Monday, January 2, 2023


I'm stoked to share that Byzantine has released our new EP "Black Sea Codex," available everywhere digitally and on CD. This is my first "official" studio recording with the band, and we couldn't be more happy with it. We released this independently, as our record label Metal Blade was very gracious to allow us to do, so 100% of the money goes back to the band. 

Grab your copy here: Bandcamp (digital and CD)

This EP came about during the height of COVID when we wanted to keep busy and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band. Long-time fans of Byzantine will notice that 4 of the 6 songs are re-recordings of the band's earliest demos. The very first Byzantine song I ever heard was the demo of "Unhook Me" back in 2002, so to record bass for these songs was a trip. We also recorded two covers of "Red Skies" by The Fixx and "Sirens" by Coroner.

This EP was a great way for the band to get warmed up for our next full length album, which we finished writing as of December 31, 2022. We will be hitting the studio in a couple months, and Metal Blade plans to put the record out in the spring of 2024. Believe me when I say it will be well worth the wait. 

Thank you kindly for the support in 2022. As for Mega Beardo music, I plan to be more active on YouTube this year and have a goal of releasing one track per month, both covers and originals. So I would appreciate subscribing to my YouTube channel and following me on Spotify so you don't miss anything!

See you in 2023. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


My new chiptune prog-metal EP "From Beyond the Gradient" is now available for streaming and download on all major platforms!

The EP consists of five-tracks and is inspired by my admiration for the VHS era, especially when it comes to home videos. The idea came to me while I was backing up old family VHS tapes from the 80s and realized that doing so was like being visited by the ghosts of family members I hadn't seen in decades. As if I was walking through a graveyard of tapes. It was a bittersweet feeling, and I felt that it summed up these tracks nicely.

I hope you enjoy these tracks. Some have been laying around since 2006, when I first had the idea to do a chiptune album. It only took me 15 years to get that final push!

Like always, your support is appreciated. Here is the bandcamp embed, but it is also available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, you name it!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

VIDEO: Byzantine - Live From Trident Studios Part 1

In case you missed the Byzantine live stream on July 25th, you can now watch the second half of it on youtube. The response we got to this livestream was fantastic, so we plan to do Part 2 around October. 

Check it out here, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Byzantine: LIVE from Trident Studios Will Stream July 25th!

With 2020 being as 2020 as possible, there will be no touring for the foreseeable future. As a way to reach out to our fans during these times, especially those in areas which we never tour, Byzantine will be live-streaming a series of live performances from our rehearsal space at Trident Studios in Charleston, WV.

Part 1 of this series airs this Saturday, July 25th, at 4PM EST, 1PM PST. We are using StageIt as the streaming platform, and tickets can be purchased for just $5 right here.

This is personally exciting for me because it will be my first "official" recording with Byzantine. I joined as the new bass player in late 2018, and we toured throughout the summer of 2019. COVID-19 obviously put a stop to all of our 2020 plans, so we are using this time to deliver high quality live performances straight from our rehearsal space.

Until then, stay safe and mask up. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Belmont 2 Is Finally Here!

I am stoked to finally say that Belmont 2 is available for download now! It has been nearly three years since I publicly announced I was working on this album, and I obviously didn't mean for it to take this long. I had originally wanted it out in October of 2016. Hoo boy, did I miss that deadline.

Frankly, I'm glad it took three years because it gave me an opportunity to really refine the songs and tell the story as I intended to tell it. The first Belmont was easy to write. I knew exactly how many songs it would take and what each song should sound like. Belmont 2 had to be done differently, and it took a while to crack that code. Some songs were re-written multiple times, while others were combined to make one. And the longer I kept working on the songs, the darker they got. I can't quite put my finger on what happened in November 2016, but my outlook got quite bleak at that point. The lyric "When darkness exists, we must resist" came out while re-writing "Shadows of the Hell House," and it set the course for the tone of the album.

