Archive for the Admin Category

A Fair Warning to Canada

Posted in Admin, Travel with tags , on October 21, 2013 by Noise Road

Noise Road is in you.

Pucker Up and Kiss the Asphalt Now!

Posted in Admin with tags , , , , , on March 17, 2012 by Noise Road

As we eye a European summer of reunion gigs (Faith No More, Refused, At the Drive In), Noise Road has begun to question the validity of the At the Drive In reunion.

We all dug At the Drive In’s classic of 2000, Relationship of Command, but do we definitely know that the band ever existed?  How can you have a reunion of something that was never a union?

NR dug up this old video from the British TV show, Later with Jools Holland.  I have a theory:  At the Drive In never existed.  On a few occasions, a solid alt rock band called Sparta were interrupted by a performance art company called The Mars Volta.

Check out the clip…

The two bands aren’t even facing in the same direction.  They definitely ain’t playing the same song.  No lead guitarist could possibly be that out of tune for a national TV broadcast.

Here is Sparta unhindered by fro-wielding spazzanauts…

Here is the Mars Volta free to trip b@lls without the squares..

Catch you in Reading or Leeds or Benicassim for the great rock and roll swindle.

No Heroes

Posted in Admin on December 17, 2011 by Noise Road

Now the nausea’s in my guts

and I’m wrestling with doubt

the kind you get 

when your heroes sell you out

 – Pig Destroyer, Alexandria

The whiskey-soaked larynx of Down’s NOLA album is my favourite vocal performance.  In the years following, vocalist Phil Anselmo’s slurred rants rewrote history, betrayed friends and promoted white pride.

Layne Staley’s melancholic lines are etched into my soul…  But should you stain your consciousness with the wisdom of such a man?  Should you put weight into the words of one who so isolated himself that his body rotted for two weeks before it was discovered?

Max Cavalera’s blunt attack on Sepultura’s Arise announced my metal awakening.  Cavalera overcame third world poverty to record albums that still stand tall today.  Less than a decade later, Cavalera stood at the forefront of Nu-Metal.  His first post-Sepultura single features Fred Durst.

My metal heroes failed to practice the wisdom that they preached.  They failed to live up to the values that they sold me.  They betrayed my loyalty for Fred Durst.  My metal heroes are unreliable.

No more heroes

no more, no more

In my world of enemies

I walk alone

 – Converge, No Heroes

Many say that they do not have heroes.  They do not need heroes.  Heroes are for children or for the weak.  They are crutch for those seeking to fill the void of their nothing lives…  a crutch like religion or drugs or a football team or Oprah.

I don’t need no arms around me

and I don’t need no drugs to calm me

 – Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall pt III

I need heroes.  I need something to inspire and to guide me out of the muck.  Sometimes it is a paragraph from a book or a lyric from a song…  but sometimes it is more than the works of a man.  Sometimes it is the man.

My life has been full of compromise.  I get stuck in ruts and I allow things to slowly get worse.  In contrast my heroes never compromised.  My heroes were never reasonable.

Hunter S Thompson never compromised.  Hemingway and Orwell never compromised.  Thompson rode with the Hells Angels.  Hemingway and Orwell joined the Spanish Civil War.   The man behind the words increases the power of the words.  However, Thompson and Hemingway’s treatment of their families was poor.  Both painted the walls with their brains.  What kind of heroes are those?

My fictional heroes are no better.  I recall sitting in Perth airport returning from an unsuccessful job interview.  I was overweight, suffering from chronic headaches and unexplained blood noses.  In the departure lounge, blood poured from my nose onto a paperback copy of Fight ClubFight Club’s narrator demanded extreme action.  I required extreme change.

I believe that is the root of my interest in the men behind metal.  They are never reasonable.  Some of our metal heroes are so far up that river that their moral compass is as skewed as Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now’s Kurtz.

Phil Anselmo has been a staple of my life since my great mate, Osaka Bonez, started driving us to under-age, binge-drinking parties.  Phil’s roar sounded from his Mum’s Toyota mini-van throughout the sketchy northern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia.

Those years saw Anselmo at his musical peak.  Anselmo’s voice on NOLA has a whiskey-soaked quality between a melody and an all out Pantera assault.  Lyrics from NOLA still resonate into my thirties.

Months away from overdosing in a stadium parking lot, Anselmo tracked Trendkill’s vocals alone in New Orleans after refusing to record alongside the band in Texas.  It does not sound like a recipe for success.  However, Anselmo’s lyrics contain a rare honesty.  Junk would ultimately warp that honesty, as well as his sense of reality and history.

