Operation Domination – live at The Studio At Webster Hall August 31st, 2016

Funny isn’t it?  Just one night after I published a scathing piece on why I basically would like to see New York City burn to the ground…I’m back in New York City.  But at least it was for something awesome; I was there to see Angel Vivaldi and Firewind/Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G on their Operation Domination Tour at The Studio At Webster Hall.  Angel is on the heels of re-releasing his 2010, EP The Speed Of Dark, with it’s tracks being completely re-recorded with his current band, and Gus recently released his latest solo album, I Am The Fire, a more straight forward album compared to what he does with Firewind.  Also, I guess he needs to keep himself busy until Ozzy comes calling to do his next excuse of an album.  Hey, just maybe Ozzy will actually let Gus write material for it this time.  That’s a maybe.  If you follow me on facebook then you already know how I feel about Ozzy’s plans to record after Black Sabbath’s last show.  But if you don’t…I’d rather Ozzy just call it a day, he hasn’t made anything meaningful in decades and the ONLY reason I even bought Black Rain in 2007 was because Zakk Wylde wrote eight of the album’s ten tracks.  So Ozzy…if you ever see this…you were great when I saw you with Sabbath at the Garden.  Do yourself a big favor and just go on a high note like Tony Iommi is doing.

Webster Hall is right around the corner from the 111 year old art store that’s being forced to close so the Marriot can make it into a hotel aimed at millennials.  So yeah I did go check it out before I went inside.  Someone was talking to the owner, who clearly looked distressed.  Then again his family ran the place for three generations.

There are two rooms in Webster Hall: The Marlin Room, which is the main room for popular acts, stupid raves and 80’s prom bullshit and, once upon a time, WWF Shotgun Saturday Night.  Let’s see who remembers that one!  And then there’s The Studio, which is essentially a small bar with a good size stage.  Gus and Angel were to play The Studio…I guess the guys running Webster Hall decided that some shitty rave was more important that a fucking YouTube sensation and Ozzy’s guitarist, right?

Angel went on stage and just blew everybody the fuck away.IMG_20160831_203439988

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Showoff!

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Alex fuckin’ Bent!

I actually met Alex when he was opening up for Crowbar with Battlecross last year at Saint Vitus In Brooklyn.  Really cool kid…incredible drummer.  On this tour he’s actually doing double duty, playing with both Angel and Gus.  Here’s a picture I took of us outside Saint Vitus last year.

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I wanted to talk to him and praise the hell out of him but before the show ended I found myself bailing out early because my knees were in excruciating pain – having flat feet is a real bitch.

Angel’s Setlist

An Angel’s Poem On A Grave

An Erisian Autumn

._ _ _ _

A Mercurian Summer

. . . . _

Acid Reign

Guitar Solo

Sea Of Heartbreak

Crystal Planet (Joe Satriani Cover)

A Martian Winter

Gus G?  Loud as fuck!  So loud that a few songs into his set I had no choice but to go to the back, where my girlfriend was…because she already knew better.  Oh yeah, the guy’s an incredible player, real easy to see why he got the gig with Ozzy.  His whole band – which included Alex and Jake, Angel’s bassist, sounded fan-fucking-tastic.  But I had one complaint:

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Dude…you don’t have to play “Crazy Train” just because you’re in Ozzy’s band bro.  Hell, most people there for you were actually Firewind fans.

In fact the band did play two Firewind songs d I have to say I was kind of impressed.  I hate Power Metal with a passion but Gus’s playing was so muscular – very similar to Zakk – that it gave the songs some BALLS.

As I said before…I left after the “Crazy Train” cover because my knee were in pain.  But I know for a fact that I missed Angel join Gus on stage for what was probably a really sick jam out.

Gus’s Setlist

Burn

Brand New Revolution

Vengeance (instrumental)

Eyes Wide Open

Come Hell Or High Water

World On Fire (Firewind)

The Quest

Terrified

Redemption

I Am The Fire

Crazy Train (Ozzy)

Fire And The Fury (Firewind)

G.O.T

 

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Giving The Devil His Good Name Back – The Metal Mike Show, September 9th 2004

In my very first post here I briefly mentioned that I used to DJ for my college radio station.  Hell, that show, without question is the precursor to this blog because it gradually became my first platform to just talk shit AND not get in trouble for it.  But that’s a story for another time because how I got this fucking show so easily requires a bit of a back story anyway.  Oh, by the way, I won’t be mentioning which station it is because I don’t feel like giving anyone any undeserved attention.

So, I decided to give my station a shot in April, 2004, thinking I wanted to be a DJ.  I liked the idea of being able to play music and not be seen.  To this day it’s amazing how UGLY some of the top DJ’s in the country really are.  But since they sound great who the fuck cares?  I went through two meetings, one with the personnel director and the second with the station’s chief engineer…part super genius…part angry, bitter, and an all around asshole.  If Gregory House was a real person he’d be this guy! What made me laugh inside was in despite only being in his mid-30’s, the combination of his skullet and his awful 70’s looking moustache made this fucker look like an ex-member of the Doobie Brothers.

If I’m not mistaken I took the test a good week later and passed with just two wrong answers.  I originally chose to join the Music Department because that meant I could review records for play as well as maybe even dictate what got played at all, the first CD I ever reviewed being Black Label Society’s low key masterpiece, Hangover Music, Vol.6, which I was also able to burn and leave at the station while I took the original copy home.   But long story short the director at the time let no one do anything with her, frustrating me, so I joined the Engineering Department.  I had wanted to join Production but, at the time, it was mandated that you couldn’t do shit in production unless you knew how to run the board properly.

Some time goes by, the middle of summer arrives, and I was approached by the newly appointed engineering director about being his assistant.  Why?  Neither he or anyone else wanted the only other person around to be involved because that’s how lowly they all thought of him.  We’re talking a really nice guy too.  And there you have it, proof that even college radio isn’t clean of slimy politics!  So, from then on until I left for good in early 2007 I was the Assistant Engineering Director of my station.  But of course there was something else I wanted, and part of the process I didn’t even have to go through.

