The Return Of GOD: Megadeth – Live At Roseland Ballroom November 10th 2004

I realized that it’s been a long time since I wrote about my concert history, the last time I wrote anything was about my trip to Ozzfest ’04 featuring headliners Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath…with Rob Halford on vocals.  Click here if you never read it:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2016/06/30/possibly-the-best-ozzfest-lineup-ever-ozzfest-2004-august-26th-2004/

But that left one more concert for that year and it was one I NEVER thought I’d see.  Seriously.  Never.

A year earlier, Thrash Metal pioneer Dave Mustaine, who had quit Megadeth – his own band – and retired from music over an arm injury, had announced he was coming out of retirement.  He’d even gotten himself a brand new endorsement deal with ESP Guitars…which I’d wonder from time to time after that if that was yet another blatant attempt to feel validated by his ex Metallica bandmates, as James Hetfield had been endorsed by them since 1988 and by the way still is.  He had announced plans to remix and remaster the entire Megadeth catalogue, which he had actually started in 2001 when he remixed and remastered the band’s 1985 debut Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good…which really did give the record a fresh pair of raw, drug addled BALLS.   Dave also mentioned the idea of recording a solo record that while he’d never tour for, he’d probably perform a small handful of club shows.  Or so he thought.

About a year later Mustaine started posting snippets of new recordings and to say the least, they did sound promising.  Very promising.  This was also following the news that he managed to get former Megadeth guitarist lead guitarist Chris Poland to play on this new record…which was now a Megadeth record by name only due to contractual obligations with his publishing company.  Let’s speed this up: he teased us with the release of three songs that sounded fucking great.  Later in the year he released The System Has Failed, featuring those three songs as the opening three tracks.  After that it’s such a fucking shitfest.  From a musician’s standpoint the guitar tones were so fucking WEAK due to Mustaine playing an old Marshall Plexi, which is NOT the appropriate amp to play his style of music to begin with.  Second of all, I understood that this was recorded as a solo record before Mustaine was forced to make it a Megadeth record, so I expected to hear a musical departure of sorts.  But this whole album minus the first three songs was just lame.  Oh, and if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of the jackasses that proclaimed that The System Has Failed was the “best album since Rust In Peace!”, you should jump in front of an 18 wheeler yesterday.  Thanks.

Around the time of the album’s release Dave appeared on Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk to discuss everything that was happening from the album’s release to his MAJOR fallout with co-founder/bassist David Ellefson to Ellefson, Marty Freidman and Nick Menza – the classic Rust In Peace lineup – all refusing to join him on this comeback tour.  But when he gave Eddie the list of tour dates he said the New York City on November 10th was a possibility (he couldn’t remember for sure at the time) I knew to save the date.  Yeah the “comeback” record was weak but this allegedly was going to be the last time Dave Mustaine went on the road under the Megadeth banner so I didn’t give a shit.  I had worshiped this guy since high school and some of my own guitar technique was taken from him.  There was NO WAY I was missing this.

Tickets were pretty cheap at $36 each so I bought tickets for the guys in my band at the time: Idrees and Chad (who never paid me back because he’s scumbag piece of shit).  Our newest addition to the band, our drummer Chris, met us there with his girlfriend Shari and her sister Marissa, who was actually the music director of my college radio station at the time, along with her boyfriend Vin.  Marissa claimed to be a big Megadeth fan but as she’d admit to later on, she was nothing more than a poser.  I loved her to death – and she also had a great pair of titties! – but don’t call yourself a big fan of ANY band if you only have two albums from that band.

We arrived at the now-defunct Roseland Ballroom, close to the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, looking so 80’s it was hilarious, myself wearing a leather jacket with my denim vest over it and leather gloves with my dog chain that I still have.  I had already learned that I’d rather wear just a plain, black shirt instead of any band shirt in order to avoid random losers interrogating me on love of said band and telling me stories I could honestly give two shits about.  As we all walked in, the opening band, Exodus were playing.  This was weird to see only because they had JUST released a new album, Tempo Of The Damned, only for longtime vocalist Steve “Zetro” Sousa to quit shortly after.  So who was singing for him?  Steev from Skinlab…who was doing way too much to try to look like Phil Anselmo circa 1996, between the undershave haircut (Idrees called it the Vagina Haircut), the leather cuffs, the short sleeve flannel shirt, the green cargo shorts and his tendency to always bend down to scream…which by the way Phil stole from Henry Rollins.

In between bands, as Megadeth were next, Idrees was approached by this muscular, 16 year old kid with glasses, who apparently met him in a pit during an Overkill show at the also now-defunct B.B. King’s.  After they shared they shared a few words the boy turned to me and said he knew me too.  I was very confused; between his physique and the glasses I was sure he had to have mistaken me for someone else, until he reminded me that he met me at my former music store were I was still taking lessons at the time, and that he had approached me when he heard me playing the Megadeth song “Sweating Bullets” on an acoustic guitar.  That was two years earlier and I had not seen him in that long a time so the fact that he remembered me was impressive.  Nonetheless we were both stoked to see each other.  We’d wind up hanging out together almost frequently for the next four years after this night but that almost didn’t happen and here’s why!

The lights went out, the crowds lost their shit as Ice T’s “Shut Up, Be Happy” began blaring through the speakers…

One by one, the current touring lineup Mustaine put together for this tour start to walk out on stage: drummer Shawn Drover, ex-Iced Earth bassist James MacDonough, guitarist Glen Drover.  There’s wall of sick looking Marshall cabinets on the stage with a drum kit that looks a LOT like something Nick Menza would’ve played.  After a minute of two…you could hear the sounds of another guitar playing the beginning of “Set The World Afire” from 1988’s So Far, So Good…So What!.  That’s when Dave Mustaine finally walked out on stage, chugging away on his guitar.  At that moment I felt a foot come out of nowhere, kicking me right in the fucking nose, making me bleed.  Then the entire crowd were to become one gigantic mosh pit, meaning Rob and I, as quickly as we were reunited, were being forcefully pushed apart.  We tried to grab on to each other but this crowd was understandably way too violent to try and overcome unless I really wanted broken bones to go with the bloody nose.

