Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Beacon Theatre

This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to catch guitar virtuosos Rodrigo y Gabriela live during their three-night run at the historic Beacon Theatre from probably the best vantage point I've ever had at the venue - if not anywhere - thanks to Thorns.

Naturally, I had to take tons of pictures. All of which were taken with my iPhone, largely without zoom (all without filters). Below are a few selections and HERE's the link to all of them.

And if you're a fan of classical guitar or music of any kind, definitely check them out live on their summer 9 Dead Alive tour. Just don't forget to tip the merch guy.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Place Called Home


Shortly after I moved into my Manhattan apartment in 2001, I discovered the building next door served as a halfway house for LGBT minority youths. Needless to say, the experience has been entertaining, colorful and extremely loud - especially during the summer when they raged all night their stoop-side torch songs. Sometimes in ass-less jeans.

Walking by this past week, I realized they moved out. And I'm planning the same. Was this the final seal? (And what does that say about me?) East Gramercy will never be the same.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Machine Head Cover Ignite

Not the first cover I would have thought of, but this is kind of dope - Machine Head covering latter-day Ignite. Check out their cover of "Our Darkest Days."


Monday, April 21, 2014

Death Angel's Rob Cavestany on His Signature Riff, Latest Album & That Damn Burger Ad



Image lifted from deathangel.us
A while back, I had the pleasure of interviewing Death Angel’s Rob Cavestany for High Times magazine and was truly impressed by how friendly and chill he was. Before we knew it, our conversation exceeded what could ever be committed to print, so below are essentially the outtakes from our talk. Most surprising tidbit I learned? Apparently Rob thinks the riff to “I’m Bored” is overrated. Read on!

ZT: What were your expectations for Death Angel when you first got back together?
RC: We had no goals at all. It was only the immediate goal as to why we reunited in the first place, which was to play the benefit show for Chuck Billy [2001’s Thrash of the Titans]. We didn’t even exist when that benefit show was being set up.

Then we played the show, and, of course, it was so killer… Then we started getting offers and offers. Still, we were just going to close it up, then all of a sudden we got asked to play the Dynamo festival in Holland –we headlined that thing in 1990 on the Act III tour, so for us, it was one of monumental shows of our career. So then we were like, OK, we’ll do the one show in Holland, and that’s it. Then it just went on and on and on. We couldn’t stop after that happened.

 
What does your latest album title, The Dream Calls For Blood, mean to you?
The title is kind of our mantra at this point; the dream being our band, and the blood that it calls for is the sacrifice. The blood, sweat and tears, the ridiculously hard work and your life that you pour into the efforts of something that you really want to make happen very badly. Anybody can put their story to that kind of thing. 


For a long time, you were used to playing with family. How is the vibe different now?
At the beginning, it was extremely different and very bizarre, because I was used to playing with the original members for most of my life. In time, I grew to be familiar with the different styles that these guys play, and their personalities. Now, it’s like they are family, they just look different. They’re our less brown family members.


Do you still see the ex-members of the band at family gatherings?
I actually hung out with Andy [Galeon, original drummer] a couple of times recently. Andy’s got a couple of kids, I've got one kid, and our kids don’t even know each other, which is really sad because we were the closest of brothers. 

Our entire relationship revolved around our music, so now that we weren’t in the same band together, there was just an uncomfortable silence of nothingness, of trying to avoid discussing music when we’d see each other. They know I'm still doing all this stuff. In the end, it caused us to lose complete contact with each other. I practically didn’t talk to those guys for a year straight or more. We’re now starting to say hi… Andy’s oldest daughter is as old now as he was when he was already playing shows.


Technology has changed the music landscape in the last decade or so, do you think it’s helped or hurt the scene?
Obviously, the Internet helped with the ability to download and share files quickly, and has helped spread music quickly. But it hurts the recording musician and the songwriter, in a way that you just can't sell music very much anymore. So it depends on how you use it, but it’s unstoppable… so you gotta figure out how to play the game within the rules that have been shed forth.


What was your experience with having a "viral" demo back in the day?
The Kill As One demo was produced by Kirk Hammett. We played with Slayer and Overkill in New York at the Ritz [nee Webster Hall] before we even had an album out based on our demo tape. And when we got out to NY for the first time and played, all these kids were singing the lyrics to our songs! That was only possible because of tape trading… because we mailed it to them - one by one. I was sitting there duping off them tapes and mailing them from my house. That was a little bit more magical… everything felt more exciting when you finally did hold your first album. Now, every kid can make a CD out of their bedroom, no problem.

 
Any thoughts on the current thrash revival?
The style and the music holds its own because that energy doesn’t go away. The same reasons that we were drawn to it all those years ago is the same thing that can happen to any fucking kid of that age now, then, whenever. It’s got that youthful angst, but its also got musicality for musicians who want to geek out. My kid loves thrash, and he’s 7 years old.

Tell us about the signature riff to Frolic Through the Park's “Bored.”  
I wrote that riff as a joke.That song was never even going to be on Frolic, it was completely a joke. Friends of ours were like, "You have to put that song on your album!" At first we were laughing at the idea of it, like, "That’s not a metal song at all!" But then we did, and now it's become the song that we get defined by. Its not my favorite song of ours, but I'm glad that we have at least something like that at all. 

When you see old performance footage or listen to old live albums, what goes through your head?
When I see videos of us from back then... obviously we were way younger, but we’re way better live now. And we pay more attention to playing better. We used to swing around our hair a lot back then, but we actually go off on the stage much more so now. We’re in way better shape than we were back then. Back then we were just skinnier, we have stamina nowadays. 

And I can't let you go without bringing up the Carl's Jr. commercial that used your song, "The Ultra-Violence."
Carl’s Jr. –  Yeah, haha.
I still haven’t gotten a free jalapeno turkey burger out of it [laughs], but seeing it on TV was such a kick. Everybody was blowing up my phone. I never got down to the bottom of why us and why that song. It seems pretty coincidental that we were touring for the 25th anniversary of our debut album, The Ultra-Violence. We re-released it and we were playing it beginning to end live.

I was with my parents, my wife and my kid watching the Golden Globes and they cut away to commercial, and that’s the commercial that came on! When it happened, it was a glorious moment in achievements…. My music being played on a Carl Jr.'s commercial!




Monday, April 7, 2014

Goodbye, Roseland


It's fair to say that I've spent a lot of time inside midtown's Roseland Ballroom. From big acts like AC/DC to the dozens of Slayer, Pantera and countless other shows I caught there - it's been a fun place to see gigs since my teens.

Last night, I went to pay my final respects at Lady Gaga's closing run of the place; the second-to-last night they'd ever hold concerts at Roseland. Though I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish it wasn't a harder act I saw there last, I appreciate Gaga's reverence for the place. She's a native New Yorker, so she understands the space was more than just a slab of real estate, it was a temple where tons of music fans like myself went to worship the thing holiest to them: music.

If you're not in NYC - or couldn't get tickets, here is a link to where the Roseland's last show will be broadcast tonight, starting at 9pm ET right HERE.

Posted below are some of the stubs I found from my history with the venue. If you look at the dates, you'll notice one of my many Slayer shows was less than 24 hours from a remarkable Hole show during the Live Through This period.

RIP Roseland, I'll always have my memories... and dozens of ticket stubs.

The rest of my iPhone pics of Gaga's show (including the moment she climbed a rose-encrusted ladder - in heels - up to VIP to serenade Tony Bennett) can be found here.









Monday, March 24, 2014

Donate to SxSW Cares



UPDATE: There's been a fourth casualty. An 18-year-old named De’Andre Tatum passed away on March 27. He joins victims Steven Craenmehr (35), Jamie Ranae West (27) and Jamie Ranae West (26).

The four senseless deaths that occurred at South by Southwest this year hit me harder than even the Harlem building collapse that happened so much closer to home. All I kept thinking was, "it could have been me or any of my friends."

Now, the people behind SxSW have set up a charity portal where folks can help the remaining 22 victims who were hurt with their medical bills and more. I urge you all to join me in making a donation here, at SxSWCares.com