While I had applied for a show to start in the fall semester, I didn’t have to make an audition tape, and all because I was an engineer.  In other words, I already knew how to operate the board.  Before I was told that was even getting my first show I was approached by another DJ from the Production Department about covering him because he wasn’t able to get out of work.  It was easy enough, his show had a specific format which he wrote down for me – all I had to do was follow the bullet points.  So there I was, fresh from sitting in with the two BEST DJs in the whole station at that time – both actually being alumni volunteers at that point – and DJing my first show.

It was a little nerve wracking, I was already engineering and cohosting someone else’s public service show on Mondays for a month at this point, but this was the first time I was on my own.  After reading off the most important bullet point of this guy’s show he surprised me by calling me up.  I didn’t think he was listening but here was telling me I rock and even complimenting my voice.  And after I finished up, that angry chief engineer – who can still go suck a dick and die – even told me he liked my voice.

Thursday, September 9th, 2004.  This day would see the launch of the Metal Mike Show at 4pm.  My then guitarist, Chad, jokingly suggested I call myself Metal Mike.  A manager of mine at work suggested Iron Mike, but some at the station just didn’t like it.  For a few weeks prior to this I had hand drawn ads and plastered them all over the walls of every single building on campus, as well as on the walls of music stores where I lived and even in places in Manhattan, especially the now defunct Manny’s Music on w 47th St.  The guy whose show I covered for read the script for my station promo and immediately asked if he could read it on mic.  It was hysterical hearing him read “It’s time to give the devil his good name back…Hell never sounded so good!”, with as much bass as he could get out of his voice.

With two hours to go I began writing down my playlist for the next three hours, trying to find a balance between the music I wanted to play and the music I’d be required to play.  There were two other metal DJ’s who happily pigeonholed themselves to two extremes, one to Black Metal so underground the bands themselves don’t even know if their demo tape is even circulating, and another guy that loved to cater to his drunk following in England, playing nothing but Swedish Melodic Metal and Power Metal.  Power Metal…GAY.  I wanted to be the balance between those two guys, being a fan of almost all types of Metal…expect Power Metal or anything related to it.  I’d like to think I did a good job with that over the next two plus years.

Ten minutes to go.  I walked in to the On-Air room where another DJ was getting ready to wrap things up, this was on of the two people I sat in with.  Now this woman had an incredible radio voice.  She’ll be oh so shy talking to you but when she’s on air she gets so sensual to the point that you’d think it was a different person.  Looking on the instant messenger on the computer screen I already had to messages.  One was from my dad, who had tuned in on his office computer to hear me, the other being some jackass in the station busting my balls “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ACTUALLY GAVE YOU A SHOW!”  I think I know who it was.   She left, I played a few PSA’s to get settled in, my show’s promo, followed by my favorite station ID track…and off we go!

I had Ozzy open up my show with “Miracle Man” off his classic 1988 album, No Rest For The Wicked.  This was Zakk Wylde’s recording debut with him and I was such a Zakk fanboy at the time.  Also, that opening riff is just huge!  Nerves hitting me so hard, I couldn’t help but practically scream right into the mic once the song ended.  I knew I needed to calm down but I was so nervous I just couldn’t stop myself!  After screaming out the station’s phone number for requests I immediately but on Death’s “Bite The Pain”, a request for one of those two metal DJ’s I mentioned before.  I tried to do everything I could to calm myself down.  It took awhile but as time went on I got a bit more comfortable…until someone came to check on me.

It was 6pm, two hours down, one to go.  Someone asked me how I was doing and as soon as I said ok it went downhill.  I put on Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots”, only for it to start skipping.  So I quickly put “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” on the second CD player…and THAT started skipping.  So I pulled out Metallica’s …And Justice For All CD, put on “To Live Is To Die”…and THAT began skipping.  FUCK!  I had no choice but I go back on air and try to save myself.  Luckily for me, the rest of the show went off without a hitch before the next DJ came to relieve me.  All in all I had fun; I clearly had a lot of work to do as far as calming my nerves so I don’t scream into the mic, but this was the beginning of a time that would consume the next two years of my life.

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Hail Satan!

I recently restarted a facebook account after being off it for a good two years, strictly for the sake of promoting this blog.  Of course, though, I got curious and looked up some old friends I may have not spoken to in a while, which led me to look up and ex-guitarist of mine, Matt Holbowitch.  I immediately was blindsided when the page read “Remembering Matt Holbowitch”; underneath it was a status written by a friend of his about memorial service arrangements and he left his phone number.

I called him after being in a state of shock for a few minutes and, while I won’t get into the details, it was a pretty shitty situation, causing Matt to take his own life.  While I’m sure I’ll get into how we met in another post, I couldn’t help but remember what turned out to be our last phone conversation two years ago.  He was living in Missouri, where he was a diesel mechanic, and he called me after I threw the horns up in response to a video he posted on facebook of him playing “Flight Of Icarus”.  He asked me what it would take for me to go down there to hang for a week and I told him not much, but I never followed up.

I wish he reached out to me if he was having problems.  Fuck, I wish I kept in touch with him.  Suicide was not the way out, especially when you’re the father to a two year old and a one year old.  If you are reading this and you want to take your own life, do yourself a favor and go find someone to talk to because burying that shit will do you no good in the long run.

In memory of him I decided to cover “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” for my first true electric guitar video.  Why that one?  Because this guy was so fucking metal that his first words were “Black Sabbath”.  Not momma, not dadda.  Black.  Sabbath.  I doubt you can just make that up.  Because of that alone I salute him and say hail Satan!

 

Matt Holbowitch 1977 – 2016

 

Show’s I’ll Be Attending This Summer

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Anaka live at Black Bear Bar, Brooklyn, NY, July 16th, 2016

On the heels of celebrating more than 15 years together Brooklyn’s own Anaka will be playing Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this coming Saturday.  Also on the bill are Proxima Control, The Last Alliance, and The Crimson Collective.  And I’ll be posting a few videos of the show on my YouTube page.

