Sunday, November 23, 2014

Not Meant For Me

I've been thinking about Wayne Static's death the last couple of days and have been very sad about it. Static-X were never my favorite band, but I do own 90% of their records. Wayne was full well capable of writing a lot of filler on his records (see 'Cannibal'), but when he wrote a good song he wrote a good song. And his good songs far outweighed his fillers.

I can remember back in 1999 when 'Wisconsin Death Trip' dropped my friend Scott raving about it and never shutting up about "Push It" and Wayne's hair. I remember hearing "Push It" and not liking it at all, and telling him the same thing I told him about his DMX obsession: "You listen to crap.". Fast forward two years later and me seeing the video for Static's "Black & White" and just falling in love with it. The combination of the visuals, performance of the band, and the music made me go out and buy 'Machine', and that record reeled me in to the Cult of Static. It was so much more accessible for me than 'Wisconsin' was, but I was also in to Slipknot at this point ('Iowa' was just out as well) so take that for what it's worth. Tracks like "Black & White", "This Is Not", "Get To The Gone", and "Structural Defect" just exploded out of my car speakers and annoyed the shit out of anyone who rode with me that summer (Sorry, Raechel.). And any band that can take the experience of taking a shit on a tour bus and write a good song about it ("In A Bag") gets my respect.

My musical tastes vary from month to month. I listen to he shit out of a band for a month, move on to another, listen to the shit out of them for a month, repeat. After Static rode their course in my taste, Danzig came back in, then Priest, Maiden, Dream Theater, and others. I didn't forget Static-X, I just put them on hold. Then a couple years later 'Shadow Zone' came out and I re-joined the Cult full on. To this day it's one of the best metal records I've ever heard. The production was slick, the riffs were great, and the drums pounded. The technological elements of Static-X were used at heir best on that record as far as I'm concerned. Hands down, their best album. I played it for everyone, including my friend Johnny who didn't care for 'Machine' and had given up on Static after one listen to it. Even he couldn't deny that record.

To this day, I still have a copy of "Invincible" in my car and probably always will. Same for most of that record. All of Wayne's music was personal and he never tried writing 7 minute epics about slaying dragons or beating down the devil, but 'Shadow Zone' just felt more personal and relatable than the records that came before or after it. It had it's balls out "THIS IS METAL!!" moments, yes. "Destroy All" oozes that vibe, as do "Kill Your Idols", and "New Pain". But there's also "So", "The Only", and again, "Invincible". Lyrically they resonated with most people in ways that previous songs hadn't been able to do, from what I saw.

My life in the Cult of Static would continue on through 'Start A War', the last great album they did. I loved it at first listen. I didn't love it as much as 'Shadow Zone', but it was still fucking great. The title track is still a favorite of mine, and much like "Invincible", "I Want To Fucking Break It" has always remained in my car and probably always will. Not just for the lyrics and music, but the audio sample used in it that opens the track and flutters in and out of the mix. It takes balls for a metal band to use something that could be perceived as silly and use it in a way that kicks ass. Wayne's sense of humor was always clear on his records. For every "I Want To Fucking Break It" or "Love Dump", there was a "In A Bag", or in 'Start A War's case, "OtsegoAmigo".  I laughed my ass off when I first heard it and would never laugh at a set of intentionally funny lyrics in a metal song again until years later in Devil Driver's "I've Been Sober".

I'm not sure why, but 'Cannibal' just didn't hook me upon first listen, and it actually turned me off of them for a bit. Years later I'd go back and re-listen to it and finally was able to appreciate it and enjoy it. There's loads of filler on it, but also good songs. I think the problem with Static-X is the same problem with Marilyn Manson: The audience grew up, but the bands creations remained the same. You hear about bands saying they want to try new things because people grow up and tastes change and most times it's perceived as a sell-out of sorts. Bands like MetallicA and MegadetH are nearly crucified when they do so. But those bands always stay relevant and always sell out very big venues. Static-X never changed. Wayne seemed to  know what he was good at and he knew what got him where he was, so he stuck with it. And for whatever reason it just didn't work for me anymore.

