Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Statement on Deteriorot.

I was involved with this legendary NJ turned NC death metal band as a drummer for approximately one month: from mid-July 2015 to mid-August 2015. As of this writing, I am no longer involved with this band.

In May or June 2015 I was contacted by Paul Zavaleta, who is the sole driving force behind this band, about possibly auditioning. At the time, I was looking for a death metal band in North Carolina to join.

After exchanging emails and phone calls, an audition was arranged for mid-July. I learned the tunes, came in, successfully passed the audition and accepted a spot in the band the next day.

However, after arriving home from the audition, something felt off to me-my playing and enthusiasm were totally hollow. I simply wasn't feeling it at all. I probably should not have said "yes" to accepting the spot right away (probably should've said something along the lines of "I'll think about it").

I then spent two weeks both heavily contemplating why I accepted the position and half heatedly attempting to learn more material. Plus, plans in place to travel for gigging, both in and out of the country, filled me with absolute dread. In this time frame, Zavaleta publicly announced on the band's Facebook page that I had accepted the drummer slot in the band.

What my weeks of contemplation made me realize was that I had no passion or interest in playing death metal at all.

I came to realize that the only reason I even put it out there that I wanted to play death metal in the first place was because I was getting frustrated at trying to find musicians for what I really wanted to to (female fronted symphonic metal ala Nightwish) and it was something I did 11-17 years ago and I could fall back on it very easily. It was not the right move to make.

But after getting behind a kit and playing these tunes at the audition, I realized that my heart was not in it one bit.

Two weeks later, I then told Zavaleta all this and that it would be for the best for me not to waste his time if I wasn't in in 100%-as it would be disingenuous and unauthentic in a genre where ingenuity and authenticity are heavily valued-and step down from the band. He was understanding and agreeable (albeit apparently disappointed).

I fully admit that this was a HUGE tactical error on my part and accept full responsibility for that.

To clarify: it wasn't this band's music specifically that I wasn't into, but death metal as a whole. In fact, I think Deteriorot's music is outstanding old school death metal, and both of the albums are excellent. Zavaleta was also a very generous host at the time of my audition, and I thank him for that, as well as apologize for the position I have put him in.

I also want to clarify that I am still a huge fan of death metal as a listener/consumer.

BUT, for me to get behind a drum kit and actually play death metal is something of a regression. I am not a "look back" type of individual. I played death metal from 1998 to 2004-as a kid essentially-and in my heart of hearts, I am long past that phase of my life both as a person and musician.

I might be done playing metal in bands altogether. My last band prior to this was black metal and I lost the passion for that towards the end as well. I don't really wanna play any other type of metal except female fronted symphonic metal, and it was near impossible to find credible and reliable people to play with for this type of band (different story for a different day) in my area.

I am currently playing bass in a Greensboro based indie/alt rock band (unnamed, and also having its own troubles getting off the ground), but drumming is my first calling. So who know where I will end up on that front.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Personal Bandcamp Index.

Here are all known direct links to my projects on Bandcamp, in semi-chronological order (with genre, project type, role, and years listed). All of them appear to be for free download, or at the very least "name your price" with no minimum:

Coagulated Blood (death metal, band, drums, 1998-2004)

(***Note: Some imagery here should be considered extremely NSFW***)


Mazeffect (garage/punk rock, band, drums, 2001-2007):

(***Note: This is a link to one of the former members' net-label, and the only thing there right now is the first of a planned series of three themed compilations (hi-fi recordings, lo-fi recordings, covers) to encompass the entire discography. No idea when the rest of it is due out. The band itself is not on Bandcamp as an individual entity. The link directs straight to the compilation to distinguish from other bands on the label***)


Grover Kent (pop-punk, band, bass/vocals, 2005-2007):

(***Note: This page has all of the band's releases, including ones I did not play on***)


Cold Blank Stare (black metal, solo project, all instruments and vocals, 2005-2014):


Dark Sacrament (melodic black metal, band, drums 2009-2014):


Goodbye Berlin (indie rock, band, bass/glockenspiel, 2013-2014):


Other projects that may end up on Bandcamp eventually include:

Obliteration (1995-1998)
Acquiesce (2004)
Red Flag Fleet (2008-2011)

The remaining projects I was involved in will not be on Bandcamp for the following reasons:

Slain (1995) (Only one cover song ever attempted; no recordings exist)
Decoder (2004-2006) (I was merely a live stand in musician and I have no rights/stake in the band)
Kate Hart (2005-2008) (She has all but disowned her musical endeavors)
Dangerous Cousins (2012-2013) (Album recordings abandoned, no other recordings exist)

God damn, I dig Bandcamp.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cold Blank Stare 2005-2014

I have decided that the time is right for me to end this solo recording project.