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One Foot In The Grave Tour f/ Carcass, Ghoul, Crowbar, and Night Demon live at Gramercy Theater, New York, NY, August 4th, 2016

I’m a little disturbed by the title of this tour just because I’m not really sure if this means Carcass are breaking up again or not.  If so, it was awesome of them to release one more album, Surgical Steel, back in 2013.  That was probably the album of the year for me.  If not then that’s fine too!  I just entered Metal Injection’s contest to win free tickets to the Gramercy show, and I’ll find out in two days if I won.  I’m afraid I don’t know much about Ghoul or Night Demon…yet, but I’m definitely filming Carcass and Crowbar for sure.  Haven’t seen Crowbar since that night last June where I nearly died about three times because that so-called moshpit turned into a barwide fist fight!  So it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time, especially since hearing that ex-bassist Todd Strange came back to the band after sixteen years away.

2016 Announcement

This Is Hardcore Fest Day 2 f/Nails, Iron Reagan and Ringworm live at The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, August 5, 2016

Let’s face it, I’m not really a hardcore fan and the only reason I want to go to this is to see the three bands mentioned above.  Of course there are a shitload of other bands on the bill but those are three I give a shit about the most.  I’ve heard Electric Sleep and they can blow me.  The others I haven’t heard.  When I imagine how Nails’ set is going to unfold I pretty much see a moshpit so brutal it outdoes the barwide fistfight I went through last June when I saw Crowbar in Brooklyn.  They are brutal as fuck, and their disgusting new album is getting a LOT of buzz, more so than even the band itself probably expected.

I’m also looking very much forward to Iron Reagan because their lead singer is Tony from Municipal Waste.  Waste actually knew me personally for the better part of a year between 2006 and 2007 but that’s a story for another time.  Here’s one of my favorite songs from Iron Reagan!

I last saw Ringworm opening up for Goatwhore in Broooklyn just a week after nearly dying at the Crowbar gig.  I actually filmed them twice because when I tried to film them some jackass in the pit threw another guy elbow first right into my ribs.  That hurt so bad.  After my better second attempt at filming them I was pushed against the wall twice tailbone first.  Here’s that second video now!

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Operation Domination Tour with Angel Vivaldi and Gus G live at Webster Hall, New York, NY, August 31st, 2016

I was just told about this by my girlfriend a few days ago and it was immediately decided that we are going.  The YouTube sensation is obviously showing no signs of slowing down at all and here’s the proof.  It’s not everyday an internet darling gets to play with Ozzy’s current guitarist!

This is going to fucking rule!

As I said before I’ll be filming all the shows I go to and you’ll be able to find them on my YouTube page.  If you’re reading this and plan on being at any of these shows l free to contact me, maybe we can hang.  I’m also on Facebook.  Click here to like my page and get quicker notifications on new blog posts.

Possibly the best Ozzfest lineup ever? Ozzfest live at the Tweeter Center August 26th 2004

So just over a year since my last concert I was invited by my then-bandmates, Chad and Idrees, to go with them to see Ozzfest at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ on August 26th, 2004.  And if you looked at the main stage line up for this tour alone it’s easy to see why.  Dimmu Borgir (fake, pretentious, symphonic black metal), Superjoint Ritual (Phil Anselmo acting even dumber than the last time I saw him), Black Label Society, Slayer, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath.  Yeah, Judas Priest was THE big deal at the time, with the band announcing the return of Rob Halford on vocals just ten months earlier and following the release of the band’s box set.  The three of us definitely had our musical differences – making me wonder how I didn’t quit them earlier – with me liking a little bit of everything yet leaning towards heavier stuff more and more, Idrees listening to Thrash and ONLY Thrash, and Chad being the Power Metal guy who was practically jerking off every night to all things Iron Maiden and Steve Vai; but who the fuck doesn’t even remotely like Judas Preist??  I’m waiting….

The morning of the show they were supposed to come to my house with Idrees’s dad driving to pick me up.  They were very late and whenever I called either of their cellphones no one picked up and it really irritated me.  When they finally did show up I do remember letting them both have it, although I don’t remember their lame excuse.  Idrees’s dad reminds me of a cross between Nile Rodgers and Isaac Hayes, Niles in the voice department and Isaac in looks, it was pretty funny just hearing him talk.  We arrived in Camden around 1pm due to shitty traffic once we got off the NJ Turnpike; ever been to Camden before?  No?  Ok, ever hear Chris Rock talk about why you should never anywhere that has a Martin Luther King Blvd?  Well, we were on it and we saw why.  Here’s an example of what we drove through to get to this place:

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Isn’t this just sexy?  I’d totally live here!

After maybe twenty minutes of my suddenly wishing we took Chris Rock’s advice and ran we finally got to the Tweeter Center, the huge outdoor arena placed in the location of the Armageddon we all apparently missed and right across the water from Philadelphia.  Idress’s really cool dad was going to spend his day at the New Jersey State Aquarium not to far down the road from us and right by the ferry that was bringing in drunken Philly trash for Ozzfest.  But I’ll get back to that later!

The three of us walked in to the horrible sounds of Otep on the second stage, having just missed God Forbid, who I really wanted to see.  They sadly broke up in 2013 but if you’ve never heard of them check out their 2004 album Gone Forever.  So we walked around for a bit, bought beads to throw at girls to have them show us their titties, etc.  We went back to the second stage because I wanted to see Lamb Of God.  They were literally five days away from release of their major label debut on Epic Records, Ashes Of The Wake, following the success of their last album, As The Palaces Burn, and it looked like they totally did a major gear upgrade with there being to big walls of speaker cabinets like only Slayer would do.

Chad and Idrees left me there because they weren’t fans of the band.  I think it was literally just too modern for either of them.  Lesson #1: if you’re only 19 years old – like these two knuckleheads were (I was a year older) – nothing is too modern for you.  Life’s too short to be THAT pretentious over music.  I may have just turned 32 but I still have an open mind!  Lamb Of God were absolutely awesome, playing a good chunk of their material from the last record as well as the first single off the new album, called “Laid To Rest”.  What I didn’t understand was Randy Blythe’s need to curse literally every other word – that’s not an exaggeration – as well as constantly saying he was in “Killadelphia” when we were actually across the water.  Dumbass.

