The day is here.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2011 by thismarriedguy
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Thrash Metal Odyssey: Day 1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2011 by thismarriedguy

I have arrived in the promised land.

Actually, I’m (according to Google Maps) 1 hour and 38 minutes from the promised land, which, as of tomorrow, will be Indio. Currently, I’m in Ontario, California, on very little sleep and trying to comprehend the gravity of what I’m going to witness tomorrow – the first and only (so far) Big Four show in the U.S.

In the interest of preserving the moment because A) I’m tired, B) after tomorrow, today will be a blur, and C) the fact that I’m easily amused by anything foreign to me, like a Starbucks with palm trees outside, I shall break this down in a spy-esque narrative.

2:30 am – 5:00 am: Tiredly deal with the staggering combo of apathy and incompetence from the O’Hare staff. The point of a self-check station is so that I can check myself in.  What part of this is difficult to implement?

9:00 am – Arrive at the Ontario Airport, starving, and discover that TGI Friday’s serves breakfast here, with…plastic flatware? :/ Odd. Over two cups of coffee so strong I think it was actually a mistake (but seems perfect to me), I listen to a woman behind me argue with an unnamed family member about how he’s wasting his inheritance.  Loser.

10:00 am – Check into my hotel five hours early, which brings me to the revelation that everyone in California, thus far, is so friendly I expect sugar and butterfly wings just to pour out of their mouths when they talk.  My room?  A $300 per night mofo that I got for about a sixth of that.  Thank you, Bestfares.  I shall tell tales of your compassion.

10:11 am – Think about Metallica fondly.

10:14 am – More coffee.

10:19 am – Look at Scott Ian’s Twitter pics of the guitars he’s using tomorrow and think of Anthrax fondly.

10:33 am – Take shower.  Immediately following, think of Slayer fondly.  (Not in that context, you twisted fucks.)

10:41 am – Drink my gigantic four-dollar bottle of hotel water and think of Megadeth fondly.

10:50 am – Realize that no amount of coffee will change the fact that I haven’t slept in more than a day.

11:00 am – Decide to go to the Ontario Mills Mall.

Here’s the thing about the Ontario Mills Mall.  It’s fucking huge.  Like, seriously huge.  I heard someone say it was the biggest mall west of the Mississippi, and I wouldn’t be surprised.  It would have taken less time to walk across the island of St. Croix on our honeymoon than to explore every corner of this mall.   From 1:oo pm to 3:30 or so, I take a silent inventory of the stores my wife would lose her mind over, in addition to the following:

–Buy freshly baked Toll House cookies (from the Toll House store) from two girls who notice my KISS shirt, somehow make a connection, and ask if I’m going to the “Final Four” concert tomorrow.  (Apparently, the UConn guys moonlight as speed-metalers.)  I say that I am, and I’m then informed that A) they knew because I look like a “rock guy,” and I won’t argue with this, B)  a better show would be Metallica, Alice in Chains, Queen, and Godsmack, which is wrong, C) upon my ordering a “Mexican Wedding” cookie, a joke the employees like to play on each other is renaming a cookie each weekend after something offensive to different ethnic groups.  I take my cookies and leave the girls to their laughter, wondering how long it’ll be until one of them is shot and left to bleed all over the brownies. 

Ruin my shirt with slobber upon seeing a limited edition Red Marshall amp.  I’m buying this.  I’m not sure when, but I’m buying it.

–Discover that Ontario has more cell-phone accessory kiosks per square foot than any other place in America.  And the twentysomething entrepreneurs push them like used cars or hookers, aggressively and greasily like snake-oil salesmen.  It’s a pink bedazzled 4G case, dude – I looked like a rock guy to the Toll House girls.  What the fuck?

–Discover a DVD / CD warehouse going out of business, and manage to only buy two CDs, one of which will appear in this space soon in the Unsung Album series.

–Discover a lifesized cardboard stand-up of Kerry King holding a Marshall amp, leading to the revelation that I am doing a fairly good job of distracting myself from the fact that I’m seeing Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax A.L.L. T.O.G.E.T.H.E.R. tomorrow.

And with that in mind, and with my first In N’ Out Burger resting peacefully in my gut, I retire until tomorrow, which will be followed by a full recap of the pr0ceedings.

And now, a brief photo journal:

The Red Marshall – aka, “My New & Future Amp,” and the closest I will get to Kerry King this weekend.

The countdown to Big Four begins…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 by thismarriedguy

It’s less than two weeks to the Big Four now, and I’m getting antsy.