The band pulled out the classics on after another, starting with “Afire” and kicking right into “Skin ‘O’ My Teeth” into “Wake Up Dead”, which is when shit REALLY got out of hand.  Then again, if you know ANYTHING about Megadeth I shouldn’t have to tell you that “Wake Up Dead” is essentially that one song meant just for moshing once the band gets into that middle riff after Dave’s first solo.  And that was immediately followed by “In My Darkest Hour”.  The band were really able to hold there own, although I always thought Shawn Drover was the least dynamic drummer in Megadeth’s entire history.  Mustaine, however was surprising.  He’d retired because he couldn’t even move his arm thanks to this bizarre injury he acquired and more than two years later he’s absolutely ripping it up as if nothing happened to him!  It honestly made me and probably a few others rather suspicious as to the actual severity of his injury.  But that’s a story for another time.

Here’s the setlist:

Set The World Afire

Skin ‘O’ My Teeth

Wake Up Dead

In My Darkest Hour

Something That I’m Not

Angry Again

Of Mice And Men

Reckoning Day

A Tout Le Monde

Die Dead Enough

Tornado Of Souls

Kick The Chair

Hangar 18

Sweating Bullets

Symphony Of Destruction

Back In The Day (featuring Exodus near the end of the song)

Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?

Encore:

Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

At the end of the set, and after the band walked off the stage, Dave Mustaine walked back on for second.  “Thank you…for believing in me!”, he yelled out, before walking off for good.  As I said earlier, this was allegedly going to be the last time he toured not just under the Megadeth banner, but at all.  This would go on for another several months, and on to his first ever attempt at a festival gig, which I did go to.  But that’s for another article.

I no longer remember much about what happened after I left the building with my band, but I can only assume I bumped into Rob again and I’m sure we had to have finally exchanges numbers, either outside the building or on the ferry heading home.  He’d tag along with Idrees and I to see Megadeth in New Jersey two years later.  What I do remember, however, was driving not home, but to my Dad’s house after I was dropped off by ferry.  It was almost 2am; I knew that it’d be way easier to sleep there than home, where my jackass brother and mother were most likely fighting even that late at night.  I totally skipped my Astronomy class the following afternoon, having woken up around the time the class had just started, I think.  No regerts.  None.  But my radio show was that afternoon so I did have to head to campus whether I like it or not.  The show’s opener that afternoon?

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Album Of The Year 2018

I know what you’re thinking.  There are a few albums I could’ve easily picked to be my top pick for this year’s Album Of The Year pick.   Hate Eternal and High On Fire both came out with new albums.  Fuck, speaking of Matt Pike and High On Fire, his previous band, Sleep, released a comeback album that some of you are STILL fisting yourselves to!  And that’s fine…but I can give two shits because Alice In Chains came back with an amazingly, dark, depressing, desolate new album. I’m talking better than 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here by fucking far!

Oh sure, I was already excited since I’ve worshiped this band and especially Jerry Cantrell for half my life now; but then I heard the opening single:

Well holy shit.  Just go straight to that chorus line and I can swear the music sounds like it could’ve fit beautifully on the band’s 1995 self titled album.  In fact, a major portion of Rainier Fog sounds very much like it would’ve fit right in on the aforementioned self titled album.  And as it turns out, the band decided to take trip back to the past to get the right aura for recording my Album Of The Year.

The band set up camp back in Seattle at Studio X, former Bad Animals Studios, which Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart owned between 1991 and 1997 and as actually named after their their 1987 album of the same name (this was when Heart were 80s sellouts playing shit arena rock).  Bad Animals is where the band recorded their self titled album, sadly their last with the late Layne Staley on vocals.  So needless to say, if you believe in ghosts, you just might here one of two on here.

The product of this return to their roots of sorts is such a fucking downer.  It’s so depressing it’s beautiful.  Gone are a lot of the Heavy Metal aspects of their previous album and especially their 2009 masterpiece of a comeback album, Black Gives Way To Blue; but there is still a shit ton of Doom all around, providing the proverbial atmosphere of a perennial rainy day.  Make no mistake though, Rainier Fog is still heavy as balls, still an exercise in Sabbath worship.

Tracks such as “The One You Know”, “Rainier Fog”, Cantrell’s tribute to the Seattle scene, “Red Giant”, “Drone” and “Never Fade”, the second single from the album, prove Alice are still the very definition of a modern day Black Sabbath…and that Cantrell is still a GOD.  These tracks in particular are the closest to being “grungy” as the band has sounded in 23 years, with slow, crushing riffs, drums that supply the groove yet still let the songs breath, and those vocal harmonies.  It can’t be made anymore obvious that whether William DuVall is singing or Jerry himself, Jerry is truly the mastermind behind some of these virtually morbid vocal arrangements.  Only Alice In Chains could ever make me want to kill myself through beautifully depressing harmonies!  In fact, I feel like “The One You Know” can be like the sequel to “Grind”!  And “Drone” is truly a Sabbath Worship song in just about every way.  The chorus line is especially depression as Cantrell sings “I’ll stay here and feed my pet black hole…”.

Speaking of Sabbath Worship, “Deaf Ears Blind Eyes”, is as doomy as it gets.  It’s main, single note guitar lines could’ve easily been used on Master Of Reality.  But what will really grab your attention is Cantrell’s haunting vocal arrangement.  Clearly a song about what happens when you let anxiety run your life, I had to do a double take and make sure I wasn’t listening to a 90’s recording with Layne on vocals because it sure sounded like it!  It’s probably one of to more lyrically profound tracks on here as Cantrell sings “feel like a fake thing/where did the time go?/Memories worth making/pass by the window…”.