My two dopey friends came back just in time to rescue me from Shitknot (I was a fan of them for a few years but 2004 was the year they broke my heart Godfather Part 2 style) and Hatebreed.  In fact, after LOG there were no others bands I wanted to see on the second stage at all!  So we had lots of time to kill.  While there I bought a BLS shirt that I still have today and the classic Slayer eagle shirt, which mysteriously disappeared on me a few years back.  I’m still pissed about that one, by the way.  While walking we came across a lot of that drunken Philly trash I mentioned before.  I’m talking a bunch of ridiculously sunburnt dudes in Eagles jerseys (the football season had just started) yelling out in unison “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!”….over….and over….and over again.  We also found a good spot at the guard rail on the lawn, where we could throw beads at bitches AND have a pretty good few of all the bands.

After while it was finally time for the main stage acts to go on.  First? Black Label Society.  This was to be my first of seven times seeing them, in fact I can’t make fun of Chad’s fixation on Maiden without stressing that between 2002 and 2008 I wanted to play like Zakk Wylde so bad.  I had other influences, of course, but at that time Zakk was the ONLY one who was that popular while playing that kind of music.  Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul had already risen from the ashes of Pantera, but their current band, Damageplan, was not getting over on the old fans easily.

Right out the gate he was ripping it up on a custom made Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar.  He’s shredded for maybe two minutes before breaking into “Funeral Bell”.  Idrees and I loved it.  Chad?  “Zakk Wylde’s not that great”, he said with this arrogant smirk on his face.  Chances are he was already jaded from listening to technical shred nerds who never left their mother’s basement.  Lesson #2:  It really doesn’t matter how much better one guitar player is than the next.  Zakk himself will even acknowledge that there are players that will bury him.  But what’s more important than having all the technique there is to have is being able to have your playing reach out to more than one niche crowd.  That’s why Zakk passed the audition to play with Ozzy in the first place.  Even Ozzy knew Zakk had already developed a sound that would one day make him recognizable!

Superjoint Ritual were next.  Where Phil Anselmo pretty much told us last year in Brooklyn where he stood in music (as in not with Pantera) he pretty much took that and acted like a dumbass this time around.  First off, their latest album, A Lethal Does Of American Hatred, sucked balls in plain English.  Also, it’s one thing to command your audience to mosh; but when you tell them that they’re pussies if they don’t you’re just a jackass.  The band were still great…so long as the played the music off the first album…but it was weird when Phil ended the band’s set by saying “keep sucking dick!” on the mic before doing his classic shitty rendition of the last words to “Stairway To Heaven” that he’d been doing since the Pantera days.  Drugs are bad, m’kay?

Dimmu Borgir were TRASH.  Bad enough I already don’t like Symphonic Black Metal but Dimmu were and are just awful.  Next? Slayer.  How funny that, as Idrees left us to mosh in the makeshift pit area right behind us, Chad and I both realized that the guardrail was pretty wobbly – yeah, we were fucked and we knew it.  Because as soon as Slayer got on stage all Hell broke loose and we were almost instantly pinned to the guardrail.  That shit hurts!  Of course, once they kicked into “Raining Blood”, the pit had become it’s most violent.  But who really fucking cares?  This is Slayer – and with the classic lineup back together!  Whenever I was able to get a glimpse of the band without getting pummeled I look straight at Jeff Hanneman.  He tore that guitar up better than Kerry King that night….and all the time.

After surviving the moshpit from hell we made sure Idrees came to us so we wouldn’t lose our spots before Priest came on.  At this point on it was more like an arena style concert, because who moshes to Priest or Sabbath anyway?  This was the one band to have a really elaborate stage setup.  Here, look for yourself:

 

I was able to notice on my own that Halford was relying HEAVILY on a teleprompter because he’d go to one place on stage and just stay there for two of three songs before going somewhere else.  Didn’t matter though because he was on fire, proving why he’s the Metal God.  When they played “Breaking The Law” I called up my college radio station’s programming director to bust his balls and left him a voicemail of the band playing the chorus line.  Why was I busting chops?  Well…let’s just say he did just that over a month earlier.

Up last?  Sabbath.  But of course there was a catch.  Before the band were to go on stage Bill Ward came out to announce to everyone that Ozzy was sick and could not play.  BUT, apparently Rob Fucking Halford volunteered to sing so the band wouldn’t have to cancel their performance.  There’s a bootleg floating around of Halford doing the favor for them back in 1992 but I was actually going to hear it??  Needless to say I wasn’t bummed out much longer after hearing that!

Being that someone else was singing, regardless of the fact that it’s a guy that’s STILL amazing at his age, they kept the setlist floating around the just the first three albums.  I’d bet that was just to make it easier on Rob, who surely didn’t have enough time to practice.  But it still was pretty awesome to hear.

 

Idrees’s dad was waiting for us right outside the arena, having stolen banana daiquiri mix from some vendor stand during what I think he said was some kind of police situation…or something.  The show was awesome as a whole.  If I only knew then that I’d NEVER see the classic Sabbath lineup.  But was this THE best Ozzfest lineup ever?  I think the following year’s beat it; but I’ll get to that in the future.

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RPS Jersey Rumble May 21st, 2016

So here we are, May 21st has come and gone and I still haven’t even unpacked my bag days later.  I should though.  Whatever.  It was a hell of time…I just don’t know if my girlfriend or my father will come to one of these again just because of how long this meet was!

We arrived at the Ramada Plaza Hotel around 10:30ish, a good half an hour ahead of schedule for weigh-ins.  Having weighed in at 181 that morning I made sure to eat a nice big breakfast of four scrambled eggs, flank steak, an English muffin and grape flavored juiced aminos so I could make my weight class, which was 198 and when I weighed myself again before leaving I was 184.  So I’m ok, right?  Well, I guess all the cardio I was doing up until a week before this must’ve clearly put my metabolism into overdrive because when I was weighed in by Gene Rychlak’s mother-in law I weighed in at 182.8, having apparently dropped nearly two pounds during the ride, putting her in a panic in the event that I placed and would have to get weighed again.  But I assured her I was going to eat more and she was relieved…not that it mattered much because I knew I wasn’t placing in anything.