Buy it from a store

from MTV to on the floor

you look just like a star

its proof you don’t know who you are

If I hit bottom and everything’s gone

the Great Mississippi please drown me and run

 – Pantera, The Great Southern Trendkill

Even at his lowest, Anselmo oozed charisma.  However Anselmo is the prime example of an unreliable hero.  For all his triumphs with Pantera and Down, there have been terrible musical lows.  Some lyrics are cringeworthy.  Anselmo has been prolific, but prolifically inconsistent in quality…  and then there is the man.

If I had known Anselmo personally over the last two decades, I would not have liked the man.  My experience is that junkies do not make good friends.  Worse than any drug-related failures was the pseudo-white-pride rhetoric.  I ain’t got room in my life for that shit, Phil.

As a young adult I would defend my heroes even when their actions seemed indefensible.  This was not a matter of separating the man from the music.  I had invested my inspiration in the man.

As greys appeared in my beard, I realised that my heroes had not failed me.  My heroes did not owe me a thing.

My heroes were heroes because they represented an extreme change that I was incapable of.  This extremity produced extreme music and extreme living.  Extreme living often lead to extreme drinking, extreme drug-taking and extremely questionable words and actions.  Their failures are a direct result of their lack of compromise that inspired me.

So, what is a hero?  A hero is someone who can inspire you – whether it be from a decade of achievement or just a single lyric or riff.  I do not need a role model.  I’m 31 years old.  I do not want to be my heroes.

Despite their musical inconsistencies, despite their personal failings, despite the reality TV shows, I could not do without my metal heroes.  My trust remains in whiskey and weed and Black Sabbath.

Your trust is in whiskey and weed and Black Sabbath

Its goddamn electric

 – Pantera, Goddamn Electric

Pro Shot Footage of Melvins Playing Early to Mid Nineties Classics

Posted in Admin with tags , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Noise Road

After a thunderous version of Night Goat, Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower takes over Dale Crover’s side of the kit.  The evening ends in typically weird Melvins fashion.  Then Phil Anselmo forces his way onto a kit.

Some things are just good for you – regular exercise, fruit, reading Hunter S Thompson and listening to Melvins.

If you are an adult and you are not already a Melvins fan, then you probably never will be.  Melvins albums range from electronic noise albums to drone to stoner to sludge.  They have an album that will annoy a fan of any of those genres.  I ain’t going to recommend an album to you.  I ain’t going to try to convert you.

However if you are still with us, some kind soul has just uploaded pro shot footage of Melvins’ recent set at Hellfest.

Man, why didn’t I go?  This set comes off the back of their series of “Endless Residency” sets in the states, where they played entire albums from their back catalogue.  The endless residencies focused on their early to mid nineties albums – from the end of their sludge era, Bullhead, through the drone of Lysol, through the grunge-y major label era of Houdini, Stoner Witch and Stag.  There are classics in these albums that Melvins rarely, if ever, play.

Melvins not only brought a swag of these tracks to Hellfest, they are also brought their latest album, The Bride Screamed Murder,which they are yet to tour Europe with.

This is the highest quality video and audio of Melvins that I have ever seen (and I regularly trawl YouTube for Melvins).  The clarity of the video and the unique location of the set enable the viewer to see sludge metal royalty getting their groove on side of stage – Phil Anselmo, Mike Williams, Jimmy Bower (in fact the entirety of Eyehategod).  Phil Anselmo is the most animated behind King Buzzo.  You can see Anselmo constantly gesticulating through the performance.  He even elicits an awkward fist knock from Buzz just before Night Goat.  Funny stuff.

The set is as close to a greatest hits set as you’ll ever receive from Melvins.  Sure, its Melvins, so it is going to have weird passages, and the droney Lysol album is the glue of the night.  Still, from midway to the end of the show, is a pretty damn rocky set for even the casual listener.

I ain’t going to attempt to convert you, but if you know what is good for you, you will do as Anselmo, Bower and Williams do…  And by that I don’t mean spend a chunk of your life addicted to heroin.  I mean listen to Melvins.

The Mark of Cain… and Heroes

Posted in Admin with tags on February 28, 2011 by Noise Road

Henry Rollins dug them, so he produced the Mark of Cain’s seminal 1995 album, Ill at Ease.

Former Helmet and current Battles drummer, John Stanier, so loved the band that he joined as the permanent drummer for their 2001 This is This album.

So why the feck don’t you own Ill at Ease?  Why haven’t you heard This is This?  You think that you know better than Rollins?…  Sure Hank’s been in some superbly cr@p movies (The New Guy comes to mind)…  But we’re talking Black Flag Rollins.  We’re talking Rollins Band Rollins.  His record collection sh!ts all over yours.

The Mark of Cain make me proud of our hometown, Adelaide.  I dig them on multiple levels.

The most important level is the music.  I dig their progression from the noise-y, Joy Division-tinged, early records of Battlesick and The Unclaimed Prize, to the heavier, off-kilter riffs of the last two records.

