Sunday, July 31, 2016

Judith by M Teresa Clayton Chapter Three

JUDITH by M Teresa Clayton
Chapter Three

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it”. - Ernest Holmes

Judith stood quietly at the bedroom door watching her mother as she began brushing her hair. The mirror was uncovered now and reflecting the exquisite splendor of her beloved mother. Judith admired her mother’s beauty and her long dark chestnut hair. She was a small delicate woman with creamy skin and dark features. When she painted her lips red, her face would suddenly blush with intense color. She looked like one of Judith’s porcelain dolls that had magically come to life.

Thankfully, it was morning. The sun was shining brightly through the sheer curtains hanging at the window, highlighting the red against the brown of her hair. Mommy is always happy and dancing around the apartment on days like this, she thought to herself.

Judith absentmindedly reached up to touch her own hair, aware of the striking similarities between herself and her mother. She smiled knowing that someday she would look just like her; exquisitely chiseled features, emerald eyes surrounded by long thick feathery eyelashes, a smile that could stun a crowded room into a silent awe, framed by a glistening chestnut mane of spun silk.

Yes, someday she would look just like her mommy. Someday, she would be just like her mommy…

Judith hesitated before entering the room. She remembered the red coverlet moving the night before.

“Mommy?”

“Judith!” Amanda jumped, surprised by her daughter’s unannounced presence. Pulling herself together, she put the brush down, turned with a big smile and called Judith to her.

“Come sit with me Judith. We’ll brush your hair, put some color on your lips and you’ll look just like Mommy.” She would always talk about herself in the third-person, as if she wasn’t really there. Judith wondered to herself if perhaps this morning mommy and the nighttime mommy were two different people, like the twins who lived down the hall.

Danny and Denny were their names. Danny was the nice one. He was Judith’s best friend in the building and he would always let her go first when they played games.

Denny wasn’t so nice, he was selfish and such a bad loser. She thought back to that day when they were playing checkers and she had cornered his last piece to win the game. Denny flipped the board over and scattered all the checkers onto the floor. His face had become distorted and red. It scared Judith.

The feel of the brush gliding through her hair felt good. Judith liked the way Mommy focused so much love on her when they shared moments like this.

“Why do you have so many friends here at night, Mommy?” She asked. “Some of them are creepy.”

“Creepy?” Amanda’s face twitched. Judith thought she saw a slight change in her mother; something unnatural and cold. “How do you know they are creepy? You should be fast asleep young lady,” Amanda scolded, then her expression softened and she smiled at Judith sweetly.

Her mommy was such a captivating woman, Judith thought. I want to be just like her when I grow up.

“I don’t like them, Mommy.”

“That’s why they don’t come to visit until you are tucked safely into your own bed.” Amanda replied. '
“You don’t need to like them and they don’t need to know anything about you.”

"Now, turn around and let us have a look at you. There you are – beautiful – just like mommy!” she beamed.

Just like your mother!

Judith was facing her mommy and didn’t see her lips move. Where did that voice come from? Did Mommy hear it too? She had to hear it!

“Mommy?”

Go on now, Judith, it’s time for school; we don’t want you to be late.” Again, third person; it was never just she and I, there was always that strange ‘we’.

Bedtime rolled around once more and the night played out as it always did. There were different voices, different names – but the sounds were basically the same.

Later, Judith would hear the old woman who would chastise her mommy over and over again, bringing her to tears. Then it would suddenly stop and she would drift off to the sound of running water and the sweet lilting lullaby she would sing to her, just for her.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Band Interview: LYNCH PIGS

Interview with Joe Demolition of LYNCH PIGS

The first time I saw your band was when you opened for the Murder Junkies in Ronkonkoma, Long Island. Describe the show and how you got booked. Was this your first time opening for them?
The show was outstanding! We had a great turnout and the show ran very smoothly. We've played with Murder Junkies three times now. First time was in Brooklyn at Hank’s Saloon, we were booked by a promoter friend in New York City. The second time was at Evenflow in Bayshore, New York and the third time was the show you attended in Ronkonkoma. The last two times we booked the shows ourselves, we've been friends with the Murder Junkies guys for a couple years now and when they tour they contact us for a show.

Who was the promoter who booked you with the Murder Junkies the first time? Does this promoter actively book punk shows in Long Island and New York City?
Aerik Von and Frank Wood were the promoters for the first show. As far as I know Frank Wood is still booking and promoting bands. Aerik has since moved out of New York City and is pursuing other things.

How long have you and the Murder Junkies been friends? Did you happen to meet them at their show or by corresponding on the web/social media?
First time we met the guys in Murder Junkies was when we played with them on May 18, 2013; we've been friends since then. We stay in contact through phone calls and sometimes through social media.
Have you ordered Murder Junkies and/or GG Allin merchandise from Merle through his mail order? What are your most vivid memories of seeing the Murder Junkies perform?
I've ordered merch from Merle as well as buying it at the shows. Merle is a pro with the merch. One of my favorite memories of seeing Murder Junkies was the first time we played with them. I was standing up front during their set, in the middle of their third song some chick started punching me right in the nose. I pushed her away and she landed on the stage. The Murder Junkies looked at her, shrugged it off, and kept playing without missing a beat.