I have never heard 'The Cult of Static' or Wayne's solo record 'Pighammer'. I do not know why Static-X broke up, other than online rumors of Wayne being tired of free loaders in the band (which is believable, read the writing credits in any liner notes of any Static-X record), and I never knew he was on drugs. He mentioned getting high in lyrics before, but I myself have written several works about drugs and have never once touched any of them. I never met him or saw Static live. I do not know, as of this writing, if Wayne's death was indeed the result of his history with drugs catching up with him or if he relapsed. But I do know the metal community lost a true innovator and great lyricist.

Top 10 Static-X songs, no order...



Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Was up entirely too late last night for no reason at all. I went to bed around 8:30, which is the norm for me now and actually way later then I'm used to, and just could not fall asleep. I laid there for hours just listening to the sounds of the outside world. This is a very peaceful area after midnight judging by the sounds. All except for the trains. Then when I did fall asleep it was restless dreams again. They're fairly common for me to the point where I haven't woke up going "What the Hell was that about?" in years, but always exhausting. I always wake up more tired then when I fell asleep. Went in to work on maybe 3 hours of sleep and we were asked by our boss: "Is everyone ok with only working 8 hours today?" Fuck yes, let's get it over with...

Had the chorus to Porcupine Tree's "Anesthesize" in my head most of the day: "I simply am not here/No, wait I.../Shut up, be happy/Stop whining please". It very much fit the day...

Monday, November 17, 2014

19 Witches

After the franticness and long hours of last week I was very relieved to find tempers had eased over the one day weekend, and not that disappointed to hear we'd almost run ourselves out of work last week and would have to work a couple of eight hour days this week to let ourselves get buried on a couple of things so we can "catch up" later this week with ten hour days. It's either that or get everything done in two days then have no work for three or possibly four. We were all in a playful mood today, and it turned out to be one of the best moral-wise that we've had in a couple of weeks. It's always nice to relax a bit and crack some jokes with people you may not always like but will always respect. And people you'll probably never get to work with or even see once the gig is finished up. Our way of life and culture is an odd one and not everyone will fully understand it, so for lack of a better way of describing it, a brotherhood is commonplace in this line of work. And days like today only reinforce and strengthen it. Still, everyday can bring new conflicts within...

What little snow and sleet we got yesterday was fully melted away by 9a.m., but it's still fucking cold out. I think it might have got up to 24 degrees by lunch time and hovered in that area for the rest of the day. The trick is to dress warm enough so that you're not freezing, but not dress warm enough so that you sweat when doing the physical bits of the job. It's a tricky balancing act that I've never been able to learn. The sweating isn't bad, and most times not even noticeable, until you stop moving for a bit. You've got to stay in constant motion and continued physicality to not feel the chills it brings on. Much of a risk as it is though, it's nice to be outside this time of year. Mainly for the fact that fewer and fewer pain in the ass higher ups come to piss and moan at us as the temperature drops.

And we can smoke while we work.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

There's No One Coming For Us

I'm currently in a state of dread as the first sleet fall of the season began about an hour ago here. I'm am not a fan of sleet or ice, or even snow for that matter. Given the choice I'd rather have to drive in snow, but also given the choice I'd rather have it all stay far away from me, preferably California far, and take the cold with it. Much as I'd love to visit Alaska sometime in my life I highly doubt I could tolerate the weather conditions. I don't see how the people that live there deal with it.

Felt like a fucking idiot earlier when I actually had to go out and buy an ice scraper for my car, as I didn't even think to throw mine in the trunk last time I was home. Also forgot to throw the cinder blocks in my trunk for weight. Could be fun these next 24 hours. I'd have bought more weight but my card limit for the day was reached with the purchase of the scraper and two pairs of cold weather socks. I love how my bank considers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to all be one day. Must remember to plan ahead better next year...

