so it's character building. If attendance and general apathy is anything to go by then, this was character building.
By the time The O's are concluding their set, the audience has probably risen to about 20, though most of them seem to include the other bands and band friends. Still, that doesn't matter, it's the music that counts. And for that, I don't really know what to say. They were, I guess, outside of my normal listening habits, and I don't really have any accurate reference points. It was interesting, and the initial feeling that I had was quirky. Don't think I'm likely to buy anything by them, but it was interesting enough, though it did tend to wear off towards the end, but that can be levelled at pretty much any band that you don't know anything by.
I don't know if there was a switch around or what, because the posters seemed to have Novocaine as the headline act. Whatever, they went on next, and the first song was a shambles, which may not have been entirely the bands fault, as the monitors weren't working, and basically the sound was shite. The sound improved, but really, the band looked as if they didn't want to be there. No real passion, though the singer did at least try, but you could almost see the frustration and anger waiting to spill out. "I don't know what to say in response to the silence, and you're so kind. You're patronising us, which is nice," in response to the lukewarm reception they received. They cut the set short I think. Really their music does deserve more than this. I've got the mini album, and it's not bad. Wrong night, wrong tour? Or was that the Motorhead thing they did the other week.
And so to CJ's latest effort. There's inevitably going to be comparisons with what he did in the Wildhearts (especially given that Stidi is on drums), and in Honeycrack, but although your mind is drawn towards both those bands during the gig, it has to be realised, that according to the EP, CJ wrote all the songs on his tod, something he never did in both those other bands. So maybe they are a truer reflection of him. They sound pure pop punk. Once again, towards the end of this set, things started sounding a bit samey, but I would once more say that's likely due to the lack of familiarity with the material. It's bouncy enough, with some bizarre titles, and if that's anything to go by, bizarre stories behind them. Despite the relative lack of enthusiasm, (they get the best reception of the night, but that's not really saying a great deal), the band deal with it well. At least until Stidi almost looses it, and demands "lights, light, house fucking lights," and asks if anyone has drugs, cos if not, then we should get some. Quote of the night was from CJ, just before playing the song idiots. There's idiots everywhere, there's idiots in my hair, that's why I cut the fucking stuff off.
Character building as the saying goes. Though with
the individual pedigrees of the members of The Jellys, no character
building should be in order.
Well, I got to see Breach this time round, unlike last night in Bradford. So, was it worth it. I dunno, on first listen, they didn't really do anything for me, and I was kinda glad when their time was up. But it's unfair to judge this sort of music on first listen. It sounded fairly standard hardcore, not the Neurosis, Hellacopters hybrid some have said. Probably would need to give it a few more listens before I made a firm judgement. There again, it doesn't help watching in a venue hotter than hell to borrow a cliché. C'est la vie.
Neurosis. Well, first thing to be said is that it was better than last night, primarily I think cos they seemed to be more upbeat, and more importantly, the crowd was up for it. Looked like it could get violent at times, but things seemed ok. No Through Silver in Blood tonight, unless my ears deceived me, and no room for projections, so it just relied on band, music, and crowd. I'm not sure this is the right sort of tour for them. They challenge you in the music and the presentation. Long, drawn out pieces. Slow, heavy. And it won through here. Here's to a headlining return to be able to enjoy the band in their full glory.
And finally Entombed. Pretty much the exact same
set as last night from what I could tell, but seemingly that little
bit of magic that I thought was missing in Bradford, seemed to
be back in places. Not the best I've seen them, but getting better
again, although things seemed to drag a little towards the end,
though that could be partly due to the heat, and partly me feeling
like I wanted to die. If you've seen them recently, then you know
what to expect. Left Hand Path, Hollowman, a bunch of stuff from
TRSSASTT, with Lights Out still a highlight. The combination of
the title track followed by Like this with the Devil will take
some beating. Damn deal done, Parasite, all great songs.
What an excellent gig. In the face of apathy on the dancefloor, of which I'm as guilty as the next person, Gorilla turned in a blinding 25 minute set. Even if according to John afterwards, it was supposed to be 30.
So, what highlights were there? Well the times when the band played onstage really, though I guess the bits where Andy played guitar on the bar top, on the table by the merchandising stall, in the middle of where the crowd normally is, and while hanging from the lighting rig were pretty good as well. Well ok, he didn't play while dangling from the lighting, as he was using his hands to hang on, but that's being picky. Maybe the highlight though was when the entire band, save for Neil on his drums, played where the crowd should've been. See, give them Lars Ulrich's moveable drumkits and they could've done the entire gig on the dancefloor, with the crowd on the stage.
But all that makes it sound as if the visual stage (and other parts of the venue) presence of the band overrides the music. And it certainly doesn't. On a first impression, it will leave a mark, as it should, but when you've heard the music a few times, you still find yourself being drawn to the stage and what's being belted out. And that's a fine testament in my opinion.