I caught them a bunch of times in my late teens and early twenties, and at that time, they were considered one of the best live acts in Australia.

Another reason why I am such a big tmoc fan is due to the strength of the lyrical focus.  The delivery is direct and without pretension – but there is unquestionable intelligence behind the bluntness of the words.

War is used as a theme throughout the records.  Like the best war novels and movies, war provides a heightened state to investigate human existence.

The war themes of isolation and introspection tie up with lyricist John Scott’s other common theme, failed relationships.  And as the lyrics progressed, so did the music. The isolation of noisier Joy Division, gave way to the heavy riffing of an angry break up in Ill at Ease

The Mark of Cain’s last album was released in 2001.  The band have never been prolific.  Largely, this is because they don’t earn a crust from their music.  And unlike many bands, their income is not derived from part time jobs between tours…  and here lies my further connection to the band.

I’m very glad that acts like the Melvins, the Hold Steady, Napalm Death, and the Dillinger Escape Plan have found enough of a support base such that they can live as musicians.  All those bands tour near continuously, and I’m sure it is a fatiguing and difficult lifestyle…  but they are able to make a living off their passion.  Their energy is not lost to a 9 to 5 that they hate.  Their energy pours into their passion.

I also admire the bands that live it rough, in order to fund their dream.  Ludicra released one of the best albums of last year, yet mainman, John Cobbett, works multiple part time jobs to make rent.  Not many employers are happy to let you come and go to tour.  I believe that only recently has High on Fire’s Matt Pike been able to give up part-time construction work.

But there is a third kind of artist that I admire.  As a slave to the professional world, a few heroes remind me that I need to think big.  Pig Destroyer’s and Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Scott Hull is an IT guru for the US Department of Defence, a devoted father of two and the bringer of the best riffs on the planet.

Deniz Tek led seminal proto-punk band, Radio Birdman, finished his medical degree, flew jets in the US Navy and worked as an ER doctor.

The Mark of Cain’s John Stanier earns a crust through his other projects, like Battles. However, main man, John Scott, and his bassist brother, Kim, pretty much do exactly the same thing that I do for a living.  They are both engineers, and back in Adelaide, I worked for the marine equivalent of the company that they worked for.

But while I struggle, day to day, to achieve anything beyond the grind, they make awesome music.  They remind me that I need to rise above. I’ve got no excuses.

I’m a few months behind the ball, but there is news, good and bad, from the tmoc camp.  In mid-December John Scott posted a blog on the tmoc website.

In good news, all the songs for new album are ready.  John Stanier returns as the drummer and even Rollins has some cameos.  In mid-December, the songs were due to be mixed in Melbourne.

In bad news, one of my heroes, John Scott, has hit a low.  Split from his wife, sold the house, and quit the grind… In his words:

“…but I do have to work and as fucked as it is (Kim loves working though) in that it interferes with the album, it’s just one of the aspects of life you try accept – but I haven’t been too happy of late with the shit winter weather (yeah great for the farmers…how many times do people have to say that – who gives a shit! it just depresses me and farmers are never happy anyway)- but work is real soul destroying at the moment and it’s not destroying in the way that you get the urge to write songs and get creative – it’s the opposite in fact – all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep and then get up and stay awake all night watching horror movies…”

I definitely know that soul-destroying riff.  Time just seems to get burnt…  But people like Scott have always reminded me that I can’t afford to burn time.  Life is far too short a trip to play that one boring-@rse riff too often.

So I eagerly await the new record, and I look forward to what lies ahead for Scott and the rest of the Mark of Cain.

As TMOC always close a set, so shall I close this post…  with The Pointman:

Your Next Trip… 1989, Heavy Music’s High Water Mark in the Mainstream

Posted in Admin on February 1, 2011 by Noise Road

Well, things have been a little quiet from 23a Noise Road…

We didn’t quite find the time to post any words on the awesome Neurosis show, in London, in early December (The word for that performance is weight.  Many bands can fill a room with sound, but few have Neurosis’ substance.  The notes feel authentic and lived.  The air in the venue weighed heavy with atmosphere).

Then there was a very expensive Xmas jaunt home to Oz.  Worth every penny to see my beautiful girl, and to catch all of the immediate clan in one city for a rarity…

And since my compassionate leave ceased, I have been busy finishing my sentence in Southampton, UK….

Ships have been electrically engineered.  Girl, family and friends have unfortunately been left…  but while we’re young(ish), adventures have to be had.  The last few months of work may have added greys to the receding hairline, and inches to the waistline, but they have secured a fistful of bucks to tackle a few months of musical wanderings.

