I’m the old guy in the band, so here's a history lesson:
I guess I became captivated by the sound of a distorted power-fifth chord as soon as it became a
popular part of rock music, so I bought a guitar and made music a permanent part of my life.
For well over a decade, I played rhythm guitar and sang occasional backup vocals, and it was
enough to satisfy me. I played with some awesome people that had a lot more talent than me, and I
didn’t mind. It was great to be part of something bigger than the sum of its parts. I had a basic style
I was happy with, and I tinkered with a lot of the old analog effects and technology. It was fun. It was
all about the music, and the music was good.
Then, for no apparent reason, I quit playing for a while.
While I was out of it, music grew more technical, everybody began playing really fast, singers were
screaming their brains out, technology gave everybody more amp gain than they knew what to do
with, and everybody had more and more effects.
Wow. The Eighties were awesome. I just had to get back into music.
Looking back, I never had a chance in the Eighties. Sure, I had fun playing a mix of newer and older
stuff. Problem was nobody wanted to hear it. To get anywhere, you had to be competitive. You had
to be the best at something… Anything.
I watched as the musicians I normally would have admired became ruthless, nasty, horrible,
egotistical bastards that tried to bring everyone else down to build themselves up. I went out of my
way to lend my time, my equipment, my electronics expertise, and my experience to musicians that
sorely needed it, only to be stabbed in the back over and over. I was doomed…
Then the Nineties hit, and everybody was cast aside. Nobody wanted to hear massive, expansive,
bombastic, hard, fast, complicated and precise music anymore.
All of a sudden, people were playing the kind of stuff I was playing years ago (minus the pop
influence). You didn’t have to play a zillion notes per second or scream until you could taste your
own gonads. It was time to ditch the singer and the lead guitarist, and go play!
I had some of the best times of my life and played the most insanely fun gigs during those days. We
took some old songs and made them our own. We wrote everything from silly country songs to
punk, to grunge, and we had fun. And the music was good again.
We’d still hear a little criticism from time to time from the guys that used to be popular, and all we
could do was say, “What have you done lately that you think is better, Almighty Fretmaster?” And
we let them choke on their notes. All their talent was going to waste because nobody wanted to hear
it. What the world wanted was catchy hooks, big chords, and thoughtful lyrics. I was glad to be part
of it, but I had mixed emotions.
I really wanted the complexity and intensity of the Eighties, but without the competitive attitudes and
without the empty lyrics.
Eventually, rock music began taking on elements from rap and hip-hop, or taking on growly
undertones like punk on Quaaludes, and I wanted to get back out of it, but something stopped me…
I was going to help some guys record some of their legacy material, but their lazy bass player never
showed up, so I filled in on bass after almost 30 years on guitar. Then we worked on a project to
write music for somebody else, and we found out we worked really well together. When the project
was done, we knew we’d stumbled onto something bigger than the sum of its parts, especially when
we listened to the tracks without the vocals.
So, we started writing, and improving, and practicing, and improving some more, and writing some
more. We ditched the vocals and tried different lineups. We went back to playing the music we love
best, the hard, fast, complicated, technical stuff, but with a difference. No bitching. Sure, there are
other musicians out there that are better in a myriad of different ways, but we just don’t care. We
haven’t had any clash of egos. We know of some other musicians that have said some unkind
things, but they haven’t even heard us. We don’t sink to that level.
To gauge our progress, we’d go out and play a single gig at America’s biggest nightclub, at the
Battle of the Bands just to shock ourselves with a bit of harsh reality. We had no following. Nobody
knew who we were. Even our second time out, I was afraid I’d be pelted with beer bongs just for
showing up on stage at my age. But when we had difficulty getting off of the stage due to the
number of people wanting to buy CDs, and I ended up capturing the attention of a Playboy Playmate
for the remainder of the evening, we figured we just might be onto something good!
I sure wish we had some CDs to sell that night. We’ve got a lot of things recorded, So, when you
hear one of our tracks on the web, remember it’s just a preview. The best is yet to come!