After weighing in I went into the hotel ballroom were the first wave of the day, featuring the Women’s and Juniors Divisions was still running.  Damn…it felt partially like a rock concert, partially like a biker convention.  Loud 80’s metal was playing, a banner in the background with Ed Hunter on it, lights on the stage like an 80’s concert, tattoos everywhere, dudes with serious muscle, some women with serious muscle.  You know, I have an issue with some women that choose to juice just so they can get the muscle mass they couldn’t get otherwise just because they naturally don’t carry as much muscle as men.  There were a few chicks that looked awful pretty but when they began to speak their voices where pretty damn low.  Also, since testosterone is supposed to help with burning fat I saw one or two chicks that legit had no titties – it was all pecs like a guy!  Not that I haven’t seen this before but if I ever come out of musical retirement I’m going to write a song about chicks on juice and call it “No Titties”.

On the table in the back was a whole bunch of trophies that the winners are actually allowed to pick from, which I think is pretty cool.  I’m assuming that Gene Rychlak or his designer are sick metalheads or just really into Conan The Barbarian because look at some of these trophies!

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Then I saw a dude who looked like Bam Bam Bigelow back from the dead but instead of having the skull covering tattoo he had a nice, thick chain around his neck, like something you’d get at a hardware store.

Bam Bam Bigelow

Just tell me that isn’t badass – I even went up to him and told him it was badass!  Turns out he works for Gene and is his Minister of Information, as well as the guy who spotted everyone during squats.

Things were a bit delayed and we didn’t really start on time, but needless to say I smoked all my squat attempts, building up to 260lbs which my girlfriend took pictures of but didn’t film.  I did, however, get one red light for my second attempt at 245, most likely because I didn’t sink enough.  Some people thought I did it perfectly but I know what I felt.

showtime 3                                   showtime 4

 

 

 

That 260 felt easy.  The biggest relief, more so than even that, was that I had absolutely no rotator cuff problems; that was a huge concern for me going into this.  Starting with my third Bench Press attempt of 160lbs, my girlfriend finally started filming.  She had some issues with her old phone so she didn’t get the first two attempts.  So starting with the last Bench attempt and all three deadlift attempts everything is on film.

All my attempts were real easy, easier than I thought – especially that 360lbs Deadlift.  Although I have to say this: there’s nothing worse than getting psyched up for a lift and then really shitty music comes on.  Republica’s “Ready To Go” came on during my first attempt and then The Scorpions came on during the 360 attempt.  Fuck The Scorpions!  Couldn’t I lift to “Mr. Tinkertain” like a few guys got to do?  Now THAT would’ve been badass!

I went to get to the merch table to get my complimentary free shirt for competing and one of the dudes who spotted during squats told me “You need to put more weight on there, you totally smoked it.”.  So will I do this again?  Most likely, just a matter of when.  I also don’t know if my girlfriend would go with me again or that my dad would come and see me again because I didn’t get out until nearly 11pm!

 

 

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My Results:

Squat – 235, 245, 260

Bench Press – 130, 145, 160

Deadlift – 305, 330, 360

Total – 780

Check out Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate at http://www.revolutionpowerlifting.com

Final Thoughts

So, as of this writing, Nick Menza’s death has been a declared a massive heart attack brought on by heart disease.  At 51 years old that makes his death the ultimate heavy metal tragedy of the year unless something far worse happens.  That’s too young and while, most people are crying because the Rust In Peace-era reunion is surely not happening now, I feel far worse for his two kids.

And speaking of which, so how about that nice little damage control statement that Dave Mustaine released followed Nick’s death.  They were always close right?  Things happened and that’s why they didn’t get back together last year, right?  Funny because there are multiple interviews were Mustaine admits that it didn’t happen simply because he didn’t want it to happen.  So this benefit show he now wants to put together to help out his kids?  Like I said…damage control.  It’s true, isn’t it…that only the good die young?

 

Random Thoughts

New Album Upload

Last week I uploaded two albums on to my YouTube account, Morbid Angel’s Covenant, and Mercyful Fate’s Don’t Break The Oath.  Just last night I added my all time favorite Iron Maiden album in it’s entirety, Piece Of Mind.  Here’s the link:

First time I ever heard “The Trooper” on WSOU in 2001 it kicked my ass so hard.  This is even MORE of what I needed in my search for ONLY the best shit because if I heard anymore shitty emo-punk or nu-metal depending on who I hung out with on that day I was going to throw myself against a barbed wire fence.  I’m pretty sure I was the ONLY one in my school that had REAL taste in music.  I don’t miss high school at all.  As for Piece Of Mind goes, this to me is the album that, once and for all, established the blueprint to the Maiden sound.  Yeah sure, they already had the epic songs before this but I feel like the great abundance of guitar harmonies on this album set the stage for nearly every band that came after them.  I always felt like The Number Of The Beast is so fucking overrated.  It’s really not that fantastic to me.

Powerlifting Progress

Today began my final week of training before my first meet on May 21st at the Ramada Inn in Newark, NJ.  On the heavy week of 5/3/1 I hit my final PR of 320lbs.  Since you’re only supposed to just hit the prescribed number of reps as you get closer to the meet I “just” hit one rep but I know I could’ve done more.  This shit was TOO easy!  But hey judge for yourself:

Too easy.  Thanks to having nothing but C4 in my system at the time of this set I got a bit carried away and cursed at and even screamed at the bar when I was done, making my girlfriend think I was pissed.  Hardly the case, but here’s some dialogue between me and her from after I finished:

Me: That was too easy!

Girlfriend: That screaming stuff is why you’d get kicked out of that other gym.

Me: Planet Fitness?

Girlfriend: Yep.

Me: Yeah?  Well fuck Planet Fitness!

But seriously though, fuck Planet Fitness.  Any gym that kicks a guy out of a gym for grunting while squatting 500lbs is NOT a real gym – and that’s a true story, by the way.  I’ll never train in Planet Fag.  I lift things up and put them down.

Here’s my entire routine for today:

Deadlift

125 x 5

155 x 5

185 x 5

255 x 5

285 x 3

320 x 1

Stationary Bike

10 minutes

50 calories burned

1.78 miles

Average HR: 115

The Ballad Of Ozzy and $haron

So I woke up this morning to the news Ozzy and Sharon are splitting, not because of drugs or alcohol.  That alone is fascinating just because he drunkenly tried to kill her back in 1989.  Too bad he didn’t get the job done!  This time it’s because she apparently went through his cellphone and discovered numerous texts and calls to celebrity hair stylist Michelle Pugh, a woman more than two decades younger than Ozz.

