# CCXVIII…Usual Birthday Fare…

After all of the excitement that my blog has given me in the past couple of days, I feel that I should warn you that it’s “back-to-basics” here, as two people in my life share today as their birthday; my good close friend Sandra (whose husband Angel I wrote about last week) and my ex-wife, JoAnn, who celebrates 21 for the 20th time.

Both of these individuals deserve today’s spotlight, as they prevalently figured into my life in the last umpteenth years.  They are still very close to my heart and I wish both of them many happy more.

As for today’s list of their twins, former Yankee great Don Larsen (1929), former country/pop artist of the 70s, B.J. Thomas (1942), Smallville‘s Lionel Luthor, Mr. John Glover (1944), actor David Rasche, from the late 80s Sledge Hammer! TV series (1944), rotund actor Wayne Knight (1955), heavy metal iconic vocalist Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden (1958) and Californication and X-Files’ star David Duchovny was born in 1960.

Former MLB star Edgar Renteria was born in 1975, actress Charlize Theron (1975), Hatebreed lead vocalist Jamey Jasta was born in 1978, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Cirroc Lofton (who played Jake Cisco) was born in 1978, actor Eric Johnson, who played in Smallville as well, was born in 1979, and hockey phenom Sidney Crosby finishes the list, born in 1987.

Again, thank you all for “listening”…be back soon…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

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# CCXVII…Guitarists Needed (or When Opportunity Knocks)…

Being that I am an unpaid neophyte with a very fickle hobby, I would just like to say that, since making the decision to really put the word out about my writing, the universe has been very kind to me.  I would like to just say that I am supremely honored by the opportunity which has led this aspiring author to your machines today.  I would like to warn you, however, as this is not my usual fare on this page.  Instead of drilling your mind full of celebrity birthdays and other useless trivia, I am trying to assist another aspiring performer in the music business to fulfill their dreams as I am of mine.

I grew up in a family of people that were constantly listening to whatever was popular music at the time, most of which can now be classified under the many different layouts; country, classic rock, hard rock, hair metal, etc.  I have heard many different sounds and some that vary completely from what the other members now listen to…almost like a black sheep, with bands like Delain, Within Temptation (symphonic metal) and the other bands that I’ve mentioned.

When it comes to the metal aspect of the rock genre, I have noticed that most people unfairly stigmatize it as “death, murder, mutilation”, etc. and really frown upon it; that irks me because I feel that, if you truly wish to love music, you have to pick it apart (sometimes that requires an outside vice or two) because, only then you get to experience the how’s and why’s in the music.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog numerous times, I started writing both as a way to vent my frustrations with my life and because I feel that I have a knack for educating people to an area of their lives which is severely lacking…a penchant for music that supersedes (or should supersede, anyway) what they are currently listening to.  Please don’t mistake this fact…I don’t try to “push” people in any direction forcefully; I am merely trying to “open the eyes” as to what I consider to be music that should be respected and appreciated.

Now, the reason that you’re all here will be explained.  On Friday, at RockStar Mayhem, I had the pleasure of meeting Roxana Christine, an up-and-coming vocalist who is currently in need of some assistance with personnel.  She was introduced to me by her partner, Michelle, and it was actually Michelle that initiated the contact over seeing my concert T (Lamb of God, Testament show from October).

She has asked for my assistance in her current quest for serious inquiries for a female-fronted “djent”-style metalcore band, which would be around her area in Hazlet, NJ (which is a plus for me, as I’m from Jersey).  As such, she has also provided me with this opportunity; my first written (albeit small-market at the moment) interview…

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1)  How old are you and how did you get into the music scene?  “I am 24, born in Bucharest, Romania…my father raised me on stuff like Boston, Styx, Rush, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and plenty more.  I started getting into the death metal when I was about 14-15 years old.”

2)  Who are your favorite bands and/or influences?  “Although I was listening to bands like Evanescence, Otep, Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, Korn, etc., I got into more styles and, the first time I heard Lamb of God, I was hooked…loved the fast guitar riffs, the crazy fast double bass and drum rolls.  The voice of (Lamb of God vocalist) Randy Blythe made the hairs on my arms stick straight up.  I wanted to get my voice like that…” She continues with, “I learned from a buddy of mine named Joe…I was 17 when I met him and he got me into the hard, heavy screaming fast music that we call metal core, hard core and Djent style.”

3)  Djent style?  Can you elaborate on that?  “He showed me Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Veil of Maya (Author’s note:  both were great at Mayhem), Born of Osiris and Rings of Saturn…I knew, at that point, I wanted to do what he was doing…Joe was in a band called Aliens Eating Flesh and I watched him, every time he opened his mouth to do vocals.”

4)  And that led to…?  “I couldn’t understand how to do it and it took me a really long time and a lot of practice to get where I’m at now…I did a karaoke-type thing in my room with different bands’ songs for hours a day, at least five times a week.  Once I started getting better at it, I was horribly addicted and wanted to scream everything I heard.”

5) You are currently looking for bandmates…guitarists, I believe?  “I am currently looking for new members, since my last band “From Darkness to Decay” is no longer together…I only have my drummer left.  I am looking for guys close to central New Jersey to be apart of this band…bass, rhythm and lead guitars.  My manager is a great guy and puts a lot of work into helping me achieve my goals.”