On the other end of the Sabbath Worship is “So Far Under”, the one song solely penned by DuVall…who clearly has spent way too much time with Cantrell.  That bending note in the chorus is essentially the “seasick riff” Cantrell used on “Check My Brain”, hence why it can be easily to immediately think Cantrell wrote it.  Oh sure, the lyrics may be some of the most positive on Rainier Fog, but his solo (his not Jerry’s!) screams Tony Iommi and the chorus just happens to bring you r right back down…and seasick.

As for the lighter tracks on here, “Fly” is essentially the sequel to “Over Now”.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Here…just listen for yourself:

And “Maybe” is literally a tour de force of what Jerry and William are capable of as a vocal duo.  They’ve become so good at it in the last nine years that at times it can be hard to figure out who the fuck is singing what.  It’s yet another song about loneliness but their singing will make you want to embrace it in such a romantic way.  If you think I’m nuts after reading that line you’re not an Alice In Chains fan.

Oh, and speaking of loneliness, the most depressing, emotionally draining song on here clearly had to be saved for last.  “All I Am” is sad as fuck from the first atmospheric pulse as it cuts through the ending to “Never Fade”.  It’s hard to really say what the hell Jerry is talking about here.  But I can only assume it’s about someone who’s so damaged from drug use that he can’t even recognize himself anymore.  Would that be too much of a surprise?  Let’s not forget that drugs nearly decimated this band with Layne’s tragic death sixteen years ago to heroin and cocaine.  Everyone in this band were all guilty.  AS I mentioned in my review of Dirt, Jerry was drinking heavily and taking Xanax during the sessions for it.  I just know that when I heard it, I imagine someone on a raft, struggling to stay afloat as he’s being rushed through rapids, rain teaming down in him.  The final result?  Does he survive and rise above?  Does he drown?  It’s all up to you, the listener.  I just know that if you want an album that makes you feel every negative, suicidal emotion you can, Rainier Fog is your go to album.

 

Lift With Hatred: Stupid Shit In The Gym

In the last few years I’ve seen some real STOOPID shit while in the gym.  I won’t lie, I did some unnecessary shit in my early twenties; but I NEVER did half of what I’m about to talk about here.  Fitness, and getting in shape, or whatever the fuck your personal goals are should be fucking simple as shit.  There shouldn’t be any weird dancing with weights, or balls, or misuse of equipment.  And fuck, the way some of you misuse equipment meant to act as a REINFORCEMENT is fucking ANNOYING to see.  So here before you is a short list of shit I want to stop in the gym – ANY gym.  Yeah, even my own gym isn’t safe from some of this shit.

1.Wearing Gloves, Wraps, and Belts Unnecessarily

This is something I saw someone in my current gym do months ago while trying to regain my own squat strength post wrist injury.

Gloves

First rule of ANY kind of real lifting: DO NOT FUCKING WEAR GLOVES YOU LITTLE BITCH!  If you’re stupid enough to do so, I can only assume grip strength isn’t important to you.  Aw, are you afraid of getting callouses?  Have fun never getting strong!  But more so than that, if you “need” to wear gloves for an exercise in which the bar is to be ON YOUR BACK, then you’re not doing it right.  In fact, your wrists are NOT supposed to have ANY pressure on them.

The Cheap Ass, Flimsy, Harbinger Bitch Belts

See the source image  See the source image

I forgive you if you’re brand spanking new to weightlifting.  You’ve yet to be privy to the importance of true quality materials involved in making real belts.  You may not yet even understand that it’s better to learn how to work on strengthening your abs, using that as a “natural belt”.  For the rest of you, I honestly hope those fucking Harbinger belts either dig into your ribs while you’re squatting, or they “fail” you because you probably don’t know how to brace.

I honestly feel like all lifters, regardless of whether or not they are bodybuilders or powerlifters or whatever, need to have a belt that is just one length all the way around, and made of leather.  I, for example, have an Inzer 10mm Forever Belt.  But there a few other brands you can by quality belts from, such as Pioneer Fit.  You can either take this advice or just look like a jerkoff…up to you.

Quarter Squatting With Knee Wraps???

If you’re reading this I’d like to think this is self explanatory.    But if not: if you’re using fucking KNEE WRAPS to squat 225, your squat probably sucks ASS.  Especially if you’re not at least breaking parallel!  Just imagine you’re shitting in the forest, or even do what I did and actually ASK for help.  Some people like to do box squats as a reinforcement – remember that word?  I personally don’t care for them because I feel like it allows the hamstrings to relax and lose tension, but that’s just me.  But this actually leads to my next example of gym stupidty!

2.Real Men Don’t Squat With Bosu Or Medicine Balls!!

I actually saw some tool do this in NYSC in Clifton, NJ two years ago.  He was front squatting with sneakers onto a medicine ball.  First off, if you’re front squatting with sneakers, you better hope I’m not there when you tip over because I’m just going to laugh.  A lot.  Find someone else to help you.  Also, if you’re a man squatting onto a medicine or BOSU ball, do yourself a favor: return your man card right away and make an appointment yesterday for that sex change operation you’ve secret wanted since you got out of high school and entered college, the time where most jackasses finally feel free to wave their jackass flags high!  Fuck, even another woman told me “…I thought only chicks squatted onto BOSU balls…”.  See guys, don’t be that douche with the surfer boy haircut squatting onto a BOSU ball.  Find a box or a small stool or even a bench like a real man.  You are a real man, right?

See the source image

Arnold didn’t have bitch ass medicine balls in 19 whatever the fuck year this was taken in.  And he didn’t need them either, and neither do you unless you’ve begun hormone treatments to grow your tits.

3. Weighted Ballet

This goes out to all you certified personal trainers out there…or at least those of you that only based your knowledge on your ACE or NASM textbooks.  Yeah, I’m a newly certified trainer – but at least I know that the only way to get someone to do a squat is to keep him or her STABLE and not moving around like an asshole.  Or on a BOSU ball.  Or anything that’s not a SOLID surface.