Let You Down, Outside, Glassed are all fine moments. Showcasing different elements of the band, and still sounding fresh and heavy. Who Wants To Save The World Anyway is a fine choice for single, worming its way into your head even after the first listen, and Superstar sounds better each time I hear it.
The best is saved until last however, with the awesome
98 Grand. It's on the WWTSTWA single, and is a brilliant song.
Great way to end a really impressive gig, which in my mind, despite
the relative lack of crowd interest in comparison to headliners
The Beekeepers, blew the headliners away. Sorry to all you people
interested in them, but the versatility of Gorilla shone through.
Still wish they'd played Acid Test though, even though I understand
John explaining afterwards that they didn't expect people to know
the material, so decided to go for all new stuff. If they can
get on the right major tour and do a set like this each night,
then things are beginning to look good again for the band. And
about time to.
Around the Fur has been one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year for a lot of people. Now it's finally here. Has the anticipation been worth it. Most people seem to have answered that question already, and pretty much in the yes camp. Me, I'm gonna throw a little spanner in there. Yeah, it's a good album, but as yet I don't know that I can call it the classic that others have already heaped on it's shoulders. But I feel much the same about the last efforts from both Machine Head and Korn. Maybe we jump too quickly sometimes in our judgement.
95's debut, Adrenaline, is a fine album, which still gets frequent play, but as yet, none of the songs on ..Fur have quite grabbed me in the same way as Bored, Engine No 9, or 7 Words did. Those songs gripped instantly, and 2 years later, they still hold up. As yet, none of the songs on ...Fur are planted in my mind.
Headup, the collaboration with Max Cavalera for example, has been talked about by many. And frankly, the first few times I listened to it, it doesn't do a great deal. Look behind the surface at who guests on it, and you have a song whose last minute or so, is totally pointless. The rest of it is intense, yes, but at the moment, not great.
Ok, so that's not going to get me many friends, but whatever. Live, the Deftones were an awesome proposition, who frankly, pissed over both the albums. Many bands are like that. Maybe in time, this will grow to feel like a classic album. Some of my all time favourite albums have done that, but for now, it's a good album, not a great one. Afraid it still doesn't come anywhere near Human Waste Projects 'E-Lux' in my book for the favourite album of the year award.
Mascara is probably my favourite track on the album at the moment, and My Own Summer, Ihabia and Dai the Flu the other favourites.
There does seem to be more diversity in some of the song structures than a lot of similar bands are taking at the moment, and that will probably mean that I grow to like this one more with time. So many bands seem to be falling into the trap of sounding one dimensional. If you like that dimension, which generally I seem to, then it does sound good, BUT, it's not enough for longevity. The scene needs to develop some new tricks, otherwise I'm afraid many bands will fall the way the NWOBHM and thrash bands did in the 80s. This album is definitely a step towards avoiding that pitfall for the Tones.
But .... like I said, I ain't gonna proclaim greatness on something, just because everyone else is.
There's always gotta be one dissenting voice, hasn't
there? Six months down the line and I may have a totally different
outlook on it
This is the long awaited (well not that long really, but quite long anyway) new album from the most exciting band in the country. No, not the Take That reformation, but the Wildhearts ("We have split" "No we haven't" "Yes we have" "No we haven't" ad nauseam) with their brilliant new sound. Not quite industrial, not quite metal, not quite Pop/Rock but a curious and refreshing blend of noisy, melodic sonic assaults.
It kicks in with the worst song on the album, and thankfully the shortest. Junkenstein is noisy, tuneless and almost made me wonder why I bought the thing in the first place. But then Nurse Maximum rears its ugly head and I remembered. The Wildhearts make challenging music. Music which slaps you round the face and wakes you up to all the trash that's being marketed as rock these days. Anthem has become just that, an anthem for those of us who don't kiss up to every trend that pokes its head round the door and says hello. Urge took a while to grow on me, but thanks to repeated listens on the single, I have grown to love it. Then, bang smack in the middle comes the Masterpiece we've all been waiting for: Pissjoy. Oh yes. This is the boppiest, happiest, jumping-around-the-roomiest song you will ever, ever hear. I was so moved to dance to this, I even accidentally hit myself in the head with the CD case in my rush to mosh to this one (Doh!). This should be a SINGLE! Soundog Babylon carries this new mood on in style, whilst their cover of Heroin (Heroine in the original form) is truly stunning.
Why You Lie is sing-alongable to the extreme and Thunderfuck is sheer genius as a closer (although I'll be blowed if I know what "and with the world in his ass" is supposed to mean. Answers on a postcard...) Oh, and this album has lyrics, I mean printed ones. So there'll be no excuse for not chanting along in the shower now.
