Despite having a shitload of music and lyrics that I've been really confident with for months, a few key elements for the record had been missing thus far, namely actual rehearsals, the album title, and the artwork concept. After weeks of coming up with potential titles to no avail, I was driving home from work a couple of weeks ago and, of course, the idea came to me instantly, no thesaurus, notebook, or search engine needed. That makes the artwork concept a lot easier to work towards, and was a real relief, as well as a nice kick in the ass to get going on the record. And yeah, I can't reveal the album title yet or any song titles, so please don't ask. Feeling galvanized just by coming up with a title, I was really chomping at the bit to get going with a proper rehearsal.
Everyone's schedules are kind of crazy so it had taken a little while to get things lined up for us to even get in the same room together up to this point. In fact, plans were still up in the air as far as where the actual rehearsal would finally take place when I headed south to the the sunny, mild climes of Camarillo to meet up with Wes. The first night, Sunday, we just hung out had a few (dozen) beers and a few laughs, before getting down to brass tacks on Monday. Monday ended up being just Wes and I fine-tuning and brushing up on songs and riffs, with me getting to try out my guitar after a full set-up for the first time. That felt awesome- like I had just gotten an entirely new, totally kick-ass axe. (Thanks again, Wes!) So after about four hours of serious work, Natural Ice took its toll and we ended up spending the last hour or so laughing our asses off while trading Dismember, Carnage, Entombed, Carcass, Obituary, Death, and Autopsy riffs back and forth. The next day we met up with percussionist extraordinaire Danny Walker after he got off work, and the three of us headed south to the mean streets of Vernon (basically L.A.) where Intronaut and Murder Construct practice. You can see Wes to the left, performing the all-important first step in any Exhumed practice.
I have a bit of a confession to make here: My usual strategy is to always project confidence no matter what the circumstance, which usually works out pretty well, but I can now admit to feeling a certain level of trepidation before we got started. Sure, we had been working for months on these songs individually, and had talked on the phone, via email, text, hung out and had a few beers, etc. etc. but Tuesday night would be the true trial by fire- not only for the new material, but really for our entire method of putting the album together. If the practice was a disaster, we really wouldn't have the time or money to get shit sorted out in time for the record. Plus, it was my first real band rehearsal in about two years. While warming up on one of the riffs from a new song of ours, Danny joined in, then Wes started playing, and before we knew it we had played pretty much the whole song. Then we started from the beginning and nailed it and all my fears melted away immediately. Leon arrived shortly thereafter and added some nice Repulsion Bass Grind rumble to the proceedings.
We made it through nine songs in all that night and, of course I'm biased here... but, I thought shit sounded intense as fuck. It was a big relief that things got going really naturally and felt easy and, well, I can't think of a better word for it than normal. It was like putting on your favorite old t-shirt that you always wear to shows or something – it just felt like Exhumed. Of course, not everyone knew every riff to every song, and some songs took a couple of tries to get through, but really things went great overall. In-jokes were bantered, dolphins (see the pic of Danny above), Ted Sanchez, butter and farts were discussed, PBRs were drained, we all shared some rad Mike Beams anecdotes, and a good time was had by all- even Leon, who was dead tired and super stressed with the prep work for Murder Construct's shows with Venomous Concept (which are happening as I type this) - see pic at right. All told, we played for about three and a half hours and I left not having to worry about projecting confidence, because I was charged up as fuck and truly very, very confident with our progress and our ability to be ready to go into the studio to cut the drum tracks in three scant weeks.
As I drove home up the coast of California after parting ways with the boys I felt better than ever about the new record and the way that everything has been coming together. So good news all around. Next year is getting interesting with plans for Europe already starting to take shape, and I'm feeling like we have our shit in a state more resembling togetherness than I thought. Anyway, tune in next time, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for more chapters in the seemingly never-ending battle to complete this record.
Harvey and the usual gang of idiots