“What the fuck is he doing??”

That’s exactly what I thought when I saw I personal trainer at my last gym (the subject of my inaugural Lift With Hatred article) “teach” his middle aged client this absolutely retarded squat “variation”.  He gave his client two 10lb dumbbells to hold up at shoulder length.  From there, he made him do a squat, then turn 180 degrees to do another squat, and repeat the process.  Fuck, at that point this poor fuck wasn’t learning how to get in shape.  He was learning weighted fucking ballet!  That shit would get me nauseous!

I don’t give a shit about your certification.  I could give two fucks about your knowledge of Golgi Tendon Organs.  If you have any kind of intelligence or even just a little common sense, you’d know that “functional training” is simply performing exercises that mimic everyday life.  That includes the squat and deadlift.  So if I’m picking up a box in a warehouse, am I going to spin around with it like some faggot on Dancing With The Stars, or am I going to load it up on the 18 wheeler like a normal person?  If you said spin around like a jerkoff, then you deserve to get shot in the head.  Twice.  You want to have your clients do a dumbbell squat?  Simple.  Have them do a Goblet Squat: dumbbell to the chest and squat for reps.  It’s easy and effective.

                Look at that shit – so easy your dead great grandmother can do it!

4. Wearing Shirts With Trendy Mottos

See the source image  See the source image

Due to the success of certain YouTube fitness channels, the owners of those channels began selling shirts with their dopey slogans on them.  Of course they sold.  Of course most of these people are absolute toolbags comprising of either bro lifters or fuckheads who only got into Powerlifting because it somehow became trendy.  I want to talk about Barbell Brigade first because I’m going to be less brutal on them than I am with Beastmode.  Barbell Brigade, honestly, looks like an awesome gym that I’d love to train in if I’m ever in that part of California.  But “Dominate Humbly”??  Who the fuck ever dominated ANYTHING with humility?  That’s like a dude starting to brag to his friends about the girl he just boned the other night but the surprise twist was that SHE asked HIM who his daddy was and he liked it as she pounded HIM into submission!  He also probably wore a man bun.  He’s also probably about to go get a sex change.

Beast Mode Bro!

I honestly have no clue who started this #beastmode shit years ago.  I just know that it sucks ass.  Like your mother.  I also know that it’s not only a silly way of saying you’re going hard at the gym, or even at life, or “grinding” (don’t get me started with this stupid term), but it’s another excuse to record yourself on your phone to get YouTube views or Instagram likes.

But what’s hilarious about Beast Mode is…what the fuck are most of you doing that’s so impressive that it justifies a stupid hashtag.  Between videos of bros lifting and pictures of dudes with their shirts off, showing off their upper bodies, you’ve all missed the point.  From the time I started training to now neither I nor my friends ever yelled out “yeah man lets go fuckin’ beast mode today bro!”.  We just went in there, did our shit and when home.  No bragging, all work.  You’ll never go on Dan Green or Shawn Roden’s Instagram pages and find #beastmode on their posts.  Why?  Because they don’t need to put that for everyone to know how hard they worked to get to where they both are now.

Chances are, a good chunk of you probably, are lying through your fucking teeth about exactly how hard you actually work.  I bet that, instead of “grinding” you probabky spent most of your time on your phones.  You probably are clueless when it comes to programming your training for consistent, long term progress.  Your body can be forced to be in “Beast Mode” for only so long before it’s had enough and you either stagnate (the nicest thing that can happen to you) or you get hurt from overtraining because you didn’t schedule a lighter or medium/light week.  Or even a deload week!

The saddest thing about “Beast Mode” is that some older guys have drank the Kool Aid.  Earlier this year I saw a guido looking dude at my gym, looking older than even I, with a gold chain on…and a Beast Mode tank top.  If you’re a man looking close to 40, and you’re wearing a tank top that says “Beast Mode” on it, you most likely haven’t experienced the love a woman in a really long time.  After this you have two choices.  You can either A) throw yourself in front of an incoming train, or B) go make an appointment for a sex change with the guy squatting on a medicine ball.

5. Invisible Dicks

I’ll never forget this night for as long as I live.  February 16th, 2016.  New York Sports Club, Clifton NJ.  I was hyped up, as I was was preparing to finally Deadlift 315 for the first time (I did so for four reps, by the way).  The problem?  The deadlift platform was being used by a middle aged man.  I asked him how many sets he had left and he explained to me that, as per his Crossfit routine (that should already be a warning!), he was set to perform 12 sets of clean and jerks followed immediately by jump rope.

One problem.  I didn’t see a jump rope.  So what this guy started doing after his clean and jerks was probably THE single weirdest form of Bukkake I’ve EVER seen in my life.  He began jumping up and down while “simulating” jumping rope.  All he really looked like all he was doing was jerking off two invisible dicks, but he decided to jack them on his waist because he thought he was too pretty to get it all on his face.  Should’ve known, this apparently was a Crossfit routine, after all.

Image result for sarah palin invisible dicks

Sarah Palin at least got it right.  Why can’t you?

I also saw someone do this shit in my previous gym last summer.  I had no clue Bukkake had become a fitness trend!  But guys (since I’ve yet to see any chicks do this), either get it right like Sarah Palin or don’t do it at all.  Stop fucking jerking off invisible dicks and get a real fucking jump rope you faggots!

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Lift With Hatred

Powerlifting is an external view of how pissed off at the world I really am.  – Kirk Karwoski

The title of this article…if you follow me on Instagram you see this hashtag attached to all my training related videos.  But let it be known now: I didn’t come up with it just for the sake of having a hashtag or to have several thousand followers.  I have nowhere near that.  It’s a literal way of life for me.   I’m not Kirk Karwoski; but much like him, Powerlifting is definitely an extension of how pissed off I really am.

Image result for kirk karwoski

This guy was just a psycho.  In his prime, if he came to the gym and someone was at his squat rack, he’d give them a five minute warning.  If the unlucky fuck wasn’t done yet, Kirk would take their shit and throw it to the side and force them out!