I am ending this project because I realized  it is terrible and derivative of my influences-I don't know how to write a good, original black metal riff without it being a direct throwback to whatever was influencing me at the time. If I wrote a Mayhem influenced riff, it was really influenced by Mayhem. Or Darkthrone. Or Krieg. Or Blut Aus Nord. Or Xasthur. Or etc., etc. Not to say that I actually ripped off riffs from these bands or any others, I just could not write a riff without it being something of a style pastiche/parody of whatever I was influenced by. 

I am also an abysmal lyricist, and my attempts at writing direct, politically left leaning, atheistic, and somewhat positive lyrics were completely embarrassing and not exactly fitting for the musical style.I should never write lyrics again.

Short version: with the benefit of hindsight, I realized that this project wasn't ever any good at all. Time to kill it off.

I am not going to attempt to "erase the past", as it were, by making the music unavailable. You can still download the Humanity Will Come Undone EP and The Human Condition: Insights Into Madness album at my Bancamp page. Totally FREE, of course. coldblankstare.bandcamp.com

The one positive I can take away from this project is that it allowed me an opportunity to hone in on my recording chops, which was both very fun and very stressful.

I am uncertain if I will be doing another solo recording project again-I tend to work better when bouncing ideas off of others, but I like having the complete control of calling all the shots. I guess time will tell. Or something.

Cold Blank Stare: R.I.A. (rest in AGONY) 2005-2014.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Musical History 1995-2014.

Here's my musical history encompassing my former bands/projects. Current bands/projects will be given their own individual posts. I will attempt to update this as I recall further details. I've also participated in numerous auditions and jams that never went anywhere past that one session, and have done a few professional classical and theater pit band performances (details unknown).

-Slain. Slain was my very first band in 1995. Members included Drew Skolar on bass, Dominic Weir on vocals, and Mark Petocz (sp?) on guitar. I played drums. This band may have been known as Sanguinary Carnage at one point. We did nothing but an absolutely atrocious and embarrassingly horrible version of White Zombie's "More Human Than Human".  Band split because of infighting.

-Obliteration. I played drums in this thrash metal band (think Metallica, Slayer) from 1995-1998, which encompasses the entire duration of the existence of the band. Members included Drew Skolar on bass/vocals (1995-1998), George Askins on guitar (1995-1996), and Dave Christiano on guitar (1996-1998). This band was known as Process Of Obliteration in its most infantile stages and may also have been known as Sanguinary Carnage in the early stages as well. The band's name was also misspelled as Obliteraxion at the first gig as well. I played on the Process Of Obliteration cover song demo (1995), and the Obliteration '98 demo (1998). The songs covered on the cover demo include Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls", Slayer's "Seasons In The Abyss", Sepultura's "Territory", Napalm Death's "Dead", Type O Negative's "Are You Afraid?" (I sang lead vocals while playing drums on this one) and Dream Theater's "The Silent Man" (I played acoustic guitar on this one), as well as individual solo pieces. This was pressed to one cassette copy, whereabouts unknown. The Obliteration '98 demo contained 8 of our 10 original songs: "Trendy: Birth To Death", "No Regrets", "Transformer", "Triumph And Failure", "The Rock", "Negligent Savior (The Forgotten Son)", "7/29", and "Process Of Obliteration", and was pressed on one cassette copy, of which I am in possession of. The songs not captured were "Mystery", our "epic" instrumental, and "Suicide Salvation", our answer to "Hell Awaits". This was a fun, fledgeling, albeit immature band. I cannot recall the reason why we split with George. Other people had one or two off rehearsal as vocalists and/or guitarists (no one notable and no one officially added to the band). Band split due to musical differences; Drew and I wanted to progress to death metal, Dave wanted to do "hardcore" (the 90's definition, not in the vein of classic 80's hardcore punk). 2 gigs were played between 1997-1998.