I have to give special thanks to the five people who helped me make this album whole. I've been wanting to work with Angel "Masikus" Hernandez again ever since we did Ledjent of Zelda together in 2013. He's just so good on drums, so I knew I had to get him on Belmont 2. I also brought in my good friends Amanda Lepre, who has been partying hard on the road with Andrew WK, and Erik "Viking Guitar" Peabody for some guest vocals for The Maiden and Dracula respectively. Brian Pickens, my frequent collaborator, absolutely killed the artwork, and my good friend Terry Smith, once again, mixed and mastered the album. I told them I wanted it to look like the Castlevania 2 cover of Nintendo Power and sound like a Mastodon record, and they 100% delivered.

Thank you for all your support and patience for this record. It is good to know there is an audience for my silly Castlevania concept records.

Download from bandcamp here, or stream below:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Big Changes Call for a Massive Update!

I think every post I've made on this site for the last 2 years has started with "I forget I have a website." Well, here we go again! I forget I have a website.

But now seems like a good time to give a quick update on all the things that are happening. If you've followed my instagram and twitter posts, you will know that I am a whip-crack away from finally finishing BELMONT 2! That's right, this album that I have blabbing about for years is inching closer to completion. I just have a couple pick-up takes to record and some general editing, while my friend and Ledjent of Zelda contributer Masikus is working on the drum tracks.

To say I am excited to finally get this album out is a huge understatement. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to throw the whole album in the garbage (self-doubt is a hell of a thing). In fact, I re-wrote a couple of these songs 2 or 3 times. The ideas for these songs span many years, so it took a lot of re-tooling to make the whole thing sound cohesive. The lyrics were challenging at times. The first Belmont was easy to write because I can spew words about the Universal Monsters all day. Belmont 2 had to be internal. It had to get inside Simon's rotting brain. I used the uncertainty of our current real world discourse to fuel the fire a bit. Musically and lyrically, it has a much darker, heavier vibe than the first record.

So my general timeline is to get thing out to the world sometime in October of 2018. That is the 7-year anniversary of Belmont, which is fitting since the first two Castlevania games take place 7 years apart. That worked out quite well, wouldn't you say?

But that's not it! My bro from another coast, Viking Guitar, is moving from California to Pittsburgh in August, which means I will be joining his "Viking Guitar Lite 2.0" performances. These will consist of the two of us performing the same Viking Guitar material you've been hearing at our other events, like MAGFest and PAX. This will allow us to play other cons and festivals on the east coast while hopefully playing some local venues in Pittsburgh more often. I love Erik, and I can't wait to perform more shows with him!

And I'm saving my big news for...later. It will deserve its own post. But believe me when I say it is life-changing for me. The experience I've gained through the past 20 years of playing music has brought me to this point, and I can't wait to share this news with y'all/yinz.

Until then, take care of yourselves. The world is in a rough place. Be excellent to each other.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New Splatoon Cover! And Other Updates.

Howdy! It has occurred to my busy little brain that I haven't updated my site in *checks last post*...a year?!

Let's catch up, shall we?

2015 was the most stressful year of my life, and it is still kinda dragging on. We uprooted from West Virginia and landed in Pittsburgh. We absolutely love it. But personal stuff (work, family deaths, buying a house, sick pets, dealing with slumlords, etc) have made things a wee bit stressful. I like stress. GOOD stress. It motivates me. But bad, venomous stress has a way of making you feel like you're trapped in carbonite.

I have tried to work on my own music. I dedicated 2016 to finally getting Belmont 2 finished and released by Halloween. Now into the fourth month of the year, and I only have one demo mostly finished. Stress is a hell of a brick wall.

But I have found that my favorite way to bury my stress is to mindlessly drown it in INK. I have played a lot of Splatoon. A lot. And when the latest Dwelling of Duels Brevity Month came up, I figured it would be a good excuse to record a quick cover of "Now or Never!" from the Splatoon soundtrack. Check it!

So that's my belated 2015 update in a small nutshell. I still worked on a good bit of music and collaborations. Check out my Discography section for a full list of everything that I have recorded. And as always, I'm updating stuff via twitter (@megabeardo) more than anywhere else.