In short, the Wildhearts have made an album which is more original than any of the bands currently being hailed as the next big thing, and Kerrang ought to take a good, long look at the way they cover bands and see if any of them really live up to the standards that the Wildhearts have set. I think they'll find that most of them can't even see the target, let alone get a bullseye.
Copyright - Lizz
The latest effort from veteran punks NOFX. And it's a bit of a disappointment. But maybe I'm just not punk enough. Joke, get over it. Really, for me, this album just doesn't have the lure of their last 2 studio efforts. Sure, it's fast, fun (in places) and contains all the usual NOFX malarky. But ... the songs just don't grab me in the same way. It almost sounds like they're trying to be a bit more disposable than before.
But you take NOFX for what they are, and songs like it's my job to keep punk rock elite and murder the government race by in the blink of an eye (wonder if I can get any more clichés in to this review). Personally I tend to love it when NOFX stretch out into their ska like excursions and just drop things down a notch. This album, as ever, has a few of those moments like all outta angst, but they just don't get there as before.
Not a bad album at all, just not done the business
for me as previous albums have. run of the mill almost. If you're
a NOFX fan, you'll already have it, if you're not sure, I'd still
recommend one of the albums. Many long-time NOFX fans may not
like it, but I still have a soft spot for Punk in Drublic,
or the live effort, I Heard They Suck Live.
You always manage to miss something when it's first released, maybe just didn't know about it, or spent all those hours and visits to a shop umming and aaahing over whether to make the purchase. Or do I really need to eat instead, or go out and get pissed. And then, eventually you do it, and realise what you've been missing. Well, that's the point of this section, an album that I've been meaning to get, but ....
This album was first released in 1996, but I've only recently found it and got a copy. But it's too good an album to be ignored, so here goes. This is the first release from former God Machine frontman Robin Proper-Sheppard. Following the demise of the God Machine, as a result of bassist Jimmy Fernandez tragic death, it's taken a couple of years for anything new to emerge. But this is the result. Very different to the music of the God Machine, this is an all acoustic set of songs. Sometimes solo, sometimes with "The Sophia Collective". Lyrically it's not a happy album, but the emotion and beauty of the songs shines through, especially on some of the occasions when the vocals seem to crack a little. Highlights? The entire thing. If you have an open mind, listen to this, though probably not when depressed. It shows how good acoustic music can be. Then, do yourselves a favour and go buy the 2 God Machine albums. A talent like this shouldn't be neglected. I don't know how else to describe this other than beautiful.
I wasn't going to do it this time round, but what the hell. Not very well done but so what. Here goes.
You can't listen to THAT, you're a metalhead. Or, you like that!!!!. Classic lines that we've probably all encountered. But see, I'm more punk than you. Er, yeah right. Got nothing better to do then. So, all open minded people take a look at image, apply the appropriate stereotype and then decide for you what you can and can't listen to. I don't have a regulation shaved head and tatts, so I can't be into hardcore. And I don't have dreads and piercings, so I probably can't listen to the new metal shit. I look like a relic from the 80s. Get up to date man. Well sorry, but new image isn't going to dictate to me. I like what I like. I try to approach things with an open mind, and at the end of the day, I'd say I listen to more stuff and have more of a passion for music than many people. And that's what counts, your passion for something.
Does it really have to rock 24 hours a day? I don't think so. Not if you really care about the music and if it's important to you. So listen to punk, metal, indie, grunge, techno or whatever. The worst thing is when you sell out to yourself by listening to only the style of music which others dictate to you, or your image dictates.
Well, we reach the end once more. So how was it for you. Doesn't really matter, because if you think it all sucks, then that's the best reason to do something yourself. But for now, let's just go through the final necessary shit.
Well, you never know. Anyway, my standard disclaimer follows. It's only opinion, it doesn't really matter. All the opinions in here are mine, apart from the bits done by others, where the opinions are theirs. If you don't like it, er, tough. And the crappy layout is mine, I'm not an artist. Maybe sometime I'll get the time and talent to do it all properly
Well, this whole thing, like the first one, was initially meant to be a collaboration, so to the few people who could be bothered to lend a hand, my thanks. Thanks also to the people that commented on the first ish, hope this one was better. Who knows, one day I (we?) may even get it right and produce something decent. Most of all, thanks again to the bands that allowed me to attempt to interview them., or allowed me to use some of their material. If you can survive that, then you can survive anything. Extra thanks to Jonah for allowing me to use the journal and Brad for the use of the Far images, and Mrs Echo for the use of the HWP images. Thanks to all the other people who I borrowed images off. Once more, my thanks to my main inspiration, the collective apathy of the world. And so, until the next round - Shutup!
If you have any comments or whatever, get in touch. You can either do it by dropping me an e-mail at email@example.com, or write to me. Dave, 2 Evelyn Street, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 2EU.
You can also contact me if you want future issues
or copies of the other issues. Next ish to probably feature Feeder,
Voivod, Seratone, Coal Chamber and oodles more.