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.