It’s not every day in this world that you get to work with someone who is genuine, honest, and just damn likable. In my time here at Metal Riot I’ve got to know fellow team member Morgan and he’s gotten to know me – and it’s been just absolutely fucking awesome.
When I finally came out to Morgan as a transgender woman, and he told me he was bisexual, we were really able to riff about the way being queer in this scene affects a person. When Morgan’s new hard rock/metal band GET OUT. released their debut album Let Me In I knew I wanted after the first listen that I had to talk to Morgan more about the album, and all of the meaning behind it. Out of that came this interview – and another great chance for Morgan and myself to keep and build on the momentum we’re bringing to you – the readers – here at Metal Riot! \mm/
Read the interview BELOW.
-What was the studio time like? What the process was like?
It was cool. Ryan Rios, my guitar player, is an old pal and we have wanted to do a rock and metal band for many years. The pieces fell in place!
We actually tracked LET ME IN pretty guerilla style in our rehearsal space. We practice in a media center in Kingston, NY where our guitarist rents a room for his amps and to work. Our drummer has achieved a lot in the live sound world. He’s done Miley shows, Lil Wayne, Sleigh Bells as part of a live sound team. Lots of events. SO we wanted to give him a shot. Unfortunately the process kind of dragged out and some people felt rushed at the studio time we ended up having. We had to wait until he could borrow gear and then it was kind of “Ok, let’s go.”
My favorite part of tracking besides hearing Colin’s bassline for “Scarab of Green” pump through the speakers and how great Ryan nailed his parts on every song was working on vocal takes with the drummer. Not because it was my own parts but because I have always enjoyed finding a work vocabulary with various producers. I usually just tell them I am gonna harmonize a lot and make some crazy sounds and then we will comp the coolest shit, hahaha. But yeah…it might have been easier to just block out time somewhere as we all have crazy schedules. But I kind of liked that it made everyone have to rise to the occasion with the windows we had. Though the next EP we are planning will be both heavier and tighter, I like the organic vibe of this one a lot.
Not everyone showed up for mixing, which kind of sucked. But it is a good representation of our first year, all things considered. A real mix of stoner, GnR, grunge and harder metal. Though we are getting way, way heavier as we speak. Jeremy has left the band to focus on his main project The Beautiful Bastards and due to a hand injury. He is the main songwriter in that band and it was a lot to do.
We have 20+ years as friends so it also meant a lot to finally do a record with him.
-How did you become a writer? You have also been a music reporter for a long time as well as a singer.
I’ve done both since high school! Started out making zines with my drummer and blogger friend Zac Shaw from the band Dead Unicorn. He was also in an early version of my old band DIVEST with me as well as a crazy side project called The Electric 10″ that is on Myspace somewhere which was me, engineer/guitarist Damien Shannon (he has studio credits on Ween’s White Pepper and Saliva and lots of other stuff), Mic Todd and original Shabutie drummer Nate Kelley (my best “dude” friend). But anyway, yeah Zac and I would xerox zines about local bands in highschool and jam the school copiers making punk fliers so they didn’t have enough toner left to make homework for the kids. (laughing)
Internationally I broke out more after…I was friends with a young lady named Elodie who I met via a forum for the death metal band Crisis. We were both huge fans of Karyn Crisis and Elodie is from France. I was like ,”wow. I can talk to this awesome girl about Cathedral, Helmet and Unsane. No way!”
We were pen pals for many years and she got me into Kylesa, Made Out of Babies or Queenadreena. Anyway, she was active as fuck in the French music journalism scene first with a magazine called Velvet and then Versus and then Noisemag.net and I was blessed enough to do some American corespondence for all of them. Olivier Drago, Arnaud and that whole crew of people in France who I have worked with over the years have more passion, respect for music history and good taste than most.
In America my journalism picked up. I was doing random blogs. Ended up getting taken in like a stray dog in the rain with a Korn shirt on by Lisa Root at AMP Magazine who I now write for under New Noise Magazine regularly (USA). Lisa has more integrity than the majority of the world and got me into Off With Their Heads. Thus, eternal props. She has helped so many bands and has good hair. And is very open minded but has standards. They wont put any stupid fucking band on the cover of her magazines just for ad money. It’s been almost ten years working with Lisa and we still haven’t met in person! That sucks! I love you, Lisa!
I got my biggest real trial by fire though writing for the now shuttered Crushermagazine.com under Christine Natanael. I met Christine after a Cycle Sluts From Hell reunion show w The Stalkers at a NYC Motherfucker party where I was an evil monk on stage with the Sluts. It ruled. Christine bought me a bagel after the show after Dava from Cycle Sluts (now of Star & Dagger w Sean Yseult) introduced us and said I was a writer. Christine has had a hard yet colorful life. She had been pen pals with GG Allin. Knew Faith No More. Fascinating person and a great poet. Very raw. And funny as fuckin’ hell. She’d take an hour to tell me a hot sauce recipe out of pride when we were supposed to be prepping reviews (laughing).