Errands are run though, and I'm spending the rest of the day in the very warm motel room, locked in with food, water, and 'Parasite Eve'. Good coffee as well. And the stack of books I need to remember to read at some point today now that I actually have time. We've been working 14 hour days this week and after one of those days I don't feel like doing anything other than taking a hot shower, eating something, and then crawling in to bed. I do not mind the paychecks for overtime but I despise the lack of alone time the schedule takes from you.

We're all to the point now in my crew at work where we're getting a little bitter with each other. Spend enough time around someone and you'll find the tiniest thing they do will piss you off and ruin your day, especially if they're not related to you or you aren't sleeping with them. Even something as stupid as the way they drink their morning coffee. Factions are being formed within the crew with political moves being put into motions. What political moves? Well, the days of the working man getting his due rewards are long dead and gone. Nowadays it's a combination of working hard and who you know and how well they favor you. And sometimes one very much outweighs the other. It's not right, it's not fair, but it is the way things are in any line of work from what I've seen. I try to remain neutral to these factions because I really don't give a shit for workplace politics. It's too much of a hassle and I do not need to rule the world, I just need enough to get by. My perfect boss to worker relationship is one where they leave me the hell alone and let me do my job. By being the one who will do the pain in the ass tasks and not complain about it I am almost always able to establish this sort of relationship. Do I get rewarded? Financially yes, politically not so much. I am treated with respect from my direct supervisors that see me work and know what I do, but not the corporates in the offices. I will never be employee of the month or be rewarded with a desk job of some sort. And for right now that's fine. My dignity and morals are in tact.

Sarah McLachlan recently announced dates for a small U.S. tour this next year. Checked into it and saw she'll be not even 45 miles away from me in March. Priced tickets a day before they went on sale and found the cheapest were about $400 each. I understand some artists are worth paying a good penny to see live, but I have never heard one $400 worth. I was very disappointed as I've never seen her live and one of her shows is a "Must see" for me and has been for a few years now. So I some digging the next day and came up with balcony seats for $85. Yes, my ticket is purchased. I'll be going alone since no one else wanted to go with me. I'm not sure if they were thinking I was joking when I asked or if it's the long drive they'd have to make. Now the only tricky part is getting back home to pick the ticket up since the website wouldn't let me put in an alternative mailing address...

I found it pretty ironic the tour was announced last week though. When I was home last I'd watched the "Afterglow LIVE" dvd again and kept thinking to myself: "I've got to see her sometime". I just wish now that I hadn't been such a cheap ass and had broke down and spent a couple hundred more dollars for backstage passes and front row seats. Regardless though I'm looking forward to it. Putting in for the vacation day (the gig is on a Tuesday) tomorrow and squealing like a little girl with anticipation every time she pops up on my MP3 player.

This will be my 2nd concert other than the yearly summer Blues Festival held in my hometown. My first was MegadetH and Iron Maiden last summer in Kansas City. It was my way or re-paying my dogsitter for looking after my child while I was away all last summer. It was him, myself, and one of my best friends, and it was a great gig. Loads of pyro during Maiden's set and a set list that had the hits and "lesser knowns" like "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" (which they played fantastically) and "The Prisoner". MegadetH was fantastic as well, opening with "Hangar 18" which blew out of the P.A. so hard I could swear it knocked me back a bit. I'll never forget that night, so Sarah has a lot to live up to in terms of experience. I'm sure she'll deliver, just in a much more but equally great way. And I found a picture of myself and comrades at the Maiden gig a few months later on Maiden's website, which was also cool...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Duke Of Supernature

Back on the road once more after a week home. I'd gotten off work last Friday with the intent to leave for home first thing in the morning as my night vision isn't what it used to be. After getting to the motel and taking one look at the bed, I said "Fuck it.", packed my bags, and headed home. It got dark maybe 2 hours after I left, and I began to see dead deer by the side of the road about once every two miles or so. This is not an exaggeration. I'm a little guy, I drive a little car. A deer would fuck my world all up if hit at 75mph. I drove with extreme caution the whole way, sure that one of the cute bastards was going to try and cross the highway in front of me at any time. It was nerve racking.

