Powerlifting Training Update, Musical Inspirations

Been a little bit since I last wrote in here.  Haven’t had the chance due to the grind of my shit job and training for my upcoming powerlifting meet for Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate on Saturday, May 21st.  I began preparing for the meet yesterday morning.  For this training I completely got rid of shoulder day, focusing just on the big three moves with a bit of assistance work and some conditioning.  When I get to the point that I have three weeks left I’m removing the assistance work completely to focus JUST on the big moves…maybe some conditioning.  I even started ordering some equipment including Rehband Knee Sleeves, which were delivered today, liquid chalk, which I should be getting tomorrow as well as a black singlet, which I’m supposed to be getting in a few weeks.  So far the knee sleeves fit perfectly and feel very comfortable.

Yesterday’s Deadlift workout:

Deadlift:

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

215lbs – 1 x 5

245lbs – 1 x 5

275lbs – 1 x 5

Leg Curls

50lbs – 1 x 10

75lbs 1 x 10

100lbs – 1 x 10

This was all followed by ten minutes on a stationary bike which saw my heart rate go up to 170.  The average HR for this time was 143.

I’d like to thank Nails and their 2010 album Unsilent Death for totally filling me with the rage needed to hit the gym yesterday.  Ever heard Nails before?  Holy shit they are fucking BRUTAL!

 

Final Thoughts

speed

So I saw this the other day while looking at upcoming shows since the weather’s getting better and because the school year’s almost over, enabling me to go to lots of shows.  I had to laugh!  Speed Metal Dating?  The description should read: “Come to Saint Vitus to find that special someone with so many daddy issues that you’ll never hate yourself again!”  Tell me I’m wrong!

Powerlifting Meet Progression and Musical Inspiration/The IPF Guys Need A Life

Had a damn good leg day this past Thursday.  It was very energetic, I feel myself getting stronger all the time.  5/3/1 is the shit!

2/11/16 Training Log:

Squat

95lbs – 1 x 5

115lbs – 1 x 5

140lbs – 1 x 5

180lbs – 1 x 3

205lbs – 1 x 3

225lbs – 1 x 6

Leg Press

190lbs – 3 x 10, 10, 10

Dumbbell Side Bends

8lbs – 3 x 10, 10, 10

This was all followed by six Prowler Sprints using 90lbs.  I’m looking to slowly increase up to fifteen sprints on Squat and Deadlift days.

I owe part of my energy  to this!

I’d also like to thank the site of the red headed FAGGOT piece of shit that trains at my gym for getting on my nerves just by being there.  Long story short, this asshole decided to be rude with me all because I didn’t realize last week that the dumbbell section was no longer crowded and I could move my duffel bag.  “It’s just…common knowledge”, he blurted out like a jerkoff.  If you’ve got nothing nice to say to a guy you don’t know from a hole in the wall then don’t say shit because that guy might just kick your ass.  I decided to be the better man because I wanted to get my work in but the next time he opens his dumb fucking mouth I might just fuck him up or at least give him a nice warning.  Although I’d love to see someone just shoot him is his face repeatedly – now THAT would be awesome!

ipf-logo

The International Powerlifting Federation…you guys seriously need to get over yourselves, leave your office and go get some air, go meet a girl, buy a plastic doll that you all can share, something.  Is attending the seminar of a guy who’s banned from the IPF for life really considered a form of association with the guy?

Quick back story: Ed Coan, considered the greatest powerlifter of all time, failed three drug tests with the IPF, the most prestigious powerlifting federation in the world, between 1985 and 1996 before finally being banned for life from the fed.  So when Ed was getting ready to host a series of seminars in Sweden the IPF issued a really pathetic statement reminding both IPF lifters as well as their own staff members that they were not to attend Ed’s seminar or they would be banned for life/fired.

