Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rogo, the Circus Turkey with a Porcelain-Legged Chicken for a Daughter

As promised, here is a video I put together for an old band of mine called Evol Kleavage (read the post below for some more info on that band). Yes, we had a dumb name, and yes, we wrote songs about dumb stuff.

Out of our small batch of songs, "Rogo" was always my favorite. Seeing as how it was the second song we had ever written, and we were so new to the game (this was back in '99), I'm not sure how we were able to construct something like this. We did some sort of short and weird "progressive" rock tune without even trying. I can very vividly remember the writing process for this one too, as all three of us were heavily involved in the riffs and overall structure. The double-tapping doodle was a direct influence from Buckethead; I had just seen him live in Pittsburgh the night before, and I was amazed at his flawless tapping abilities. Check out the tune:

Looking back, I wish we would've written more songs like this. We had a couple that were in the same vein, one of which was a creepy ballad about graverobbers digging up the grave of Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever to have lived. The rest of our songs were more punk-influenced hard rock tunes, though they were still about dumb topics. One of those was a sequel to "Rogo" that had absolutely nothing to do with "Rogo" at all. We thought that was funny.

Happy New Year, duders. Prepare for some new music in 2011 in the form of the Belmont album, as well as Descension Rate's new long-overdue album.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Time-Waster Has Been Slain (Temporarily)

Teaching has finally been wrapped up for the semester, as well as another semester of grad school. You can blame that on the lack of productivity, music-wise. But have no fear! I now have three weeks of more free time. So expect progress on the following:

Descension Rate album: Jeff and I will start laying down our guitar tracks soon. Eric will be doing his bass tracks as well. We're in pre-production mode, figuring out guitar tones, synth melodies, drum patterns, etc. It will be 13 tracks of pure Dark Tower-themed mayhem.

The Belmont Album: For the most part, all songs for this album are written, music-wise, except the final track about Dracula (for which I have riffs upon riffs that need structured). I'm working out of order right now, as the next track I finish will be about the Grim Reaper (don't worry -- it's not 11 minutes long. More like 6). Look for the inevitable youtube clip in a week or so. It's looking like this will be a 10-track album.

Untitled project: I hinted at another music project in the works with my pals Joe, Mark, Nick, and Eric. We're hoping to play out in maybe two or three months. We've only had one official practice since we all live about 3 hours apart and are extremely busy, but we probably have around 5 songs in the works. It's more basic, fun, and stripped-down.

Also, I'm thinking of making a music video for an old band of mine called Evol Kleavage. We were around from '98 to '04. In that time, we managed to write a whopping 8 songs -- our musical tastes could never really agree with each other. We recorded a 7-song E.P. back in '02, when we were 19 years old or something. It was all recorded in a few hours (by local legend Mark Poole) with mostly single takes and live floor stuff. Looking back on that stuff, it is very hard to categorize. Some sort of Primus rip-off/semi-punk vibe with an unintentional universal lyrical them of death and boredom. My favorite song of ours is "Rogo," a nonsensical tune we wrote in high school about a Circus Turkey who has a kleptomaniac, porcelain-legged chicken for a daughter and causes a suicidal old man named Baskers to jump off a cliff and turn into a mini-truck. It's the kind of shit we thought was funny when we were bored in high school and not playing The Ocarina of Time.

So I plan to make a video for "Rogo" which will feature a bunch of live footage from those early years. I see it playing out as some sort of retrospective, as I have footage of us playing that song from 2000 to 2004, from high school talent shows to local sold-out rock shows.

Speaking of videos, check out this little gem. Mike and I recorded this song over the summer. It's a cover of Danzig's cover of Buick McKane. Mike, however, changed the lyrics to make it into a love song for his then fiance and now wife. This was the first time Mike and I did any recording together since the Sweet Cuppin' Cakes album "Oldies" in 2005. Good times, sir. Fun fact: I recorded the guitar tracks for this song this past July while, unbeknownst to me, my basement was flooding around my man cave during a freak rain storm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Writing "Castlevania": Episode 4

In the latest installment, you will hear some clips of the fourth demo for the album. This track, given the demo name of "Holy Water," is about -- you guessed it-- holy water. More specifically, it chronicles the story of how the holy water actually makes its way to Dracula's castle. That title will definitely not stick, so don't get used to it. Or do. Whatever floats your pickle.

I'm getting a little closer to the tones that I want to use for the album. The vocals, on the other hand, are still giving me trouble, tone-wise. But that's why we do this pre-production crap, right? I didn't do pre-production on Mega Beardo, so that's probably why the songs tend to sound better as the album progresses. Live and learn, duders. Live and learn.

Welcome back the whammy pedal! It's been in retirement for the past 10 months.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Epic Song is Epic

I just finished recording the fourth demo for the Belmont album,'s 11 and a half minutes long. Sorry. I honestly didn't expect that at all. You see, when I write a song, I usually keep it under tight wraps inside my brain. When it comes time to start programming drums for it, I usually write out the structure in ways which only I could probably understand, like so...