We haven’t spoken in a few years after some unfortunate communication break downs and then the site closed down…but I miss and only have super good vibes for her. Crusher Magazine…Christine had old school cred. She’d gotten White Zombie their Gibson endorsement years earlier, I believe. She’d interviewed Lars. She was known as “the journalist from hell”, so it was nice she let me be as insane as I wanted. She got me some great opportunities like meeting Moonspell or hearing a Danzig album before it was released that I loved. Introduced me to Tommy Victor in one of my favorite interviews ever. I learned to really crank out content reliably with Crusher. And I’ve never looked back.
But the main thing…you have to weather the ups and downs. And never take an interview for granted. Time is precious. Even if you are interviewing something not your cup of tea, it is someone’s life. And you are sacrificing some of yours covering it so make it count! I’m not rich at all. I can pay my rent writing about Slayer though. Who the fuck can complain about that?
Now I have a newspaper column weekly with The Kingston Times. I just did a big memorial piece on David Bowie which was cathartic for a lot of people. I feel really blessed. And have met so many amazing folks over the years from Dave Catching to Prince Rama to Sean Yseult or gotten to interview most of my vocal heroes like Nathan Gray from boysetsfire or Moby…you name it!!!
My Freewill Astrology horoscope just said: “Don’t socialize aimlessly with random gadabouts, but rather gravitate toward people with whom you share high ideals and strong intentions.”
I dunno…if you had explained to me when I was a teenager what Twitter was and that someday Queensryche would be retweeting me I would have said you are nuts and not to tease me and, “You’re not really from the future! Eat my asshole!”
—-On being queer in the scene… You know we had Rob Halford, Freddie Mercury; Riot Grrl and homocore. So why do you think it is that homophobia, transphobia and misogyny are still so prevalent in the scene? Particularly there’s the lyric “Why is unity so divisive?” – could you talk about that a bit?
I think that there is a lot of hate in the world. Or insecure people. Macho people. But honestly I also think there are more good people than bad. People who want love and good shows and fun. The internet though emboldens the sickos. The bullies. The hateful. They fight over their little toll booths of power on the Highway to Hell. Whatever. I’m sure I’ve gotten way more and better blowjobs than most trolls.
Anyone who thinks they are more macho than Halford though is a total toolbox. I’ll take fucking…Turbo over any deathcore band any fucking day. Bigger balls.
My family…there are a lot of bi people. Also a distant religious background. Mine and (my sister Cambria’s) grandfather was a famous Welsh minister. I never met him but we went to Sunday school when I was a kid. I always identified more with the arms open Christ than the suffering Christ. Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado which is discussed in Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage. Arms wide open and all that stuff. For religious people…you are hypocrites to judge and throw fire at others. If there is a God isn’t that their job?
It’s funny. It’s still hard for me to categorize myself. And I think I’m often misread. People see this manic crazy rock guy and don’t find out how elastic I naturally am. So they always think I am crazy. Which sucks (laughing).
I also think part of my path is acceptance. Of not being able to control others. Of accepting myself. Forgiveness of others and myself. And even just being comfortable with the body I am in. But it has been fucking confusing. Sometimes I have grizzly beard and the next day am on Instagram looking at W Magazine posts with all my body hair shaven off!
Hindsight is funny. I have been with way more girls than guys. I prefer women. My favorite thing in the world besides singing is probably eating pussy (laughing). Unless I am struggling with intimacy. Which happens.
Yet I feel…and I have only gotten comfortable saying this recently…I feel way more effeminate inside. Which people rarely detect. Well, more so these days.
Almost all of my truly closest friends have been women. I have an extended coven of the most amazing female friends. Most of them have my back the hardest and it means the fucking world to me.
And I have done feminist benefit shows since I was 15 and arguing with the Town Board to throw a Rock For Choice concert at a community center. But I don’t hate my body. I have always felt torn back and forth. This super sensitive Nirvana kid who started out loving George Michael and pop music and Guns N Roses. And even Axl loves Elton John, c’mon.
But the maybe 30% that felt comfortable as a “boy”, loved sports. Loves adrenaline and being insanely amped. Not that that is a solely masculine territory. But every time I hit a stage I believed what Fugazi said that it is like a sacred chance to “go for it”. I thought a show was a failure unless there was blood and chaos for years and years. Feral. Did I also mention I am a part time security at a bar? I scan rooms like a mosh pit looking for trouble.
