Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part II)

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Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part II)

L.A., California

I don't know how other band-dudes' relationships with their managers are, but I'd relate mine to that of a sibling's bond. I look up to Justin and trust Justin like one would their older brother. Never have I been professionally steered in any direction other than the right one by him, and through his constant knowledge of food spots in his old haunts - I can certainly profess that J was one of the people responsible for putting me on the path that would lead to my food-fanaticism. Arcangel (his real last name mind you) lived in N.Y.C. when I first met him back in 2002 (initially only assigned to become Trivium's entertainment lawyer, he later became co-manager and eventually sole-manager in 07/08), and he always seemed to have a vast array of knowledge of insanely impressive food spots. It seemed that every time we'd hang out for "band meetings" or what-have-you… we'd always be eating well. I wanted that spider-sense. 

Flash forward years into the future where my mental-collection of "where to eat" and "where to drink" began to be somewhat of an impressive itemization where Justin and my wife Ashley mentioned to me that maybe I ought to start photographing on my phone-camera and writing about my experiences of where I get to eat. That's where it all began. People knew me already for being ravenously into food - but now with a legit semi-professional site (the one at that specific time) - I found a new passion. Seeing this passion flourish, Arcangel suggested that I check out "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain - and the rest was history. 

Justin picked me up the morning of the "Trespass America" tour press conference to take me to the L.A. Farmer's Market. I think he mentioned that he had just seen it on Entourage and tried it a few days before and knew I would dig it. We did a couple laps around the spot, but the one that really caught my eye was Singapore's Banana Leaf - a rustic, humble Southeast Asian food stand. It's advertisement read that it did Malaysian, Singaporean, and… (!) Indonesian. I've only toured Indonesia once - but I fell in love with their food. A mixture of Asian and Indian, similarities to Polynesian, and something more - a keen emphasis on spice as well. On that Indo-tour back a few years ago, I was taught how to eat like the Indonesians at a street food-style restaurant: one leg up on the chair while you sit, that sides' arm laying across the inside so you can pick up the food with your hand for direct depositing into your gullet. Fun stuff if ya ask me. 

I went for the Mee Goreng: pan-fried noodles with two satay sticks of chicken and a fried egg on top. A spicy sauce and lime slices accompanied - scallions on top. Wonderful. Spicy, hearty, not greasy… the kind of pan-fried fill-you-up food that you want. I always want pan fried noodles or rice… and if you do too… find yourself a legit Indo-restaurant. The guy behind the counter at Singapore's was from Jakarta - so I busted out my "terima-kasih" after the meal, and we were on our way.

From the Market, it was on to the press conference. We showed up just in time for what I thought sounded like: "Ok. So that's when we have you escorted on stage by military personnel with guns who will remove your prisoner-hood, release your cuffs and you will be introduced." What?

So I had no idea that I would be getting the all-inclusive prisoner treatment of everything-but-water-boarding this morning. I was taken aback to say the least. When I eventually bumped into Jesse from Killswitch Engage and saw that he was cool with it - I felt a little more comfortable with what was about to go down. I've toured with Jesse before - back when he sang with Seemless; we even have a song we did together: "Blood And Flames" on the Roadrunner United album. You'd think with those two things that we would have hung out before… but I guess our stars hadn't quite aligned to be buddies back then. 

Now - with Jesse - he is one of my favorite vocalists and lyricists on Earth. His performance on Alive Or Just Breathing was a game changer for me. He brought the sing/ scream trade off to a new, modern level on that record. Never had the metal world heard such an intense black and white contrast of brutal screaming and passionate singing come out of one singer.

Alive Or Just Breathing musically and lyrically could be quoted easily as defining that generation of metal. KSE had influenced countless acts of varying genre with that album; the effects of that very CD are apparent today and will be for the years to come. Leach delivered a signature lyrical style on the album: lyrics with a passionate spiritual-positivity and motivation - while still being unafraid to tackle the dark-side as well. Jesse's recent return to Killswitch Engage was a sigh of relief for the metal world as far as I'm concerned. Metal needed Jesse back.