Believe me. "DT x 4" and "Balls to the Wall Riffage" had some sort of meaning in my head when I wrote it down. Anyway, after I saw the structure written out, I thought, "Surely, this will be 7 or 8 minutes tops." Wrong, Beardo. Very, very wrong.

Though it lacks shortness, it makes up for it with absolutele epicness. I'll post some snippets of it in the upcoming "Writing Castlevania" episode. I'm so happy to finally hear this song outside of my head, in which it has been festering for the past 2.5 years. Now let's hope my vocals don't ruin it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Live Debut of Mega Beardo!

This past Thursday, I was asked to take part in a metal show featuring The Kafka Machine, High Stick, and my blackened death metal band Descension Rate. It was sort of last minute, so I'm surprised it went over as well as it did. There were a lot of new faces in the crowd, and it seems a lot of people turned into Mega Beardo fans that night.

Peep the video below for the 14-minute Dr. Wily set. Flubs and mixing aside, I'm pretty pleased with how it went. I hope to do it again (with a full band) at some point down the road!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beardo Band Camp!

Mega Beardo: A Mega Man 2 Guitar Tribute is now available on . You could safely bet that the rest of my solo albums will be available on this site from now on. So, if you would like to support what I do, head on over and start clickin'!

Clicky, clicky:

Your support is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Surviving Las Vegas

My great friend and fellow 3-Hole Face guitarist, Terry Smith, married his long-time girlfriend in Vegas this past weekend. They had been dating for a coon's age, assuming raccoons live to be 7. But at least they got married in style: at a Howard Johnson, with an Elvis impersonator singing in between vows. All of us groomsmen were sporting tux shirts -- actually, the classiest and most metal of all tux shirts. Though, pseudo-Elvis got a bit too close for comfort when he was grinding away with those hips of his.

Best. Wedding. Ever.

That night, I decided to hit up the BlackDiamondSkye tour at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Only VIP seats were available, but I couldn't pass up a chance to see two of my favorite bands, Mastodon and Alice in Chains, play in Vegas. The VIP table was a good choice, because Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor came up right before Alice's set to hang.

It's so refreshing when a band that you highly respect ends up being just regular cool dudes. I met Anthrax once, and while John Bush was extremely nice and humble, the rest of the band were either not giving a shit or, like Scott Ian, a complete fucking dickhead. So thank you, Bill and Brann, for being a couple of straight-up dudes. And thanks for playing a kick ass set (you should play some Remission stuff, though).

I might get back to work on the Belmont album this weekend. Maybe not. We'll see.

Oh, and did I mention that I will be performing the live debut of Mega Beardo on October 28? Because I am. And it will be awesome.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Time, I Hardly Knew Ye

Stupid school.

It seems like jack diddly has been going on lately, but quite the opposite is true, I can assure you. Jeff and I have been writing like mad men (yes, the show) for Descension Rate. It seems we are approaching the end of the writing process for our Dark Tower album. We may have too much for one album at this point, actually.

I've also been collaborating with my friends Joe, Nick, and Mark on a new project. We haven't decided on a name yet, but I can tell you it starts with a C. Feel free to guess. The music we have written is more on the fun side of rock, and less on the technical side. We're writing pretty quickly, with 2.5 songs already fleshed out. So we should be gigging in no time.

Unfortunately, this past month hasn't seen a whole lot of progress on the Belmont album. I did, however, record the demo for the album intro over the weekend. It's simply titled "Simon," and it's been sitting around in my bowl of noodles for two years now. I remember when I first wrote the melody and chord progression, it sounded like a huge rip-off of Between the Buried and Me's "Foam Born (a) the Backtrack." So I had to consciously get it away from that, but I was listening to a lot of BTBAM at the time, so the influence is still there. Quit reading about it, and starting watching it instead. Allow me to explain in Beard-o-vision!:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What are the haps, sir?

Last week's Descension Rate show went pretty damn well. The big surprise? Our dumb corpse paint stayed on the entire show. We probably have decreased on-stage temperature to thank for that. There were quite a few new faces in the crowd, which is a good sign for the local metal scene. We also premiered our new song "The Glamor of the Empath," another one of our Dark Tower-influenced doodles. Jeff was disappointed, but I had tons of fun with it. And it got the biggest ovation of the night.

So what's going on with the Beardo side of things? I've been writing lyrics and laying down demo vocal tracks for the Belmont album (yeah, I think I'm going to call it that). I've been asked to include a track on an upcoming local music compilation. So I just finished editing a shorter version of "Creatures of the Bloodline" to include on that. It's weird editing a narrative-heavy song for length, but it is being listened to outside of the context of the story. I'll include more info on this compilation when I find out about it. Until then, Jeff and I have some Descension Rate writing to do, and I'll probably start working on the next Castlevania tune very soon.

Oh, and Byzantine is playing at 123 tomorrow. Hell. Yes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What a lovely day for metal

Descension Rate is heading back to 123 Pleasant St. in Morgantown for one of the two shows we have planned for this semester. What? We're busy dudes. We go to grad school full time and work full time. Metal can wait. Or can it?