It’s funny because I was texting Yasmine Kittles before a show one night and some of the guys in my band were nervous about us being too tight or whatever. And as a way to say “break a leg” about the show Yasmine texted me ,”RIP THEIR FUCKING HEADS OFF!!!!” (about the audience at BSP Kingston). And I was like ,”OMG, I love you.” (laughing)
On any given day I can cycle through a lot of what we call…“vibes”, depending on my mood or hormone swings. Really manic or like super peace and love. Blogging helps keep my brain occupied or meditating.
I had a vasectomy a few years ago. My former partner and I lost twins due to complications. Sabbath and Persephone. I was completely devastated. I may never get over it fully… and since then have really had to be mindful of moods. I either feel too much or…nothing. I always had problems, though. I played alone a lot. We lived in the country with no electricity for years in an old farmhouse. I was always super bookish or in the woods. Playing with sticks and climbing on boulders, pretending I was every character in Dragonlance novels.
I have never had gender dysphoria super strong like Mina Caputo or Laura Jane. But it was enough weirdness to not know which sex I was having over the years felt more straight or more gay, because I had (cough) have a dick but was like…just not fully in that club.
It wasn’t like I wanted to be THE princess or be THE knight. I wanted to be everybody at once! Copious teen drug use and punk rock just heightened that feeling of interconnectivity. Or made me feel like music was a better way to connect than the often painful process of conversation, which now I love…if I have the energy or the subject is fascinating. Put it this way, I feel…everything. So I find sleep hard unless really happy or can calm the tide. I think i like the internet because it is like flying a space ship. you can direct what you give attention to. Then turn it off. It’s good to engage or be part of something and/or wrestle demons or talk politics but you also need quiet time.
Within the quiet somewhere along the way , after thirty fucking years, I was able to stop self medicating and numbing parts of me. Trauma. Or fear. It makes no sense because I had amazing, empowered friends. My best friend growing up was Elijah Burgher who is an out and proud painter. He’s kicking ass right now.
Our birthdays are a few days apart and he does these amazing homoerotic magical sigils as paintings. We would like try on clothes in my parents attic in like 4th grade. And in high school we drifted but made these epic punk mix tapes for each other of like The Gits, Big Black or Tribe 8 and Pansy Division. And I’d be like “Jesuuuuus Liiizaaaard!”. Or we would like fawn over how Royal Trux were the perfect indie rock couple or Thurston and Kim.
Our friendship was platonic. But I had queer allies, is what I’m saying. I only admitted outloud to that particular friend I was on the queer scale somewhere a few years ago and he teased me for coming out at age 35 like many “lesbians”.
Cuz mostly I have had like 100 zillion girlfriends. But I’m a hopeless romantic.
Getting to know myself has been like tuning a radio for a VERY long time.
I just did a deep, deep Chakra cleanse with a self proclaimed witch from Brazil! An amazing woman. I feel like a million bucks. More clear than I have in …years. Burned sage and palo santo. And did a Kali healing bath. The last day of which fell on a year to the day of my father’s death. He never knew of my identity battles, just the extrenal side effects and turbulence from repressing my whole self for decades.
Today is actually a year since he died. Believe it or not. Cambria just posted about it on Facebook. Crazy.
I am more certain than ever that people need to embody who they want to be and become. There is only one time and it is now. Hope that answers your question.
-Can you tell me what “Master of Storms” is about? Who it’s written to or about?
Master Of Storms was originally a Walking Bombs song, my solo project. The bulk of melody came to me in a dream. And I wanted a chorus that was a tribute to Nirvana’s “Lithium”. A real “yeahhhhhh”. But ours is “Iiiiiiiiiiiii, thought I could change your mind”. Jeremy Swift, our former second guitarist, really brought a lot more depth to the riff he embellished and then we presented it to the whole band when we were looking to round out a set. I like how it sounds a little like “Under The Bridge” at the end. And shows our range.
The name was actually inspired by Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time saga. I’ve always been into that series.
In one of the last books in that series the sort of messiah Rand is like trying to clear the skies of stormclouds from this evil force. I think it was A Memory Of Light, which as far as I know is also the last book my dad read cuz I lent it to him. Like use his power to make the sun come back out. And I was thinking about how in life we have to ride out so many storms, as Jim Morrison noted. The verses mention faith, science, creation myths…all the ways we try to analyze the Universe and then argue violently we know every truth. It wasn’t really written about one person, just the need for world peace. And how maddening it can be to try and convince anyone of anything.
-Could you tell me about “Faded” and about Pat Howland (who bandcamp says the song is dedicated to)? His relation to you and the scene? You say in the song that he brought you into the scene.
Pat was my first drummer in a band called Melancholy I was in during high school. From ’93-96. He asked me to join my first band. He was a great drummer and also got me into Bad Brains by playing me God Of Love and cuz he worked with Dr. Know from the Brains at a farm stand near Woodstock, NY, where I grew up. Doc always did health food and nature stuff as part of, I’m pretty sure, his general spiritual approach to life.