I don’t care what anyone says – that’s the dumbest fucking statement the IPF could give.  So, as someone on YouTube said, should Silent Mike from Super Training Gym be banned from USAPL, which is affiliated with the IPF, because he and Mark Bell interviewed Ed for Power Magazine?  Hey how about Stronglifts creator Mehdi Hadim?  There’s a video of him training squats with Ed – should he not be allowed to lift in the IPF should he ever choose to compete?  He’s banned because he fucked up – he wasn’t some junkie pro wrestler who killed his wife and kid, and then hung himself on his lat pulldown machine in his basement.  Oops.

 

Discovering True Anger In Metal; My First Powerlifting Meet

Discovering True Anger In Metal

I bought my first Megadeth CD, Cryptic Writings, in 1998 when I was fourteen, almost a year after it was originally released.  I tried so hard to like it, I really did.  Fuck, I was anticipating a lot more from the guy who fired from Metallica AND named his band MEGADETH.  Come on! But I couldn’t.  It was way too fucking tame, even songs like “She-Wolf”, “The Disintegrators”, and even “FFF” were watered down compared to what I was expecting.  So I wrote ’em off like I did Metallica…especially after Risk!  That’ll just put you to fucking sleep!  At that time THE bands everybody my age listened to were the bands of the day like most kids do anyway, the bands in this case being Marilyn Manson (when he actually had balls), Korn (this was months before they became dead to me), OLD Metallica, Shit-vana (because it was some unspoken requirement to put that dead, talentless sack of shit on a pedestal), maybe one or two more that I can’t remember right now.

But over time I eventually discovered FAR BETTER songs from Megadeth thanks to WSOU like “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?” and “Sweating Bullets”.  Amazing.  It was near the end of my junior year in high school in 2001 when VH1 premiered their Behind The Music on the band.  Upon watching it my interest in the band was renewed before I even got to the fucking ten minute mark.  The intensity of everything from the way Mustaine alone grew up to the music being more badass than any riff Hetfield EVER came up with for Metallica to their beyond fucked up life style.  Then came the news that their next album, The World Needs A Hero, was to be heavier and a lot less radio friendly than the last two piles of shit.  And it was.  So over time I found myself buying most of the classics from their glory days.

Then near the end of 2001 I heard the news that Mustaine had remixed and remastered the band’s 1985 debut album, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!, including a forward written by Scott Ian (because he’s only THE biggest metal fan on earth), as well as brand new artwork.  Remember this?

killing original

So badass.  Not!  So, the weekend it was released I went over to Sam Goody (remember that place?) and bought it.  After a funny ride home from a cab driver telling me about all the girls he’s fucked I wasted no time and popped that shit right in my radio.  The piano intro to “Last Rites/Loved To Deth” was crystal clear thanks to this new mix.  I loved how it seemed to tell a story before the main riff kicked in.  Holy shit this is intense!  Listen to those double bass drums!!  The morbidity of the song as he says “If I can’t have you then no one will!”.  That crazy, frenzied solo – is he using his Bill Lawrence pickups as frets to hit higher notes???  Someone call 911 – he just RAPED his B.C. Rich Bich…and it was good!

So this set the tone!  The entire album from here on in was pure balls to the wall, heavy as FUCK, ridiculously technical, jazzy time changes thanks to Chris Poland, whose solos run circles around most metal guitarists.  Kirk who?!  This was pure drug-feuled ANGER!!  Dave Mustaine was fired from what was to be THE biggest band in the world and he desperately had something to prove.  He was out for BLOOD.  The peak of the album?  “Looking Down The Cross”.  This song completely summarizes the album as a whole.  It’s well arranged, twists and turns at the right spots, Mustaine’s shockingly intelligent lyrics, the second of his two solos on the song is so panic stricken that it perfectly painted the mood of the entire song!  The final track was “Mechanix”.  For those of you who are new to this shit or live under a rock this is basically “The Four Horsemen” with a faster tempo, no slow interlude, and alternate lyrics about a horny gas attendant.  Mustaine wrote the song before he joined Metallica and gave it to them along with “Jump In The Fire”, but when they fired him James and Lar$ changed the lyrics and added the two slower parts and made it the song you know on Kill ‘Em All.  It was fun hearing this version of it, way more straight forward, way more badass.