I’m not sure this will sink in until Anthrax hits the stage thirteen days and approximately 16 hours from now. This is a show I have literally wanted to happen since I was 14, as it was for every other friend I had when I was 14. I’m guessing that some of them are still hoping for it as well. I’m flying across the frigging country for it, and somehow my wife hasn’t been anything but supportive of this venture, possibly because she was moved by the shimmering, single tear that glistened in my eye when they announced that it would only play California. Or, perhaps she was so sick of hearing me talk about it that she’s got some sort of Zen weekend planned for when I’m gone for more thrash metal in one sitting than is probably medically-acceptable. She’s also a hot little rock chick, so she gets it.

Why, might one ask, did it take upwards of twenty years for such a tour to take place? My guess is Metallica couldn’t find time in their schedule of first becoming insanely huge, melting down almost entirely before the entire human race in “Some Kind of Monster,” and becoming insanely huge again.

So what might we be able to expect from said show? I offer some possibilities:

1. The Grim Reaper himself will show up, poetically, during “Angel of Death” to claim a member of Slayer, who have been plagued with health issues since “World Painted Blood” was released in 2009. Perhaps they’ve reached that hallowed point in every black metal band’s career where they’re actually frightening the Devil him/herself and Big Jack can’t let that shit go unchecked. In any case, members of Exodus, Cannibal Corpse, Testament, Sepultura, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and every guitarist signed by Metal Blade Records between 1984 and 1990 will be standing by to finish out the set.

2. Dave Mustaine, finally at peace with the Metallica / Megadeth feud, will bring himself closure by performing “Kill Em All” in it’s entirety, after which he will invite Metallica to perform a Megadeth song as a gesture of goodwill–whereupon Mustaine will sweep in from the wings, accuse them of stealing his songs, fall off the wagon, and the gloves are off for Round Two, baby!

3. Due to his reluctance to swear onstage since becoming sober, James Hetfield will replace every use of the word ‘fuck’ with a nonsense word, upon which Slayer will quickly invite the Grim Reaper to take a member of Metallica instead, because Slayer thinks that’s fucking silly. (Slayer thinks everything is silly, except for blood, evil, evil sex, murder, and Satan. And frankly, hearing Tom Araya say things on their official site like, “looking forward to a fun day,” while endearing, does feel a little weird and perhaps justifies the need for at least some blood and evil.)

4. Joey Belladonna will finally admit what Anthrax fans have known all along: hair extensions.

5. Amber-encased replicas of the “Spider That Tried To Kill Jeff Hanneman” will be sold at the merch table for $300 with proceeds going to the World Wildlife Foundation. Later, it will be discovered that these ‘replicas’ were actually the only remaining members of the species, which Rick Rubin had hunted and eliminated while Jeff recuperated. Don’t fuck with Big Daddy Rubin–it’s “Reign In Blood”s 25th anniversary and he’s a little emotional right now.

6. Anthrax will conclude their set with a slideshow presentation of Scott Ian’s wife’s sonograms. Contrary to the expectations of many crowd members, Slayer will not have have a problem with this, as Kerry King secretly loves cuddly babies.*

7. Megadeth’s set will be cut short due to Lars drunkenly challenging Shawn Drover to a tennis duel. Drover will win, providing further vindication for Mustaine and spawning the lead single from Megadeth’s next album, “Rackethead.” Lars will later claim said match never happened.

8. For old time’s sake, James Hetfield will offer Dave Mustaine a ride after the show, and when Mustaine wakes up two days later, Hetfield will leave him by the roadside in downstate New York.

9. The ghost of Paul Baloff will appear, declare everyone on the polo field a ‘poser,’ and destroy the Big Four in one fell swoop. Members of Exodus, Cannibal Corpse, Testament, Sepultura, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and every guitarist signed by Metal Blade Records between 1984 and 1990 will be standing by to finish out the set.

10. Megadeth will publicly disband as Metallica, overcome by nostalgia, welcome Dave back while firing Kirk live onstage, who will promptly rejoin Exodus, and the circle will be complete.

11. I will be operating on much caffeine and oscillating between rapturous joy, insanity, and tears for the duration of the day. 🙂 Hope to see you all there. Long live the Big Four!

Note: The author takes no responsibility for the actual occurrence of any events listed above, because that would be fucking silly, and I don’t want to piss off Kerry King.

