Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Karma to Burn: The Long Version, Pt 2

Read part 1 first, then get back here.

What went through your mind during those weeks between exchanging phone numbers?
It was burning a hole in me. [I kept thinking] even if we don’t get back together, I still need to talk to them. It had been seven years since I talked to either of them. But I did it on my terms.

What was that first conversation like?
WM: It went well. It was something I’d never done before. Getting back with Rich—especially Rich—I really had to sit down and face the facts: Am I gonna live with this anger all my life? And the answer is no. There’s no sense in going through life being angry at someone.

Rich started off apologizing. I said: We all know what we all did. If we want to do this, let’s just forget about it and move forward. I think the first words out of his mouth were, “Thank God.”

RM: I needed to talk to Will man to man, just about all the past stuff that I did when I quit the band. [Sighs.] Mistakes were made, bad decisions were made while high. I wanted to talk to him, but he didn’t want to talk to me and I knew it. I waited patiently.

What were those first new rehearsals like?
When they got out [of rehab] and we started playing again, they reminded me of the people I played with in the first place.

Even though we hadn’t played together in seven years, getting back and writing with those guys didn’t feel like we missed a step at all. It seems like the material that we wrote recently would have happened if we could’ve kept our act together.

RM: We were so close [at one point], we had been together almost every day for about 10 years straight. There was so much history between us that it was just so easy to just go right back to the music. We pretty much grew up learning how to play together.

Now, go to Part 3!

Karma to Burn: The Long Version, Pt 1

When I first met the guys in Karma to Burn, I wasn't even old enough to drink yet. In fact, in order to attend the SxSW be bonded at, HIGH TIMES had to invest in a fake ID for me (which I was promptly busted with during my second night in town). We were introduced by their long-suffering A&R guy and a long, tempestuous friendship was born—particularly with bassist/ringleader/snake oil salesman Rich "Little Dickie" Mullins.

Little did I know then just what a dangerous meeting it was. Over the years, I beared witness to so many hustles, white powders, unsavory situations, and industry fuckfests with the instrumental trio, that I'm honestly surprised (and infinitely pleased) they're all still breathing and thriving. And it always irked me that their place in stoner rock history was regularly overshadowed by their party legacy.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview them about their reunion for DECIBEL. It gave me the rare chance to put on my Journalist hat and really ask them all the questions I probably would never have the balls to ask as a friend. And naturally, a lot of it didn't make it to print because of word count restrictions.

Not wanting to waste all that editing, I decided to post my interview with Rich Mullins and Will Mecum here in three parts. Enjoy.

Did you ever expect Karma to Burn to reunite?
Will Mecum: No, definitely not. There were a lot of things that were left undone when we decided to split; a lot of anger—and a lot of late night revenge scenarios. Like, ‘if I ever see that guy again…” And that went on for years.

What was the breakup like for you?

WM: I lost my band, I lost a friend, and I lost a career—if you want to call it that. [Laughs] It all went to shit. Substances got in the way, personalities got in the way. We lost sight of the goals that we set when we first started playing.

What kind of substance issues did you have?

Rich Mullins: Everyone in our band had a little bit of a heroin problem; mine was giant and Rob’s was giant. Will was able to just stop, Will doesn’t really have that personality for it.

How did you get clean?
After Speedealer, I went to Holland for a year, then I came to L.A. and that’s where I got clean. I was in a rehab, and the guy who ran the place came up to me and said, what if I say the name ‘Rob Oswald’ to you? I go, ‘Oh, I love that guy.’ He said, ‘well, he’s behind this door.’ Can you imagine?

WM: I’m proud to say that I’m the only member of the band that didn’t have to go to rehab. But my addiction wasn’t anything minuscule. I went cold turkey and it was not pleasant. I quit my job and I locked myself in my apartment for 10 days. After the eighth or ninth days, I started feeling human again. 

How did the two of you get back in contact after you’d cleaned up?
I got a call really late at night, [a mutual friend] said that Rich and Rob were trying to get a hold of me. Two weeks later I said yes to giving them my number. Rich texted me—and I’m not one to really receive texts that well. The first thing I texted back was, “Fuck you, L.A. cunt.”

Then Rob called and we talked for a good two hours. He said, “You really need to talk to Rich.” After that conversation, I waited another week and got Rich’s phone number and I sat down and talked to him.

Want to read more? Check out the rest in Part 2 and Part 3.

Photo lifted from Raginpit magazine.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Greatest Hipster T-Shirt

Over the weekend, I hit up the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn to check out the wares and see the latest in tattoo fashions. (Also, I can confirm that owls and octopi remain the favorite motifs of sardonic accessories.)

The last thing I was expecting to do was fall in love an ironic T-shirt, but something about this design from Paste just spoke to me.

And what's not to love? Let's review the bullet points.

1. It features a dude who sorta looks like an old, combed-over Lemmy.
2. His tie has cats on it.
3. He's on a Segway.
4. He is showing off his gun collection.
5. The guns are all pointing at him.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


 The title of this post does not refer to the vanity plates on my Chevy Avalanche. The letters, in fact, represent a unique feature that Eyehategod are offering as part of their VIP ticket package.

Yes, you read correctly. Eyehategod are offering a VIP deluxe show experience at select venues on their forthcoming tour with Brutal Truth, Nachtmystium and Black Anvil that includes a BBQ, soundcheck access, a meet & greet and a limited-edition poster.

At only $40, this unique opportunity far surpasses what super groups like KISS, Bon Jovi, or Rush are offering (and at way higher prices)—and you just know that this one will have a lot more band/fan interaction.

While I may be a little miffed that EHG only bestowed 50 VIP tickets for gigs in South Carolina, Maryland and Kentucky, it's certainly fun to imagine what this party will be like. So on this, the eve of Eyehategod's tour commencement, I ponder the finer points of the EHG BBQ experience. Below, my list of inquiries:

1. Who exactly is doing the BBQing? (And are they wearing a hairnet?)
2. Will there be vegetarian options?
3. How many selections will there be for the white drugs course?
4.  Is this a BYOB affair?
5. Will they consider a similar package in NYC that includes a vodka tasting and perogi dinner?

Real talk, though, I'm thrilled as hell to be seeing them at Europa on June 12. And I'll be bringing Ess-a-Bagel for Sharp.

VIP package dates:
6/04/2010 Ground Zero - Spartanburg, SC  ** 50 VIP ticket packages available for $40 each; includes soundcheck access, BBQ, meet & greet with the band + a signed poster.

 6/06/2010  Headliners - Louisville, KY ** 50 VIP ticket packages available for $40 each; includes sound check access, BBQ, meet & greet with the band + a signed poster.

 6/10/2010  Krug’s - Frederick, MD ** 25 VIP ticket packages available for $40 each; includes early entry, soundcheck access, meet & greet with the band + a signed poster.