I just did a feature on the old Woodstock Scene last year but it has been taken down because the site folded
Anyway, Pat was sick on double bass. We would play every weekend at local community center shows I often booked with bands like 3, Shabutie, Mearth., Oblivion Grin and Blissfully Ignorant. Or GET OUT’s former guitarist Jeremy’s old band Guava Lamp. Others as well.
Pat overdosed. A bad reaction from dentist drugs mixed with shooting up. I had survivors guilt for years because I did it before him, though never with him.
The day he died I got a tattoo of a hand with a scythe with blades on either end going different directions. “reap what you sew”. To represent life choices. I was just getting clean. And when I got home from the tattoo parlour I got the news Pat was gone. So the Tattoo fades more the closer I get to maybe ever seeing him again in an afterlife. I sat on putting these lyrics to music for the last sixteen years since he died on May 23, 2000.
I swore after he died I would never use heroin again, though I had already quit in 1998 after five years of hell. I was shooting speedballs as a teenager. Taking acid every day for a year…no fucking joke. In Woodstock, everyone did drugs. It was as social as it was trying to “open the mind”. But it also became a really easy place to hide.
-Who did the LET ME IN album art?
Chris Smith! He just did a Hollow Earth record. He is from Pittsburgh and does incredible poster art, mainly. He was in a band Meth Quarry I liked. He did art for an indie project of mine Black & White Universe and also did the Enabler records. Those are probably his best known covers, though mostly due to the infamy. He is an awesome dude. Very friendly and I prefer working with Chris these days on art because he embodies the “scene” friendship vibes I value. Bands getting one another’s backs. Collaborating. Introducing friends and being cool.
Chris has agreed to do the follow up art for our forthcoming EP also. The details will prob be out for that in March. I can’t wait. People aren’t going to believe what is coming.
-In the song “Seven Heavens” there’s the lyric, “Can’t fail but see that you’re bleeding like me from where they tore out the wings.” The song seems to be about following your dreams and doing what you want with your life. Is that right?
The world pits us against one another. That is the “they”. It doesn’t refer to any one person.
The Dalai Lama just tweeted (laughing):
“We will only create a more peaceful and harmonious world if we adopt a peaceful approach and engage openly in dialogue.”
YES! SO true.
But…I guess I will vent this and then really try and move on. Preface it with light and hopes for a positive outcome and to be seen for my pain and rough edges and accepted as I hope to accept and let go of anger with the people I have held conflict with once and for all.
Life is too fucking short.
The “Seven Heavens/Twenty Hells” lyric is that it seems every victory in my life has had triple as much tragedy. So much death. Conflict. How I just want to get in a groove and scene build and be seen as a good person. How there are seven main chakras or inner sources of heaven inside if we are brave enough to activate them. Otherwise worms of stress and lies coil inside us. Arteries clog, so to speak.
2015 was the hardest year of my life. A true crucible. Even worse than my major heroin years or drinking. I haven’t had a drink in three years because I needed time to grieve my twins without blacking out or treating others badly. My ex said I grew a “black spot.” It felt like there was glass in my heart and no hope. But last year was even worse.
I actually HATE complaining. I’d rather be trying to find solutions. But last year tested me in every way.
“Seven Heavens” is a thrash meets gothier rock song. There’s an Alice In Chains lyric in “Down In A Hole” where Layne sang ,”I have been guilty of kicking myself in the teeth.”
Years ago as a junkie I’d listen to that over and over trying to find a way back out. Our song starts with a lyric about “Looking out for myself/trying to shed ego” which is not about bloated pride but rather trying finally to take care of myself and face the ego death of a troubled past. But that’s how you start to heal yourself and others, to turn to the light.
Do the core work.
For years I suffered major depression, some from family stuff and other aspects from feeling a more feminine and artistic soul in my male body. Not that I, again, have full blown gender dysphoria. It’s prob about 60% but more emotionally than externally (even though I look good as a French Maid and used to rock dresses here and there). I grew up in Woodstock, NY wanting to believe in painting, art, love, warmth. Promoting shows. Trying to bring together the happiest souls with the most pained, for communal growth. Part of why I love metal, post/punk and hardcore is you can bring love to some of the most hurt people, angry or jaded types our outcasts, scary monsters and super creeps.
Like, do I say I’m a girl? A guy? An asshole?
I needed for a long time to tame my mind and fires inside. I have a TON of trauma or have been with many partners who had major major scars. It all has become a dull roar. And I’ve been trying to a long time to believe in peace and love again but feel a furnace inside sometimes.
This song is about trying to find wings again after they’ve been ripped out. By self harm or through the outside world. Remembering that you are sacred and so is your vessel. And so are others. Trying not to have conflicts but definitely standing your fucking ground as well when enough is enough.
I hurt myself for a VERY long time, numbing with speedballs, booze, crack, acid, etc. I shot up with a current member of Prong before I was 18! Thank Christ we are ALIVE!!! Some of that was a dark but still sacred learning experience, a Harrowing of my own Hells. Some of it was way too rough. Lots of dead friends. I am not a drug nazi but I think people have to watch out for each other or you can fast get in over your head and lose people you love forever.
So, yes…the “Seven Heavens” song is about how crazy it is that unity is a divisive concept. We need it. But we wait in line to die or kid ourselves with vain illusions that our ticket won’t get punched. It’s also about letting go of a lot of anger to try and see different viewpoints. Or we piss away our chances to have real PMA which is considerate to all.
Last summer after my dad died I tried to make peace with the band Coheed and Cambria after years of turbulence. I am not bringing this up for any desire for more drama. I am so sick of that shit and just did like a huge chakra cleanse last week and sage burning to try and remove a lot of negative baggage and grief from my heart.
But I also have a right to speak my perspective.
Cambria is my sister’s name and they have often lied about that connection. At first it wasn’t a problem but then as static developed later on over many different issues they just pretended we never existed… or said nothing when their fans who knew the beef were very degrading to her. There was also a lot of personal back and forth attacks over years because I tried to save their lives when some of the current and former members were majorly fucked up and blowing cash.
Nate Kelley and I had a band called Pontius Pilate Sales Pitch which was named basically as a jab at them for seeming to choose money over older friendships. So we threw barbs back over the years. I’m guilty of fighting too much. Which sucks.
I never want to deal with another dead friend, even at the cost of losing the friend. And I have a mutual ex with their old bassist. And loads of mutual friends fatigued, fairly, by the conflict. I was really upset at some of their business choices and when they were struggling with the same stuff that killed Pat but also I was drinking my brains out.
Still, I think Claudio can be a really arrogant, selfish dude. As much as they are allowed to think the same about me, but I’m the one who always tried to make peace. Or maybe I really don’t know him. Our communication could have just broken down THAT much and they have people keeping us from ever talking.It’s too risky, I guess. Or they hate me.
He used to be awesome and I loved that guy. Maybe we just have so much smoke and corpses between us and ever being friends again or civil. I still bump “Godfather’s Lollipop” and then hate myself (laughing).
I CAN be civil. But while he is one of the best guitarists on the planet, for real…he has also taken a lot of ideas from others or friendships for granted and really pulled the wool over people’s eyes. I have so many stories I could tell of those guys being shitty. Broken promises. Obfuscation. Their friends threatening me. Josh Eppard’s uncle calling his band “Fucktard” after me and just telling me last year, which makes two bands mocking me or my family. Despite me trying to help them with shows and press and so much over the years. Troll fans saying “The name Cambria is Welsh! ”
Um…yeah so is my fucking family, numbskulls. I was there when Claudio met my sister.
I know there are also people who wish we would all make up.
Can we please move on at least with mutual apologies and not just sweeping it under the rug for their benefit and the people who make money off that band’s benefit? I really want closure from all of this shit, not just bottling it up and living their “Print The Legend” bullshit just cuz they are semi-popular and have a cool tour manager who is in Goatsnake?
I have to let it go for my well being. And I hope they can also. But the right way. Not just pretending they are 100% right.
So, yeah…”Seven Heavens” really is about saying “can’t you see I am a decent person?” and that in 23 years I have tried really fucking hard to stay alive and be a good person, often failing BADLY but often not. I’ve done way more good things to help the scene and world than bad. The bad things were horrible and came back to scar me deeply. I’m actually a very gentle, sensitive person inside. Most days I am kissing puppies, listening to Madonna or writing nice correspondence with feminists, punks and black metal bands. But I have a LOT of pain that runs wildfire/rampant if I get triggered. So I get self righteous. Or like super militant.
So last summer I’d tried to make peace then Coheed wrote a song various people said was about me that said “Nobody Gives A Fuck Who You Are”. I used to invite this band into my parents home for meals. A home which I then struggled to try and help my folks keep for the last decade those guys were pissing money away while my dad was dying of cancer. It made me hate them and think they were cruel.
That said, I am not sure in the end that new song is about me and was in a very fragile place at the time. But there is a lot of bad blood.
I was really bitter years ago because at one point my old band DIVEST had same producers and many mutual friends and things hadn’t soured yet with Coheed (they thanked DIVEST on IKSOSE3 liner notes). They were going to help us when our deal fell through but instead scooped a guitarist off my band cuz he could play keyboards, their old bassist had already poached the girl I liked (not that she was my “property”, but it all went down in a really shitty way) and things got progressively worse from there. Years of shit. The bar I worked at was even recently vandalized last summer when we were all fighting again, though I can’t prove was them. But most people who aren’t Coheed fans love the shit out of me, so the list of suspects is small. And honestly their fans should thank me since I booked so many of their early shows.
When they put out “You’ve Got Spirit, Kid” last year my dad was pretty freshly fucking dead. I’d just been faced with my mom’s dementia worsening. I had only pretty freshly come out as bi and my dad didn’t even learn of it before he fucking died. I Had been fucking…this is crazy…threatened by bikers over a mix up the same week about an opening slot at a local venue for a Red Dragon Cartel show. And also there was a brief fear my mom had been touched by an orderly!!! I was seeing red!
I’d just been dumped too (laughing). Plus I’d been writing everywhere to not hold on to grudges and how I was proud Josh Eppard was sober finally, so felt really hurt by this new Coheed song when people said it was about me. SO I was not putting up with any more Claudio bullshit and I really lost it. I took it way too far and am sorry. Truly. But try to imagine being in all of these surreal situations at once. Half the scene eager to talk to me for interviews in established mags and other people attacking me and calling me a pathological liar even after I’d written like a million nice articles about the band 3 the last few years.Maybe I overreacted but I do think compassion is the overall best way to resolve things or just cut people out of your life if they show true colors.
I had just started speaking with Mic Todd again after NINE years when this all went down, as well. Sharing cancer remedies with him I had hoped my father would try. So I was so offended by that song.
If we can’t have real peace why can’t they leave me alone? Don’t fucking swat at the manic depressive! Or make peace! I would prefer that! Fuck! But it has to be real. You’re not off the hook if you have no contrition. I can forgive anyway in the long run but it is gonna come up sometimes. Because it is unresolved energy.
One of Coheed’s friends came at me hard online and so did some trolls after this. Someone called me the “next Justin Lowe” mocking my depression issues…and while I tried at first to make peace and dial it back it got more and more ugly. Someone was making shots about how years ago when I was 15 on acid I broke into a house thinking I was dead and knocked a lady over trying to hide behind her couch.
Well guess what? The charges were dropped and the cops maced me on acid. Dropped after the lady was convinced by a 32 year old friend who had incidentally slept with me and smoked crack with me a few months after my arrest (while I was like 15), that I was a nice guy and was just fucked up. Which was true. Not to mention it was a hundred years ago!!!
I finally shared info that this one Weerd Science affiliated guy who was talking major shit on me had a family controversy going on. Which,somewhat fairly, made me the bad guy. I am honestly very sorry I hurt the dude because even though we were in a really ugly verbal fight, that was hypocritical of me as fuck.
I just felt like my family had been so disrespected. I was just seeing red and didn’t give a fuck. Causing pain does not he So that obviously could have been handled way better. But every time I have tried to make amends with their camp I get “fuck you, scumbag” messages or worse for years and fucking years. Or half assed attempts giving Claudio a free pass cuz he’s their, whatever… Poodle demi-God or something. (laughing)
I’m sorry if that makes anyone mad. But peace is a two way street. Why do I only have to apologize to their people or families and not the other way around when you stole my lyrics once and named your band after my sister and albums mocking your first drummer’s family dog Apollo? WEIRDO SHIT! Go cover Adele some more! I guess money changes people.
They won’t believe me cuz I have no filter often but I really do wish them the best. Just please don’t fuck with me. I am a person.
This is my life story and world also. If anyone thinks I’m doing this to promote a song or this band, please don’t listen to it ever. I always keep going anyway. This is about believing that hate becomes toxic. We can choose to keep multiplying personal hells or face hard truths and treat ourselves and others better. Doc from Bad Brains told me the last time I talked to him to not lose my soul to poisonous hate. And he was so, so right.
But I am also beyond over being judged by people who don’t know me or who jump to conclusions about my motivations.
You don’t fucking see me.
I can’t believe they don’t respect me enough after all years known to actually take the time to get to the bottom of the problem and squash it. I have kept trying because I sincerely believed even in the worst fighting the friendship was worth more than that. I looked at our whole scene like a family and like one extended gang and at certain point it seemed like they just cared about themselves. They probably feel the same about me.
People try to say I got Josh Eppard drug tested on purpose by Universal Records years ago, which is not true. I just turned down interviewing him and said i didn’t have faith he was truly clean yet and we had unresolved stuff between us. the pr person told label and they decided to test him. i wouldn’t be shifty like that. i’ve directly tweeted josh that i really don’t know what to even believe anymore, sometimes. As far as if they have any heart or not.
Travis Stever told me in an apology once, not public, that “they never really thought about any of this stuff” because they were too busy. Which is bullshit. Especially when you know people for years. It’s sad cuz some best memories are playing life changing shows with those guys. I’ve still shared a stage with them more than any other band. Well, Shabutie. It’s crazy.
This still feels alien and fucking stupid.
I own my mistakes like a stake through the fucking heart. Sometimes my heart has felt reduced to smoking coal. But like that Iggy Pop speech on the start of Mogwai’s come on die young…punk rock is about giving your all. Shit, life it. With as much fire and plumbing the depths as much as Sigmund Freud or whatever Iggy said about Johnny Rotten.
I hope I can control my temper in the future. If they let me be myself and speak my truths that is fine. But don’t tell me I am not allowed to talk.
People were saying I was stuck in the past and not knowing how I had to rebuild everything from scratch and that these dudes had like a war of attrition and behind the scenes shit talk propaganda against me for years that made it hard in a mutual town where everyone was kissing their asses cuz they broke out. I’m over people not respecting that for 23 years I have been interviewing, booking bands or performing and making many sacrifices while still trying to be brutally honest. Let me rephrase that. You don’t have to respect or like me but it doesn’t change the fact that the truth is more complicated and I deserve to hold my own space. And it sucks some people just turn a blind eye.
I just want to play shows, learn about yoga and help other people heal. Not take shit off people. Bottom line. You can talk down on me all you want but when your fans call my sister a whore or speculate nasty shit when they hear of the rift or you turn a blind eye for years to avoid ACTUALLY talking things out, when your fans who you willfully misled act shitty…Thanks. I’m trying to write about Jucifer or do deeper work like the Amanda Pearl Daniels interview I did, healing stuff or promoting fun tours. Let’s just admit we all really hurt each other and move on. But I’m the only one who has ever publically apologized. Even after being bullied.
But…almost done…Doc from Bad Brains told me…I am reluctant here to say all of this…at my dad’s funeral Gary (Doc) said to please try to make peace with Coheed and not lose my soul to anger. And he was right. It’s just not worth it. I’m sorry for the people my anger has hurt and hope they can see both sides of it all. That was the last talk I had with Doc before he got sick.
And even worse…I was trying to help…a relative of mine is close to him and I misunderstood something when Gary fell ill recently. I knew his family was at the hospital and overwhelmed and was talking to my relative about trying to help. So I was posting all this PMA stuff online and telling people to pray for Doc. We all grew up with him and Bad Brains in Woodstock as mentors, really. And I didn’t sleep for three days as well as had a deadline for my newspaper column right after finding out about Doc falling ill. And I shared some of the details, which the family later asked not be made public, to some mutual friends online. Like I mentioned some stuff on a Metalsucks thread and a Candiria members Facebook then erased or asked them to remove as soon as I heard the family wanted stuff under more wraps/ You have to understand lots of people were asking me how Doc was. Or making up horrible rumors that made me so mad to see!
And I had written like anyone I knew as soon as I found out who cared about Doc, INCLUDING some of Coheed’s camp and also Ian from Fugazi and other people. Like telling them all some shit had happened and get at Daryl from the Brains. Anyone I thought they’d want to hear from. I was legitimately so worried and trying to help but was an emotional wreck.
I was truly trying to help.
I couldn’t believe the year might end with another huge hero of mine dying, after all the conflict and my own dad’s death. But I upset Doc’s family and also Daryl Jenifer by accidentally revealing more than they had intended. Which I feel truly heartbroken about. I hope they really see the sincerity and look at my whole life’s work as a better judge to my character than the worst times of stress or lowest points.
Last year mostly was…just fucking awful. We can ALL do better.
And we do need PMA and healing. Everyone. Very much. Like, Joey Eppard’s wife has fought cancer. There’s bigger shit to worry about. We all need peace. It’s so much better.
But don’t try to censor me.
-What is the ‘truth’ mentioned in “Chameleon”? It seems between “Master of Storms” and “Chameleon” deal with reality and truth and the like.
One verse says “when the truth is all, let the truth come alive..don’t be part of the hive.” Like, whatever your truth…you can’t manifest it if you don’t speak up for it. Unless you want to be a mailman or love eating burgers at your local venue and are content to never play anywhere else, you need to fuckin’ hustle. Cuz a lot of other bands are. And if you want to live life unburdened by regret, fuckin’ yeah…follow your dreams.
I’ve always wanted to do music at all costs, yet dealt with enough sufficient identity crisis buried inside me that the solution always seemed be to rarely make the same type of song twice. That’s what “Chameleon” is mainly about. The David Bowie-esque art of evolution. I’m drawn to art with either good design,say…Septic Flesh. Or social resonance like War on Women or, I dunno, Crass. Or depth like Life Of Agony’s River Runs Red, a cool story or when you can tell the emotion is so real…from expressions of love to bravery to the brink of madness or meaningful anger. Like someone could die for the song they are singing.
Unless you are Slayer or Vader…flip the script! It proves you are really talented , not just stuck in a groove or comfort zone. That’s why Stone Temple Pilots are so great! Life’s not about one hallway. It’s a crazy maze. Why do you think so many straight edge teens end up becoming fucking crackheads as adults? I was lucky to have a mostly reverse trajectory. I was a horrible fuck up minefield of trauma and drugs but now I am a survivor.
I sent “Chameleon” to Jenifer Herrema cuz it is bluesy and has some, for my parts, Royal Trux influence. I hope she dug it if she checked it out.
The chorus is sunnier. Like it is the apocalypse or waking up in that fucked up Church from the first episode of Fear The Walking Dead. Or with a lover. Shit could be kinda crazy but you know you’ll be there for the person best you can. Or see them down the road. Cuz we all gotta go through our karma coloring book changes, baby.
-The theme of this album definitely seems to be “follow your dreams”. Is that right?
HAHAHA! Follow your fucking nightmares! (laughing) God, I fucking laugh like Amadeus.
Well…it is, except for “Scarab of Green” which is about running away from an evil fucking mummy that smokes weed (laughing). But also the album title is Let Me In. And GET OUT. could mean get out and do something with your life, be the you who you want to be. Or it could mean get the fuck out. And banging on the door saying ,” Let me in”. It has also meant that over the years. Most of my songs are about communication. The Tower of Babel. Sex. Trauma. Or confidence building. Even “Moon Harvest” which is a sci-fi song is also about leaving the Earth because no one is neighborly anymore.
I was so shy growing up I forced myself to “fake it til you it”. To go for the grand entrance and laugh or to bark loudly.
My mom said while I was getting born I wasn’t totally out yet but was like singing and then peed on the doctors face. Hello world.
I guess …any record I am part of, for me at least…it is about not wasting your time and being devoted to the art. Even if your personal life is a mess. I wrote a whole book about my early life called I Will BE Scene and it left out and was like hiding so much other shit about me.
-“Dagger Complex” seems like a fight song – sending off listeners with an -umph-. Tell me about the inspiration behind the song.
When my father died I tried to think of his spirit like flying free of cancer finally. And his flight had just begun. Which was fascinating because the witch lady I mention, she said my dad’s death was his second birthday. That made me so happy. So the chorus says “don’t sing those funeral songs.”
My dad’s funeral took months and months to organize cuz people were far away, which also ate me up so much.
But that song is also about not beating the drums of war. We must protect ourselves but always strive for peace and measure the cost of decisions. Like, I am not anti-gun. I want this band to be about communication across politics but the name comes from the recent Edward Snowden documentary. And also having a dagger complex sounds so Macbeth, like everyone is out to get you. Which they sometimes are.
-Tell me about what 2016 looks like for you? What do you have planned? What are you excited about? What are you thankful for?
Well…we just got back new t-shirts. We are hoping to book more shows and definitely want to play more. I’m thankful to be alive and feel love. For cool people.
For anyone objective who gives me a chance.
My indie/emo/grunge solo project Walking Bombs has an album almost out on bandcamp called Know You’re Wild which has my sister Cambria and I as kids on the cover jumping off our family porch. A great shot a relative in Wales sent. And collabos on that record from Sean Paul Pillsworth (The Red Owls). Brian Goss (ex Warzone). Nate Hall (USX). Jay Andersen of DIY noise rock band Surmiser and others. I was almost killed by a train during recording of that record also. I should throw that in the 2015 scrapbook of crap-book as well (laughing). New Noise said they will stream it. So we will see! Hopefully people dig it.
I’m most thankful that…last year I became friends with Yasmine Kittles after an interview that is maybe my favorite piece ever. After my dad died I just…wanted to listen to Tearist kind of out of the blue. It had been a few years but I got drawn to her music like a magnet and something about her energy and voice. And I wrote her one day with my fingers crossed. She extended trust to me and let me in and has become one of the people I value the very highest in my life. And I’m so happy for her that she is getting some much deserved closure after dealing with some major horrible stuff. I think…I’ve told her she is the post-punk Helen of Troy and my favorite person in the world.
She has more integrity than maybe anyone I know.
We haven’t even met in person but she kept me semi-sane last year and kept the whole year from being purgatory. I’ll always love her to pieces for that. She gave me so much strength last year and I hope I was able to in a small way repay the favor. And I have been turning energy inward… soul searching, trying really hard to turn any conflict to peace while not being pushed around. I don’t want to fight anyone.
What else…I’m going to the Amon Amarth fucking listening party at Vitus in a few weeks! Wooooo! Skulllllllll!
As my friend Barry Gorsline once said recently, someone who I’ve had conflict with here and there, you have to give others the forgiveness you’d like for yourself. I am hoping I will get to be thankful for progress on all fronts in 2016. Right now I feel really good. GET OUT. are looking for a new second guitarist. I feel full of love an spiritually better and like the real me more than I ever have before in my life.
I really love everybody. I just want to be happy and play fucking metal. Jesus. I’m much more of a lover than a fighter. I just want peace of mind. Just…Let me in.