After the conference… we were hungry. During the time before and in between work at the press conference, Jesse and I started to find out that… "hey - we're both food-freaks and beer-nerds!" The similarities in taste and what we look for was becoming eery. Only one thing to celebrate that: Meat in tube form, Beer, Frites.

Wurstkusche is a spot Justin and his wife Jessica (food-freak as well) took me and Ashley to a few months back, where - I was to get the Rattlesnake and Rabbit sausage. When I was eating it… it didn't seem overly exciting or different… turned out Ash (not an adventurous "creep meat" eater (as she puts it)) ate my rattlesnake sausage (insert pun) and I had had turkey or something. Round two. I was having my rattlesnake and rabbit dammit!

Wurstkusche does German-style brats and sausages, Belgian-style frites and German and Belgian beer. What more could anyone ever need? German and Belgian beer without a doubt in my mind are two of the best beers on earth (alongside Japanese, American craft, and Polish). Meat in tube form? Fuck yeah. Double-fried Belgian frites? God yes. Many say that the Belgian's invented the frite… I think it was a past American president whilst in France merely calling it a "French fry" that gave it the name we use today. So if they invented it… they probably perfected it. In all my years of touring - some of the best pommes frites I've had are always in the Belgian/ Netherlands-areas - damn good stuff. 

Together with Justin and Vaughn (KSE's management), Jesse and I ordered our feast. I had the Rattlesnake and Rabbit (a play on hunter and prey I gather) and the traditional Bratwurst, a mountain of Belgian frites, and a Schneider Weisse. The Schneider (apparent by it's "Weisse" monicker) is a Hefeweissen-style brew; light, airy, refreshing… as our old Trivium-crew member Rob (a food-soulmate of mine) would say, a beer you could "skull". There's something magical about that style of beer out of the tap… especially when you drink lots of it. The frites were double-fried and insanely good. Crispy, not burnt; salty, not over-salted. Simple and simply served with accompanying dips. There are numerous dips to choose from at WK. 

Sauerkraut and onions were the recommended topping for my meats - the bratwurst tasted traditional as if outta Germany, and that succulent rattlesnake? Freaking rad. The right pop on that first puncture-bite, juicy and meaty - I could use about 10 of those right now.

All humans need meat-in-tube-form, fries, and beer. Get it here. 

Amidst scarfing and skulling, Jesse and I chatted recipes of things we like to cook at home; spoke of other great spots we've eaten and drank; talked about the KSE record in the works and the Trivium record in the works. It was a wonderful feast and chat. We talked of the state of metal in the world today… how in the U.S.A. and the U.K. - it's not taken as seriously as it is elsewhere in the world; elsewhere in places like Germany, Japan, Scandinavia - it's not just a genre… it's a lifestyle. For all of us in KSE and Trivium alike - it's a lifestyle. We both equally pumped each other up by talking recent songs written and their motivations (good and bad). Jesse had an amazing quote about bands and musicians like us: "We're working class musicians." He couldn't have nailed it more on the head.

Venice Ale House was to be our nightcap before heading to the airport to fly home. Venice Ale House overlooks the beach in all it's staggering Cali-beauty and even has Kombucha on tap. I love Kombucha. More people should drink it. Rob Suchan (food-soulmmate remember? Also singer/ guitarist/ song-writer of great indie-rock band Koufax) got me into it… it's fermented tea sometimes infused with fruit. It contains as many (if not more) probiotics as yogurt - so it's real good for ya. It's one of the ingredients I try to keep my body stocked with so I can "detox to retox." It was however… retox time: Stone Ruination IPA. Mmm mmm mmmm American micro-brew IPA. Hoppy, tart, bitter, high in alcohol content - manly. It ain't for the faint of heart. 

The four of us happily through back a few pints as the sun crept below the oceans' horizon and soon it was time to "Bid Farewell" (get it??). 

We shared a ride in Vaughn's rental to the airport and went our separate ways. Once again. Proof. A great meal can bring people together. I can't wait to spend that upcoming tour with Jesse. We shall feast my friend… we shall feast.

Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part I)

Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part I)

L.A., California

Time off from a grueling tour schedule is sacred. Time off from a grueling tour schedule is rare. Time off from a grueling tour schedule is taken from me. 

Somewhere in Los Angeles, days before the Five Finger Death Punch press conference is set to happen… a manager is sweating, nervous… nervous of the news he will soon have to deliver to a potentially (sometimes) half-way difficult (if that) client. A client who is on a 10/12 month world tour schedule, enjoying his impossibly rare amount of time at home cooking up a storm in his kitchen for his hard working wife, alternating knife-time with meat and couch time with his daughter of a French Bulldog. 

Ringggggg goes the classic iPhone phone ringer. Band dude answers. News delivered. The world goes silent. "Fuuuuuckkk…" goes band dude.

Manager explains the concept, respective of the fact that it cuts out vital meat out from the body of this rare time home - band dude gets it.

So there I was, on an airplane again, going back to L.A. again on my "time off." The concept here is that FFDP is to put on a press conference with members of every band that is to take part on their "Trespass America" tour. I've personally never been involved in a press conference for a tour… so I was certainly interested in seeing how this thing would go down. Roadrunner put me up in a favorite L.A. hotel of mine, The London. We had a day room here once, years back on the MySpace secret show showcase at the Whiskey; I loved it then - love it now. 

At check in, the kind receptionist upgrades my room for free to a corner suite (not unlike the last stay even!) and I head up to check out my pad for the night. A massive floor-plan greets me… I think the square footage of this room is similar to even the square footage of my rental back in Florida. Clean, uncluttered, loads of furniture, a kitchenette, TV, free internet. The beds are huge and comfortable; 2 shower heads, wide open bathroom. I essentially have a living room, bed room, bathroom, kitchen, and balcony all within one hotel suite. 

After a long trip dealing with vacationers vacating from my home-state, I couldn't be fucked to travel anywhere else. I've mentioned before that I used to judge a hotel by it's room service club… and it was that time once again. The restaurant at The London is apparently "Gordon Ramsay's." I mean - of course he isn't there - but it's one he potentially would have overseen in the menu-creation and all that goodness. The London's club freaking rules. Yes - I know room service adds a maximum auto-gratuity, a delivery charge, door bell-ringing convenience-fee and all that… but I was playin' with house money here. 

Grilled bread, avocado, grilled chicken, tomato, lettuce - simple, familiar components - but here they were done just right. The bread had a good amount of delicate crunch and thickness and that buttery bite that health freaks would have flagellated themselves for eating. Thin, crispy, salty, not-greasy fries were what I needed… and they delivered (quite literally in this case if speaking of the hotel). Great club. Perfect. 

Bed time.

I awoke sleepy and sick of flying. Prepped for the day and headed down to grab the hotel's breakfast. I am typically a skeptic of a "free" hotel breakfast. It's usually not very good. The London's? Fantastic. It was a spot called the Box Cafe - they had a fantastic array of European-style charcuterie and cheese and fruit and salmon and bread. I prefer a European-styled hotel breakfast to the American style bagels and/ or weird curdled scrambled eggs in a silver coffin. Really world class spread for the breakfast at Box Cafe. I remember the yogurt parfait being a standout. Yogurt, granola, honey, and fruit - again - things you've seen in other spots… just done better here.

A bit later on, I met Justin (Trivium's manager and good pal of mine) and headed to the Farmers' Market for lunch. 

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part IV) (Video of "Creeping Death" performed by Trivium, Corey Taylor, Robb Flynn) (Video of "In Waves" by Trivium)

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part IV)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

Full of good times and good food, we headed back to the area by the award show and parted ways for the time being. Ashley and I prepared to head over to the Golden Gods and eventually met up with Trivium band and crew and management and label. The concept of the "Golden God Awards" is one that originated in the U.K. with our friends at Metal Hammer magazine. The Golden Gods in the U.K. is essentially primarily for all things Metal. It's an awards show with performances and readers and bands and celebrities who all gather once a year to pay tribute to artists who deserve tribute according to the readership. Metal Hammer U.K. is one of my personal favorite magazines on Earth - it's always stuck to it's guns of being whole-heartedly metal. It'll delve here and there around the Metal-genre, but is always at heart… about the lifestyle of Metal.