I can’t say I’m too shocked.  First off, if we all know anything about Ozzy we all should know he probably doesn’t even know how to operate his own phone just because he’s a dumb motherfucker.  So how could he know how to delete his own history?  Right?  It’s one thing to just look at the phone bill when it comes in but THIS was just too easy because it’s Ozzy and he’s stupid as shit.

But more important than that, could anyone blame the guy?  Look at pictures of $haron even in her youth and then look at Michelle Pugh.  Hell, I’ll help you:

Pugh

Look at that and tell me she’s not a cute woman.  I dare you to tell me that’s NOT a major upgrade from $haron in the looks department alone.  Hey, just maybe she’s even nicer than that witch.  Sure, $haron  may have saved Ozzy from drinking himself to oblivion after being booted out of Black Sabbath back in 1979, but it’s pretty much been documented for years that she’s a cunt.  Maybe Ozzy wanted a break from $haron’s overbearing attitude.  As of this writing he’s in a hotel in Beverly Hills.

But the truth is, in the end, they’ll get back together.  He’s still a puppy that needs his master and she needs a source of REAL income.  $haron herself recently admitted on The Talk that she caught him in bed with one of their kids’ nannies.  So why didn’t she ditch him then?  She said because she knew he was high as fuck at the time.  So there you have it.  She excused him them, she excused him when he nearly KILLED her and she’ll eventually excuse him for this, crawling back to each other in pure desperation, since neither of them know anything else at this point in their lives.  So…no need to make a big thing about this.

 

 

New Music Uploaded!/Powerlifting Progress

New Music Upload!

A few posts ago I mentioned that I wanted to try and record a few songs I wrote a long time ago, using the Audacity program on my laptop.  I finally did this past week, making my first very dirty sounding recording this past Thursday, and something much cleaner just yesterday…although the guitar solo for it’s a tad sloppy.  But of course you can be the judge:

 

 

Since I just recently downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker I decided to upload two of my favorite CD’s, Mercyful Fate’s Don’t Break The Oath, and Morbid Angel’s Covenant, on to my page.  I tried to upload “Miracle Man” by Ozzy as a test and that shit was immediately blocked worldwide.  Lame.

You can check them out here:

 

 

Powerlifting Progress!

Today starts Week 2 of my final meet prep training for my Powerlfiting debut on May 21st.  Here’s my workout for today:

Deadlift:

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

240lbs – 1 x 3

270lbs – 1 x 3

305lbs – 1 x 3

I spent 15 minutes on a stationary bike after I was done.  I’d like to think that my going back to taking pre workout is a good chunk of the reason why I was able to pull 305 with NO BELT.  C4: The official Cocaine of Pre Workouts.   I also like to think THIS totally helped:

So Yeah I know I posted this a blog or two ago but this shit is fucking intense that it was in my head the entire time I was deadlifting.  This shit rules.  If you go on the actual YouTube page you’ll see a commenter predict that guitarist/vocalist Todd Jones is slowly becoming the next Phil Anselmo.  I think he might be right!

 

The End: Black Sabbath live and SOLD OUT at Madison Square Garden February 25th, 2016

I tried to see Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals on two different occasions.  Now, I intended on writing about this in other blogs as I went through all the concerts I went to, but I feel that would take forever and it would make sense to write about it now since I’m about to discuss the show I just went to.  When I went to see them at Ozzfest 2004 in Camden, NJ,  drummer Bill Ward came out before the band was to play and announced that Ozzy was too sick to play and Rob Halford of Judas Priest was going to sing in his place.  You couldn’t be there and complain much after that!  The next year, before we even got in inside the PNC Bank Arts Center, the girl checking our tickets told my ex-guitarist Chad and I “No Black Sabbath tonight”.  Why this time?  “Because Ozzy’s sick.”  Sure, Iron Maiden played an extended set that night but I was convinced that night that I’d never see Sabbath with Ozzy…and that Ozzy’s voice is just toast.

So when I got wind, a few weeks ago, that Sabbath had to cancel gigs in Canada because Ozzy lost his voice, the only thing I could assume was that my friend Frank was going to have to get a refund.  Little did I know how wrong I would be…and some more.  But I’ll get to that in a bit.

I arrived last night at Madison Square Garden with high expectations for the band and incredibly low expectations for Ozzy. Fuck, I really just wanted to see Tony Iommi anyway.  But I was also looking very much forward to reuniting with my buddy Frank, who got us the tickets, as well as seeing the opening bands, Rival Sons.  Rival Sons got on stage and goddamn they sound even more like Led Zeppelin live than on record!  The most obvious sign of it on their albums is the John Bonham-like drum sound.  But live, Jay Buchanan did some loud ass wailing while barefoot – that he at least had me convinced that Robert Plant found a way to defy age and join Rival Sons.  At one point Frank and I were jokingly singing Zep song titles into two of their songs because they sounds THAT MUCH like Zep songs.  I think the last time I heard anyone sound like Zep to the T was Billy Squier when he recorded “Lonely Is The Night”.

 

To our surprise we didn’t have to wait long for Sabbath to come on.  The lights in the Garden went out at 8:45pm, definitely earlier than expected.  As the sold out crowd was ROARING in excitement  a video came up on the screen.  We saw burning buildings that represented the artwork from their most recent album, 13.  Then it got really weird, like something out of a fucking Final Fantasy game.  But you can see part of it here:

So, as you can see and hear, they opened up with the title track to their self-titled debut.  And from their the broke into the classic “Fairies Wear Boots”.  Say what you want about Ozzy’s solo drummer, Tommy Clufetos, taking Bill Ward’s place for the last few years as well as the fact that his style is not as jazzy or loose as Bill’s.  But he did a really good job emulating Bill’s parts and making him his own.  Do I wish Bill was there?  Hell fuck yeah I do!  But I have to give Tommy respect for making it clear that he was paying his respects.  His DW drum kit even looks like Bill’s Tama set to the T!

