Doc welcomes legendary drummer, Dave Lombardo, to the show and they talk about how busy Dave has been during the pandemic working with Mr. Bungle and other projects, how figures like Mike Patton and John Zorn have expanded his musical prowess, how his early days with Slayer innovated drumming as well as extreme music, how Rick Rubin helped the band grow, what is was like leaving Slayer, how Grip Inc. came together and his experience starting a new band from scratch, expanding his career playing with different bands like Testament and Fantomas, his thought process on organic drumming, gaining closure by rejoining Slayer and being able to play the last shows with Jeff Hanneman, his philosophy on staying humble, and what it was like to fill in for Metallica.
This episode features the songs “End of Heartache” by Pathos and Logos and “Raping Your Mind” by Mr. Bungle.
Follow Dave on Instagram @DaveLombardo and Twitter @TheDaveLombardo
Doc welcomes Vio-Lence guitarist, Phil Demmel, to the show and they talk about how Phil has been dealing with life during the pandemic, how his decision to leave Machine Head has affected his life positively, confronting and questioning his playing abilities, why filling in for Slayer saved his music career, how the two bonded during the touring cycle for Through The Ashes of Empires in his early days in Machine Head, his new cover project, BPMD, reuniting with Vio-Lence, and take a walk down memory lane about the late 80s thrash scene and why Vio-Lence hung it up the first time around.
This episode features the songs “The Fall” by The Silencer and “The Permanent Decay” by Echoes of Reckoning featuring Phil Demmel, Brandan Schieppati, David Ellefson, and Dave McClain.
For my opening salvo, I suppose I should mention that it has been a long break between blogs. I’ve been meaning to get back to it, but this summer has been a very busy one filled with the musical composition of the new God Forbid album as well as a new project I’ve been working on, in addition to the daily pursuit of living life and getting by. I hope to contribute more frequently in the near future.
If you’ve followed my articles in the past, you may notice that I often address music history, and pertaining to this site, heavy music specifically. I have a great respect for artistic pioneers and the roots of where the most admirable and brilliant music stems from. I was the type of kid who would read liner notes and interviews by my favorite bands to find out who influenced them. I would always want to climb that musical family tree to see where it lead.
In the last few years, something seemed to happen and I barely noticed. Suddenly, I’m no longer the young kid at the show. I’m one of the guys hiding out by the bar. I’m not crowd surfing, not covered in sweat with my shirt off, and I’m certainly not moshing. I’m also not randomly yelling “Slayer!”, but that seems to span all demographics. I became… (gulp)… an adult. I don’t know what the range is in the ages of the followers of MetalSucks, but I’ll assume that it’s a mix of younger and older metal fans. I am 29 years old, but I still feel relatively young and energetic considering my opening salvo. I’m the youngest member of my band, and younger than a good majority of my friends in bands and the industry.
With that said, I think there comes a time for all metal heads, and probably all adults for that matter, when you look at what is popular amongst the true youth culture (16-24), and you feel as if not only do you not relate to it, but it feels alien, as if it’s creation was not meant for your consumption (which it wasn’t) – and it also seems inferior to music that you grew up with. I’m only 29, and I’m already having “back in my day” moments. It kind of scared me, and I began to wonder if I was being obtuse and a little too set in my ways, or if my analysis was accurate.
I am going to assume that a decent portion of the followers of this site are themselves musicians with bands of their own. That is generally how it goes with metal. There are seamless lines blurred between the “fans” and the “bands” because, like myself, many metal patrons represent both categories. Without this large sector of musician fans, technically proficient bands that cater directly to this base (like Dream Theater, Meshuggah, and Necrophagiast) would be much less successful. So to those musicians, I would like to use this blog to shine a light on one of the harsh truths in all music and entertainment that many musicians choose to ignore –
Image matters a lot in this industry. In fact, it’s probably just as important as the music.
We’ve all been there. Tensions are high in some packed, sweaty venue, sparked by feverish excitement and the potential for violence. These people paid good money to enjoy some type of cathartic release. The frontman for whatever hard-nu-death-crab-metal-core outfit is brazen and demanding. Can you believe this shit? You PAID to be entertained, and this guy is telling YOU what to do! The speech goes something like this: “I want everybody in this room moving! Front to back, side to side, NO ONE STANDS STILL! When this part kicks in, I want total [Insert destructive word here like “chaos,” “mayhem,” or “bedlam” if you’re witty]. If the person next to you isn’t moving, MAKE THEM MOVE!” Than, if the action is not adequate, this screamer/pep rally organizer calls YOU some variation of “pussy” or “faggot” or really anything to make you feel like a soft, womanly bitch of a man in order to get in that pit and kick another grown man in the face, all in the spirit of making this band look like they are awesome. But then something happens, as if the air is sucked out of the room at the moment of impact – when those glorious staccato chugs kick in, the crowd is almost always powerless to its charms regardless of the obvious lack of substance. Like junk food and reality TV, we have a love affair with breakdowns.
A couple weeks ago, I did an interview with Metal Injection for a retrospective on the highlights, trends, and cultural significance of the heavy music scene from an insider’s perspective concerning the last ten years. Near the end of the interview, I was asked if there were any sub-genres or trends that I didn’t like, or that seemed to get on my nerves. I thought about it for a minute, and generally annoying things like nu-metal or screamo or stale metalcore just seemed obvious and an easy target, when something dawned on me. I was generally annoyed by the whole ReThrash scene.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Municipal Waste, and have enjoyed the likes of Warbringer and Toxic Holocaust on occasion. I consider myself a diehard original thrash fan, counting Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Testament as some of my all-time favorite bands that really imprinted themselves on my musical DNA, displaying exactly what great heavy metal should embody. After this interview, I kept thinking about this, and realized that what perturbed me wasn’t the music at all. I liked plenty of these bands. What I really didn’t like was when any type of retro trend gets way too much credit without bringing anything significantly new to the equation. So I guess my real beef is with metal critics, blogs, websites, industry aficionados, and publications, all of which tend to have an over reaching obsession with nostalgia. Not to play favorites, but I am also equally bothered by the metal media’s constant stroking of the stoner rock scene, AKA 10,000 bands that all sound like Black Sabbath.
Last week, during one of my daily perusals of this very blog, I came across a rather scathing recounting of Killswitch Engage’s self-titled album, which came out earlier this year. This caught me a bit off guard, as I considered it to be one of my favorite albums of the year and a step in the right direction from Daylights Dies, which was at first very disappointing but grew on me after some time. I was even more surprised when I saw that most user comments tended to agree with the blog entry.
Most of the criticism seemed to center around Killswitch’s supposed inability to stray from their winning formula. People seemed to think that their sound had become stagnant, and that there wasn’t enough variety between albums and songs. Now I don’t disagree that KSE has a pretty standard formula for their songs and a definitive sound that really hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, but I am disagreeing that this is necessarily a bad thing. I want to ask you guys if you think it’s better for a band to stick to a relatively confined style through their career like Hatebreed, Cannibal Corpse, or Motorhead, or is it better to expand and experiment like Mastodon, The Haunted, or Cave In.