I don’t know if I should thank Dave Mustaine’s thirst for revenge, drummer Gar Samuelson for introducing Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson to speedballs or both.  But I’ll tell you what…Killing Is My Business… was absolutely BRUTAL in the year predating Slayer’s Reign In Blood.  And with Mustaine’s amazing remix technique the newfound clarity amplifies that brutality times ten.  THIS was what I needed so bad in a time when everyone around me was listening to THE lamest, shittiest music you could find on radio in early 2002.  I was truly alone in this aspect but I didn’t care.  When my friends were listening to either Mudvayne or shitty emo bands like Weezer I was deafening my ears with Killing… for a long time.

My First Powerlifting Meet

REvPS

So after lots of thinking I finally decided to sign up for my first ever powerlifting meet, figuring that if I don’t do it now I might not ever.  So as of earlier this afternoon I will be competing in Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate’s Jersey Rumble at the Ramada Inn in Newark, NJ on Saturday, May 21st.  I’ll be part of the Amateur Open in the 198lb weight class in the Raw Modern Division.  The Open begins between 2:30 – 3:00 but I have to be there at noon to be given the rules, warm up, etc.  I’m going to see how I like it, regardless of how I do – which won’t be great.  If I like it I’ll do it again.  I imagine that if so I’d do one more meet later in the year, either in New Jersey again or somewhere in New York, most likely upstate somewhere.  If things go well maybe I’ll join USAPL, which is an affiliate of the International Powerlifting Federation.  If you’re reading this and plan on going to this feel free to drop me a line.

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.

 

In Memory Of Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor

My dear friend and brother passed away last night. He had been ill for sometime but that does not make it any easier when the time finally comes.

 I have known Phil since he was 21 and he was one hell of a character. Fortunately, we made some fantastic music together and I have many many fond memories of our time together.

 

Rest in peace, Phil!

                                                                                                                                                                       “Fast” Eddie Clark
Well….there’s no other way to put it…this sucks.  I had no idea he was sick and of course there’s no cause of death yet, or least as I’m typing this.  For those of you who somehow have no idea who “Philthy Animal” is he played drums in Motorhead’s classic lineup, which included Lemmy and “Fast” Eddie Clark, and can be heard on Motorhead’s classic and most important albums in the late 70’s and early 80’s, including their breakout 1980 album Ace Of Spades.  As part of the classic lineup Phil’s drumming style along with Lemmy’s thunderous bass from hell would prove to be one of THE biggest influences on future thrash metal musicians…everywhere.  Here’s a nice example of how right now.  Most people are going to be blasting the title track to Ace Of Spades and that’s ok but THIS is how I’ll always remember Phil.  Rest in Peace brother.

Iron Maiden Live at Madison Square Garden July 30th, 2003

This was my second concert ever, just a few months after seeing Superjoint Ritual at L’Amour in Brooklyn just two months earlier, but this was my first ever arena concert – and goddamn what a way to start!  A few months earlier my cousin Mike asked me if I wanted to see Motorhead, Dio and Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden in July.  Now…I understood Maiden and even Dio playing at the Garden.  But Motorhead?  Yeah they have such a loyal following but they never held the stature of Maiden in ticket or even album sales.  Either way I knew it would be amazing to hear a band THAT LOUD in the Garden.  So do I want to go?  Um…yeah!

I don’t really remember off the top of my head what my day was like leading into heading out to my cousin’s apartment but I do remember just thinking to myself “holy shit I’m seeing Iron Fucking Maiden tonight!”  I’d been a growing fan since my senior year of high school, probably being the only one in my high school that even liked Maiden, or any real metal for that matter.  I had heard “The Number Of The Beast” and “Run To The Hills” but once I heard “The Trooper” on WSOU one afternoon I was sold!  Then Mike called me to let me know that he’d need an extra $50 when I got to his place because he was able to upgrade our seats and we’d now be right at the second row.  How the hell did do that?  Well…he wouldn’t tell me.  Whatever.  So I got to his place in the Superjoint Ritual t-shirt I bought at their L’Amour show, green cargo shorts and my boots, gave him the $50 and to the bus we went.