At 34 years old, at a time where most people begin to soften with age, I’ve just become colder.  Friends?  I have so few of them, especially now.  Honestly, fuck ’em, don’t need ’em.  Playing in bands?  More like sixteen years of my life I can never get back.  Family?  Oh, lets not go there.  Work?  Let’s REALLY not go there!  The ONLY thing I want to do is lift heavy shit.  That’s my only relief from the day.

Deadlift with Hatred

Fuck Your Commercial Gym

The Deadlift.  THE single most macho lift anyone can do in their gym…if their gym doesn’t give them shit for it.  In fifteen years I’ve trained in just six gyms.  One was my college weight room, three of them were commercial and the other two including my current gym are badass gyms with the type of vibe you can only get in a smaller,  more intimate setting.  Up until last year, no commercial gym ever gave me shit for the way I trained – or even for the clothes I wore to the gym!

Then came this boy scout manager, who claimed he understood me since he himself was a pretty big guy and even complimented my Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym t-shirt.  While being given the tour of the place, the much nicer manager who was showing him around asked me to be “kinder” to her floors.  Little did she understand that the plates were rubber coated so they’d never break her floors.  And before anyone asks: no, I wasn’t slamming the weights.

Regardless, that clearly left an impression on him.  He came up to me a week later, looking like he was dry humping his imaginary girlfriend while I was deadlifting before belittling me, lecturing me on proper form like I was some fucking idiot.  We almost went to blows right away.  I realize instantaneously that he planned on using me to make a name for himself and I wasn’t going to let that shit happen.  It was his first official day on the job.  A week later, I decided to train wearing jeans and boots, something I’ve done from time to time ever since I’ve been training.  This dumb son of a bitch asked me if I had any other clothes and, when I said I didn’t, told me hesitantly that I then had to leave.  Why?  Because the rivets – the ones I didn’t have on these jeans – would rip up the pleather on the already shitty Hammer Strength benches.  I asked him to just let me go with a warning and I’d never do it again, as I had just gotten into my warmup.

Two minutes later, I found myself angrily sitting in my car, knowing for sure that my days at this “gym” were numbered.  No one had EVER kicked me out for wearing jeans and boots before, or even given me a warning.  Luckily for me, I already knew exactly where I wanted to hang my hat next.  The problem was I was low on cash, meaning I’d have to wait a while.  I endured two more months of walking on eggshells and even coming close to a confrontation with a trainer there, who I really liked and still do, over my “slamming the weights”.

So what the fuck am I driving at?  If you’re like me the gym has to feel like a home, not some fucking social club.  It’s okay to make friends.  Fuck, I’ve met amazing people in EVERY gym I’ve ever trained in.  But if you’re like me, you’re dedicated to acheiving shit that most peole could never dream of.  That means you put on those earbuds if you really have to, and you tune out the rest of the world.  That means all your focus is going to be on that set, your rep goal, whatever.  You’re going to make sure you give it all you got, with all the intensity you can.  Is it so heavy you might scream a bit?  Go ahead, fucking do it!  If anyone is dumb enough to say shit, it’s most likely because they’re too chicken shit to try it.

Make sure your gym is not only welcoming of all kinds of lifters, but TOLERANT.  That usually means get the fuck out of your commercial chain gym that can have all the equipment you can ever need, but mostly relies on cardio bunnies for their revenue.  Does that one guy that can pull four plates do the robot in between his sets?  You need to get the fuck out of there now!  That means being in a gym with all lifters – male and female – who know that THE way to get in shape is to not just eat right, but to focus on the three greatest lifts you can do: the squat, the bench and the deadlift.  I’ve gotten more muscle mass doing those than I ever did doing just shrugs or leg presses (even though leg presses are part of my current routine).

To me, the gym is the one place where I can express myself.  Where I am now, I can lift the way I want, how I want, when I want, with as much intensity as I want and I’ll never be given a hard time for it.  Lifting is the one time in my day where I can get out all of that negative energy – and believe me, there’s so much of it! – without anyone else getting hurt.  I lift with hatred because that’s my one source of strength.  I lift with hatred because that’s all I know.  This is not a game.  I don’t do this for “fun”; I do it because I need to.

I’m leaving you with my one of my spotify Gym playlists:

Maybe one of these tracks will give YOUR workout a swift kick in the ass.

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The Official Demise Of A Musical Dynasty: In Memory Of Vinnie Paul

It was early this past Saturday morning, around 2am, when I got up to take a quick piss.  I looked on my phone for shits and giggles and saw that I friend of mine posted something, captioning “holy shit!” above it.  It was a the Billboard article announcing that former Pantera/Hell Yeah drummer Vinnie Paul was dead at 54.  I thought I was just tired; but after a few minutes I realized that this was in fact reality.  There were no facts at the times, all that mattered was that one of the greatest of all time was gone.

The facts, since then, have slowly started to become known.  We now know that he died in his sleep in his Las Vegas home (booze and strippers, duh!), and of a heart attack.  According to the Las Vegas police, there were no signs of foul play.  Then today came the news that, just like his late brother, he’ll be buried beside him and their mother…in a KISS coffin.  Of course it’ll take some time for the toxicology report to come out.  I don’t want this to focus too much on his well publicized lifestyle here.  But let’s face it: despite his machine like intensity on the drums, he never seemed to burn too many calories.  That’s most likely because he never slowed down the drinking.  I mean fuck me did this guy and his brother, the late Dimebag Darrell, know how to party or what??

As I said before, I’m not here to discuss what everyone else is bound to write about.  I’m going to talk about why this son of a bitch from Arlington, TX will forever have a spot as one of the greatest drummers of all time.