6)  When the band is completed, what do you project your goals to be?  “My goals are to find the right people who can play…and share the same desire I do.  I wish to be a touring act and I wish to be respected as a female artist.  I get thrown into categories of the bands that I like (Otep, Arch Enemy, I Wrestled a Bear Once, Walls of Jericho, etc.) but I do not see myself there.  It’s very hard to be taken seriously when you’re a young small female at 120 pounds…I want to show the world that I’m made of something and I wish to reach others and inspire them as well…”

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Again, thank you to Roxana Christine, who you can check out on You Tube (I did…that’s why I’m here; she is very passionate about her craft and those videos are proof-positive!), and her partner Michelle…and many hopes for a bright future…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

 

# CCXVI…RockStar Mayhem 2014…

As many of you may recall, I have already covered the expansiveness of the RockStar Mayhem (in Post # CVII {107}), which took place yesterday at the always enchanting Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.   That having been said, the only thing that I will add before I get started, is the fact, unlike last year’s sweltering 100-degree plus weather, it was actually a day that started off reasonably well, weather-wise, but quickly turned it into more like Woodstock, as the skies opened up and rained for a good part of the mid-afternoon show.

Upon arriving at about 11:00 am, we (my brother, sister, niece and her significant other, my eldest daughter Mena, brother-in-law, nephew and two other close personal friends) were immediately welcomed into what the mainstays refer to as “The Corner”, the place in the parking area where a lot of other rocking fans participate in their own pregame rituals (beer pong, a horseshoes-like game with round metal objects that you have to throw in three “holes” in a wooden board, Frisbee, etc.) and got to meet some new friends, which I will speak about in the future, I’m sure.  Being tight-knit themselves, a couple of them were amazed that we came from Long Island and that we were all from the same cloth (most of us, anyway).

Prior to venturing into the wonderful Susquehanna Bank Center, I managed to take a look around the parking area, which was located just behind the Ben Franklin Memorial Bridge, which, in case you don’t know, leads into the city of Philadelphia, and in the shadows of Campbell’s Field, which is where the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s Camden Riversharks play, for purposes of taking photos and just enjoying the pregame festivities.

At about 2:00 PM, our entourage grew by four, as the lead singer of WDFA (our friend Cesartheczar) and his 12-year-old son, nephew and his girlfriend joined our little get-together for this show.  It was the second time that Cesar was there with us but the first time that he brought members of his family (last year’s show, he and WDFA lead singer Justin were there).  All four members of his crew were a beautiful addition to this year’s show and they informed us when we left that they all had a wonderful time!

As for the show itself, and being that I can’t be everywhere at the same time, I am just here to divulge most of the highlights from what I did see…like experiencing bands like Mushroomhead (who did a brilliant job at one point with a cover of the opening minute and a half from Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1” and old favorites Ill Nino (who was very humbled and appreciated their fans’ presence), as well as groups like Darkest Hour, which is a nice addition to the screamo scene and had a large group of followers, Suicide Silence (another screamo band that, although I liked their harmonies musically, I probably won’t add to my ever-growing collection because I wasn’t fond of the singer’s high-pitched voice), perennial favorites Miss May I (very nice for my first time seeing them) and Cannibal Corpse.

The pinnacle of the three-stage opening, though, was the concert return of the classic “metal” group, Body Count…yes, the Ice-T driven metal group who, along with co-creator (and fellow southpaw Ernie C.) and his son (who was introduced as “Sean of the Dead”), won over the crowd and was just perfectly executed by a man of Ice-T’s caliber.  Performing such classics as “Cop Killer” and “There Goes the Neighborhood”, as well as new tracks, like the title track to their latest release “Manslaughter” and the ever-popular first track, “Talk Shit, Get Shot”, he even made mention of his acting (he got a young girl who was moshing in the crowd on stage and, after introducing her, told the stagehands, “Put her back in the crowd before someone calls SVU on us!”).  A clearly five-star performance from the “red-headed stepchild” of heavy metal and a beautiful segway to the main stage acts.

My tale concludes with three of the four acts on the main stage; the band Trivium, whom I had heard of before but experienced live for the first time, which had a solid fan base and performed very well (I’m not a “fan” so I didn’t really take notes on the songs as I don’t know them), Asking Alexandria, which my daughter has witnessed and really impressed me with their left-handed guitarist’s unique melodies, as well as their overall performance and interaction with their fans, and the ever-impressive Korn, who performed such classics as “Got The Life”, “Did My Time”, “Here to Stay” and “Freak on a Leash”, as well as odd songs like “Twist” and “Shoots and Ladders”.  For a band that has recently obtained a bad reputation for collaborating with dub-step artist Skrillex, though, they were clearly the highlight of the long, exasperating day that yesterday was.

The closing band for the show, Avenged Sevenfold, I will have to make apologies for…being that it was a super-long predawn excursion, a lot of us ventured out of the venue to try and unwind after hours and hours of moshing.  I have seen them perform once before (at Ozzfest 2006) and I was blown away by them.  As such, I did hear from the remaining stragglers of my group that they put on a really nice show, which I missed this time around but there will be future shows, I’m sure.

Overall (and since I’ve taken up way too much time), it was a concert experience that was way better than last year’s festival, but only because I can now cross “seeing Body Count” and “seeing Korn live” off of my bucket list…

Thanks to Jessie and her crew, new found friends Roxana and Michelle (networking opportunities), my family and friends who accompanied me, and all of the bands and fans that made this year’s Mayhem clearly one to remember!

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\