What is the bulk of the merchandise you have bought and ordered from Merle? Are you mostly collecting clothes/shirts or live shows, DVDs and the like? Was the GG Allin documentary Hated one of the items you purchased from him?
Never bought a shirt, I've bought some records from him. I don't own a copy of Hated but I've seen it many times. Whenever we have a new member in the band if they haven't seen Hated we hang out and watch it.

What most appealed to you about Hated? Did you see the material where Merle and Dino were interviewed? Merle mentions that one magazine listed Hated in the top 25 greatest rock documentaries (it beat out docs about much bigger bands).
What most appealed to me about Hated was the raw unadulterated truth of an underground musician/band. What you see is what you get. When Merle said one magazine listed Hated in the top 25 greatest rock documentaries I wasn't surprised. It's the most entertaining documentary to watch.

Would you have liked to see a performance by GG Allin when he was alive? How many live videos have you watched of his?
Not only would I have wanted to see a performance but I would have liked to open for G.G. Allin. I've watched a lot of live videos online, although it's not even close to experiencing the real thing, it's cool that people nowadays can check out G.G.'s live performances.

What are some of the most extreme performances of GG’s you have watched on video?
GG Allin and the Murder Junkies at Beowulf NYC 8-31-91 was pretty extreme. It's hard to say which is more extreme than another because I don't think G.G. ever played a show that wasn't extreme. Also because what is extreme to one person might not necessarily be extreme to someone else. I think his performances did become more extreme as time went on though.

What is it like to be a punk/scum rock band based in Long Island? How did the band members get together and what were the initial reactions to your shows?
Being in a scum rock band on Long Island really sets you apart from everyone else. Pretty much all the other bands here try to not offend people. We could have taken the easy route and played generic punk or metal but we decided to place ourselves in the middle and put offensive lyrics on top of it. Since we played our first show in February 2012 our fan base has steadily gone up. Initially people came out to see what we would do or how offensive we could be. Now they come out because they enjoy the music. Initially our old drummer and I played in a band together. We played one show and after that the band broke up. From there we started Lÿnch Pigs. Dirty Martinez has been our bassist since 2013 and his first show with us was opening for Murder Junkies. At the time we were playing without a bassist, Dirty was at one of the shows and bought us some drinks. We hit it off and asked him to join. The newest member is Danny Crusher on drums. We met Danny by playing with his other band Jones Crusher. Our old drummer moved away and we still had shows to play so we asked Danny to play. So far it's worked very nicely, Danny's a great drummer and brings some fresh ideas to the band.

Describe a few of the ideas Danny has brought to the band since joining, and how much those ideas have contributed to your sound?
Danny has brought some new life to the band. Before he joined we had been playing the same songs for the past two or three years. Before Danny our songwriting was beginning to get stale, we began writing to a formula. Danny changed all that with his style of playing. We've been feeling each other out and our different styles have come together. We are writing five new songs with Danny right now that we'll release as an EP soon.

Do you see scum rock getting press in local music papers in Long Island? How about other parts of New York? Or would you want to see it receive more press?
Occasionally I've seen articles on scum rock in New York City but not here on Long Island. Scum rock seems to be one of the musical genres that people need to go out and find on their own. It's not for everyone and in a way I really like that. It seems to me that there aren't any casual listeners of scum rock.

What zines or papers do you know of that support scum rock in the city?
The only one I know of is New York Waste because they interviewed us in 2014. We were asked to do an interview after we opened for ANTiSEEN in September 2013.

How indepth was the interview New York Waste did with you? And how much attention did it get for the band?
The interview brushed on a lot of topics ranging from how the band got started to what type of underwear we all wear. Our answers were brief and to the point, if I remember correctly the interview was done by two emails. The first was sent to us with a short list of questions and the next was us sending our answers. After the issue with our interview came out we received a little more attention in New York City. I can't say it opened doors for us but our draw increased slightly.

What draws you and the band to scum rock? When Lynch Pigs started, what made you decide to go against the easy option of playing something generic?
There is a lot of freedom playing scum rock. We're not the kind of guys to write love songs but we'll write a song about anal sex. Someone once told me to write lyrics about what you know. Most of our songs are about sex, drugs, and violence. Deciding to not play something generic always appealed to us. You can hear our influences within the music but we don't sound exactly like any other band. It's something we've always been proud of; we play something different than what’s going on around.

What band were you and your previous drummer involved in before Lynch Pigs? Did you intend to be a serious band? Why did they split up that early?
Before Lÿnch Pigs we played in a black/thrash band called Akred. It was a lot of fun but I don't think it was ever taken too seriously. We split up over a difference of opinion, I wanted to take it more seriously but the other guys didn't. That's when we, Jason our previous drummer and I, took off and started working on Lÿnch Pigs.

Did Akred plan to release material on CD or play more shows before splitting up? How many songs did you have altogether? Where did the band’s only performance take place?
Akred released a four song demo called "Spills & Thrills Rehearsals". We only made a handful of copies but a couple songs are on Youtube. Altogether we had about eight songs when we split up, we were only together for about six months. The only performance was at The Acheron in Brooklyn.

Would you ever reform Akred if the opportunity came and you found musicians with similar ideas in mind?
Right now I am focused solely on Lÿnch Pigs. I might in the future form a band that played similar music to Akred, although it's unlikely. I probably wouldn’t play with the same guys or use the old name.