The first Golden Gods in the USA was put on by Revolver (and all since in the USA as well) - the first one that I went to… wasn't quite there to say the least. This time around? Shit. They got it nailed. Chock-full of Rock and Metal's finest artists, a couple great (a couple not so great) performers and collaborations, great staging, lighting, artist-treatment, press… all that. Revolver nailed it on this one. 

Ever since our band's… let's call it… "re-birth"… we've basically gotten along with everyone in our genre and surrounding genre; making amends with most of those who we would have needed to make amends with maybe due to past turmoils (more on those in my future book perhaps…) - I am sure there are still a few who have been perhaps wronged by a younger, more piss-and-vinegar-and-jizz-and-shit-filled Matt Heafy and/or Trivium - and we'll get around to making amends one day (if you are deserving of it). I digress. Yes - it is great to run into all our buddies from past, present, and future touring. We caught up with John from Disturbed/Adrenaline Mob and Mike Portnoy from A.Mob as well; Lizzie Hale interviewed us alongside Megadeth; we got a sick photo with Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top; got interviewed by Dee Snyder; bumped into Lacuna Coil and a couple other friends from the industry like Zakk Wylde (!). 

Never in a million years did I think my dressing room sign would read: "Trivium, Slipknot, Robb Flynn." That fuckin' rules. We were able to catch up with Dave from Machine Head, Sid and Clown from Slipknot - and share the, watching the award show from our T.V. Those of us in Trivslip-Head warmed up, suited up and headed down to rip that award show a new pooper. 

Trivium is a metal band, and we are damn proud of it. We love playing to people who haven't been shown the light of metal. We knew our fans were there in spirit (and Xbox live-stream-spirit), so yeah - we were playing a show to them… those who were there at the awards show and didn't know us… we were there for some "Kirisute Gomen." We dropped a punishing performance of "In Waves" and "Pull Harder," then gave the introduction for Robb and Corey. 

It may be gutsy to say (keep in mind, this is the same guy who is quoted with that whole "next Metallica" thing) but I would daresay that that performance of "Creeping Death" was the best performance of that song outside of Metallica performing it. It was monumental and amazing. I thank Robb and Corey for making another one of our dreams come true. 

After the show, it was a quick couple of reunions (I got to see my buddy Danny from Asking Alexandira real quickly, he sent me a shot of the performance from side stage) then a couple of interviews. One of the interviews, crazily enough, was with Zakk Wylde interviewing us. It was unfortunately cut short due to Gene Simmons needing to be interviewed by him so ASAP that they shoveled us out of the way (it was Gene Simmons though… so I didn't mind and wouldn't have wanted to keep him waiting… he is the man). 

The boys hung out and captured and broke some hearts… me and Ash were beat and wanted to rest up for our 4 am lobby call. 

All in all… completely (obviously) worth the trip.

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part III)

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part III)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

Machine Head was the first live Metal band I've ever seen. My dad used to take me to the House Of Blues Orlando whenever a rad show was coming by (school nights included!) and took me to see Machine Head on their "Year Of The Dragon" tour. By that point, I had only recently gotten into Metal with bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Pantera - I hadn't yet delved into a band like Machine Head yet. 

I'll never forget that show - Robb's control over the crowd was intense, yet effortless; I remember him using his right hand for motioning the crowd on to move while still hammering on his guitar, playing with his left hand, singing simultaneously; the band was on fire that night… the entire crowd chanting "Machine Fuckin' Head!" before they went on and in between every song. Having never heard of or head MH before that point, you can imagine an introduction of a blistering headlining set from the band would certainly strike a nerve for someone new to the metal world. (I still own the tour shirt from that very show).