Geezer Butler, as usual, was on FIRE last night!  He bass tone, even from where I was sitting in the nosebleed section, was so strong and crystal clear.  HIs fingers were moving so fast on those strings.  His playing, both wild with abandon yet perfectly arranged.  There really is no one like him.  No one.

Which brings me to Lita Ford’s favorite Superhero…as well as the main reason I even wanted to go: Tony Iommi.  This is it for him.  He’s sick, tired, stressed.  No matter what the other guys want to do after this all ends I wouldn’t expect to see him out on the road again.  The lymphoma treatments are clearly taking their toll on him.  But he still put on probably the most amazing show I’ve ever seen from him and this was the fourth time I’ve seen Tony live overall.  His playing was so fluid, so smooth yet so BRUTAL.  His riffs – so horrifying, so scary, so BRUTAL.  This motherfucker CREATED the style of music I love so much as is the primary reason I play guitar.  There will NEVER be anyone like Tony Iommi ever again.  Ever.

Then there was that big shocker of the night that I eluded to earlier.  Ozzy Osbourne, not known to have had a great singing voice since the mid 9o’s…actually sounded good!  I shit you not!  I’m pretty sure the key was that the band played songs that Ozzy could handle, which meant not straying far from their first three albums much if at all.  If you knew anything about how the guy destroyed his voice over the years you knew there was no way he was pulling out “Sabbath Blood Sabbath” or even “Megalomania” for that matter.  Although I was surprised to hear them play “Snowblind” and even more surprised to hear Ozzy hit the high notes without struggle!  He was shockingly on point last night…I guess the third time was the charm after all, eh?

THE SETLIST:

Intro video/Black Sabbath

Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots

After Forever

Into The Void (\m/\m/\m/\m/!!!!!!)

Snowblind

Wars Pigs

Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bass Solo/NIB

Hand Of Doom

Rat Salad/Drum Solo

Iron Man

Dirty Women

Children Of The Grave

Encore: Paranoid (well, duh!)

Like I said, the band pretty much hovered around the first three albums which the exceptions of “Snowblind” and especially “Dirty Women”.  Not that Ozzy sang high in that song; but I doubt anyone expected them to pull out something off Technical Ecstacy, which was not their best album during the Ozzy years.  Either way, it was incredibly effective.  My head hurt so much from headbanging yet I refused to stop.  After the show ended we witnessed some guy who was so drunk he nearly fell down the stairs and that would have been a fucking long way down.  He instead fell on his ass and as he when to get his cigarette, which was already lit up, he mistakenly put the lit side in his mouth!

The show was in-fucking-credible, what a fitting way to say goodbye to the band that started it all.  In fact, they are playing another show at the Garden tomorrow night and will be touring through September.  Without them, and especially without Tony Iommi, there would be no heavy metal as we know it now.  For that I’ll always be thankful.

Random Thoughts

jim-wendler

See this guy?  This guy is the man.  Fuck that – he’s my hero.  If you don’t know who he is Jim Wendler is the COO of Elite FTS, making him CEO Dave Tate’s right hand man.  But what makes in more important than even that is his awesome training program he developed for all kinds of lifters from bodybuilders to athletes to powerlifters, 5/3/1.

On paper it seems as annoying to decode as any other powerlifting program with calculating percentages, etc.  But what makes this program so unique, at least to me, is that Jim takes the guess work right out of everything.  It’s real simple; in one 4-week cycle you will perform three sets of your main lift for 3 working sets of  5 reps during the first week, 3 sets of 3 reps the next week, and then for the last week you will perform 3 working sets of 5 reps, then 3 reps and then 1 rep or more if you can.  After your main lift, you will perform two or three assistance lifts, followed by light or  hard conditioning (he likes to push prowlers and run up hills a lot)  depending on the day.  After all that you will enjoy a deload week as your fourth week as a way to recover while still staying active before going back into the heavy stuff.

I like this a lot because in short the name of the game of long term gains.  This isn’t some eight week program you read about in mainstream bodybuilding magazines.  This is about making new gains and breaking new PR’s every cycle, regardless of what that PR is.  If during a cycle you bench 155lbs for 5 reps during the third week and then in the next cycle your benching those same numbers for 8 reps, it’s still a PR.  You’re still getting stronger.

I’m pretty sure this program has been real good to me since I began using it back in October because as of today I finally Deadlifted 305lbs for the first time.  I’d like to thank Motorhead’s badass track “The Hammer” for giving me the energy to do this!  I probably should’ve gotten there two cycles ago but instead of increasing the weights every cycle by ten pounds I increased them by five.  Oops.  I’m beyond grateful that my gym in Clifton, New York Sports Club, actually has a deadlift platform with bumper plates because I refuse to deadlift with those shitty octagonal plates EVER again.  In fact, I hope who ever created those plates gets shot in the fucking throat repeatedly because they make TRUE strength training such a hindrance.

Week 3: Day 2 – Deadlift Day!

Deadlift

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

245lbs – 1 x 5

275lbs – 1 x 3

305lbs – 1 x3

Hyperextensions

35lbs – 3 x 12, 12 10

Ab Core machine

20lbs – 3 x 20, 20, 20

I wanted to use the ab crunch machine and do three sets with 105lbs but some middle aged bitch was occupying it, taking her sweet ass time.  You know the ones, they sit on the machine for 10 minutes, while socializing, and they even stop DURING THEIR SETS to yap some more.  Why are they even in the gym?  Shouldn’t they be in the beauty parlor with their other middle aged friends gossiping about some worthless piece of shit reality show they probably rush home for every day because they have NOTHING ELSE to live for??

Oh!  Speaking of Motorhead…

Lemmy

My girlfriend told me two days ago that Dingbatz was going to host the streaming of Lemmy’s memorial service in L.A. using Motorhead’s YouTube page, so of course we went.  It’s awesome knowing I’m literally a driving distance of ten minutes from the place.  There weren’t as many people there to watch it as we figured there would be, which was fine by me because we actually got seats at the bar giving us a great view of the brand new flat screens that the management just had installed, with the much older “tubes” now sitting outside of the bar.