What fan base were you seeking when you began writing offensive lyrics? Were there any bands you took after lyrically?
Honestly we thought no one would like it. We were writing lyrics that we thought would offend everyone. We wanted to be the most hated band but it didn't turn out that way. Lyrically I think we take after The Mentors. We tend to have a comical approach to our lyrics and I think The Mentors do as well.

Do the band members like other older bands, such as Nihilstics, Bloody Mess & The Skabs or AntiSeen? Would you cite any of those bands as having been influential on you?
We like a lot of the older bands. Nihilistics are awesome; I saw them at Revolution a couple years back. Bloody Mess & The Skabs are great; I was just listening to 6th Grade Field Trip on Youtube the other day. ANTiSEEN kicks ass and has been influential on Lÿnch Pigs especially the album Murder Junkies with G.G. Allin.

How long were you and the other band members into punk before you picked up instruments? Are there other scum rock bands from Long Island or other areas close by that you know of?
I started playing guitar when I was fourteen after watching the movie "Detroit Rock City". I've always been into more metal or hard rock over punk. Dirty Martinez and Danny Crusher come from a punk background, they both started playing their instruments at thirteen. On Long Island there is us and our friends White Goblin. There might be more but I haven’t heard of them. We're on a compilation called "Here To Ruin Your Groove Vol. 1". It was released by a friend who lives in Germany. All the bands on it are, in my opinion, the best bands out there right now and most are from the East Coast.

Where is White Goblin from and how much material do they have available? Do you play Long Island together often?
White Goblin comes out of Long Beach right here on Long Island. They have released two albums but it's hard to find copies. I was talking to the singer, PJ, the other day and he told me they are getting ready to record their third album. It's not set in stone yet but we're supposed to record a split with White Goblin in the near future. We try to play together as much as we can, it's always party time when we get together. This year we haven't played out together but we plan on doing a show later in the year.

When was the last time you and White Goblin shared a bill and how was that show for both bands? Where else has Lynch Pigs appeared locally? Have you had a chance to play outside New York yet?
I believe the last time we played with White Goblin was last year when we opened for Murder Junkies at Even Flow Bar in Bayshore. That was a pretty cool show, we had the bands Filthy Twolips, White Goblin, Urban Waste, Murder Junkies, and us. Overall the show ran smoothly and everyone had a great time. It doesn't get much better than that. Locally we've played at The Village Pug in Lindenhurst, Amityville Music Hall, Bubs in Hampton Bays, and a bunch of other venues. Outside of New York we've played shows in Boston, Massachusetts, Oxford, California, Providence, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Telford, Pennsylvania, Canton, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, St Louis, Missouri and Dunellen, New Jersey.

What was it like for the band to experience the different scenes in all those states where you have played?
We've met a lot of awesome people and bands playing shows in all those states. It's been an incredible experience so far and hopefully we'll be able to go even further in the future
There are free shows every year in NYC’s Tompkins Square Park. Has the band played one or more of those yet?
We played one of the free shows in Tompkins Square Park in June of 2012. It was a pretty cool experience and was our first outdoors show.

Talk about the show you played in the park in June 2012. What bands are on the bill with you and how large was the turnout?
It was a perfect day for a show in the park, we opened and before we even started there was a good size crowd. As we played the crowd grew larger and larger. I couldn’t tell you how many people were there but there was a lot. The weather was beautiful and after the show we went to Otto's Shrunken Head. We played with Alekhines Gun, Truth In Needles, (A) Truth, Miscegenator, and Mongrel Bitch. I remember while we were playing a crazy lady stood right in front of us and kept screwing around with our singer. She danced throughout the whole set and wanted us to keep playing. A year or two ago I saw an article in a newspaper on the lady, She had been crossing the street and got run over and was killed instantly.

Are you acquainted with the staff of the independent newspaper The Shadow, who are involved with booking the shows at Tompkins?
We met some of the staff when we played Tompkins; we met them through Chris from Iconicide. At first I wasn't sure how to react to p.c. Anarchism; it didn't make sense to me. Now I have a better understanding of what they are about. I can really appreciate what they are doing, when I misjudged them initially.

What gave you more of an understanding of The Shadow and its purpose? If you’ve read any issues of the paper, did you get anything out of any of the articles?
I reached a better understanding by doing my own research. After meeting some of the staff of The Shadow I eventually went back home and began thinking about it. Not knowing what p.c. anarchism really was and assuming it meant something else really confused me at first. Eventually after seeing what is portrayed in mainstream media compared to what really happened opened my eyes. I'm not the kind of person to blindly believe everything I'm told. If you tell me something that I'm unsure about I will research it. I think that is one of the main problems with our society today, everyone jumps to illegitimate conclusions without first finding out the truth. I read an issue of the paper years ago and can't recall a specific article. Unfortunately The Shadow is only distributed in New York City, if it were available out here on Long Island I would read it more frequently.

Many clubs that were around two decades ago are now closed down. Has the band appeared at the clubs left from the old days like Pyramid and ABC No Rio?
We played at Pyramid once back in 2013 with Sexual Suicide. We played in the basement while on the main floor there was a goth party. We never had the opportunity to play at ABC No Rio. We had heard that in order to be booked the staff had to read your lyrics to see if anything offended them, it would have wasted their time and ours.