I got home that night, listening to samples of their albums on - preparing to hit the record stores the following day to collect every cd. I had to order some of the albums through actual stores like Borders and wait (!) for the albums to show up. It was well worth the wait. I got into Machine Head on The Burning Red, then tracked backwards into The More Things Change and  Burn My Eyes. The first time I heard "Ten Ton Hammer" and "Davidian"? I was a changed person… I started playing guitar differently, writing songs differently - adding an extra intensity to my vocals like Flynn at Trivium band practices. 

Years later, Trivium were on their third tour ever, supporting Machine Head and Chimaira across North America. Man were we nervous to meet the MH guys. The tour went fantastically (it was the tour that we inducted Paolo officially into Trivium) and we ended up becoming friends with the Machine Head band and crew. Over the years, we would share many more tours together, occasionally guest-performing with each other's bands in random spots across the globe (I played guitar for Machine Head for one bit of one tour; Robb has performed "Pull Harder" with us numerous times; I did my first failed stage dive off their stage… we even had a co-headlining tour that did 5,000-8,000 people a night). 

Nowadays, I am proud to call Robb not only a hero and a mentor, but a friend - he even helped coach me along before Shogun and In Waves to really make the albums right. The chat before Shogun was an all-encompassing lighting-of-a-fire-beneath my ass to recapture the intensity of what Trivium was on Ascendancy… to truly deliver what our band was meant to be. The discussion before In Waves was the conversation that saved the vocal performances on that record… I had hit a major slump in the studio around vocal time. We had tracked some of the verse lines 30 times with none of the performances being "the one." Defeated, I reached out to Robb - he took me through his mental processes when he does vocals on his records. The chat inspired me to deliver some of the most intense vocals I've tracked to date. The very first thing I recorded after our chat was the entirety of "Chaos Reigns." If that doesn't show that his chat inspired me… I don't know what will. 

So yeah, it's always good to see our MH buddies. 

Robb, Ashley, and I all drove to a restaurant Ash and I had heard of, The Fat Dog. I had a Saison DuPont Belgian Farmhouse Ale to start up, and ordered "The Fat Dog" hotdog. The restaurant had all the things that Flynn and I dig - the right decor, booze, food from good sources… it's funny, we've unknowingly picked the same restaurant in similar towns on many occasions and told each other about "a great local spot in Jackon, MI" for example. We used to do this thing… where in any hotel around the world that would have a Club Sandwich for room service, we'd judge how good that hotel is by their Club - later trading notes on our "research." 

The Saison went perfectly with my foot-long hot dog - as damn good as any great dog coulda been. Robb had a salmon sandwich special, and Ashley had some kind of chicken sandwich that I ate half of. It was good to get out for a good bite with a long-time pal and chat old stories, other great eats, and basically be out with someone else who lives the same sorta life I do.  

From this spot, I wanted to stop by The Newsroom restaurant for one of their Immune Rocket Booster juices. It has several vegetable juices, ginger, echinacea, flax seed oil and golden seal all in one slightly-colder than room-temperature juice. Yeah - some people may be a little turned off by this intensely earthy-flavored elixir… but it's the sort of thing that you know is good for you as soon as you start suckin it down (heh…). I like the concept of (my made up quote): "Detox to retox." I work hard so I can play hard… I eat granola and yogurt and fruit and vegetables and drink apple cider vinegar and Kombucha so that when it's time to eat a deep-fried ice cream bar with foie gras and marrow on-top with a bottle of sake… I can do it knowing I will retain some of my healthiness. (Hence all the yoga and eating…)

Our quest from here led us to our initial task-at-hand… acquiring badass leather jackets. I can't tell you where we went or what we found where… all I can tell you is that what we each found was pretty damn bad ass… and you? You find your own leather jacket… 

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part II)

Flynn and Heafy at Grammy Museum, "review" the "genres"

Flynn and Heafy at Grammy Museum Video 2

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part II)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

The next morning, Ashley and I met up with Corey and Stephanie Taylor to head over to the the venue for a soundcheck. What's insane about my life (well - another one of the many insane things) is that I can even write that. Yeah - I was heading over to the Nokia Theater to rehearse a Metallica song with the singer of Slipknot/Stonesour and the singer/guitarist of Machine Head. Not many food-nerd/comic book kids/video game geeks/band-dudes can say that.

