I've been meaning to post more downloadable stuff on here, so here you go. Don't say I never gave ya nuthin! Happy New Year, folks!
You know, like most folks out there, I get down on my life and myself and get frustrated and shit, but really I'm a pretty lucky guy. I've been fortunate enough to get to travel all over the place playing atrocious, aggravating music for like-minded nutsos and become friends with some of my favorite musicians from the underground. On a few occasions, I've even got to play with them. Most folks know that I got to play guitar for my favorite Death Metal / Grindcore band Repulsion for a number of years. That was really a great time. Scott (Carlson) and Matt (Olivo) are both great dudes and taught me a lot about music and provided me with a zillion anecdotes and insights from the origins of the Death Metal scene. And, they also turned me onto Riot, for which I am eternally grateful. I dug their “Fire Down Under” record so much that when I started my Metalli-deth “Arena Thrash” band, Scarecrow we ended up covering that tune. Playing in Repulsion was a total Death Metal nerd wet-dream come true, and one of the easiest jobs in metal. Basically, I just showed up, played my favorite songs, and then got a couple beers and a few bucks. It really doesn't get better than that.
Scarecrow "Swords And Tequila" - and yes, I know this song is way out of (extremely limited) vocal range.
I want to take the opportunity here to set the record straight on how that all came to be. I first met Matt and Scott at Maryland Deathfest in '03 when both Exhumed and Repulsion played. As far as I remember, that was the last Repulsion show with the original lineup. A couple of years prior, I had, through my job selling records direct to stores for Necropolis Records back in the '90s (when that was still a thing), happened to stumble upon the phone number of the legendary (at least in Flint, MI) Doug Earp (RIP) – the man who paid for the recording of “Slaughter Of The Innocent” - or as it's better known today, “Horrified”. Being a massive Repulsion fan, I kept Doug on the phone for the better part of an hour, soaking in every detail he could recall of the recording process, (mostly the engineer's disbelief at the band's sound) and any other bit of Repulsion minutae I could wring out of this incredibly nice and patient man. Doug was obviously bemused and stoked that someone was so interested in the record and was nothing but a gentleman as we spoke. I mention that conversation because, by the time I actually met Matt and Scott I probably knew as much about the recording of “Horrified” as anyone who wasn't actually present possibly could. I think their reaction was a mixture of flattery, amusement and bewilderment when I proceeded to nerd out on their (very gracious and patient) asses.
Repulsion with the original lineup at MDF '03
Fast-forward a few months later and Repulsion was offered a show in Spain, and for whatever reason, original drummer Dave “Grave” Hollingshead decided that he didn't want to travel overseas and opted out of the show. The first person Relapse recommended for the job was, of course, my best friend and long-time partner in grime, Col Jones. Anyone who has heard the Cretin “Freakery” record can attest that Col has perfected and improved Dave's legendary drumming style, so he was the perfect fit for the job. Since Matt and Scott both live in LA, Col needed someone local to practice with, so I set about learning the Repulsion set to rehearse with him so that he'd be primed and ready to jam with the elder statesmen when the time came. It was sort of like helping your best friend get ready for a date with a girl you'd been in love with for years. You're happy for the guy, but you're also jealous as hell. Anyway, as the date of show drew nearer, guitarist Aaron Freeman decided that he didn't want to do anymore shows with the band either. Well, luckily for me, I was already jamming with Col, knew all the songs, and was one of the biggest Repulsion fans on the planet... So Col graciously recommended me to the guys, and things went from there. Thanks are due to Col for helping me get my foot in the door with the band, and congrats to my successors (I quit the band after our shows with At The Gates, right before I moved to Hawaii), two of my favorite guitarists and people, my former partner in the Exhumed twin-axe attack, Mike Beams, and one of my oldest friends, Marissa Martinez of Cretin, who has nailed the Repulsion writing style better than anyone not named Scott, Matt, Dave, or Aaron.