So what the fuck makes a musician one of the best?  That person is able to make himself recognizable in songwriting style, technique, skill and sound.  That guy has to be able to make himself stand out.  From non metal guys like Stewart Copeland and Phil Collins (yeah, Phil Collins was a drum god at one point!) to hard rock drummers such as John Bonham to Vinnie’s own idol, Alex Van Halen, each of the guys I mentioned had the ability to make themselves easily distinguishable because they possessed all the qualities I just mentioned.  Vinnie, along with his brother, clearly knew this early on.  And while it would take three independently recorded albums before they were signed to their first deal, the wait would be worth it, because they, along with Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo, created a new sub genre of Metal, making them the single most important Heavy Metal band of the nineties.  Pantera were to be the band that single handed SAVED Metal during the rise of the Grunge scene, and later Alternative music.

Starting with their fourth album, 1990’s Cowboys From Hell, Pantera burst out like a goddamn raging bull with tracks such as the title track, “Psycho Holiday”, “Heresy” and everyone’s excuse to mosh, “Domination”.  There are other classics on there that I could’ve named just now but I chose the ones I just mentioned because those tracks are filled with an extraordinarily seamless combination of interlocking with…groove??  Oh yeah, Vinnie never lost the groove no matter how mechanical or technical those tracks were.  He’d explain years later that, while he respected drummers with fast left hands (think blast beats), he was more concerned about making people move.

1992’s Vulgar Display Of Power saw Pantera develop a much edgier sound all around.  I mean they were already edgy, but starting here the band were starting to sound more like the soundtrack to a fist fight!  Between Phil’s rougher vocal delivery to Diamond Darrell…as he was unfortunately still calling himself at the time…downtuning his guitar and those drums.   Unlike most Thrash bands, Pantera were not JUST about precision and speed.  Vinnie Paul as a drummer was more than JUST an anchor.  He knew when to keep it tight and he also knew when to let loose and just go with the shuffle:

With tracks such as this one above, and “No Good (Attack The Radical)”, you started to hear Vinnie’s creativity.  There are syncopated rhythms in “No Good” that sounded so new.  They’d also be the basis for shitty nu metal bands later on but I’ll get to that soon.

1994’s Far Beyond Driven.  Without question it’s THE most important album in Pantera’s history.  Why?  Because it debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.  No Metal band before Pantera had EVER pulled that off before and now no one could EVER take that away from them.  It is also the HEAVIEST album to EVER debut at No. 1.  With the opening track, “Strength Beyond Strength”, your ass is kicked immediately.  It’s one big explosion and Vinnie’s much louder, much more POWERFUL drums are taking full charge.  Sounded like Vinnie had done some tinkering in the studio, both with his drum kit, as well as with the mixing board.   I mean goddamn – just listen to this fucking track!!!

I said earlier that to be the best you had to find your own sound among other things and Vinnie’s drums sounded so much deeper than on any other album up to this point.  Turns out he in fact was tuning his heads real low…like almost to the point of being loose.  And those bass drums!  They sound so triggered.  But as the story goes, while in the studio, Vinnie used wooden beaters in the studio and also taped quarters on his bass heads, right at the spot where the beaters would make contact.  The result was a clicky, yet stronger, clearer, more powerlful bass drum.  It’d also set the tone for the way many other, far more extreme Metal bands would record in the years to come.

If his brother, who was finally going by Dimebag at this point, was to be my generation’s Eddie Van Halen, then Vinnie was to be my generation’s Alex.  Both were brothers, both played together for so long that they could read each other’s minds with ease.  They both understood each other.  But on the downside, Alex, amazing as he was, was clearly destined to be overshadowed by his game changing brother.  Vinnie would be no different.  Dime’s playing and his SOUND were a MASSIVE game changer at this time, and rightfully so.  But every guitarist, bassist, or even singer are only as good as their drummer.  Eddie would’ve been just some asshole who taps had it not been for Alex.  Dime would’ve probably just been a guy with a scooped sound and a whammy bar had it not been for Vinnie.

Take for example “13 Steps To Nowhere” off 1996’s The Great Southern Trendkill.  This unmistakably is THE darkest, most intense album in Pantera’s entire discography – and my personal favorite!  It’s a headbanger for sure, very Sabbath inspired with just enough technicality to justify it as old school to the core.  It sounds like Vinnie here perfected the trigger sound on his bass drums, and found just the right EQ setting for his low tuned toms, as they cascade from high to low before Phil’s fucked up verses.  Right in the middle, the Sabbath moment takes over as the song breaks down beautifully, allowing Vinnie’s drums to breathe.  You hear every nuance, every reverberation, every BOOM.  It’s pure destruction.  It’s so sexy.

Then a problem arose in the music world.  In the four years between the release of ‘Trendkill and their final album, 2000’s Reinventing The Steel.  Starting with KoRn, actually going back to ’94, several “Nu” bands came along and tried to focus strictly on groove.  The guitarists all had a scooped sound, they all tuned down lower than even Dime thanks to the revival of seven string guitars; the drummers were playing nothing but snycopations, especially shit bands like Disturbed; and the singers all wore green shorts like Phil and were all just angry without a cause (well to be fair Jonathan Davis was apparently molested as a kid).  Unfortunately, Pantera were to get the blame for this, as most of these fuckers freely cited Vulgar as a major influence.

But the biggest problem with all those fuckfaces – and the biggest reason music SUCKED in the early 2000’s – was that they completely missed the point.  Pantera as a band, and as individual musicians, took close to a decade to perfect their sound.  Did any of them understand that Dime and Vinnie were insanely talented musicians since they were kids?  Did any of those retards know that Pantera started out in 1983 as a GLAM band??  Oh it’s true.  It took years for them to develop into a harder sounding band.  It also took the drive to always want every album to be better and better.  Thanks to their refusal to truly do their homework – and actually learn to play their instruments – these Nu/Rap Metal pieces of shit chose to just be followers…and ultimately forgettable.  Thankfully.