A slightly confusing attempt to get in through a side door with the (non)assistance of a very rude staff member, and we were in. We rehearsed "Creeping Death" solo with Trivium at first, then suited up to perform with Corey and Robb. I had my in-ears in, the wedges cranking… and there it was - I was able to play and listen in simultaneously to quite possibly one of the coolest things my two ears would ever hear: a direct sound-feed of two of my favorite singers ever jamming along to one of my favorite songs ever. I know many of you are familiar with how great Corey Taylor's voice sounds on record and in P.A…. but through in-ears? Fuck. His voice is one-of-a-kind. I couldn't even describe it to you - all I can say is that that soundcheck was a sound I will never forget for the rest of my life. 3 guitars consisting of Robb Flynn, Corey Beaulieu, and myself? Punishingly heavy. I dare you to find a trio that has played together with a more destructive rhythm tone than that. 

Anyone who ever doubts what I may do as being legit or cool or whatever… my band practice that morning - was one of the coolest moments of my life. Playing a Metallica song with Slipknot and Machine Head and Trivium.

Everyone parted ways to get prepped for their "black carpet walks" and press and all that, and me and Robb headed to the Grammy Museum to check out their "Heavy Metal History" exhibit…

Don't get me wrong, I am happy that the States is recognizing Metal as a real genre of music. Metal everywhere else in the world is a lifestyle and needless to say - the USA just hasn't really ever given it the proper recognition it deserves. I feel there are things in the States that detract from Metal's credibility. Things that make it a cheesy fashion-statement almost. I won't specifically reference what fake bands, T.V. shows, and "celebrity" "personalities" give metal that almost shtick/kitsch vibe… but those don't help matters.

So yes - I do appreciate that the Grammy Museum took the time to put on the exhibit - but they fell pretty short of accurate in many departments. As you can see in the two video reviews that Robb and I did, the genres were completely off and their vinyl collection was just plain silly. If you are going to do a vinyl collection of metal… do the proper albums. Get vinyl of important albums like: "Master Of Puppets," "Bonded By Blood," "Tomb Of The Mutilated," "Black Sabbath," "The Blackening," "Alive Or Just Breathing," "The New Order," "Symbolic," "Chaos A.D.," etc. Not newly released Rock bands and/or scene-bands. Pop up "Transylvanian Hunger," "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas," "Among The Living," and other gems - don't (as the curator who came to address Robb and I's concern) print up covers "because they look scary." Be legit… teach kids and parents who would come to this museum to learn actual information.

Hell. Have me and Robb do it up next time. I feel it is integral that kids know where the pedal-tone rhythm riffs come from that we all use so flippantly nowadays. It's from the city of Gothenburg. It's from "Slaughter Of The Soul" and "The Jester Race" and "The Gallery." Where is "Burn My Eyes" and "Vulgar Display of Power"? How the fuck did you cover up that much of a wall and miss that many important Metal albums. Where's the Bay Area for that matter on your wall?

And the genres?? Ah. I can't go into it again. They basically classified a T-Rex as an Herbivore 50 times. 

The Danny Worsnop screaming game I thought was pretty cool - it makes you actually scream versus not. Compare that to Guitar Hero and Rock Band, where you're not really playing guitar - in this, you would have to shred your cords up a bit. How 'bout you program a screaming game of me making you do a rendition of a Capharnaum song? 

There were some really great artifacts of some iconic metal stuff in the further gallery: Chuck from Death's guitar and some early photos (if you consider yourself a fan of metal and don't own many Death albums… you need to either revisit your classification of yourself as a metal fan… or go get 2-3 of their records immediately). They had Dime's CFH guitar, all the Slipknot masks and Yngwie's Beethoven-esque shred-suit. 