We got there and the place was the best mix of scalpers and some of the sickest battle jackets I’ve ever seen.  When we walked inside my old friend Joe was doing security, and he definitely came in handy later.  Motorhead were already playing when Mike and I got to our seats.  Come to think of it I now get mixed emotions when thinking of any Motorhead show I’ve seen, mostly because of Lemmy’s health these days.  Between him and Keith Richards why the hell is it that Keith was the one that did heroin and he appears to be doing better than Lemmy?  Loud?  Yeah…ok.  Imagine their volume…especially Lemmy’s bass…but now it’s in an arena where you’re now blasting the ears of over 20,000 people.  That whole set was an explosion.  And from where wee were seated we were right at Lemmy’s side to the stage – the way it should always be!  And Mikey Dee’s bassdrums went right through me and my cousin like a second heartbeat.  Mike was not really a Motorhead fan but at that moment he definitely got a rush from the sensation of Mikey’s bassdrums.  Their set list was filled with songs ranging from their entire catalog, from their biggest songs to their least known.  It was my first time hearing their Ramones tribute song, simply called “Ramones”, “Sacrifice”, “Over The Top”, which Lemmy appropriately dedicated to himself, and then I finally heard them play “Overkill”.  I’d heard Metallica’s cover of it five years earlier as did everybody else in the world but to hear THEM do it was the single greatest point in the setlist.  After they got off stage I almost didn’t care about Maiden!

Dio was next.  They were still on tour for their most recent CD, Killing The Dragon, the title track of which they even opened up with.  This was to be my first of three times seeing Ronnie James Dio in concert – all three times with my cousin Mike no less! – and my first impression of the guy made me laugh so hard.  I mean I never realized how short this guy was, first off.  He came out wearing this black silk outfit, I mean black pants flaring out at the bottom and this black short sleeve shirt, decorated with a glitter cross.  Now don’t get me wrong, he was amazing!  His voice was so powerful on this night, just a few years before being diagnosed with the stomach cancer that eventually took him from us.  I still miss him so much.  But I know I wasn’t the only one that night wondering if he took dance lessons from a stripper either!  In fact when I began my second year in college a little over a month later THAT was what my other friends who were there and I were talking about more so than even the music!  He shook his ass and swiveled his hips way too good here.

Craig Goldy was back on guitar, replacing Doug Aldrich who left after Killing The Dragon to join Whitesnake…yeah I was confused about that myself.  Why would anyone leave ANY band for Whitesnake??  I sure wouldn’t!  Craig was damn good on guitar as he played through this setlist, which Ronnie himself dubbed “Title Track Night”, even though they still brought out “Rainbow In The Dark”.  So while we were obviously going to hear “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line” at some point they band also broke into “Heaven and Hell” to close his set.

Maiden…oh, Maiden.  When the time came for the band to come on the lights went out and you almost immediately heard those now-infamous lines from Vincent Price about the number of the beast.  We were about halfway through it when nearly everyone in the band minus Bruce Dickinson ran on stage ready to go.  I just knew he was behind that crazy ass elaborate stage they had going on, and I predicted he’d probably not show himself until the band kicked in.  After Vincent Price finished speaking Dave Murray started chugging away at the beginning of “The Number of The Beast”.  You heard Bruce hit that scream….still no sign of him..the next verse kicks in…there he is!!  In pure Michael Jackson style he was catapulted from beneath a platform on the stage and right away began jumping down the step with the energy of someone half his age.  The whole band are playing away like their lives depended on it and this motherfucker is doing Olympic style hurdles over the onstage monitors while singing and not even screwing up a single note.  He was in his mid-forties at this point – show me a younger front man from this time period that could do that shit too!