High Stick is filling in the headlining slot, and will be there to provide all of your favorite classic thrash metal chart-toppers.

This may be the last show for Beloved Dead in Morgantown. Stan has been a good friend of mine over the past 7 years, and it will be weird not having him in town anymore. Beloved Dead has been a staple in this music scene for a while. But he's off to better things, and we all wish him luck. He still lives in the most metal place I've ever seen. And it's full of Rickenbackers of all kinds. Let the jealousy commence.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writing "Castlevania": Episode 2

The album isn't going to be given a generic name like "Castlevania." Until the album is written, named, and all of that other junk, these little episodes will be named accordingly.

This episode has a clip from the end of the tentatively-titled-but-will-probably-stick "Medusa's Scream." The song clocks in at around 10 and a half minutes; it's quite possibly the longest song ever written about killing the floating head of Medusa with holy water.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Tunes (Always) On the Way

Over the past week, I have been trying to finish up the next Castlevania track. I started writing the song about 14 months ago when I first had the idea for the album. I actually wrote the first couple of riffs when my left ring finger was still broken. I was bored, okay? You tell a guitar player he can't play for two months, and see what he does. That's right, he learns how to play power chords with his ring and middle fingers.

What I originally thought was going to be a fairly straight-forward hard rock tune turned into a 10 and a half minute monster. But the song is about killing Medusa with holy water, so try fitting that inside less than 630 seconds. Expect some video sneak peekage of that song soon. It's another 7-stringer.

Descension Rate has also been toying with a new tune, currently titled "Odd Lane," but that will most likely change once the lyrics are written. It's a riff-o-rama with some weird drum pattern changes, so we're still getting the hang of it. We should have it ready to roll by our show on September 9. We're also trying out a new ivory-tickler, since Jason decided to step down.

Now, I shall sign out with something that makes me smile. Welcome back, Cornell. We've missed you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

D-Rate Sweat Fest

Descension Rate played a last minute show at 123 Pleasant St. over the weekend with our friends in Wildman Band of Thieves. We once again proved that it is too goddamn hot on that stage to wear corpse paint for more than 5 minutes. It was still a good time, and since that was our first show in two months, we consider it a dress rehearsal for our show on September 9. We're also trying to set up a big local metal show in Morgantown, which -- if it happens -- will most likely be the live debut of Mega Beardo. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Creatures..." Teaser

I've been chipping away at my newest demo, currently titled "Creatures of the Bloodline." This will be the second track on my upcoming Castlevania-inspired album. Basically the whole thing will be based off of the first game on the NES. I'm gonna have to make a bunch of shit up for it, seeing as how the "plot" for the game is simply: Simon enters the castle. Simon kills a random assortment of bad dudes. Simon kills Dracula. The end. If you need a reference, this song is inspired by the first level of the game, from the second he waltzes through the door up until he fucks the bat up with the axe.

Here is a short video of me doing some scratch track rhythm stuff for the song. Everything you hear is a scratch track, so don't mind the vocals. Please.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer: The Season of Reunions

Descension Rate practiced for the first time in about a month. All things considered, it was probably the tightest practice we've ever had. Plus we may have a show next weekend at 123, which will be our first since the 3-Hole Face reunion show a couple months back.

What's that? 3-Hole Face reunion? If you need a refresher, I was the guitarist for the Morgantown industrial metal act 3-Hole Face from 2001-2004. Former bass player Rick McCauley called us up to do a one-off gig for a local music fest he was setting up called Chuckfest (to honor his sister, a cancer survivor). Frankly, I forgot how much fun it was to play in that band. Behold, proof that we are the most attractive band on the planet:

Not much has changed, has it? Oh wait, yes it has:

That's 3-Hole Face hanging out with Bile after we opened up for them in November 2002. Krztoff looks pissed because The Sound Factory in Charleston, WV couldn't handle the power that Bile required. They kept blowing fuses, so they had to cut their set after 5 songs. Bear looks happy because he's getting ready to dry-hump Terry.

And speaking of reunions, Mike and I recorded the first "Sweet Cuppin' Cakes" song in about 5 years a couple weeks ago. It was a cover of Danzig's version of "Buick McKane." Mike changed the lyrics and gave it to his wife as a wedding gift. It was super sweet (in the "ahhh.." sense, not the "AWESOME" sense). I'm gonna put together a video for it, so I'll post it at some point.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Testing This Garbage

I'm basically posting this just to make sure this pile of shit looks okay. It's one of those amazingly well-done templates provided by blogger. So consider this the first obligatory "Welcome to My Stupid Blogosphere Bullshit Webisode Center." I hate internet lingo. LOL. :)

I just worked up a demo for my Castlevania album last night. It's the first full song I have written for it so far, and I did so with my brand spanking new Schecter Omen 7-string (quite a mean fucker for the price tag). I'll finish up recording the scratch tracks and maybe post a video of me doing so.

Enough stupidity. Have fun. And in the meantime, enjoy this awesome full performance of Gojira at Festival Les Vieilles Charrues. It's a 72-minute realization that Gojira is way better than everyone you know combined.