* with generous amounts of sauerkraut and mustard

Unsung Album #3: “The Katies” (Self-titled)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2011 by thismarriedguy

Any time someone gets kicked off a tour, it bodes well.

Example: KISS were kicked from the opening spot on numerous tours in the very early ’70s because they were blowing the headliners off the stage and making them look bad. The same thing happened to The Katies. They were kicked from a tour with – I THINK – the Verve Pipe. (Forgive my lapse in memory – we were friends, it wasn’t a big deal at the time, I’ve since relegated that tidbit to the cut-out bin of memory. If you don’t know what a cut-out bin is…then, oh, Jesus. I’m old.)

I guess at at the time it wasn’t a big deal because, well, it wasn’t a bit surprising. The Katies were like a force of nature live. I had the privilege of seeing them many times during their first-album tour in 1999, and it was one of those moments where you were so purely happy to be in the presence of such an amazing fucking rock band. It wasn’t intellectual, it wasn’t thought-provoking, as such – it was just radio-friendly, hook-drenched rock the likes of which America hasn’t seen since Cheap Trick’s heyday in the late ’70s.

It’s miserable to me that The Katies only released one record simply due to label negligence. It’s not a new story, but it sucks every time – after signing them and determining in about, oh, four weeks or so, that, even though the single was charting, they couldn’t figure out a good method for marketing the single so it caught on even faster, Elektra dropped The Katies and a second record never happened. (Though if “Sideways,” an oft-played live song that would have been on the second record, is any example, it would have blown the doors off.)

But – be thankful. The one and only Katies’ album is out there and available on iTunes. Buy it. Seriously.

It should be noted that The Katies weren’t necessarily “cool.” Their first single was called “Noggin’ Poundin’,” and while it had a chorus that got inside you like heroin, that’s a dumb title. In fact, I wrote it off before I ever heard The Katies, and quickly devoured my shoes once I actually heard them. One of the hookiest songs on the record has an equally jackassy title – “She’s My Marijuana” is maybe the lamest song title I’ve ever heard. But the song? All hooks.

That’s the thing about the first Katies’ album: the songs that don’t club you over the head with their hooks make sense in the context of so many songs that do. The Katies knew how to balance the melodic harmonies with the straight-up riffs that made the floor underneath you beg for mercy. And I miss them.

The Friday Playlist Has Gone Alt-Country

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30, 2009 by thismarriedguy

Okay, so while exploring the new iTunes, I discovered the Genius feature which will make playlists for you sorted by genre and artist. And this alt-country one is the best I’ve ever seen. So here. If you don’t have these songs, you really seriously need to get every single one of them.

1. “She’s A Jar” – Wilco
2. “This Is It” – Ryan Adams
3. “Don’t Forget Me” – Neko Case
4. “Dance With Me” – Old 97s
5. “Fireflies” – Rhett Miller w/ Rachel Yamagata
6. “A Common Disaster” – Cowboy Junkies
7. “The Sweetest Thing” – Camera Obscura
8. “The Man” – Pete Yorn
9. “Radio Cure” – Wilco
10. “Silent House” – Dixie Chicks (okay, not even ALT country, but one of the best damn songs EVER EVER EVER written)
11. “Blossom” – Ryan Adams
12. “This Is Not A Test” – She & Him
13. “Tired Eyes” – Neil Young
14. “Magpie in the Morning” – Neko Case

Friday Playlist two days early!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 by thismarriedguy

Okay, we’re back on the Friday playlist horse.

For those of you who DON’T know, I have a band. And after listening to a song written for said band, I decided to relax and listen to my iPod on the train, being quite satisfied with myself. I hit shuffle, and I was immediately greeted by track one here, for which I will provide a footnote.

I was excited about my song until “Stormy Weather” came on, and then I was like, “well, fuck. I’m still excited, but it’s not THIS song, so…whatever.” My understanding is that this is the way of things for all music fans and songwriters, so I don’t feel bad. I just wish that “Stormy Weather” was my song instead of…well. My song. But whatever.

Enjoy.

1. “Stormy Weather” – Echo & the Bunnymen
2. “Come Back Margaret” – Camera Obscura
3. “Used Car” – Bruce Springsteen
4. “When I Came Home From the Party” – The Clientele
5. “The Majestic” – Superchunk
6. “Girl” – The Katies
7. “Bluff” – Pilot Speed
8. “Led By Beauty” – The Millions
9. “All the Children Sing” – Todd Rundgren
10. “See You Tonite” – Gene Simmons
11. “Can’t Exist” – Joseph Arthur