Do you regret that so many clubs were forced to close down since the 90s? At which of them would you have liked to perform?
It is unfortunate a lot of clubs had to close down, a lot of them had a following all their own. Now it's almost solely up to the bands to fill the venues. If you don't have a following you’re either not going to get booked or even worse might have to do pay to play. Since I've been in Lÿnch Pigs I've seen many venues come and go. We used to play at Evenflow Bar and Grill in Bayshore but it closed down earlier this year. Down in North Carolina Tremont Music Hall recently closed down. It's happening everywhere and doesn't look to be stopping. Given the opportunity I would have liked to play at Sundance in Bayshore and L'Amour in Brooklyn. Both of those clubs really stand out in my mind and I've heard a lot of stories of amazing shows that happened.

What label was the first volume of Here To Ruin Your Groove released on? Did he contact you to ask if you were interested in appearing on the compilation? Which of your songs is included and do you plan to contribute to future volumes?
Our German friend, Tobi Plumenbohm, released it on his label "Here To Ruin Your Groove Records". He contacted me a year or two ago and asked if we wanted to be on the compilation. We have two songs, "Road Soda" and "Force It In". We have no plans on contributing to future volumes. There are a lot of bands out there that really deserve to be heard. I wouldn't want to take away the opportunity for another band to have their songs released.

Considering your lyrics, how gradually did you see the changes in your audience’s reactions from when you started playing out? What are some of the most inane, ridiculous remarks you’ve heard people say to you about the band?
Initially a lot of people were horrified and some even left the shows, now people sing along. It's a great feeling to be on stage and see people really digging your music. I remember at one of our shows someone came up to me in the bathroom. They wanted to know if I knew what the band name really stood for. Although the name could be interpreted as hang cops we never took it from that angle. My last name is Lynch so it's meant to be Lynch’s Pigs but people can interpret it any way they want.

How many lineup changes happened since Lynch Pigs started, and how long has your present lineup been together?
We've been plagued with lineup changes, so far we've had eight lineup changes. Dirty Martinez has been in the band since February 2013 and Danny Crusher joined us in January of this year. We just parted ways with our singer, Jesse Omega, and now Dirty and I will be singing the songs.

I saw a promotional video the band made for your song Lynch Daddies. Who were the dancers appearing in the video? Does the clip represent the usual kind of show by Lynch Pigs?
The dancers were Omega Girls. Our previous singer, Jesse Omega is a well-known promoter here and he had go-go dancers at all his shows. Most of them were found at strip clubs here on Long Island. When Jesse was in the band he had dancers at every show we played, but in the end it didn't work out. The girls wanted to be paid and at most of the shows we weren't making any money. Besides the spaghetti wrestling and dancers, the clip represents a typical Lÿnch Pigs show here on Long Island.

Can you cite some of the sleaziest, most extreme shows the band had played? Describe these shows and what happened at them.
There isn't one show that stands out as being the sleaziest or most extreme. For the most part there are situations that have happened at shows that were extreme or sleazy. One instance was when we played Providence, Rhode Island. While we were playing one of the bartenders brought a bottle of liquor on stage and proceeded to pour it down our throats. It's not as easy as it looks to play a song while having someone pour alcohol down your throat. After our set we met some chick, we ended up with her in our van and everyone got a turn. While this was going on her boyfriend was walking around looking for her.
Last time we played Blackthorn in Queens our set was cut short. After about four songs I took my guitar off and tossed it at the drummer. I wasn't mad, I was really high and drunk and just felt like it. I went and got my guitar and told him it wasn't personal. He laughed and I walked to the front of the stage and gave everyone the finger. Immediately security came out and the sound guy unplugged my amp. The crowd wanted us to keep playing but Blackthorn took it upon themselves to shut everything down. We decided we don't have to play there ever again.

Tell the readers about the first demos the band released and how much distribution they received. Were there reviews of those demos in the fanzine industry?
We didn't have an official demo in the beginning. When I joined the band all the songs for the first album, Cheap Sleaze, had been written. The reviews were mixed, some people really liked it while some really hated it. There was only one written review and it was on the internet. There wasn't any distribution for the first album; we sold them at shows or from our online store. We began writing new songs when Jesse Omega joined the band. I came up with the music and titles for the songs, from there we would all have a say in the lyrics. The two EPs we recorded, Livin' Dirty and Forced Entry, are the songs most of our fans know. We've had a much better response from those then we did on our first album.

To date have you sold more of your releases at your shows or through online ordering?
We have sold more through our online store. We get orders from all over the place, recently I shipped packages to Germany and Norway. I've shipped merch pretty much all over the United States but a lot of the orders come from down south. In the U.S. we offer free shipping but anywhere else in the world we have to charge shipping. Currently we're looking into European distros to try to alleviate the shipping costs.

Have you contacted any distros in Europe that would be interested in stocking your releases?
We haven't contacted any distros yet. I've been in contact with a couple people who live in Europe and are fans of the band. They are sniffing around to see what they can find. As soon as we have compiled a list of potential distros we'll begin contacting them and see what we can come up with.

Do you still have copies of Cheap Sleaze available for purchase? List the songs appearing on this release?
We still have copies of Cheap Sleaze on CD and vinyl. We always have a couple copies with us at shows and it can be ordered from our online store. The songs on Cheap Sleaze are Hellhounds Of Rock "N' Roll, Hellbent For Tobacco, D.W.F., Earn My Love, Do Your Damn Job, Titanium Cobra, The Seven Day Itch, Dine 'N' Ditch, Knee Deep In Pussy, and Bang In The Bathroom. On the cd version there are two bonus tracks called Lookin' Ain't Touchin' and P.C. Cunt. We occasionally play Knee Deep In Pussy and Hellbent For Tobacco, the rest of the songs we haven’t played in probably three years.

In what ways was your EPs Livin' Dirty and Forced Entry an improvement from Cheap Sleaze?
If you listen to Cheap Sleaze and then put on either of the two EPs it sounds like two different bands. 90 percent of Cheap Sleaze was written by our old drummer before I even joined, at that point there wasn’t a band but more of an idea for a band. Our old drummer made almost all the decisions regarding the album, beyond writing the songs he also came up with the cover and layout. Cheap Sleaze was his project; the rest of us went along for the ride. It worked out nicely in the beginning because we didn’t have to spend time writing, we learned the songs and began playing out.
When we recorded the EPs the whole band was involved in writing. I would come up with a riff and bring it to practice, if everyone liked it we would write a song around it. Instead of going to a studio we recorded it ourselves at our practice space. Everything was done in single tracks and mixed later on. By doing this we got a raw sound instead of a polished sound like on Cheap Sleaze. We're a sleazy, down and dirty rock n roll band and the raw sound suited us better. There are differences in lyrical content as well, a lot of people find it hard to relate to anything on Cheap Sleaze. With the EPs the lyrics were a little more real while still being comical.

What are the band’s favorite songs from Livin’ Dirty and Forced Entry? If you are writing songs for your next release, how will they be improvements from your present material? How soon do you expect to release something new?
Some of our favorites from those releases are Lard Makes Me Hard, Road Soda, Random Acts Of Violence, and Learn English. Each of those songs sound different than the others and we have fun playing them. We have the music part for a new EP almost finished and we're working on lyrics. By having us sing the songs instead of a lead singer it's forcing us to put more thought into what we are doing. In a way it is pushing us to improve individually because we aren't going to write easier guitar or bass parts just so we can sing at the same time. We are planning on beginning to record the new songs for an EP in about a month, it should be ready by November when we go on our east coast tour. We are also working on our second album which should be released next year.

Where do you plan to record the next EP and full length? How extensively do you plan to promote them once they’re released?
The upcoming EP is going to be recorded in our practice space. Our second album is being recorded at Zenith Studios in Rocky Point by our friend Michael Gatto. Both will be available on our bandcamp and from our online store. The album will also be available on Itunes, Amazon, and Spotify. We'll be hitting the road after the album is released to promote in as many places we can as well as having online promotion.


-Dave Wolff

CD Review: STRAIGHT HATE Every Scum Is A Straight Arrow

STRAIGHT HATE
Every Scum Is A Straight Arrow
Deformeathing Production
This is an odd one, not something I'd normally seek out but something I'm liking a lot. Straight Hate, hailing from Poland combine a number of influences from old school extreme punk like Discharge to Grind-core like Napalm Death / Terrorizer / Brutal Truth and even some Dying Fetus / Agoraphobic Nosebleed for this their very impressive debut album.
The songs seem to clock in at around a minute or so, but besides the old school punk sensibilities, there's a lot involved … great riffage excellent song progressions and some really cool chorus…. and some hellish double kick and blast beats. The songs don't get boring and are always entertaining. This is one angry band and you can hear it! I'm loving the vocals too, great projection and a seriously deathly voice that combines a lot of my favourite death metal vocalists. The guys aren't novices having formed in 2008 and 2106 being the year of their first release, these guys have obviously put in a lot of work to master the art of grinding and it shows.
Even if you're not a grind-core fan by definition, a lot fans of other death metal, heavier punk etc... will get something out of this, it is played with such conviction and precision that very few people would be able to deny the talent and sense of groove these guys have.
The recording is solid but still has that underground feel, it is hardly what you'd call a clean album but well recorded and the dynamics are great, all the instruments come across well in delivery which makes it much easier to listen to and enjoy!
I really can't think of anything that would make this better! It is great the way it is and I honestly think the lads are onto something great.... do yourself a favour and check them out! I see big things ahead of them if they stick to it.
Check the guys out on Bandcamp or Facebook. -Reggae

Track list:
1. High Priest's Hand Gesture
2. Don't Be So Cheap
3. Beautiful Slut
4. Self-Deception
5. Lovely Family
6. Fuck It This Is Grindcore
7. Looking for a Victim
8. The Defenders of Morality
9. Disagreement
10. Corporation
11. Ludzki Szlam
12. Extinction
13. Impatient Diarrhea
14. Old Friends
15. The King of Everything
16. Sofa Agent
17. Tear the Flesh

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Band Interview: ACME DYNAMITE

Interview with Marc Del Cielo of ACME DYNAMITE

When you formed Acme Dynamite, what made you decide to exclusively play cover songs? Did the band brainstorm to choose what bands and songs you would cover?
The decision to be a cover band for me was that my "rock star" dreams were over long ago, but the desire to still perform for people wasn't. When you put years into something that just fizzles it's a bit disheartening. In the meantime you have to eat and put a roof over your head. And for some people a "job" turns into a career and you invest so much that after time it isn't logical to give it up to chase a dream. I admire any original band that goes out and sleeps in a van going from town to town for a show. That's really what rock n roll is, Elvis did it. The Beatles did it. For guys like Lemmy that was his whole life. He gave his whole life to rock n roll and his fans. And in the end when he was very ill he kept going. So for us being a cover band the way we say thank you to the ones who gave so much for music. When we formed we never sat down with a list of songs to do. We started just choosing who we wanted to cover and who we didn't. We chose really to stay in a range from the '70's and '80's and pick bands from that period. We do reach back to some '60's stuff but mainly it was the period stated. We chose songs that we hope people like as much as we do but are also fun and/or challenging for us to play.

Why do you think your desire to perform outlived your “rock star dreams”?
My desire to perform has never waned. For me it's the feeling of satisfaction I get that people have chosen to see an Acme Dynamite show over another band or movie or what have you, and I want them to feel that it was a good choice. That's also why an Acme show isn't just four people playing, it's also the visuals we've incorporated into our show. We have the lights, smoke and a video screen to enhance our performance. I have a tablet to run the backing tracks, but I also have sound bites and intros to kill the dead space between a song. I want to see and hear people having a good time, that's why I never gave up on playing music. I'll never tour the world. I'll never write a hit song. I'll never get a Grammy (thank God). But I don't care. Come see and enjoy us; that's my gold record.

Most of today’s “hit songs” are fleeting, while the songs you cover have been appreciated for many years. What changes have you seen in radio in recent years?
I don't listen much to the radio. When I do it's probably because someone else has it on. New York radio has the "classic rock" station, whose call letters I won’t mention. They've been the same for decades which is cool, but they never mix it up. And they seem to have some fanatical devotion to Bruce Springsteen which I can't understand. Plus being a Long Islander, Billy Joel is always on. I'm not a fan of his, but I respect him. He's done good things for the communities out here. We also have The Shark out here, I don't know the station number. My kid listens to them, they play some cool stuff. Some of the newer, radio friendly metal like System Of A Down and Disturbed plus classic metal like Black Sabbath and Metallica. They don't play much Motorhead. And way too much Guns 'N' Roses. Then there are the commercial stations that the same ten songs every hour. Whatever is on the charts this week. I think WCBS, the oldies station is still going. Radio on Long Island, I must say really has diversified through the years. Now there's Latin, hip-hop and alternative where there used to be mostly commercial.

I know what you mean about radio stations that play the same songs again and again. Lately there have been internet radio stations that play more unsigned bands and have more diverse play lists. Have you heard any of these?
I know of internet radio but I don't know anything about them. I'm sure there's lots of unsigned and independent bands of every genre on the stations. I really haven't explored it though.

Where did the inspiration for the name Acme Dynamite come from, and why was it chosen?
Band names are the hardest part of a band. You need to kind of describe yourself but not type yourself at the same time. And we wanted a name that would tap into a person’s psyche. Something to stir people’s imagination. And we couldn't think of any, ha ha. Truthfully, we didn't really put too much focus on a name when we were working on our song list. We were still trying to figure out if we were going to be a five piece band with Steve playing second guitar. Then when we got to the name point Robert said Acme Dynamite. And it was kind of a no brainer. Steve and I watched Looney Tunes together as kids. Heather did. Robert did. We were all fans of the old cartoons. I even have an animation cell of 50 Looney Tunes characters call "Looney Lineup". The video we run during shows has clips of the Coyote getting blown up by good old Acme brand dynamite. So we went with it. Our Facebook page has pictures and clips from those cartoons.

Did each member of the band have favorite songs they wanted to cover?
There was always certain songs that each member wants to play. Generally we try to stay away from the most popular song by a band. When it came to choosing Led Zeppelin songs, we didn't want to do the "tried and true” ones like Good Times, Bad Times or Black Dog. So we chose ones like What Is And What Should Never Be. But Heather really wanted to do Ten Years Gone.
Robert is big into bands like Deep Purple. Everyone who does Deep Purple chooses Smoke On The Water. So we did but we weren't happy with how we played it, so he suggested Highway Star. But Robert likes most songs to sound like the record, and through the magic of his guitar processor and the fact that he is a really great player, he does the John Lord keyboard solos complete with the Leslie sound.
The one band Steve requested we do is Kings X. On the list to learn for a future date is Over My Head. As for myself, the one song I always wanted to do was The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again. Robert was able to get the backing tracks for it and we learned. It really is a fun song to play because what drummer doesn't love to play Keith Moon? It took a little work but it's now a regular in our set.

How did you all share your input? What would you consider a song that is challenging to play onstage?
Each member gives as much input as possible when it comes to choosing what songs we want to cover, not just the choices of songs but how we play them. A very big part of our performing a song is trying to replicate the sound. We decided to do Paranoid by Black Sabbath. But how we chose to perform it was as close to the original recording as possible. Robert was set on not overplaying it. He wanted to stay away from the versions that Ozzy's guitar players have always done. The same with Ozzy's I Don't Know. The sound he uses is identical to the Blizzard Of Ozz recording. There are also songs we do that fade out, so you have to come up with an ending. Someone will throw out an idea and we take it from there.
The most challenging song to play onstage so far has been Won't Get Fooled Again. The keyboard track goes through the entire song. Keeping the time isn't the hard part. It's remembering how many measures certain parts of the song are. We are going to perform Cult Of Personality by Living Colour at the next show. I recently wrote a backing track for it complete with the JFK and FDR quotes. That should be a challenge because of the intricacies of the guitar and bass lines. But our confidence in each other is high and were sure we will rock it.

Who would you say are your favorite Looney Tunes characters? And how long did it take to develop the band’s concept?
May favorite character has to be Foghorn Leghorn. He's what I'd call a "shit stirrer". He's never happy unless he's causes a problem messing with the dog. I also liked Pete Puma. That's the cartoon with the "How many lumps do ya want?" I believe it’s called Rabbits Kin. That was the only cartoon with him but it’s one of my favorites. Those cartoons were classics and a big part of my childhood. It didn't take long to incorporate it into the band’s persona. Various advertising flyers I made have contained a Looney Toons character. The intro we use onstage has Looney Toons music as well.

How do your audiences generally respond to your incorporation of Looney Tunes clips into your shows?
I can't really say what the reaction to the Looney Tunes stuff in the actual show, I more or less look at the whole. We've posted and others have posted Youtube clips on our page. Those get a good reaction from folks.

Where in Long Island have you played this far? Has Acme Dynamite played Manhattan and other areas of New York?
We've played mainly Nassau and Queens. Our main gig is at Suite 1828 in Merrick. They treat us well and have a great sound system. We've also played in Suffolk, Brooklyn and Manhattan. We were fortunate enough to play Trash Bar before they closed. Our last Queens show was The Shillelagh in Astoria, for the owner Rusty's birthday. The crowd there went crazy for the old school metal we played that night. Astoria knows how to rock.

How do you see the tribute bands that have appeared on Long Island over the last decade? Do you see them as having nostalgic value or do they take away from original bands?
Tribute bands? Can't stand them! The only one I've seen that was worth watching was the cast of Beatlemania. And if you’re a Beatles tribute band and your McCartney doesn't play lefty then it's not a Beatle tribute band in my eyes. Plus I can't see why there would be a tribute band for a band still together. But that's just my opinion, so I hope no one in a tribute band will dislike me for that. As far as taking away from original bands I don't think they are. I think it depends on the venue. Some places do want original bands because they feel there's no draw. Keep in mind every club that relies on live music wants bands that fill their place, but if you have no one there spending money, you don't get asked back.

Where outside of New York would you and the band most want to play?
We would like to play around the tri-state area (NY, NJ and CT) as long as it doesn't cost us a lot of money to travel. We don't do this for the money, but we don't want to lose money either. I'd like to play some of the biker rallies like Sturgis or Daytona.

Being that the band has a female vocalist, are your audiences surprised that she handles songs originally sung by male vocalists or does it not matter either way?
It don't think it surprises people at all that all of our songs are male vocalist songs. I think we had four songs by female artists, and we haven't done any of them in a while. We play what we think people will like and what we enjoy playing. We're not going to play, say, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" simply because we have a female singer. Heather doesn't want to do that. We want people to hear us do something they haven't seen other bands do: songs everyone else does. Heather and I go way back. And we were both Metalheads growing up, so for her to sing songs she doesn't like is counterproductive.

How long have you known Heather and what convinced you she had ability as a vocalist?
I've known Heather a long time. If I said how long it clue you into how old we really are as opposed to how old we act, ha ha. I'm not sure she'd want me to tell her age to the readers. But put it this way, there weren't cell phones when we were kids. We met through Steve. Heather's parents lived a few blocks from my aunt and uncle, and I met her one day and we became friends. We used to hang out all the time. She remembers way more of those times than I do, but I always remember the time that an elderly woman asked if we were sisters. Heather is a good soul. She's got a great sense of humor too. The time we had reconnected was around the time my last band split up. She was looking for a new project as well. I was always convinced that she could sing. Then when we had the first jam with Robert, her ability was beyond my expectations.

Can you describe in more detail your first practice session with Heather and Robert?
There was a real positive vibe going in because I hadn't seen either one in quite a while. When I spoke to Robert he told me songs he knew and I either knew or could fake, which I passed on to Heather. Even though Robert and I played in Vasaria, he wasn't at heart a death metal player. So he brought like two guitars, E and E flat tunings, and we did some Ozzy, Sabbath, Van Halen and Zeppelin. I think we messed with "Wicked World", "War Pigs" and "I Don't Know". I can’t remember what else, but we did quite a few. Heather either new most of the lyrics or knew none of the lyrics, but knew the song. And the three of us played what we knew or knew a sizable portion of, and critiqued it or pointed out a part we missed. And from there we got a base eight or ten songs to start with. There was supposed to be a bassist I met online, but he never showed.

