Thursday, October 31, 2013

Heavy Halloween 2013

For the past few years I've tried to dedicate the entire month of October to one of my favorite genres of film, Horror. Like metal, Horror has many sub genres but I don't allow elitism to stand in my way. I watch them ALL. I try to dedicate viewing one movie each night for thirty-one days. Some of these films I love. Some I've seen before. Some I've never seen. And some I'll never watch again. It keeps things fun.

First time viewing this classic.
Here's my list for my 31 Days Of Horror 2013:

October 1st - The Thing (2011)
October 2nd - Behind The Mask: The Rise Leslie Vernon (2006)
October 3rd - Phantasm (1979)
October 4th - Zombi 2 (1979)
October 5th - World War Z (2013)
October 6th - Mama (2013)
October 7th - The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962)
October 8th - Alien (1979)
October 9th - Fragile (2005)
October 10th -Seven Doors Of Death (1981)
October 11th - Evil Dead II (1987)
October 12th - Cabin Fever (2002)
October 13th - Pet Sematary (1989)
October 14th - Grave Encounters (2011)
October 15th - Frankenstein's Army (2013)
October 16th - Nosferatu (1922)
October 17th - Trick Or Treat (1986)
October 18th - The Fair Haired Child (2006)
October 19th - The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)
Required viewing for all trve metalheads.
October 20th - The Langoliers (1995)
October 21st - Dracula (1992)
October 22nd - The Host (2006)
October 23rd - Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
October 24th - The Stuff (1985)
October 25th - Halloween (2007)
October 26th - Dust Devil (1992)
October 27th - The Conjuring (2013)
October 28th - The Terror Within (1989)
October 29th - Ju-On: White Ghost/Black Ghost (2009)
October 30th - Chillerama (2011)
October 31st - Halloween (1978) 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to the Decay...

It's been well over a year since I've written anything regarding my personal and band adventures. This has effected absolutely no one. But, I've been given a great gift: free time. I've decided to once again take a stab at the art that is blogging. Some of which will be done from my phone. For instance, right now I'm poking my phone screen trying to make sure I'm getting all the words I'm thinking onto the screen and double checking that my "smart phone" didn't change one here or there to what it thought I was trying to type. So in the near future be prepared for some neat stories and just ok tales of things from Vindicator's, as well as my own, recent past.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Heavy Holidays

A pot full of rainbows and dolphins
Thanksgiving recap: My day started like any other in which I don't have to wake up early to go to work. I woke up early... and made some coffee, did my interwebbing, and worked on music. Thanksgiving is a day, I, like many Americans, eat foodstuffs and be merry with family and friends. However, today things would be different. My lovely wife made an executive decision that I would be making sweet potatoes. Not just any sweet potatoes, Mikey B. Lial's sweet potatoes. Sounds stupid, right? It's not. It's serious business. Mikey had Sarah and I over for a damn fine steak dinner. The steak was AMAZING... but these potatoes... They were like eating mashed up bricks of gold laced with rainbows being ridden by dolphins... Yeah... You're right, that sounds like it'd taste like shit and these were the exact opposite. Back to my point. I'd be making the sweet potatoes from what I consider to be the best sweet potato recipe I've ever had. What's the big deal? I've never attempted to make them. Hell, I don't attempt to cook, because I can't. With disaster waiting in the wings I geared up. Water on high heat,spoons of assorted sizes, potato masher by my side like a gunslinger from the old west of yestertimes; the game was on. Sweet potatoes cubed, guestimates measured, water boiling, Sarah and I took to the mission like a black ops team deep behind enemy lines. Roughly a half hour later, the deed was done.  I felt the potatoes were a pale shadow of those I had had at the B. Lial residence while Sarah was confident in their presentation. Only time would tell whether or not the potatoes would hold true to their legacy... I opened a can of Blatz and waited. Waited for the hungry mouths that were attached to the heads that housed the ears of which I had filled with my tale of the finest sweet potatoes I had ever had in my life. I've always been my biggest critic and I will continue my tradition of being overly analytical towards anything I do for the rest of my life and this was no exception. It was mere minutes until the arrival of the dinner guests. A cold sweat broke out on my forehead. All I could see was that scene from The Goonies where Chunk talks about making the fake vomit at the movies and dumping it over the balcony to unleash a wave of sickness below from the patrons of the theater as they in turn, actually vomited. Would these potatoes unleash disgust and sickness? Maybe I should quickly grab them and "accidentally" drop them on the floor? Or sneak them out to the woods and throw them about, blaming it solely on the troll that inhabits the space under my Grandparents basement stairs... All of this running through my mind at the speed of light and then my mind gave itself a hearty slap. I grabbed up my Blatz and turned the jams up. The moment came in a flash. The potatoes were well received by the hungry mouths. Although I thought they could have been better, it seemed they were very satisfying. Success? Let’s just say they did well, but not well enough for me. Next year... Next year they will enslave their consumers! Friends and family slowly left to commence in their own evening doings. The night was young and it was high time I freed my inner geek. Uno was to be played, bad horror films watched, and Sword Of Mana to be conquered. Mixed Berry Green Tea poured, I reached for the 40th Anniversary Uno cards, a wife versus husband rematch from the night before to be had. Win or lose, I still get to pick the bad horror film we watch. Following which I will destroy Julius and his misuse of Mana. I hope you too had an epic Thanksgiving like I have had. Now I leave you with Chapter Two of the Vindicator Saga thus far.

