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!


  1. Dude! WV transplant to PA just like me. Video game and music enthusiast just like me. I can NOT believe I've never sat down and listened to your stuff. Totally excellent and I'll see you at ReplayFX this year I'll be competing in the Replay World Championship arcade tournament.

    Also I play bass in WV band The Greens. Been playing for a while. Again, can't believe I've never listened to you. Looking forward to catching your set!

    Ben Sweeney

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