Last year, Exhumed was invited to play the 2018 edition of the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. I hadn’t played with Exhumed in almost a full year’s time while their former bass player, Matt Slime, filled-in for me. He’s logged in more time playing with Exhumed than I have since “replacing” him. I actually did offer Exhumed to take Slime in my stead, because a nice cruise seemed like it would be a good reward for hard work. Well, they insisted I go and I got to enjoy my second 70000 Tons.
I played the boat two years ago with my fellow hooded cannibals. It was a wild ride. We’re obviously not the main kind of draw that the cruise has, it being mostly populated with power metal bands from Europe. They do get a few good death and thrash bands to even things out a bit for the attendees who like something more than just songs about ale and vikings on long boats.
It’s like some kind of weird dream… I’m apparently back in Exhumed. Only, it’s not in the same room, and like, there’s a snake rolling a donut. I mean, it’s actually been almost two years since I accepted the invitation to rejoin, but we’ve had just a handful of shows since. Matt has had a record ready to record before I even joined, though. This last March, when I asked Matt when we would get down to practice new stuff, he informed me, actually, we were going ahead and recording . It had to be done before May. Oh, fuck. Okay, the dream became a nightmare.
So, okay… get your shit together, Sewage, this is fucking happening. Matt and Mike were heading to Florida to get guitars and drums tracked. To keep things easy (and cheap) I was going to take care of my own vocal and bass tracking back in Oakland. This not only had the benefit of saving costs, but also of sparing anyone the time of editing all the shitty playing that was to be forthcoming on a bunch of songs I’d never actually played with a band. It was lucky that I had collected the gear, had the studio with my other Oakland-based band, and had been through some of this before. Here’s how I did it.
I guess I hadn’t totally blown it guest bass-playing for five days with Exhumed, because Matt Harvey shot me an email asking if I’d like to play with them at some little fest in Mexico. I said, sure, because I’m a dummy and didn’t even think about how busy I’d be around then, moving, working, playing shows, and prepping for tour. Me am smart. So of course, I put off the newer Exhumed songs I needed to learn to play a full set. As I meandered threw them in the days before, I finally saw the little fest we were playing wasn’t so little. Judas Priest headlining? Holy fuck…
To be honest, I’d avoided hearing too much of later Exhumed records because I’m a bitter little bitch. Now I had to learn vocals and bass licks I had just the barest familiarity with. I was surprised at how complicated Exhumed riffs had gotten. I ditched any notion of trying to learn this shit finger-strumming in the short time I had and went straight to the pick. I was also surprised how much I liked it way more than the material immediately following my original firing. Exhumed 2.0 is one bad-assed death metal band.
After a long-assed drive from Oakland’s punk-sister-city of Portland, I was back home. Hell, I spend such an inordinate amount of time at the Oakland Metro Operahouse, I even got married there. Tonight, I would rock the stage yet again, but this time with the first band I was ever in worthy of noting. It felt like I would be showing the biggest group of friends ever an old photo album.
I showed up early, because I have a nervous fit if I’m not in a club I’m playing before doors open. I had absolutely no cause to be there, but to walk around not actually loading shit. If I’d wanted this set to be 100% old-school, the proper thing to do would’ve been showing up five minutes before playing and realizing I had a broken string.
While I slept, little baby New Year decided to throw me a few curveballs for 2015. I awoke on January 1 to an email from my old bandmate from Exhumed, Matt Harvey. They recently released the Gore Metal re-recording which I had participated in, redoing all my vocals and not being able to speak for two days after. Now, they were going on tour with the crazy gods of Voivod and Napalm Death in support of Gore Metal 2. Their current bassist, Matt Slime, was leaving the band due to job commitments. Matt asked if I wanted to play the tour. Sonofabitch.
I was kicked out of Exhumed 16 years ago. The feud between me and Exhumed lasted for years afterward, affecting both Impaled and Ludicra to varying degrees. Fisticuffs were almost had at one point. I tried to keep it out of the public eye, well, except for when I didn’t (like putting a murdered Exhumed fan on an Impaled 7” cover). Real mature, right? Well, the peace was made long ago and we’re all much more mature people. That includes mature life responsibilities, so I had to decline doing the whole tour on such short notice. But I offered to do some West Coast dates, and Matt accepted: five gore metal filled days traipsing down memory lane.
November 12th was an epic night for metal in Oakland, California. Napalm Death and Municipal Waste bringing us a show of epic proportions.
Along with long-time metal stalwarts and former locals, Exhumed, punk legends and actual locals, Attitude Adjustment, and last and probably least, our own gang in Impaled, you’ve got a bill worth getting in line for. A big fucking line.