Chapter Two: The global assault on posers has begun... on a local scale. (September 2005 - April 2006)

Vindicator's first show - October 2005
One month into the rat race Vindicator was ready to take to the street. They had written a half hour set and weren't willing to fuck around. They had the name, the logo, the image, and the music to back it all up... but they did not have the scene. Locally, (Elyria, Lorain), metal (real metal) hadn't been on the radar for nearly twenty years with a few exceptions.  In the U.S. a small handful of metal bands had fought the American social scene of trendsters and modern rock, but the airwaves and the reality shows would be the victor. Vindicator knew it would be an uphill struggle. The first gig the band played was a mixed bill. An excellent venue (that would later succumb to mismanagement) The Spot, was home to a built crowd of Elyria high school students. Prior to Ohio's ban on indoor smoking, it was a fun place for kids to go to smoke their cigarettes... underage kids, that is. Imagine a handful of kids who knew nothing about metal. Not that hard, right? Imagine those kids who only knew scenester, screamo, core oriented music seeing a thrash band. They didn't understand. It was so new to them. And what the fuck was that Vic Stown doing, anyways? Were those solos? (Truth be told they weren't really solos, so much as nonsensical shred.) After we played that night and blew all of the other bands off the stage, those kids went home. They talked to each other and then they talked to their friends at school the following Monday. The next time we played The Spot, that handful of kids who had no idea what real metal was, brought friends, lots of them. It seemed Vindicator's explosive live set coupled with their fast, aggressive riffs were so different for those kids, they couldn't help not love the local thrash revivalists. Their first two shows at the venue proved to be a great success. Riding the high they were on, they're first instance of misfortune would bloom. Wayne Holocaust would leave the band. It caught the remaining three a little off guard. All had been friends for years dating back to grade school for Marshall and Wayne and high school for the Stown’s and Wayne. It seemed the passion and fire Wayne had had in Violent Night had burned out and Vindicator was not something he felt he could pursue. Friendships left intact, the four became the three. Surprisingly this had little effect on the overall feel and sound of the band. And it made travel that much easier

Joel, Vic, Jimmy, Marshall,  & Jesse
So the local onslaught of shows continued with appearances at Peabody's, the Red Parrot, the Hi-Fi Club, the Beachland Tavern and The Spot. The band had released a proper demo named South Amherst Thrash which was recorded by former Violent Night shredder, Mikey B. Lial. (Mikey and Vic had since put their differences behind them.)

Recording back up vox
It featured four original tracks and greatly overshadowed the Rehearsal Demo they had released months before. Although South Amherst Thrash was recorded on a Fostex digital eight track, production value was leaps and bounds better than the Griffin iTalk that had been used to record the rehearsal demo.  The Rehearsal Demo served its purpose, though. Loud and raw, it gave fans an idea of what the band sounded like live without having seen them. With a new demo, some merch, and three sets of steel balls, Vindicator continued their march of domination of the greater half of North East Ohio.

A side note from the Author: Looking back at our strategy I've often times asked myself why we never marched all over Ohio in the same fashion Mantic Ritual (Meltdown at the time) had toured Pennsylvania. A band needs those strong roots in their home state to really further themselves and we seemed to be oblivious to that fact at the time. Our hometown is Cleveland, but Cleveland does not see us as a hometown band. We couldn't get the attention we wanted living in the awesome shadow of the Auburn bands and their iron grip of a legacy on the city. It was probably a battle error to not play southern Ohio and its many cities. Anyone who's reading this now who's in a band trying to do something with themselves, make a mental note of this: before you tour, play your own state thoroughly and build a name for yourself there before trying to "get out there". We were young and new to a game we didn't quite understand. Understanding or not, we still did shit our own way, and if you ask any of us, we wouldn't have it any other way.