Repulsion with Col and I in LA at the Murderfest in '07. I think we all have much cooler hair now, except Col, who has always had cool hair - at least since 11th grade anyway.
What a lot of people don't know is that I actually spent a night fronting one of my other favorite bands of all time, Exodus. When I was rehearsing for the first Repulsion show, I had just started working at Alternative Tentacles Records, via the recommendation of their General Manager at the time, Dave Adelson (who now runs his own awesome label, 20 Buck Spin, full time). I was living in the South Bay and the AT office was in Emeryville (right between Oakland and Berkeley) so the commute was horrible, especially with the Bay Area's notoriously atrocious traffic. I had some car trouble on the way home Thursday night and I opted to take Friday off work to get my car fixed, since taking the bus or train would literally take several hours round-trip. I was awoken by my phone that morning- a call from an unknown 510 area-code number. Since I am kind of a hermit and I hate talking on the phone, I let it go to voice-mail and checked the message an hour or so later once my car was at the shop. To say I was surprised to hear Gary Holt on my voice-mail would be the understatement of the century. I called him back immediately and he told me that Zetro had just quit the band, and, if I wasn't doing anything the next night, Exodus had a show in Mexico City and needed a singer. I had to think about it for a second, because to be honest I was intimidated as hell, but I knew I would be kicking myself for years if I didn't jump on this opportunity.
|At the airport with the Exo-dudes, I'm the idiot in the middle with the shit-eating "I can't believe I'm doing this!" grin.|
I had a truly amazing time in Mexico City, and the whole show is really a bit of a blur looking back, but it was an amazing night. One thing that's really worth mentioning is the kids at the show. They didn't care that I wasn't Zetro or Baloff, they just really cared that a band that lost their singer 2 days earlier didn't cancel on them and did whatever it took to come down and play for them. They were nothing but wonderful to me, and I can't thank them enough. I didn't know what to expect, I thought people were going to be really pissed off or something, but mid-way through the first song, I looked down and saw a kid with a “Gore Metal” shirt on, and started to feel like everything was gonna be okay. The Exodus guys asked me about going to South America with them the following week, but I needed to be available for Repulsion and I didn't want to have just started a new job working for an old friend just to turn around and quit within the first month. If I had just gone for it, who knows what would have happened... My liver and brain would probably have been destroyed several times over by now! When I heard “Shovel-Headed Kill Machine” a couple years later, I knew that Exodus was back to full-strength and then some, sounding better than they had in years. In the meantime, I got to play in Repulsion for four years or so, and years later, my own goofy band has a new album out that people seem to like, so I think everything worked out pretty well all the way around.
I've had the audio recording of this show for years, but out of respect to Exodus, I've been hesitant to share it beyond a few close friends, but when I recently saw them on the Slayer tour in Calgary last year (thank Satan they don't have to play at shitholes like the Covered Wagon these days) Gary and Tom (and Rob for that matter) gave me their blessing to post the audio from the show. It's very raw, just a guy in the audience with a hand-held tape recorder, and my vocals are pretty shredded as the show goes on, but it's at least good for a laugh – or in case you need to remember really obscure, random Metal trivia facts, haha! If you want to nit-pick and critique my performance, go ahead, but keep in mind I had literally no rehearsal with the band, and one day to learn the lyrics to (at the time) new songs like “War is my Shepherd”, “Shroud Of Urine” and “Scar Spangled Banner”. We ran through those tunes and “Blacklist” at soundcheck, “Blacklist” was a little rough so we dropped it. Everything else was just done on the fly. It was a pleasure and an honor to share the stage with one of my absolute favorite bands of all time and I want to thank those guys again for letting me do it, and for giving the go-ahead and share this recording with the fine folks of the interweb. That said, I would love to see any video of this show, if such a thing exists. This was before literally everything was on youtube, so I've never come across any footage of it. If you have it, get in touch!
So here it is: