Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heavy Hearts and Black Clouds

Seems like the news is true at this point, and the thought of losing another member of our metal family this year is too much to handle. Sympathy and love go out to the friends and family of Black Tusk's Jonathan Athon, who died today from injuries he sustained in a collision while on a motorcycle.

Black Tusk were always such a great band to see live, and he was their driving force. Athon will be missed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Leaving Song

After putting in almost five years of work there, I recently left a job at a very mainstream and very corporate media company.

To say I was burned out and frustrated is an understatement. Sure, I got to work with tons of incredible entertainers and colleagues, I learned a bunch about digital marketing (and the world of social media) and had some unique once-in-a-lifetime experiences that made for memories that'll always stay with me. But with that came long days and hours, all too many miscommunications, and the defeat that comes when a supervisor suggests you become "more dispassionate." About my work, my pride.

I didn't really think I'd have a hard time leaving. Certainly, I didn't expect to feel any kind of emotion. After creating my own grand finale by way of our annual festival in Las Vegas, it was up to me to come in for one last day - to hand in expenses, and to turn in my laptop and work ID.

It also came to my attention that the one and only rock icon, Robert Plant, would be in the building on this fateful day. So after hustling together my final expense report, I made my way to the office in time to coincide with his interview.

After waiting on Plant to finish recording for some time, radio legend Jim Kerr walked him out, and in front of me, introduced him to the company's happy-go-lucky receptionist, Anita—also Kerr's friend of several decades. What happened next nearly made me lose my shit.

Anita proceeded to tell Plant, while holding his hand, about her impoverished childhood and how listening to the music of Dolly Parton, Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin helped her cull her self-esteem and strive beyond her upbringing. "It really is the best medicine," Plant replied after listening intently, nodding his head in agreement.

It was a little too much to witness on my last day. It brought to mind how many contest winners I'd helped reach their idols and thought about how that opportunity could have affected them in the same way Anita's inclinations shaped her. And most importantly, the conversation evoked the power of music—that huge, overpowering love of music that carries fanatics like me through each day. That was all it took.

Luckily, I had dark sunglasses on, so no one could see my eyes getting glassy (to be fair, this could also have been partly due to jet lag). It wasn't until I saw Kerr downstairs and gave him a final hug that the waterworks started. I joked that no one would believe him if he'd actually told people I teared up, but I guess that front's gone.

So there it is. Much luck in all future endeavors to those who meant something to me. And for the rest, well... Murder City Devils sing it best.

PS: Did you really think I'd fail to get a pic with the artist? Remember, J-E-T-L-A-G.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mastodon Bring the Motherload

The Atlanta homeboys in Mastodon keep making me proud, and since this was their second appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, I really love that Brent decided to take a piss out of it by dressing up. More cowbell, forever!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Head to The Meadows with Red Fang

And the winner for the most far-flung hard music tour of the year is... Communion of Sirens, featuring Opeth, In Flames and Red Fang. Should be interesting to see how the melodic, straight-forward rockers will fare with the more traditional metal-loving audience their Swedish cohorts attract. The package will be coming through New York City this December to perform at the horrendous Terminal 5, and with any luck I'll be catching it from the balcony. More dates listed below.

The Portland group have also just released a video for their Scion A/V collabo, "The Meadows," and it's as good humored as the gents that make up the group. Check it out! Couldn't be happier for their continued success.

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.