-Coagulated Blood. I played drums in this death metal band (think Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, etc.) from 1998-2004. Members include Drew Skolar on bass, Steve Wanko on vocals, and Chris Cunningham on vocals/guitar. I played on the following releases: "Bring On The Next" from the Grimore Of Exalted Deeds magazine Legion Of The Scroll #7 compilation (1998) (the lineup for this one off recording was myself on drums and guitar and Drew Skolar on bass and vocals), The $100 Murder EP (2000) and The Barbaric Reshaping Of Flesh full length (2003). The EP and album were pressed and distributed and are currently out of print. Drew is in possession of the master 2" reels for both releases and I personally would love to digitize and remix them. Other homemade demos were produced but not intended to be distributed (although I believe James Murphy of Testament, Death, Obituary, et al was given a copy of one of these demos). Other non-notable vocalists passed through this band when Steve was on his first sabbatical to Nevada in 2001-2002. We thought we were such hotshot technical wizards on our instruments, but in reality we were pretty decent (aside from the horrible misogynistic lyrics, which I fully renounce and am embarrassed by today). Band gradually fell apart over the course of the years 2003-2004; Steve left NJ for his second, and permanent stint in NV in 2003 (Chris took over vocals in his wake), Drew left/was released (depending on who you ask) to be a family man in 2003 (the band was relegated to a recording project duo), and then Chris and I had a massive falling out in 2004 (let's leave it at that). Band played 2 gigs between 2002-2003. Band reformed in 2010 with the lineup of Drew on bass/drum programming, Chris on guitar/vocals (both in NJ), and Steve contributing vocals via email from NV. I was asked to participate, played one rehearsal to see if I was into it, and declined participation when I found that I wasn't into it. Band split again in 2012 when Chris departed NJ for Virginia. Was a bitter breakup at the time in 2004, but the hatchet has been buried and I wish them all the best.

-Mazeffect. I played drums in this garage rock/punk/alternative band (think The Dictators, The Ramones, Husker Du, The Replacements) from 2001-2007, which encompassed the vast majority (60 out of 62 gigs (97%), all recordings, 6 out of 7 calendar years (86%)) of the existence of the band. Members included Jay Mazeffect (aka Jay Slappy, Jay Ingstrup) on guitar/vocals and Melvis Chrome (aka Justin Ingstrup) on bass/vocals. Chris "Gobo" Pierce of Doc Hopper/The Groucho Marxists played drums as a fill in on the 2 gigs played post my resignation-he never replaced me on a full time basis. I played on the Mazeffect EP (2001), our contribution of Husker Du's "Flip Your Wig" to The Best Bands You've Never Heard In Your Life 7" compilation (2002), the Dee Dee Ramone tribute 7" (2002), the Remastered...With Bonus Tracks full length (2002), the State Of Mind full length (2004), the Everything Went Blue acoustic EP (2004), and the Horseshoes And Handgrenandes  full length (2007 on Incessant Drip Records). All pressing info and current print status unknown. Objectively, we were an interesting band, with such a musical rapport that we were able to pretty much play anything, anytime without rehearsal (the State Of Mind album was literally written as we recorded it, with no concept of rehearsal beforehand). We did a fair amount of instrument switching, both live and on record. Band split in early 2008, after I quit in late 2007 and they were apparently unable to find a suitable replacement on a permanent basis. While this was a very bitter breakup at the time, time apparently does heal wounds, as we now seem to be on decent terms. 60 gigs were played between 2001-2007 and 2 additional gigs with a temporary fill in drummer were played between 2007-2008.

-Acquiesce. I played session drums in this progressive doom metal recording project (think Opeth, Katatonia, Morgion) from 2003-2004. Was an offshoot project of Coagulated Blood. The other member was Chris Cunningham, who handled everything else besides drums. It was his sole vision; I was merely there to interpret the songs for drum arrangements. Recorded one album called Dulcinea in 2004; album was never formally released. Project split in congruence with the demise of Coagulated Blood. Not a full band, no gigs played.