How far have female vocalists come in metal, for their ability as well as their appearance?
Female singers in metal haven't really come far at all in my opinion. They will never be appreciated for their talent as long as marketing dictates appearance. Mainstream music has produce a dumpster full of Katy Perry's and Miley Cyrus's that true talent gets over shadowed. People didn't care as much about Amy Winehouse's music as they did her drug problem. Metal will always be the ugly step-sister of music. You'll never see Doro performing the Super Bowl halftime show. Amy Lee won’t be plugging Revlon. Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Baby Metal, their music can't sell cars or cell phones or shit people in America buy. Metal has always had a bad rap and always will. Even mainstream artists like Christina Aguilera were always image first, and she's a very talented singer. Appearance will always be everything.

I was talking with a friend about this and he basically said substance is as important. Do you think this has something to do with the longevity of metal, because bands had talent as well as stage presence?
Substance being important is kind of a double edged sword. Venom we horrible when they released "Welcome to Hell". Abaddon had no sense of timing, and Cronos was no McCartney. But the album is a metal classic. The songs, while not performed the best they might have been, were what metal was in those days. And Venom's live shows were unmatched but the talent didn't back up the show. All the first bands from that first onslaught of the European death metal were like that. The first Celtic Frost album, the first Sodom album, they weren't the greatest musicians, but the songs fit their persona and the bands got musically better from that point. And as you well know, Celtic Frost's "Monotheist" is in my opinion the greatest metal album ever. But then you take Metallica. The first three albums were so great, then when Cliff died, I felt the song writing declined, even though their popularity soared. I can listen to the Cliff albums first song to last song every day, but everything after that has one, two or three really great, standout tracks and the rest are mediocre. And don't get me wrong, song writing is really hard, but a band’s album should contain its best material. And the other side is that bands that were innovative have to keep pushing that innovation. A great example is Tool. The songs like "Prison Sex" and "H." are dark and complex but later their songs while still dark and complex are also long. Too long sometimes. Like they were overreaching. The new album they’re releasing, every song is twelve minutes plus. Bands like Motorhead, iron Maiden, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Black Sabbath all stood the test of time because of the substance of the material, but also because of the sad state of music today people, hold on to these bands because they’re tried and true. So in answer to your question, I don't think longevity and stage presence necessarily go hand and hand. I think the metal genre has enjoyed such longevity because of the dark and rebellious nature of the music itself. It's always been nonconformist even though some metal bands have enjoyed major success.

I’ve noticed a lot more media spin surrounding pop and metal. How much does this take attention from music?
The media attention surrounding pop music is so ridiculous. The big news is whether Taylor Swift is fighting with Kanye or Miley Cyrus with a strap-on or Justin Bieber's new tattoo. It's stupid. With metal it's usually negative press. Marilyn Manson was always the biggest target. Rammstein too. The music press never gave a shit about Lemmy until he died. Jeff Hanneman of Slayer died and got even less press. American media has always pissed on metal and punk. The Ramones are revered as American heroes after they all died, but they were shunned when they were still recording and touring, even in New York. The media drools over everything Beyoncé says, and she is such a hypocrite. She gets all this police protection at her shows and then says she doesn't trust the police. She donates to Black Lives Matter but prices her tickets so high only rich white people can afford to see her.

How much does social media (from Facebook to Bandcamp) help bands these days, and how much does it hinder them?
Social media has been very instrumental in getting attention for bands. The world is so small now. The days of "stumbling" upon a band are past. It's like when Beavis and Butthead came out and brought attention to White Zombie. I don't see the internet hindering groups, groups only hinder themselves in certain actions and opinions. There are some things people should keep to themselves. I have my opinions on politics and social issues. I might express them through my own social media pages, but never through the bands. I did it once when I expressed my opinion on tribute bands, Robert viewed it as alienating people, so I removed it. I never want to hear celebrities’ opinions, I feel that most millionaire actors and musicians live in a fantasy world where just because they have fame, their opinion is right and only right. I do like when celebrities do stand up for military personnel, law enforcement and veterans. America is the freest country in the world and freedom of expression is a person’s right, but I don't need Bono telling me how to live my life.

It’s the same with CBGB. The mainstream press virtually ignored the club while it was open, but when the BRC was forcing it to close the blurbs were plastered all over the internet. Then that crappy movie was released in 2013 and was slammed as cheap exploitative schlock by people who had actually attended the club. If you saw the movie, what did you think of it?
I did not see the CBGB's movie, and I'm not really sure why there was a need for one. Your own experiences there are YOUR movie, not some writer’s version of it. I remember seeing Carnivore and Scraping Feotus Off The Wheel there. I had played there with C.O.M.A., Shove It and Vasaria. I couldn't help but feel I was on hallowed ground. The greatest sound system inside the dirtiest club (laughs). The impact CBGB had on music history is undeniable. Not just being the birthplace of Ramones and Blondie and Talking Heads, it was the site of The Police's first American gig. It's a shame that it had to close, Hill gave a lot of New York bands a chance when other clubs wouldn't.

Would Acme Dynamite ever plan to record a full length CD of the covers you play? Would you rent a professional studio or use your own equipment? How about a live CD or DVD perhaps?
I couldn't see Acme going into a studio to record an album of covers. We’re not a famous band. Plus when big bands do a remake, they do it in their vein. Out of the music we play, we to replicate the sound from the record. As for a live CD or DVD, I could see us doing that. We have had some material filmed, they’re on Youtube and Facebook as well as our web page.

-Dave Wolff