After the break up of Pantera in 2003, Vinnie and Dime went on to form Damageplan.  Their sole album, 2004’s New Found Power, was a major change in their sound.  The brothers wanted to try something new and while I surely wasn’t a fan of all the track on the record, I understood that this was an experiment and perhaps things would change.  I was however a fan of a the beyond sludgy “Moment Of Truth”.  It’s so slow, so heavy and it allowed Vinnie to sound like nothing short of a fucking jackhammer.

Unfortunately, as we all know, that second album would never happen, as Dime was gruesomely murdered before years end while on stage.

Vinnie stayed away from the public for a few years afterward.  His final band would be Hell Yeah.  I’ll be honestly.  I don’t mean to disrespect Vinnie, but he could’ve done so much better than joining a “supergroup” with the assholes from Nothing Face and Madvayne.  If he enjoyed himself, then hey good for him.  But I personally found Hell Yeah to be so beneath what he was capable of.

His unexpected death last Friday marked the end of en era, and a musical dynasty.  If you’re new to this blog you’re expecting me to say some shit like “he’s with Dime now”.  Not here.  I’m athiest.  I don’t believe that shit.  But with his death, gone are the one family that were as successful and ultimately as influential as they were playing this kind of music.  No one before the Abbott brothers could pull it off and no two brothers have repeated it just yet.  Vinnie Paul alone changed the game with his signature sound, and many drummers will say that they started playing because of Vinnie Paul.  In fact, while in the middle of writing this I stopped to write a new Spotify playlist, featuring my favorite Vinnie Paul moments in Pantera and even Damageplan.

To end this I’m going to leave you with the very first Pantera video I ever watched back in 1996 on an episode of Beavis and Butthead.

Rest In Peace Vincent Paul Abbott 1964 – 2018

Random Thoughts

Fuck, where to begin here…

Being nearly 34 now (last month marked three years since I started this blog, by the way) and working with some real shitheads in a really fucked up part of Brooklyn, NY, I’m often bothered when I hear people say stupid shit like “Man, kids these days don’t know better”, “Kids these days don’t know what hard work is!”, “Kids these days are so dumb!”, blah blah blah.  Lets face it, EVERY fucking generation has said that about the generation succeeding them.  But in reality, I 100% blame the parents for the way I see some of these fuckfaces act.  I’d know – I’ve met parents who either have no clue how to control their own kids or they’ve no desire to because they still want to party like they did before that fateful night in which they got knocked up by that baby daddy who would disappear just days later.

Then, I hear about some shit as outlandish as THIS and I have to wonder if just maybe today’s youth really are that fucking stupid.

See the source image

The…Condom Snorting Challenge???

Yeah, you read that sub-title correctly.  Earlier this year, kids all over were eating Tide pods…I sadly had no real time to fully write about it, although I did make remarks regarding the situation on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.  So, I only found out about this shit yesterday, just as I was wondering it these idiots could somehow outdo themselves in the Retard Department.  Well, I guess they can, eh?  Just ask the retard in the picture above!

So according to CBS News, this actually started a few years ago for about five seconds and then was sadly just revived recently.  What is this “challenge” exactly?  You snort a whole condom up one nostril, inhaling it, and hoping it comes out of your mouth.  Has your ultra kinky wife/girlfriend ever tried anything this fucking stupid??  Exactly.  And teenagers are doing this.

As I write this now I’m reminded of Andrew Salvatore, an old friend I went to elementary and junior high school with.  I bumped into him at a Brendan Small (Metalocalypse) show at Starland Ballroom in 2009 after not seeing him for nearly five years.  He was now a paramedic in Tom’s River and he told me that the then-latest drug craze surely outdid any of his old “get high” attempts.  Kids were letting their own human waste ferment in the sun, wrapped in a balloon, and then inhale it inhale it in order to feel the effects of Jenkem, a hallucinogen created by the fermentation.  And what does this hallucinogen do exactly?  It allegedly allows these idiots to have “visions” unlike sniffing glue in which you hear voices.  I wonder if these “visions” are of random people who look just like me, telling them that they should go kill themselves?  Because that’s exactly what anyone INHALING THEIR OWN SHIT should do right now.  Yesterday.

Digressions aside though, there actually is a silver lining to this condom snorting shit, if you could believe that.  According to Dr. Robert Glatter in the earlier mention CBS report, “Even if you successfully complete the challenge and pull the condom out your mouth, the bottom line is that it’s incredibly irritating and a good chance it will wreak havoc on your sinuses, nasal passages, and upper airway”.  That’s right kids!  If you’re too stupid to remember that there are lubricants and chemicals in those rubbers you’re putting up your nose, you really do deserve every horrible burning sensation and all the damage that will be done your sinus cavities.  You also deserve nothing but the feelings of worthlessness for the rest of your lives.

nasim-najafi-aghdam-youtube-2018-4-4.jpg

The YouTube Shooting

Before I go any further with this I want to make clear that what happened yesterday was nothing to laugh about, obviously.  This could’ve happened to anyone, anywhere, and it’s a miracle this piece of shit’s victims are still alive.

Now that I got that out of the way, let’s take a brief look at Nasim Aghdam, the Iranian “Vegan Bodybuilder” (she hardly looked the part to begin with!) who drove ten hours just to shoot up the YouTube offices in San Bruno, CA with 9mm handgun:

 

Speaking of hallucinogens….if you watched this video ALL THE WAY TO THE END, then I really want to know what you’re on and if I could get some.  There’s no way anyone in their right mind could take that one video alone seriously.  I can see that YouTube decided to remove this shit just on the basis that it just RETARDED.  In some of her now deleted rants, this self righteous vegan psycho said that “I am being discriminated and filtered on YouTube. My new videos hardly get views”.

Ok and so the fuck what?  I only started posting workout videos on YouTube two years ago and they hardly get ANY views.  Fuck that, in the twelve years since I started my account I’ve only amassed a staggering 159 subscribers.  I guess I should get my old 20 gauge out, drive cross country and start firing away, right?  Hey, maybe if you didn’t release just stupidity you would’ve never accused YouTube of ruining your life – or maybe you could’ve gotten a real job.  Then again…who’d hire a militant jackass like you anyway?