Will I finish Belmont 2? I really don't know. Most of the time, I don't have the energy to work on it, which sucks. It will be six tracks, so a swift kick compared to the first record's 70+ minutes. Just finding enough time in my limited free time to 100% dedicate my brain for creating stuff is very difficult these days. I'm doing everything in my power to better the situation (finding a new job is my #1 priority right now). So hopefully, my next update will be a little more cheerful :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Basement Demos": A New Collection of Old Originals Now Available!

Download "Basement Demos" on bandcamp for free/name your price:

When you take a look at my discography and past music career, you will notice that I've been in a lot of bands over the years. Sometimes these bands go on for a long while, play live on occasion and release an album or two, and other bands never quite make it out of my basement.

That's what Basement Demos is. 

Dating back to 2009, I have stockpiled songs that I wrote for bands that I started and could never get off the ground. It happens. Life happens. People move away and people get busy. The band dissipates and you remain friends, but those songs just sit there and gather dust. I've tried re-purposing these songs for other projects with admittedly not so great results (this song in particular). So there they sit, collecting more dust and taking up space in my brain.

And then my wife and I decide to move out of my home state of West Virginia for work. I have lived here for every second of my 33 rotations around our sun, so transplanting ourselves into Pittsburgh is fun and scary and exciting and stressful. A move like this can be a catalyst for a much-needed recharge. It also gives you a chance to sort through the boxes of stuff in your basement. See where I'm going with this?

I bought my home in 2009, the same year I became a college teacher. It was a monumental year for me. "Hey, I'm an adult now!" This house also had a pretty cool partially finished basement area that I turned into my music and gaming space. 

This is where Mega Beardo was born.

Within two months of living at this house, I started tracking my Mega Man 2 Guitar Tribute album. I was also writing Belmont at the same time. The house was like an injection of adrenaline and creativity. I came to spend a lot of my time in that basement studio. I adorned it with all the nostalgic crap that made me feel like me. It was a home within a home. And now I'm moving out of it.

While packing up the stuff in this basement studio for the move, I began thinking "Man, I've written a lot of cool songs in this basement that nobody will ever really hear." It mirrored my current packing activities as "Well, do I hold onto these things that I keep boxed up and never look at, or do I sell them or give them to Goodwill?" While I'm clearing out this basement studio, why don't I go ahead and just release all of the unheard songs I wrote in this basement studio? So I'm clearing out my basement both literally and metaphorically. It's like when old Rocky Balboa says he can't stop thinking about fighting because he still has stuff "in the basement." Not only do I want people to hear these songs, but I just need to clear them out of my head and focus on the future.

So that brings us to Basement Demos. This is a collection of songs I wrote for the bands Last Level, Clobber, and Karate Balboa (aka Bulletproof Tiger, aka Gotham City - we never really did settle on a name). These are all instrumental tracks. Though I was the singer of Karate Balboa, I didn't think it would fit to have 7 instrumentals and 2 non-instrumentals on the same album. Some of these songs, like the Last Level ones, were already recorded and close to album ready. With the others, I had to go back and update the old demos from 2009-2010 to make them all match, sound quality-wise. What results is (what I hope) a collection of punk, hardcore, and southern metal songs that represents a fun part of my life with my good friends, and I want you guys to hear it too.

I didn't do this all alone. Some of these tracks were a collaborative effort, particularly the Clobber tracks. Everyone in that band had a part in writing those songs in one form or another, including the late, great Eric Kesner, who wrote the absolute cheesiest, catchiest, and best vocal/lyric verse hook I've ever heard for "Peace Pipe." I represented it by playing the melody on guitar, but it simply doesn't do it justice. I'll be singing that song in my head until the day I die. Thanks, Eric. 

I also got my buddy Tony Rohrbough (formerly of Byzantine) to lay down a solo on the Clobber track "Ice Wizard". I had an open spot for a fun solo, and I've always wanted to collaborate with Tony. I strongly feel he is the most under-appreciated guitarist in modern metal, and it blows my mind that he played a solo over one of my riffs.

Dunzo! It feels good to get these out. I have a few things heading your way later this year. Viking Guitar Live will do some more recording, and LonelyRollingStars is prepping our next album. I'm also finishing up a track for a Chrono Trigger album. All that leads up to me finally sitting down to write and record Belmont II. I don't have a timeline for that, but my preference would be to get out it by Halloween 2016, as it is an appropriate time of the year and would also mark the 5th anniversary of Belmont's release (holy crap).