Oh right – the music!  It was a trip hearing THREE guitarists playing an assload of classics originally performed by just two.  Right after the first song finished Bruce just yells out in his high pitched wail “THE TROOPEEEEEERRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!” and all three guitarists broke in to the song that made me a Maiden fan for good.  Bruce goes away for a minute while the crowd of 20,000 hears Janick, Dave and Adrian pull off a sick three part harmony before he comes back out in an army outfit.  NICE!  I really wish I could find footage of this show but I can’t because they did a bunch of classics, “Die With Your Boots On”, “Revelations”, “The Clairvoyant” (not one of my favorites).  Then Bruce gave a speech about how the band didn’t give a shit about record sales our how we heard their music so long as we heard it, before playing “Wildest Dreams” off of their then-forth coming CD Dance Of Death, telling everyone to take it “…and download it to all your friends!”.  Oh Bruce, you funny guy, you.  The show ended with the encore, “Run To The Hills”, which I really wanted to do for other reasons when the show was done.  But I cane say that this was one of THE best concerts I’ve ever been to.

After the show was done Mike and I waited for my friend Joe to get out so we could go home on the ferry together.  I’d love to know how the fuck we wound up walking to the train with this weird looking gay couple, one of the two guys talking to me, randomly switching subjects from why James Hetfield had to go to rehab to how his boyfriend’s family was the cause of his ulcers.  Right… While on the train I saw some in shape looking guy with this nasty looking chubby chick with John Lennon’s signature tattooed on the back of her neck.   Once we got off the ferry Joe drove us both home, which was a hell of a lot better than possibly taking the bus that late at night.  That next morning I felt fuckin’ pumped!  I woke up a lot earlier than I should’ve and hit the gym before going to work.  Getting of the bus from work I recognized this chick with a John Lennon tattoo on her neck – it was the chubby chick from the train.  “You were at the show last night”, I said.  So we spoke for a minute until she said the words that made me think she lost her fuckin’ mind: “Motorhead SSSUCKED!”  WHAT?!?!  Bitch have lost your fuckin’ mind?!?!?!  Oh it gets better: “Lemmy looked like he was sucking a dick the way he had his microphone positioned too!”.  I have to admit, I did find that part a bit funny…but sucked??  I can happily say I haven’t seen her since!

Stanlaw Fitness – The Reality Of A Dream

When I think back to when I was the happiest going to the gym I immediately think about two places, the weight room at my college and Bally Total Fitness.  One was where I got my start as a clueless weightlifter, not knowing my ass from my elbow about anything and just using machines because they had instructions on them, and the other place was that major step up.  It was like my college weight room but it had more of everything and therefore I no longer needed to wait for someone to finish up or improvise by doing something else.  But what they both had in common is that they both had great, strong support groups, we all looked out for each other, helped each other to reach our goals.  It was incredible and I’ll forever be grateful for those days.

It was a year into my time at Bally Total Fitness when I met Mike Stanlaw in the fall of 2008.  He was a brand new trainer and I saw him watching me as I struggled with cable rows with the corner of my eye.  So in between sets he began talking with me, and I wasn’t sure what to make of him.  It wasn’t personal – I stopped trusting personal trainers after my experience with the jerks at LA Fitness.  But the more we talked I slowly began to see that not only did he actually know what he was talking about, but – GASP! – he actually liked what he was doing.  I even let him show me a variation of the barbell row!  Needless to say he made a great impression on me pretty quick!

Over the next two and a half years Mike trained me on and off (I think I was the first person in Bally’s he introduced to Dogg Crapp Training, which some guys like to use when taking a break from Max Overload Training and he tried to get me to hurt as much as possible with Calf Raises but he had no luck thanks to my calves already being pretty damn strong from years of being a pedestrian).  During this time Mike also became the head trainer at Bally’s.    Then, things changed.  He got a job at New York Sports Club in Bayonne, NJ, which is much closer to his home, and Bally’s sadly closed down and is now a Planet Fitness.  That’s when you know something’s wrong with the world.

Mike texted me last year, letting me know that he was getting ready to open up his own personal training studio in Bayonne and I immediately thought to myself that if you love something you’ll do anything in your power to make it a reality and that’s what he was about to do.  Things were delayed due to legal issues that I’m sure I can’t discuss here but Stanlaw Fitness finally opened up shop nearly three weeks ago.  I finally found the time visit the new place just two days ago and man it looks great.

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GREATEST.  CLOCK.  EVER.

Holding true to Mike’s love of fitness, Stanlaw Fitness offers several kinds of training, from Bodybuilding contest prep to Zumba to Youth Training and so much more.  As of my seeing him he told me he already has 60 clients.  What was most awesome part was he took time out of his crazy ass schedule to train chest with me like old times.  We did five sets of bench, a set of pushups to failure, and then we capped it off with five sets of dumbbell bench with a Dogg Crapp style static stretch after the final rep – and all while hearing two of Randy Orton’s theme songs on Mike’s ipod!  My upper body hadn’t felt that tired in a long time!

If you live in the Bayonne area or you want to train with someone who is the real deal, who lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps health and fitness give Mike Stanlaw a call right now.  Yesterday, even.  For more info here’s the link to his website.

http://www.stanlawfitness.com

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Most Intense Show Of My Life…Or How I Almost Died Seeing Crowbar.

…ok so maybe that dying part is a bit exaggerated but if it got you to read this then my job is done!  Suck me.

Sludge GODS Crowbar came to town this past Monday night on their Summer of Doom tour, taking along with them Lord Dying and Battlecross.  It took so long to write about this because I needed a whole day to recuperate from the insanity that I’m going to write all about.  Then I had a very hard time uploading all my pictures and videos.  Why?  I couldn’t tell you, but I finally upload everything last night.  My videos from the show have been up for the last day or two though and I’ll put the link to them here of course.

I arrived there maybe before 7:30 so I could eat something.  I was walking up the block to find food and who’s coming toward me in the opposite direction?  None of than Crowbar founder/vocalist/guitarist Kirk Windstein!  I shit you not!  He and two other guys were headed back to the bar with food and I had a slight fanboy moment so I went up to Kirk.  He shook my hand and said hey in that gruff, raspy voice of his before going back to his conversation with his buds.  No big deal since I wound up with a souvenir from him later in the night anyway.

So I go back to the bar later and upon looking at Crowbar’s merch table I found this shirt.

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This is so fucking true!  I myself wound up buying two shirts from the table but no this wasn’t one of them, although I think I should’ve gotten one for my girlfriend as a hint!

Not too long before the first band of the night, Carcosa, went on, I tried to talk to a few people and it felt a bit weird.  There were times where I felt like because these people didn’t know me they wanted nothing to do with me.  Not that I give a shit at all but this is something about metal that pisses me off.  It’s cool that there of groups of metalheads that found each other because that’s so hard to do; but what’s with the cliques?  I did met this one guy in a Down t-shirt who was a HUGE Crowbar fan.  Nice guy when I met him but as it turned out he was one of those pyscho fanboy types…you know the ones…there’s one at every show and that idiot always knows every little thing about the band including it’s day to day personal activities.  Well he turned out to be one of them.

While waiting outside I met Alex Bent, the current drummer in Battlecross.  We had a long conversation about all things music.  He and I and the crowd including the psycho fanboy were reminiscing about how we each discovered Crowbar and I good chunk of us said by watching Beavis and Butthead.  “Huh huh, I’d hate to meet this guy in an alley Beavis.  Huh huh.”  After a while it was time for him to go back in but he was cool enough to take this photo with me before he did.

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I walked back in as Carcosa began their set.  They’re a band out of Long Island and this just happened to be their first show.  If I could describe their music I’d say a sludge/hardcore hybrid, not like Crowbar does but they were pretty heavy.  For their first show they were spot on, as if they rehearsed a lot.  I spoke to Tim, their lead singer at their merch table after they finished and he said this wasn’t even supposed to be their first gig but when they got the call how the fuck could they say no????  They’re one of many bands I’ve noticed selling their music on cassettes, primarily because they’re cheaper to make than CDs according to what they guys in Ajax told me last July.  For $5 I got a cassette with a free digital download card along with two stickers.  To hear it for yourself go to http://www.carcosali.bandcamp.com and you’ll find the entire demo.

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I had more pictures and even a video but for some reason my memory card filled up quick and I didn’t even have many pic taken yet at that point.  This would be cause for a lot of frustration throughout the night.

Next of was Lord Dying.  This is was a close as we were gonna get to Crowbar before Crowbar even hit the stage.  It was heavy and sludgy…but with harmonies and solos.  They actually impressed me a lot and I will but their shit.  Erik Olson’s vocals were angry as FUCK and the music just pounded you.

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At the end of their set I spoke to Chris Evans, their co-guitarist, who let me take a picture of him with that beautiful custom made guitar you see both guys with in the video I posted.  He even let me hold it, that thing is light as a feather.  I wanted to try and balance it one finger!

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Battlecross were next and the last band before Crowbar.  This was the thrashiest, fastest and most melodic band out of the entire lineup.  They were still intense but in a different way and it’s safe to say the definitely have a following because this was the time when the room were in in truly began to full up.  From “go” the band were non-stop.  Their music was fast and while i had heard some of their songs before this night just so I could be familiar with them, they really impressed me live.  Also, it’s good to know there are bands out there with a sense of humor because Kyle Gunther was absolutely hysterical at times.  When I met him afterwards I should’ve suggested he try standup comedy.

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Here’s where problems began.  My phone’s battery was dying so my video for Battlecross was cut off after a minute and a half and my camera’s memory card was mysteriously full.  I’d fix the camera issue later but I couldn’t charge my phone obviously.  But here’s the video I made because it did come out good, at least.

Some people were crazy enough to clear the room after Battlecross got off the stage.  I guess they wanted to get one last smoke break, I don’t know.  I just know that there was a great open spot right at the front of the stage and I took it quickly.  While Alex was taking down his massive drum set – the biggest one of all the bands! – I befriended the guy standing next to me, also named Mike.  Turns out he’s huge Crowbar fan – no not like the psycho fanboy.  Kirk Windstein got on stage to set up and he drops the setlist on the floor and reading it Mike and I got real giddy, like teenagers, just knowing that shit was going down tonight.  I mean…just…just look at this fucking setlist!

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After just ten minutes Crowbar finally hit the stage.  I think you can just look at the picture above to figure out just how fucking crazy shit got based on the song being played but trust me, seeing is believing.  I was only able to take a few pictures because I got banged around a bit being that I was at the front.  I mean I was right in front of Kirk Fucking Windstein and practically getting an upfront guitar lesson!  If I can’t play any of Crowbar’s shit after this show I need new glasses now.  So here are the few pictures I was able to take, just to get it out of the way.

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So when the band began playing the place turned into a heavy metal lion’s den of dudes jumping off the stage – especially that psycho fanboy!  He kept on trying to push his way in and knocking me away from the front but I wasn’t letting that happen.  But I did pay for it because his breath smelled like fucking shit!  Mike smelt it too as did the woman standing to my right!  I have a video of the the second and third songs they did: “Planets Collide” and “All I Had (I Gave)” and before the “All I Had…” ended the fucking camera stopped on me again!  But I’ll tell you what…as crazy as we all were – I mean Mike and I were laughing so hard at how crazy everybody was and how heavy as FUCK the band were – shit really went down at the breakdown to “All I Had…”  It’s as if nothing else matters after that song.  This was where the whole fucking place just caved in.  For real.  Here’s the video of it.  The sound’s fuzzy because I’m right in front of Kirk but just fast forward to the 8:16 to see it all.

It was an extremely intense show.  And if shit couldn’t be more out of control the band broke into the intro to “The Lasting Dose” and played it even slower than it already is.  That just made everyone’s blood boil because they just wanted the band to kick in so they could beat each other up some more.  I fucking loved it!  I’m pretty sure it was that song were some jackass jumped of the stage and landed right on my shoulder.  And not even five minutes after that I felt someone kick me in the back of the head.  The woman next to me asked me if I was ok and I saw that psycho fanboy crowd surfing, so I immediately figured out that it was his foot that hit me.  She and I both wanted to fuck him up because he kept on jumping our direction AND his breath smelt so fucking rancid.  Rushing to the stage to show he knows every single word before jumping on us again and again.  I was ready to hurt him.

The show was SICK.  Crowbar were so fucking heavy.  This really is the music you listen to to get fat!  If I wasn’t sick I would’ve totally been motivated to lift weights the next day because they gave me such an adrenaline rush.  This is the music you shit dead babies to.  Fuck it – this is the music you EAT babies to!  They ended the night with “Existence is Punishment” and just when you thought the crowd were tired from beating the shit out of each other they got right back into it just like that.  I’ve never seen anything like it in all the years I’ve been to shows.  I’ve seen things close to this happen but the difference was that at all those other shows the crowds calmed down at least a little after a few songs.  Here?  No.  Just…no.  At the end of the show I jokingly thanked Kirk for the free guitar lesson.  “Free guitar lesson, huh?”, he asked on the mic in the raspy ass fucking voice of his.  He then let out a smile and gave me this sick looking guitar pic out of his pocket.

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This again was such a fucking sick show…the single most intense show I’ve ever gone to so far.  I plan on going back to Saint Vitus this Monday to see Goatwhore, which ironically enough was formed by former Acid Bath and Crowbar guitarist Sammy Pierre Duet.  That’s a band that puts on a sick show but I know that it won’t be the same as this.

High On Fire – Luminiferous

“High On Fire are gods to a generation of bikers, barbarians and beardos, and luminiferous is one of their finest hours.”

That’s what I saw when I bought High On Fire’s latest album, Luminiferous this past Friday, and for once I might actually agree with Rolling Stone on this one.  Just one question: what the fuck is a “beardo”?  Is it meant just to describe someone with a big beard?  If so then I understand because I saw a few on those when I saw High On Fire at Webster hall back in October 2007.  But if it’s meant to say dudes with beards are weird then fuck them because as far as I’m concerned Rolling Stone’s core audience are a bunch of dirt bags who probably don’t even shower.  It’s bad enough Rolling Stone as a whole appears to forever be stuck in the 1970s!

I wonder if Matt Pike was looking for irony when he named the band’s new CD Luminiferous because there sure as fuck ins’t that much light being carried through here.  I’ll never forget when I first heard the band back in 2004 and decided that this was what Master of Reality-era Black Sabbath would’ve sounded like had Lemmy joined them and sped up the tempos greatly.  On Luminiferous it’s probably even MORE intense as it ever was and that especially goes for Blessed Black Wings!

I put this in my car and my ass was immediately kicked by “The Black Plot”.  The whole band immediately came in with a great mid tempo chug that quickly turns in to some of the greatest sludge thrash I’ve ever heard from them.  Matt Pike as far as I’m concerned is the king of fast paced sludge; his guitar sound is so strong, so heavy, yet you can still hear everything he’s doing.  Des Kensel does a fantastic job of keeping up with the riffs.  His double bass work and his fills highlight the guitar and bass parts without overshadowing them, which is so important when you’re in a band.

There are some tracks like “The Falconist” where the band show their ability to write solid mid paced songs that may not be as frenzied as what they’re known for but are still heavy as FUCK.  I recommend that track alone.  I also recommend “The Cave”.  Jeff Matz – who I once saw opening up for Motorhead with his old band Zeke, ironically enough – opens up the song with this bassline that offers a brief sense of calm before the rest of the band kicks in and fucks everything up.  Since this song alone is nearly eight minutes long I have to say now that I appreciate the fact that the guys are able to keep shit from getting absolutely boring, finding the right spots to changes things up.

Another thing I appreciate is that the band’s recording process hasn’t changed that much.  Sure, things sound clearer but matt Pike still appears to be recording his solos live without any backing tracks, which provides so much of a live feel.  I’m pretty sure the last time I remembered a band doing that was Pantera starting with Vulgar Display of Power.  It actually makes the album sound even heavier in a way.  I just found out that High On Fire will be playing The Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn, NY on August 18th.  I’m sure I’ll be going!

Some more Crowbar

In the spirit of my last posting regarding Crowbar’s upcoming gig at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn at the end of next month, I just can’t resist t adding this clip from Beavis and Butthead.  “Heh heh.  This is the kind of music you have on a workout tape if you get skinny and you wanna get fat.  Heh heh.”  Classic.