But I’m going to repeat a statement I made on my Facebook account about jackasses like this.  She was a vegan?  Just for that she should’ve killed herself a long time ago – and I would’ve been more than happy to help her get the job done while eat a nice, juicy, rack of ribs – or even a filet mignon.  Go fuck yourself, and if Hell really does exist I hope you fucking rot.  Let this be a message to all of you: if you want to shoot things because social media is ruining your life, just maybe you should look in the mirror you fucking losers.  You can either then see that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM AND NEED TO CHANGE NOW….or just go ahead and kill yourselves, remaining a laughing stock even in death, like this stupid bitch.

The CBS Report On The Condom Shit:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/condom-snorting-challenge-experts-warn-dangerous-trend/

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The End Of Days Is Near…RIP Slayer

I’ve been wondering for almost five years if they’d ever get a fucking clue and just call it a day.  Then, this past Monday, Slayer made this bombshell  announcement amid rumors of a huge summer tour lineup including Testament, Behemoth, Lamb Of God and fellow Big Four band Anthrax:

Well damn.  There was just one thing for me to say….it’s about fucking time!  In my opinion this should’ve been done nearly five years ago, as I said above.  Why?  Nothing against Paul Bostaph who’s currently in his second run with the band, but the band’s treatment and dismissal of Dave Lombardo – especially by Kerry King – was just fucking disgrace by all accounts.  A few months later, guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver.  While they had already been touring with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt for a few years while Jeff was recovering from a near fatal spider bite, they should’ve stopped everything right there.

I’ve spoken about this in an article ripping Kerry for calling Jeff “worm food” back in 2015.  Yeah, Kerry is a great rhythm player, he’s a really good guitarist, probably more technically sound than Jeff.  But Jeff was the better songwriter, having written “Angel Of Death”, “Necrophiliac”. “Spill The Blood”, “Postmortem” and the perennial set closer, “Raining Blood”.  Being that he was the one guy in the band that was more influenced by Punk than the others, his songwriting and playing style were far more reckless and chaotic than anything Kerry wrote.  Same goes for his lead style, just pure balls to the wall ripping.  It was never pretty and that’s why it was amazing.  Here’s an example, go to the 1:42 mark for Jeff’s solo.  By the way the music here is all his too.

I can spend this entire article kissing Jeff’s ass but here’s my point: like it or not Jeff was a KEY member of the band.  With him gone, Slayer was officially nothing more than a tribute band.  You know, that band that just goes out there for the money and play those signature songs they didn’t even write.  Because every time they play “Angel Of Death”, their SIGNATURE song, it just does not look right seeing Gary on the left side of the stage – and by the way this is not to disrespect Gary.

But it’s like David Vincent and Tim Yeung going out on tour as I Am Morbid (I seriously cannot stop laughing at that name!).  Yeah, David wrote almost all the lyrics to those classic Morbid Angel songs; but without Trey killing it on guitar it just sounds like a money grab before the tour even starts.  From a non metal perspective it’s the equivalent of Aerosmith touring and recording without Joe Perry or Brad Whitford – BOTH of the band’s guitarists! – for five years.  Who really gives a shit about Rock And A Hard Place?  Certainly not I!

While it’s clear to me that both Kerry and Tom Araya are the two business partners of the band, Kerry most likely is the one that pushed and pushed to keep going.  He’s much more shrewd of a business man.  But there’s one problem.  His songwriting style has changing DRASTICALLY since the earlier days, as he’s almost embraced shitty trends such as Nu Metal and it showed a little too much on 2001’s God Hates Us All.  Wanna know why I’ll never give Repentless, a complete listen through?  Because who in their RIGHT MIND wants to hear an entire Slayer record written by him?  And if you say you do you’re just a fan boy and should go die – fucking slowly.

Tom, on the other hand, made it clear several times over the years that at his age he’s become homesick.  He’s tired, and I think he’s kind of lonely without Jeff.  Starting in the late eighties/early nineties, Tom and Jeff began a songwriting partnership that produced some of Slayer’s best tracks, including “War Ensemble”, “Season In The Abyss” and my favorite latter era track, “Eyes Of The Insane”.  Jeff wrote the music but Tom wrote the lyrics.  Here’s a statement Tom made to Loudwire in 2016:

“At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move.  I’m grateful that we’ve been around for 35 years; that’s a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you’re young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we’re at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn’t able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they’re both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that.” Araya added: “Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.”

So I’m wondering if either certain business/contractual matters were finally resolved or Tom finally let Kerry know that he had enough.  I personally think that at 56 years old he’s burnt out.  It probably take it’s physical toll to scream like that every night at his age.  Or just maybe he has enough common sense to understand that things can NEVER be the same with Jeff gone.  Either way, the band has finally made the right call because at this point they’re more than beating a dead horse.  I almost want to see this farewell tour.  The lineup is fucking sick, and I can almost guarantee Anthrax is on there because they’ll probably have both bands on stage together at the end of every show to play a few songs together and it’ll be one big party as 2/4 of the Big Four.  Hell, even Dave Mustaine said he’d like to put together one last Big Four show as his way of sending them off.  Sounds actually really cool, considering the interband relationship between his own band and Kerry (Kerry was in Megadeth for five seconds before he got sick of Dave’s dictator-like approach).  But will they agree to it?  However, as I’ve hashtagged on Instagram posts for a while now, #nojeffnoslayer.

No Jeff, no Slayer.  He’s not there and I’m not interested.  Kerry and Tom, congratulations.  You’ve had an amazing career, creating a legacy that’s UNDENIABLE.  But please, after this is all over, make sure it stays that way.  Don’t be like that pro wrestler that retires then almost as quickly comes back because they can’t stand to be away – or need the money.  Here’s one of THE most fucked up songs the band ever released, written by Jeff: