January 23, 2014, posted by Crumbs
I've been sitting here at the computer off and on all day. Each time I sit down to begin this Journal, I walk away. Nothing it feels will ever truly describe what the evening of January 17th meant to me.
Funny enough, now that I'm sitting here, this really incredible evening was actually preceded by a few weeks worth of awesomeness!
It began when I went and saw my friend Eddie's new band, The Devil In California, open for some old friends of mine who recently re-united called Fungo Mungo, whom I hadn't seen in 20 years. Fungo had gotten picked up by Island Records back in the early nineties during the funk-rock craze, they had a ridiculously good demo and the record they did did good but they kinda faded away. Both Vio-Lence and Machine Head played shows with them, great dudes, in fact, their guitarist Mike Johnson was the neighborhood child-prodigy and taught me a lot about playing guitar.
The Devil In California was really good, southern-ish stoner rock but with really dynamic Melvin-esque drumming, good stuff!
While at the show, I ran into Craig Locicero. We used to play together in a band we called Forbidden Evil. Craig currently plays in a band called SpiralArms with a bunch of amazing dudes (more on that later). So for about a year Craig had been trying to put together a benefit for an old friend of ours named Nikki Davis. Nikki is a girl both Craig and I have known since we were playing Slayer and Exodus covers in backyard parties throughout Fremont when we were 18. Her and her brother Tony were not only good friends but huge supporters of the scene we came up in.
Nikki and her husband Jeff (who was another great friend to the entire Bay Area and was sound man at The Metro where the benefit would end up being held at) were in a fatal motorcycle crash where Jeff lost his life. After being thrown 70 ft., Nikki was in a coma for 3 weeks, and woke up to find her pelvis cracked in half, and husband and soul-mate dead. She had to endure massive physical as well as emotional injuries. This was an absolutely terrible thing to happen to anyone let alone someone you cared about. Add to this the massive medical bills and for someone with no health insurance?
So Craig had this idea but was having little luck getting this together. It seemed every time it would come together peoples schedule would change etc. He explained a little more and I thought well shit, if it's ever gonna happen we've got to do it now. So I asked if I could take the horns and run with this. I reached out to some folks and pretty soon we had a Black Sabbath All-Star Jam on our hands under the moniker "Robb Flynn & Friends." Once we had a name and a few people committed we released the info to the Bay Area. It got picked up and spread...fast!
So fast that it sold out in under 3 days!
Craig and I got together after Machine Head practice and we practiced a couple times alone, then we started practicing with all the players. It took some work getting 23 dudes all on the same page, but the practices were a freakin' BLAST! First person on board was Chuck Billy of Testament. And what can I say? Dude went above and beyond to make this happen. He gave us all access to Testaments jam room, organized the teleprompter and soon after I got a few more big names involved and then people started reaching out to me! I heard thru Scott Uchida at Dunlop that Robert Trujillo of Metallica might be down.
Exodus drummer Tom Hunting came into the fold, but this time as a singer, and he slayed all the later-day Sabbath stuff. You know what I'm talking about, the stuff with the super high vocals. No doubt in my mind, Tom Hunting saved the day. Some late additions were Jim Martin ex-Faith No More and Matt Pike and Jeff Matz from Oakland’s own High On Fire.
After that I thought fuck it, I gotta a bunch of buddies who are part of my "camping crew" and once a month we get together, drink a bunch of beer and jam Sabbath tunes in my buddy Joe Cabral's garage. I thought they need to be here too, so I dragged em on board! I got my old Vio-Lence bassist Deen Dell on board, I got my ex-Forbidden drummer and future / current Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph in. Will Carroll who had filled in for us on a U.S. tour back in 1995 with Stuck Mojo supporting and currently smashes drums for Death Angel was in. Craig got ex- Death Angel drummer Andy Galeon in, and who I'm happy to report is still an absolute BEAST behind the kit.
I tell you what... the day of the show, the vibe was electric. Not to mention I can't remember the last time I got jammed up for tickets so much, it was in-fucking-sane!
And what a blast it was. Seriously one of the funnest shows I've played in many years. Chaotic and meaningful, heavy and beautiful, technical difficulties one minutes, locking-in to an earth-shattering groove the next. Trying to MC the event from falling off the tracks was a challenge, and one that was so fun, and so beyond fulfilling.
Too hard to name, as the whole night was a freakin' highlight, but...
- Matt Pike and Jeff Matz playing "Into The Void" with us... my... fuckin'... god... the earth was trembling!
- "Lord Of This World," with the principal of Zander and Wyatt's school on guitar, so... fucking... heavy...
- "Changes" with Craig's bandmates in SpiralArms, Tim Narducci, Cornbread, and Brad Barth on keyboards. Man... there wasn't a dry eye in the house. We ran thru it at rehearsal the night before, and just listening to the words... thinking of what Nikki went thru... fuck man... it was heavy... I welled up at rehearsal. Tim Narducci KILLED it, his voice was so fucking soulful, it was a really special moment.
- "Electric Funeral / N.I.B." Fucking Deen Dell! God Damned Deen Fucking Dell. As many of you saw in the video, Deen's bass went out and started the most horrendous shrieking feedback known to man!! Essentially Deen forgot to change his BATTERIES before the show. After about a minute of this feedback, I just had to laugh! It was seriously like 24 years hadn't happened. I said at the show, "for those of you too young to have seen Vio-lence back in the day, this is what a Vio-Lence show was like! Really fast song, wait 5 minutes for Deen to fix bass, really fast song, wait 5 minutes for Deen to change batteries. Phil (who crushed "Children Of The Grave" with us) and I were cracking up about it after. FUCKING DEEN!!!
So while I was waiting for Deen to fix his shit, flashing back to so many Vio-Lence shows, Will Carroll (aka: Will Ward, aka: Kill Ward) started to play "Bodies On Bodies" by Vio-Lence to commemorate the occasion. It was classic. Pretty soon I joined him. And for about a minute, "Eternal Nightmare" was flowing thru me again. First time in a LONG time since I'd played that onstage, LOL! In the end, Deen FINALLY got back up and running and NAILED "N.I.B." perfect!!
Hell, we stumbled thru "Kill On Command", "Chalice Of Blood" and "Independent" at a Machine Head practice the other day, twas' a serious trip.
Craig Locicero was a huge part of the entire process. His enthusiasm was infectious and most importantly he knew / learned those Sabbath song backwards and forwards! He showed me a lot of the more obscure stuff and I tell you what, dude is a monster on guitar! I forgot how good the dude really is, he slayed that shit and gave us all a little breathing room to rock out.
Trujillo is a BEAST bassist. Of course right? Thank you Captain Obvious! NO, let me tell you, TRUJILLO IS A BEAST OF A BASSIST!! When he gets playing fast, it starts to make this sound like he has a wah-wah on, it's crazy. Not to mention really fuckin' cool dude too.
Main bassist of the night though was Damien from Death Angel. Essentially he kicked it stage left and channeled Geezer Butler all night!
I've always held Sabbath in the highest of regards, but refreshing thru the tunes, MAN, they are so fucking good. It's the arrangement with so many dynamics, and key changes, and interesting structures, the drum beats are not at all what you think they would be, jazzy and swinging. Growing up on Bay Area Thrash, it's all about the right hand / down-picking, Sabbath is all about the left hand bends, and vibrato on chords, unless your Geezer who is just fucking cruising up and fucking down the bass, without Geez, it would not be the same. Who knows, maybe some of that will end up in the new record.
All Hail Iommi !!
The night ended with us all hugging onstage like the end of drunken / stoned Saturday Night Live episode. Nikki was really stoked and unbelievably proud as we raised over $14,000 dollars for her. But the coolest thing was to see her up there standing proud, holding her head up high, and being so positive in the face of what is an almost incomprehensible tragedy. It was the first time she had walked without a cane, and she is done with the wheelchair for good now. And we're not done yet. There will still be an online auction with guitars signed by everyone who played the benefit, and last but not least there's also a totally autographed copy of Harold O and Brian Lew's awesome thrash documentation, "Murder In The Front Row."
One of the coolest things I heard at the end of the night from more than a few people who lived thru the scene with us, was that, "it really was like the old days, not just because it some of the best of the best from the thrash scene, but the chaos, the energy, the vibe." That was so amazing to hear!
Children Of The Grave
Symptom Of The Universe
A National Acrobat
Lord Of This World
Into The Void
Killing Yourself To Live
Hole In The Sky
Full List Of Players:
Fuckin' Joe Cabral
and Robb Flynn
RECORD STORE DAY
Machine Head will be releasing a 10 inch vinyl with the A-side containing the "demo" version of a new song, "Killers & Kings.” The B-side will be a cover version of one of our favorite bands “Ignite - Our Darkest Days."
I remember growing up in the thrash scene and always wanting to hear the demo version of songs. You searched them out, thankfully my buddy Jim was a big "tape trader," and through trading we had both Metallica demos, Exodus demos, bootlegs of songs sometimes "years" before they came out. I knew how to play every note of "Pleasure Of The Flesh" by Exodus, easily 2 years before the record was out. I had Slayer's "Reign In Blood” 3 months before it came out, I remember it still had the hi-hat counts starting the songs!! My friends and I would debate the merits of each, (the demo was always better, LOL!) It's so much cooler to hear it BEFORE the album is out!
So we're gonna do that for you. I can't wait for you guys to hear this stuff. Then you can debate it, haha!
The new stuff is turning out better than anyone expected, we had a breakthrough.
We had THE breakthrough, with the song formerly-known-as "Back From The Grave aka: The Moon Is Fuckin' Full".
We been recording demos with the string section that played on “Locust,” "Quartet Rogue", as well as multi-instrumentalist / keyboardist Rhys Fulber, and to quote Lars Ulrich (who was actually quoting Robert Trujillo), "we're on some NEXT LEVEL shit!!!"
With that one song getting finished I could totally see where the whole record is going. It opened up right there before my eyes.
Nothing short of Exciting!!!
So that's the latest and greatest in Machine Head-land. Everything here is full speed ahead and we can't wait to reward the faithful with new music and everything else that comes along with it!
ELECTRIC FUNERAL: DEEN DELL AND HIS SATANIC FEEDBACK:
INTO THE VOID:
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