Until next time!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

You Ready for Every Track I Released in 2014?

Now that 2014 is coming to a close, I feel it's time to compile all the music I released into one post, because there's A LOT. I said I was going to take it easy in 2014, and I ended up releasing 41 tracks on various projects, so I'm a big fat liar. Regardless, I'm super thankful that I get to work on so many great projects with so many awesome people around the globe. You guys are the best.

Ready? Here we go!

Mega Beardo - “Black Ice”
Viking Guitar Live - “Legion”
Logan Venderlic - “Heart Heavy” (not available online)
3-Hole Face - “CPU Up Your Ass” (I did lead vocals for this)
Black Hole Zion - “Reflection Nebula”

And now for all the awesome compilations I was a part of:

Shell-Shocked (OCRemix)
“Oroku Like a TurtleCane” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Hyperstone Heist)
“Live at the Big Apple Bluesfest” - guest solo

Chiptunes = Win! Volume 3
“Across the Chipth Dimension” (as Masikus X Mega Beardo)

Danse Macabre III
“You and Your Friends Are Dead” - Friday the 13th - NES
Viking Guitar Live - “Year Zero” (Ghost cover) - I did lead vocals here
“1881” - Phantom of the Opera - I also did lead vocals, along with Amanda Lepre

DKC Mix’t Ape ‘94
“The Apes Made Banana Splits in the Crocodile’s Skull” - Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

Super VG Christmas Party
“Tusks of Ice in the Rising Fire” - Mega Man X4

And some other random tracks I released:

Zelda 2 Town Theme ukulele cover

Dwelling of Duels (
Door Door (NES) - “The Penguin Is Stupid, You Have to Exploit it
Gremlins 2 (NES) - “The Uke Batch”
Alien 3 (NES) - “Giger? I Don’t Even Know Her”

Monday, June 16, 2014

New EP "Black Ice" Now Available!

Before I begin, holy CRAP am I terrible at updating this website. Between facebook, twitter, youtube, instagram and blah blah whatever else, I sometimes forget I have an actual website! Though I mainly use this as a central hub to include everything I'm a part of (there's only so much you can do on crappy facebook). I will be including an official discography soon, because I released a lot of stuff last year, and I'm releasing A LOT of stuff this year.

Speaking of which...


1. World 666 (Super Mario Bros. 3)
2. Ov Ice and Sloth (The Goonies II)
3. Serpent on a Mountain Cold (Snake Rattle 'n' Roll)
4. Blue Burrr ft. Stemage and Viking Guitar (Sonic the Hedgehog 3)

So what is Black Ice? It's a short, four-song EP of video game ice level music fused with black metal flavorings. You see, this past winter was coooold. It sucked. It was miserable, and it put me in a weird mood. One day, I started messing around with the Super Mario Bros. 3 World 6 theme in a sort of Behemoth-style snippet to test some new guitar tones, and it all clicked. Within a couple of months, I had the thing arranged and recorded.

My past three albums (Mega Man 2, Belmont, and Ledjent of Zelda) had their ups and downs while writing and recording them. Broken fingers, ripped vocal chords, writer's block (I had major writer's block on Ledjent). For some reason, Black Ice was smooth sailing from the beginning. I think part of that was knowing exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. With Ledjent, it was like "oh, I've got this great pun and a few riffs! This'll be great! --- 6 months later --- uhhhhhh crap what was I doing?"

Really the hardest part was picking the tunes. I can say that there were some Zelda and Mega Man tunes that were on the short list, as well as a Metroid Prime 2 track. But I felt what I chose was a solid slate of classic themes and deeper cuts (how fuckin' rad is that Snake Rattle 'n' Roll tune?). Also, a huge thanks to Brian Pickens for the amazing artwork, as always -- to Stemage and Viking Guitar for laying down such slick, beautiful solos on Blue Burrr -- and to Terry Smith for mastering the hell out of it. 

Stream the album below.
Download Black Ice right here!