It was held at a chapel, there was no way in fuck that this would be held at a church.  Nope nope!  Next to a podium was a table with a few souvenirs, if you will; Lemmy’s pirate hat which covered his urn – I had no idea he was cremated! – something from the WWE with their logo on it, always tacky guys, you never learn, do you?  His cowboy boots were on it along with some speed…a parting gift from Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell, who surprised all of us by NOT being there.  I repeat: PHIL CAMPBELL was NOT at his own bandmate’s FUNERAL.  Surrounding both sides of the chapel?  Lemmy’s Marshall “MURDER ONE” Full Stacks.  FUCK.  YES.

Not many people there in suits, maybe one or two people.  But the difference between those two people was all too clear:  one guy probably wore a suit out of respect, like I would, and Triple H wore a suit because he has a corporate image to uphold.  Yeah, I said it.  There were a lot of people there to speak about Lemmy as well as one or two people I know I sure didn’t expect.  Did any of you truly expect GENE SIMMONS to be there?  Since when the fuck does GENE FUCKING SIMMONS care about anyone BUT himself??  Geezer Butler was also there, which was cool of him.  Of course Ozzy and $haron were there, I mean $haron only screwed him out of potentially MILLIONS in royalties for writing classic songs on both No More Tears and Ozzmosis by giving him flat rates.  Cunt.

Among the speakers were various people, from random friends from Germany, to Lemmy’s somn Paul, to the band’s management and road crew (You know what song came to my mind every time!), to celebrities we all know.  Just like that the theme of this service was all too clear: friendship.  As much of a modern day pirate as he was, Lemmy was everybody’s friend and those people who were invited to speak were obviously those he made the most impact on from a personal level.  A surprisingly emotional Mike Inez of Alice In Chains spoke, as well as Slash, who spoke about the time he spent with Lemmy in the hospital after he was fitted with a pacemaker, being by his side everyday until he was released.  I had no idea.  I’ll never be a fan of Slash’s guitar playing and I LOATHE Guns N Roses but he always comes of like that guy you can hang out with for hours.

Triple H (most boring wrestler EVER) told some funny stories about Lemmy.  Remember, before he became a corporate sellout he was a metalhead who would often do interview segments in a battle jacket with either one of his own shirts or the Motorhead England shirt.  In that regard he was for real.  He had the honor of having Motorhead play him to the ring for two Wrestlemanias.  Luckily for me he lost both times.  He mentioned that when that happened Lemmy said to him: “You can’t win a match to save your life, can you?  That’s why you’re good for us!”  But after talking of Lemmy the ballbuster he spoke of Lemmy the gentleman.

He and his wife went to see Motorhead backstage at a festival show.  He went backstage and he found Lemmy with two towels on, topless girls and coke on the table.  He was about to come in until Lemmy noticed Stephanie.  “Whoop!  Close the door!”, he yelled as Trips waited outside.  When Lemmy reopened the door he was now dressed, the girls were dressed and the coke was gone, which Trips could only assume Lemmy snorted all of – and all because Stephanie was there.  Sure sounds like a gentleman to me, even though not too long ago Steph actually had double implants.

All of us in the bar were VERY surprised when Rob Halford came up to speak.  I had no idea he’d be there but it shouldn’t be too much of a shocker.  Like Lemmy, this world is Rob’s life and even after all the decades he’s been doing this he’s still a fan.  He told everyone: “When I was in the presence of Lord Lemmy, I was a bit overwhelmed …”  Yeah?  Well, so were the rest of us bud.  Points for calling him “Lord Lemmy”, by the way.  After Rob left Lemmy’s girlfriend came up.  She was clearly drunk, slurring her words the entire time.  No denying she’s in a major panic right now, trying to figure out what to do next.

Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo of Metallica came up and that’s when I got interested.  Upon walking up to the podium, Lars looked…different.  I don’t mean the homeless guy beard he had but his vibe was different.  He was clearly shaken up there…even vulnerable.  Metallica are dead to me after …And Justice For All, but there would be no Metallica without Motorhead and Lars made it painfully obvious in every interview he’s ever done. You knew it when he spoke of opening for Motorhead in 1982, the year before Metallica were even signed to Megaforce Records, and Lemmy recognized him from their meeting in Denmark not too long before that.  The theme of his speech was that Lemmy always treated him as an equal.  I’m sure Lars could’ve said much more…if he wasn’t still shaken.  It must’ve finally hit him that his idol is gone.  That has to really suck for Lars, knowing that the reason he is the drummer for biggest band in the world is no longer here.

Dave Grohl was the last person to speak, which is what everyone was waiting for.  You know his general history: drummer for extremely overrated grunge band turned frontman/guitarist for middle of the road rock band.  But those who REALLY know ANYTHING about the guy know too well that he’s nearly as big a Motorhead fan as even Lars!  He occupation as guitarist for his middle of the road rock band basically finances his love of all things hardcore, crust and metal.  If you know ANYTHING about Dave Grohl you heard his metal side project Probot, which featured several different metal vocalist, including Lemmy, with whom he recorded the only good track on that CD, “Shake Your Blood:, in which Lemmy also played bass.

Over the years Dave and Lemmy truly developed a bond with a each other.  The two of them got together many times and were clearly the best of friends for years.  Watching him up there you can tell he was truly humbled to be friend with the guy.  What sucked was when the mic got cut off and we couldn’t hear shit for about ten minutes, and went right back on before he finished.  He mentioned their love of Little Richard, which plays and important part here.  Right before Lemmy died Dave got Little Richard to autograph a bible pamphlet for him to give to Lemmy, but Lemmy died right before he could give it to him.  So right before he let the podium Dave recited a few lines from Little Richard’s song “Precious Lord Take My Hand”, before raising a toast to Lemmy.

After it was done Lemmy’s tech plugged in his Rickenbacker signature “Rickenbastard” bass, leaned it against his full stack and let that shit feed back forever.  THAT is how you hold a memorial service.  Let’s celebrate the guys life – I think he’d make fun of all of us for mourning him, I know he wouldn’t want us to, although the woman sitting across from us was in tears the entire time.  The world is still a shittier place without you though pal.