-Decoder. I was a session live drummer for this hard rock/heavy metal band (think Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Van Halen) at 4 various one off gigs between 2004-2006. The band at one point was also known as Starscream. Members included Dave on guitar/vocals, Pete on guitar, Joey on bass, Corey on vocals, Marc on vocals, Boris on vocals, Christian on bass, Teddy on drums, Al on session drums, and there was at least one other guitarist and three other drummers involved with this band at different points, if not many more. I cannot pinpoint the exact years people came in and out of this band, nor can I give some sort of accurate timeline for the formation and demise of this band, nor can I estimate the total number of gigs this band has played without me. I don't really know much about this band's released discography. This band's lineup was highly volatile, but it centered around band leader Dave. I was not the only drummer they were playing with during the time I played with them. I was never an official band member and actually refused an offer to be one, as I wanted to focus on my other main bands at the time. This was guitar emphasis rock/metal with something slightly resembling a glam-ish edge to it. The music was a little cheesy for my tastes, but these guys could really shred, and the vocalists I played with (Corey and Marc) could really, really wail. I did not play with or even meet the vocalist named Boris or the bassist named Christian. This was purely a money situation for me, but the guys were always super cool towards me, and were totally pro in all interactions I've ever had with them.

-Grover Kent. I played bass/vocals in this pop-punk band (think Ramones, Chixdiggit, Screaching Weasel) from 2005-2007. I replaced original member Jason Olexa. Members included Rich Conroy (2000?-present) on guitar vocals, Steve Ugly (real name unknown) on drums (2000?-2003), Jason Olexa on bass/vocals (2000?-2005), Endless Matt (real name unknown) on guitar/vocals (2003-2006), Jay Mazeffect on drums (2003-present), Melvis Chrome on guitar/vocals (may be playing bass presently) (2006-present), and Mark Parker on bass/vocals (may be playing guitar) (2009?-present). I only played on the Running Out Of Ramones EP (2005) and two tracks on the Everything Must Go! band rarities compilation ("Houston We Have A Problem" and "Teflon Brain") (2008). Other releases include the Me, Myself, & Your Mother full length (2002), the Selling Doors, Door To Door split with The Lawndarts (2004?). Any current recordings are unknown to me. Good lighthearted, primitive fun, but I'd imagine I'd be bored playing in this band nowadays. I was a terrible singer. Band originally split in 2007 in congruence with the demise of Mazeffect (the 3 members of that band constituted 3/4 of this one at the time), reformed in approximately 2009 without my involvement. I played 15 gigs with this band between 2005-2007.

-Cold Blank Stare. I played all instruments and vocals and was the sole member of this black metal solo project (think Mayhem, Darkthrone, Krieg) from 2005-2014. With this project I released the Humanity Will Come Undone EP (2008) and The Human Condition: Insights Into Madness full length (2011). I ended this project because I realized  it is terrible and derivative of my influences-I don't know how to write a good, original black metal riff without it being a direct throwback to whatever was influencing me at the time. I am also an abysmal lyricist, and my attempts at writing direct, politically left leaning, atheistic, and somewhat posi lyrics were completely embarrassing and not exactly fitting for the musical style. As this was a solo project, no gigs were played.

-Red Flag Fleet. I played bass in this modern indie/alternative rock band (think Jimmy Eat World, Flickerstick, Death Cab For Cutie) from 2008-2011. Members included BJ Whetstine on guitar/lead vocals, Mark Sloan on guitar/vocals, rn (real name withheld by request) on guitar/vocals, and Todd Rengel on drums.  I played on the Magnetic Variation EP (2010). This was the closest to the ideal rock music I wanted to make and had a great time with these guys, despite the extremely corporate and sterile creative and recording environment. The band started to crumble in 2010 when BJ left NJ for him and his wife to pursue job opportunities in the DC area. Band has floundered since then, and was unable to find an adequate replacement. We were toying with the idea of starting a new band with whoever we found locally and continuing RFF with BJ as separate entities running concurrently (with BJ on a part time basis due to distance). That situation never truly materialized. An EP as RFF with BJ on vocals was in the works and it's status as to its completion is unknown to me at this time (assumed to be scrapped). I left the band because I grew frustrated by the fact that we could not get our act together over an eleven month period in the wake of BJ's departure. Their current activity is unknown to me. RFF "reunited" for a one off show in NYC on 9/30/11, and it turned out to be a total bust. The show proved that RFF was an inadequate live band, as we played an embarrassingly awful and amateurish set. One open mic and 4 gigs were played between 2009-2011.