A string of gigs in many different cities leads up to the Roadburn Festival 2011.  The Hold Steady in Southampton/Bristol this weekend.  Kylesa in Lyon and London the following week.  Watain, The Thermals, Rotten Sound, Earth in cities further past the horizon.  But for now, let’s take a trip to 1989…

In the previous post, Noise Road looked at a time when heavy rock was popular.  1970 saw some of the best bands, The Who, Sabbath, Hendrix, Zepplin become the biggest bands in the world.  Mainstream music does not have to be shyte.

In the 80’s, heavy music continued to dance with the mainstream.  I can’t say that I am a huge fan of many of the hair bands that gained popularity in the 80’s.  Whilst I enjoy a sing along to Poison after a few beers, something far more interesting occurred in the 80’s – Thrash metal.  People knew Metallica.  People knew Slayer.  And then, weirdly, people in the UK knew Napalm Death…

I found this 1989 BBC2 Arena documentary on heavy metal.  You can stream the hour doco, via 6 x 10-minute YouTube clips at the link below:

I am unaware of how well known this documentary is.  I hadn’t heard of it before I stumbled across it while trawling youtube for old-school Napalm Death.  Some days only Napalm have the answers.

If you haven’t seen the doco, it is worth your time.  It is far from perfect.  It is delightfully corny and awkwardly British in places, but it succeeds in two ways.

1.It offers a brief how and why of heavy music.   Over a decade and a half prior to Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Global Metal, the BBC2 covered similar terrain.

2.  And more importantly, it offers a snapshot of the heaviest music to breakthrough the mainstream’s consciousness.  In 1989, Napalm Death received repeated air time on the UK’s Radio One.  Slayer, in their prime, are kings of the underground.  Metallica are huge and still yet fall into a mire of sh!t.  Guns and Roses were even bigger, and yet to fall into an even deeper mire of sh!t…

The documentary starts slowly.  An almost coherent Ozzy covers familiar territory with the birth of metal from sh!tty suburbs, the origins of the term “heavy metal” and the usual nods to Sabbath, Deep Purple and Zepplin.  There are however some highlights – the metal journalist’s excellent comb-over, Lars Ulrich’s super-mullet and a weird acoustic rendition of Kashmir by Jimmy Page.  If Ozzy is nearly sober, Jimmy is nearly not.

Highlights of part 2 include a live clip of Metallica before the wave of genius broke.  Genius intact or not, James Hetfield was always a d!ck – Spot the bullying of Jason Newsted at 1:47.

Part 3 brings pure gold.  Slayer in 1989 is still in their peak.  The performance here of Raining Blood at 1:36 and the later, even livelier, South of Heaven are reasons enough to watch this doco.  Also, note that Slayer weren’t too cool for staged choreography at 1:41.

PART 3 also brings the entrance of an early incarnation of Napalm Death.  Carcass’s Bill Steer is still in the band in 1989, and Napalm lifer, Shane Embury, does his best to continually talk over him.  Get out, Bill!

Part 4 is Bruce Dickinson in all his corny glory – play fencing for the camera, dress ups and codpieces…

Megadeth had the magic in 1989.  In parallels to the Headbanger’s Journey/Global Metal doco’s, Part 5 explores the fans and how far spread metal is throughout the world…  Also, South of Heaven at 8:53…  Before you see the light, you must DIEEE!!!!!!!

Part 6 at 2:09 showpieces the almost sludgy, certainly crusty, early incarnation of Napalm Death.  Awesome.

1989 certainly was not the death of heavy metal in the mainstream.  1989 doesn’t even represent the most extreme metal to break through the public’s consciousness.  I mean Cannibal Corpse appeared in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

However 1989 is an intriguing time in metal’s history.  To the mainstream, the extreme metal bands that followed were either a horror, or, at best, a novelty.  In 1989, Metallica were not a novelty.  They were heavy.  Their records were at metal’s cutting edge… and they were popular.

The Legacy of 1989

Its fascinating that every band featured in this documentary is still in existence 21 years later.  When you think about the average life of a band, how did all of these bands survive?

Not only are those bands alive, but the acts that headlined festivals in 1989 are the same bands that still headline festivals in 2011 – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer…  Where are today’s younger headlines?  Is the lack of fresh headliners, linked to the inability of younger bands to crack the mainstream?

I don’t want or expect people to like the underground bands that I love.  That doesn’t matter to me.  While I would prefer to hear Pig Destroyer as I enter the local shopping mall, instead of the sounds of that pretty muppet Bieber kid.  I don’t need it.  Still, Pig Destroyer isn’t really any heavier than Slayer.  And Slayer got the odd TV and radio appearance, back in 1989.  Maybe….

Today, I had to stomach Black Eyed Peas’ recycled shyte as I grabbed milk and bread.  But maybe, tomorrow…  Tomorrow may be the day they choose to pipe through some Gravedancer at the local Tesco’s…  Vote with your dollars and feet, people…