Made it to my father's house around 10p.m. to pick up the mail, then finally got home around 11:30 after catching up a bit. I was exhausted. Then I was up at 3a.m, wide awake and not liking it. I hate my biological alarm clock. I can never sleep past 5a.m. anymore. If I do it's because I've been up all night drinking, which isn't a bad idea really. It's been awhile...

Took care of laundry and did a bit of car maintenance first thing in the morning, then headed off to Barnes & Noble to finally do some book shopping. It was fantastic. I walked around for 3 hours, and came away with some (hopefully) good buys. Picked up the new Tomb Raider book, "The 10,000 Immortals", which is ok so far. I'm only 20 chapters in so I can't say 100% if it's good yet, but it does go back and forth. Sometimes I wonder what age demographic the authors were aiming for with it. It just gets... silly sometimes. Good read otherwise.

Also picked up "My Life With Deth", which is David Ellefson's autobiography. I can't wait to dig into that, as he's always seemed from the outside looking in like one of Heavy Metal's nicest guys. Possibly the only one. I must admit, I'm curious as to how much of his side of the story of some things will be 100% opposite of Dave Mustaine's. I like dirt, and I know Mustaine smudges the truth sometimes to make himself look like a good human being. Shame, 'cos he's always seemed like one. Just crazy now and then is all. Always a brilliant lyricist tough.

Also picked up two 'Alien' books, which I didn't even know were out, and two 'Dead Space' comic book TPBs which are terrible. They're good stories, and the art is good, but the letterer did a terrible job. If you want to get rid of word balloons, I'm ok with that. But don't make your letters the same color as the images behind them. I gave up trying to read one of them halfway through and just looked at the visuals and made up my own story to them. It was pretty good. I've missed my calling, perhaps.

Spent Sunday at home, just relaxing and taking home in. Got some good quality time in with my dog, which is always nice. Also got to play 'Alien: Isolation' with surroundsound for the first time and Jesus was that intense. I finally beat it two weeks ago now, but I had to hear it in surround. Great game. Best survival horror game ever hands down. Off to class on Monday which could have gone better. I'll be the first to admit I am not the best student. I very rarely want to be there. And school is so boring. It's trade school, so it's important, but I'm a visualist. I need to see the parts of an electrical system I'm learning about, not just have it described to me. And the whole week of schooling was pretty much like that, ending with me failing a test I need to pass to progress to the next year. And this was the last week of my current year. What happens now? I honestly have no idea. Always nice to have something to worry about...

Out shopping yesterday which was spurred on by my order of Pelican's entire discography coming in. Did some thrift shopping (Gotta pop those tags) and found some good deals. Leather trench coat for $20 in my size, great condition. I'd wanted one for years and finally found one in the exact style I wanted. Also came off with this, the prize of my hunting, for $2....

Say what you want about wrestling nowadays, I won't argue naysayers. But Bret Hart was the person who taught me the importance of respect. Maybe not taught, but definitely influenced. He was always honest and real. And if the worst someone can say about you is you couldn't keep it in your pants (his words from his autobiography), then you're an ok guy. He was, and is, a real hero and an inspiration. It'll be a vey sad day when he passes on.

Left early this morning to drop the dog off at the sitters, then Oklahoma bound for another 2 months. I played Pelican, but I couldn't tell you what songs specifically as it was my first time hearing some and I was driving. Great stuff though.

And now here I sit, once again a stranger in a strange land, awaiting my time to deal with the elements, and praying for a safe tenure so I can make it back home and one day live a "normal" life. Per chance to dream...