-Kate Hart. I played drums, guitar, bass, keys, in my lovely and talented wife's indie pop/alternative recording project (think Cub, Go Sailor, Belly, Rilo Kiley) from 2005-approx. 2008. She played guitar and sang all vocals. I played on the Natural Born Wallflower EP (2005), where I also served as the recording engineer/mixer. She has all but disowned her musical endeavors. If she's ever she's ready to start back up, I'll be there to resume my previous roles. I had a lot of fun recording this EP, even though I completely botched it-I didn't know anything about recording, and just did it instinctively. Now I have a better idea on how to make a good sounding record, and her next record, whenever that is, will be kick-ass. She played an unknown to me amount of solo acoustic shows/open mics between 2006-2008 (some husband I am) and in 2007 I sat in on one of them playing acoustic guitar.

-Dark Sacrament. I played drums in this melodic black metal band (think Emperor, Gorgoroth, Cradle Of Filth) from 2009-2014. Members include Phil Alessi on guitar/vocals, Jon Lopez on guitar/vocals (since 2011), Michael Giffin on vocals, Glen Holck on bass (since 2013), Jon Hamilton on guitars (2009-2011) and Nick Bazaral on bass (2009-2013).  I played on the Rehearsal 6/25/2010 demo (2010), and the Realm Of Unlight (2011) and Peccata Mundi (2013) EP's. I also tracked on the to be released debut full length album, released TBD in 2015. I left this band because I left New Jersey to seek personal opportunities in North Carolina-although I likely would have quit this band had I remained in New Jersey anyways, as I had grown tired of this band's style and performing extreme styled metal in general. No idea if the band is going to continue-there was talk of the band splitting once the album is done and released, but I do not currently know if that is the actual plan. 20 or so gigs were played between 2010-2014.

-Dangerous Cousins. I played bass and glockenspiel in this somewhat countrified indie rock band (think Jimmy Eat World meets Uncle Tupelo) from 2012-2013. No recordings released, but an album was attempted and subsequently aborted when the band split up (see below). Members included Todd Rengel on drums/vocals, rn (real name withheld by request) on guitar/vocals, and Brian Youmans on vocals/guitar. Nothing more to say on this one-we were a serviceably mediocre four chord band that split up when Brian splt from NJ due to personal issues as well as due to tensions between myself and Brian (over writing credits). No idea what Brian is up to-nor do I care. One gig was played in 2012.

-Goodbye Berlin. I played bass and glockenspiel in this jangly indie rock band (think REM, Smashing Pumpkins) from 2013-2014. Members included Danielle Stauss (aka rabbitvelvet) on vocals/guitar, rn (real name withheld by request) on guitar/keys, and Todd Rengel on drums (the latter two from Red Flag Fleet & Dangerous Cousins). I played on the Pink Positive demos (2014) and the Tuesday Is Moving Day EP (2015). I also tracked on the to be released debut full length album, released TBD (if ever). I left this band because I left New Jersey to seek personal opportunities in North Carolina. I have since been replaced by Ben Earl. Leaving this band was incredibly difficult and highly emotionally taxing-I never wanted to leave this band (which stands as hands down the best band I ever played in), and leaving this band is my only true regret in leaving New Jersey. One key thing I learned about myself from being in this band is that I never want to work with a male singer ever again-only female singers from this point forward. One gig was played in 2014.     


I've decided to open this blog to retain control of how I distribute information about myself regarding my musical projects over the web. This will not be limited to one band/project, rather whoever I might be playing with at any given time, and I may post an off topic rant/observation from time to time. The Myspace page for my solo black metal project Cold Blank Stare, which previously served this function, will be eventually phased out and closed. This will be the *only* official website covering my endeavors. Not that you or anyone else cares. Or that anyone is even reading. Regardless, I plan to flesh this out with images and audio (if possible), and I will attempt to make the Cold Blank Stare releases, which I've always intended to distribute for free, available through here.