Here are stories and advice for those walking the path of an underground artist or musician. I hope people find it educational, entertaining, or at least fucking funny.
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More than a decade ago, I bought a really old NJ series B.C. Rich Warlock bass from my friend Lorraine. I think she was ready to ditch pointy bass guitars for something classier as she went on to play in some excellent bands like The Gault and Worm Ouroboros. It came with a weird whitish-sparkly body, lots of dings that I added to, and multiple failed drill holes for a thumb-rest. I treated it as a beater bass I could fly with if I took the neck off. Well, that lil’ beater looks like this today.
And it also belongs to my wife now. It’s practically brand new, but with a vintage pedigree. This was a classic NJ series Rich, with its serial number planting its birth somewhere in Nagoya, Japan during the early eighties. The NJ guitars were real quality, then. I decided to give it new life. The project took me almost seven years to complete. But it was worth it to give my wife an awesome Christmas present.
In a previous blog, like, a million years ago, I covered our construction of a loft in our jam spot. Well, since then, we’ve moved spots and were able to move the loft with us. That’s all fine and dandy, but after our group of hooded menaces were given some awesome guitars as part of our endorsement of ESP, we found our loft was not a convenient space for the mass of cases we’d acquired over the years. Hence, the addition of the guitar loft.
Now we have a convenient place to reach our cases without climbing a god-damned ladder and they’re off the floor so we can actually jam. With a couple strokes of luck, we put this up for the price of a few wood screws.
We finished up our tour with Carcass and Crowbar on the East Coast, so we and Night Demon had a string of shows in order to get back to California. Originally we had wanted to go to Cleveland (sorry guys) but we ended up in Webster, NY, at some old Mason hall or church or whatever… I don’t know. It was near Rochester, and even the few folks from Rochester were like, “Webster?” But whatever, the people who did show up were the right people and had a rocking good time.
We had to drive all night, again, but were set to hit Chicago and one of the best venues in the United States, Reggie’s Rock Club. The staff lead by Edgar is fucking on point, the food at the attached bar is great, they have laundry, a back room, but most importantly, they have insane Chicagoans who know how to rock the fuck out. Easily it bested any of the previous nights on tour… the ENTIRE tour.
We stepped out of the van into the Albuquerque sun behind the aptly named Sunshine Theater. Instantly, I could feel the carcinogens forming in my skin. This place was dastardly hot. The only place to unload our gear was currently baking in the open sunlight, so we opted to leave loading until we could find shade for our multitude of meltable props. Sean and I headed in an Uber to Home Depot and picked up more crap to fix all our broken hardware. We came, we played, we got paid, we were on our way for a two-day drive to Memphis. Until…
We were flagged down on the road by a woman pointing at our front left tire. I pulled off to the next rest stop and had a look. The rubber had quite literally been baked off the steel-belt of the tire, likely by the amazing New Mexico heat the day before. We avoided a blow out, but we did’t avoid being flummoxed by the lack of a tire iron in our rented van.
I mean, seriously, where to even begin? I’d say it was the worst start of a tour ever, but then again, I had one tour start where our guitarist and friend was near death with a burst appendix. Perspective, ya know? Losing a bus and all the money invested is really nothing so long as nobody is hurt. It costs a bunch, but that’s what credit cards are for.
This last weekend, I was helping my wife out taking some band photos of our friends’ band, Serpent Crown. At one point I hoisted her on my shoulders to try for a bird’s eye view. I was reminded of seven years previous, going through some similar extreme measures to get photographs for Ludicra’s The Tenant. I wasn’t blogging at the time, stupidly, so here’s a Throwback Thursday post about this cover.
At the time this came out in 2009, some people commented “why did they photoshop a dumb door onto the water?” Well, fuck you. First, don’t use a product name as a verb in a sentence. Second, Photoshop was not involved in editing this door into a body of water. It was me and my own damn two hands what did the work putting a real door into a real body of water.
While I wait for a bunch of other cool shit to appear, this release follows hot on the heels of the last Sodom re-issue that I did layouts for. Persecution Mania: Sodom’s second full length (and really superior to the first) available for order now from Wax Maniax.
This is quite a cool package. Doubly vinyl, gatefold, full lyrics, etc. This release has never been better. But it’s not for want of trying to be worse. It seems that when it comes to the 1980s, there was a little to be desired in terms of archiving all the media that went into creating such a milestone record of thrash metal.
Well, this was quite an honor… doing layouts for the re-issue of Sodom’s first LP, Obsessed by Cruelty. I got the gig thanks to my good friend Dan at Mammoth Sound Mastering. He introduced me to the fellas at Wax Maniax. My first gig (not my last) for them was just for, oh, I don’t know, one of the best thrash bands ever? All in all, I think it came out quite smashing.
This version includes both recordings of the album, one that was released on vinyl in Germany and the other that is pretty much the only version most people have heard. It’s a long story. In any case, I got to sift through photos provided by Tom Angelripper and make a bad-ass photo collage. I tried my damnedest to correct the shoddy, original lyrics sheet, and did a lot of photo correction. Even the LP labels reflect the original releases’ designs of Metal Blade and Steamhammer Records.
This beauty sold out in just a couple weeks, but I’m sure they’ll eventually have more over at the Wax Maniax website.