As my next blog won't surface until the new year, I'd like to take a moment to wish my fellow Christians a Merry Christmas, my friends who celebrate the African American holiday, a Happy Kwanzaa, my Jewish friends, a Happy Hanukkah, my pagan friends, an Awesome Winter Solstice, and the Hopi friends I wish I had, a Happy Soyaluna. To those I have missed, enjoy whatever Holiday you wish, so long as it means peace on earth towards each other. I don't care what faith you are or if you are faithless, the month of December is more about respect and kindness towards each other, than any particular faith. Have a peaceful and safe Holiday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome to the Decay...

Vic Stown
Welcome to Communal Decay, your portal to the fucked up shit that is housed inside the cranium of the most defiant, often maliciously whimsical, dark force behind Vindicator, Vic Stown...  often imitated, never duplicated. This is where I'll share my wildest fantasies with you, my most triumphant of stories, and my bleakest of tales. If it's on my mind, I will throw it out here, if anyone should care to read. Blogs, blurps, farts, and burps. I'm a straight forward guy with no cloaking device to hide the corpses in my closet. I hope all enjoy this intimate and often times entertaining look into the life of an artist in an independent band, doing things his own way, and eating whomever dies first. Carpe Diem, worry about the hangover tomorrow.  It's not easy being in a metal band in America, but it is easy experiencing metal in America. So join me and wallow in this decay. 

For the first of my monthly blogs I decided to tackle one of those topics I'm often asked by fans of Vindicator. How, why, when, and where did it all start? After endless days of concentration, I was able to bust the rust off the hinges of the two thousand-five vault of my memory banks. What I found was an off shade of yellow, heavy with the dank stench of mildew. In terms of years, it hasn't been that long. In terms of details, it's been millennia. Enjoy this first installment of:

The history of Vindicator according to (and often confused by) Vic Stown.

Chapter One: the transition from a Violent Night into an overly aggressive dawn: Vindicator is born (August 2005 - September 2005)  

Violent Night - 2004
Our story begins in the picturesque basement of one Mikey B. Lial; Violent Night's rehearsal spot. It's just another evening of trying to write for the fellows of Violent Night. The band had an ep, which they pressed in very limited quantities and were in the process of writing for an actual full length. Through the many disputes of Vic and Mikey, the band's sound had progressed greatly. It’s growing pains had equated to more technicality, better written songs, and an overall tighter sound. But the tolls those growing pains would have on the members of the band would prove to be the band's demise. It was just like any other writing session the band had, Vic and Mikey bouncing ideas off each other and arguing about which parts should stay and go, song structure, and anything else two very opinionated members of any band argue about. But this time was different. This time there wasn't that climactic point which the heated argument crescendos and compromise is met. No, this time the argument ended... and so did the band. Jesse Stown and Wayne Holocaust figured it would be like any of the other disputes Vic and Mikey had had. After a few days, the two would make up and the band could get on with its existence. But not this time. It was disheartening for Jesse, Vic, and Wayne to see the three years they had invested into this project washed away by the immaturity of two dudes in their early twenties, unable to compromise and see the bigger scheme of things. But in reality those three couldn't see the bigger scheme of things, either. 

Mikey and Vic - 2005

Vindicator - The Early Years
It wouldn't be long before the Stown brothers were back at it. Their desire to create and play music was burning extremely hot. Both were very anxious to do something. Not being fully in support of the direction violent night was headed; Jesse and Vic opted for a more straight forward, aggressive sound. A sound which could only be obtained by playing thrash. Wayne Holocaust was contacted and there were rumors of a recently available, lifetime friend, Marshall Law. After getting a positive response from both Wayne and Marshall, the band's line up was finalized. Marshall would front the band using a blackened thrash vocal approach like that of early Sodom and Bathory while also taking care of the band's low end, Wayne and Vic would provide the raw, brutal, sawing of speed, aggression, shred, and backing vocals, while Jesse would remain as the titanic, back bone and artillery as the band's percussion. Amongst other simple plans a band arranges when it forms; the name is probably the biggest dilemma. Each member picked out a few of their favorites and voted on what would be the band's future title. Amongst some of the names were, Skull Splitter (named after an ale Marshall and Vic consumed on special occasions and also a great destructor song), Blitzken, and Toxikill. But as soon as Marshall (who at one time was an avid warhammer player) read "Vindicator" aloud, everyone knew that was the name. The band had checked the metal-archives and there were no recorded bands having that name (respectfully excluding Vyndykator). So it was agreed, Vindicator was the name, and balls-to-the-wall, skull-stomping, old school, thrash metal was their game.

And then there were three...