It was unfortunate that the exhibit didn't get properly into Metal's sub-genres… things like Black Metal and Death metal. Black Metal's 90s era had such intense rivalries and murders and Church burnings and occultism and Satanism - how could you not wanna scare kiddos with that? Death Metal is of utmost importance when talking metal… there was the Tampa scene and the Stockholm scene… the later development of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal scene… I'll do a history lesson one day.

Robb and I were starved by that point… so, with Ashley - we all got into his black Challenger and headed to a search for food and for leather jackets. 

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part I)

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part I)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

2012 very well may be the final year for all us mere-mortals, and if Trivium's schedule is any indication - I may welcome the relaxation post apocalypse. After slugging away tour into consecutive-tour, we were supposed to have around 10 days off at home - however in usual Trivium fashion, there was a catch.

We wrapped up the Asking Alexandria tour, flew home for a few days, then flew back out to L.A. for the Golden Gods awards show and performance. Ashley and I got in a night early and wanted to hit up some decent food. We stayed across the street from the Grammy Museum at a newly renovated hotel (it was a Days Inn or Best Western at the first USA Golden Gods… and man did it suck then - it was good now, but the name slips me). We were a short walk away from a "noun and noun" New American restaurant (and you know me and that New American), so we headed to Bar And Kitchen. 

L.A…. I definitely had an off-perception of the city for years. I was convinced that L.A. was only for the air-headed, coked up, ex-child star actresses and rock-star-style-printed douche-bag clothing-wearing Jersey Shore extra-looking mother-effers who would find themselves at the end of the night puking up their jello-shots into the storm drains outside of The Rainbow. It may have taken me a couple trips outside of the area around "rock and roll" L.A. to see otherwise… but I tell ya - once I saw the light - it was blinding.

The people in L.A. are actually pretty damn nice. And they know their food and drinks. Real well. It seems with minimal effort, almost anywhere in the surrounding subsections of LaLa-land, you can find some seriously legit ethnic hole-in-the-wall spots and fancy spots alike; dive bars and proper classic cocktail bars exist symbiotically. Bar And Kitchen is something that would be more so a rarity in maybe a place like Ft. Wayne, but in L.A. - there are tons of New American spots that do it incredibly well. The Venice Beach area? The amount of great food out there is what convinced me finally that "yeah - I could live here." 

At B and K, I began with a Moonlighter (Islay Scotch, Blanc Vermouth, St. Germain and bitters) - a manly, deep-flavored cocktail. It was the initial opening flavor of citrusy/rind-bitters, and the finish of Scotch. It was like drinking Scotch without the all-intensive bite. We begun with a Beet Salad that consisted of shaved fennel, orange, goat cheese and a hazelnut vinaigrette. The mix of shaved fennel and orange is a combo I've recently become rather infatuated with. Fresh, summer-flavors with that almost vinegar-pickley flavor in the fennel and vinaigrette pairing - it reminded me of Polish pickle-flavors - I loved it. 

Parmesan Truffle Tots? Fuck yes. Anything "tater tot" is a must for me. Perfect. My main was Shrimp and Grits done with a Spanish Chorizo ragout. Best Shrimp and Grits I've ever had. Hands down. The sauce that surrounded the grits… could be compared to Franks Hot Sauce with a slight vinegary-base maybe? And I mean that in the holy-fricking-shit-this-rocks sort of way. The Chorizo and Shrimp pairing reminded me of the seafood/sausage pairing you'd see in Portuguese food. Tangy, spicy, hearty - this thing had so much flavor bursting out of what would be perceived as such a simple dish. Really spot on. 

Ashley had the Kurobata Pork Shank with Spatzle, brusels sprouts two-ways and a bourbon mustard sauce. You can't see due to the dim lighting, but this thing belongs in Game Of Thrones, being eaten by a White Walker… it was medieval and massive. I tried to help finish it - but it was futile. Really fantastic regardless - but I was still gushing over my Shrimp and Grits that reminded me of Portugal and Franks.  

It's odd when I'm too full for desert - but I was. Oh well. More food the next day.