Review: Linkin Park – Meteora

Linkin Park, a group of six from SoCal. An array of hip-hop, rap metal and amazing vocals. This sixtet is made up of two vocalists, Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda, Phoenix on guitar, Brad Delson on bass, Joe Hahn on the turntables and lastly, Rob Bourdon on drums. The band first formed in the late 90s, without Chester, otherwise known as Xero. Then the moment of truth. Chester answered the call for a lead singer, leaving his own birthday party in Arizona and tried out for the band and made the cut. The band changed its name to Hybrid Theory and put out the Hybrid Theory EP. After one more name change, the band is now the ever famous, Linkin Park. Linkin Park are on Warner Brother Records. Linkin Park have an EP, the Hybrid Theory EP and of course the [Hybrid Theory] LP. The [Hybrid Theory] LP went eight times platinum and was #1 on the Billboard.
The first track off Meteora is a 13 second intro, which leads into “Don’t Stay”. A very get off your feet and jump around. The scratching by Hahn and Chester’s hard edge voice really reminds me of “One Step Closer”. “Somewhere I Belong” came shortly before the release of Meteora. Inspiration would be the not fitting in, in society. Being someone different, not the typical, everyday person. The band’s Dj, Joe Hahn, directed the video for “Somewhere I Belong”, his second video directed. The inspiration for the video is having simple objects in Chester’s bedroom turning into a new sort of enviroment for the band to play “live” in. On March 25th, I snagged my copy along with hundreds upon thousands of crazed fans. On first listen through, you detect a little maturity, but similar sounding songs. Now after hundreds of listens, many hours spent filling my ears. A definite maturity is still there, more bass heavy, more screaming, better rapping, more experimental. And my favorite track would be “Lying From You”. The song that debuted on the Linkin Park website. Starts off some scratching and a few bass thumps, and the song explodes into an anger filled mixture of guitars, bass, drums and turntables. Mike steps in and starts laying down his rhymes about how how his personality has taken apart by some girl. So now that “Somewhere I Belong” has had its affect on the music industry, Linkin Park has instantaneously put out two more singles, “Faint” and “From the Inside”. After the huge success that [Hybrid Theory] had and after all the singles, the album was turned into one hit song and I really wouldn’t like to see that happen to Meteora.
After much listening to, I really feel this album gets a definite 4 and a half. I have few disagreements with this album, except for track 6, “Easier to Run”. It really just doesn’t fit with the rest of the surrounding song. Chester’s voice is too long and drawn out, which really irritates me. Other then “Easier to Run” I’d say this album is solid, absolutely amazing. Right now, you can catch Linkin Park on Projekt Revolution 2, after this short stint, next up is Summer Sanitarium, featuring Metallica, Limp Bizkit, the Deftones and Mudvayne.

Soundtrack to Life – Happy Haunting – My Big Year

Welcome to week 7. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long to me. Time just seems to have been flying by as of late. Weeks just melt one into the other. Guess that’s what happens when ya get older. I remember Monday through Friday used to just drag on, but that was while I was still in school. Never mind, I’ve digressed already. I really gotta stop doing that. Aside from this I’m working on a few other stories that’ll go up here with at least one of them being a multi-chapter multi-week thing. Trust me, it’ll be more interesting than this has been.

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Happy Haunting – My Big Year

“Her Ghost in the Fog” by Cradle of Filth

And so I’d been asked to join the Hartford Jaycees. I made it to the next meeting, payed the membership fee and signed the papers. I was to be sworn in at the banquet they hold every year in January. It was a fine afair. Good food as opposed to what we got this year. As expected the gift exchange turned into a war. During the banquet, we hold a gift exchange in which all involved draw lots to see who picks first. That person goes up to the table, takes a gift and unwraps it in front of everyone. When the next person goes, they can take something off the table or take another person’s gift. If someone has their gift taken from them, they can go back to the table or take someone else’s gift. That all works with the “No Tag Backs” policy. If someone takes something from you, you can’t take it back, at least not right now. It was all in good fun and I enjoyed it, but this wasn’t why I’d joined the Jaycees.

Next week, yes, still in January, meetings were held every Wednesday night to plan this year’s haunted house. I was excited naturally. Since I was new to this meant I had some fresh new ideas that perhaps hadn’t been thought of before. Usually, Gary already has at least one concrete idea that is for sure going into the house, and this year was no different. Before announcing it though, he told me that he had me in mind for this room. Basically, I was to be a vampire, dead in my coffin. My slayer would announce that she had just killed me and that they had nothing to fear. At this point, through use of a remote, I’d turn off the main lights. I’d hop out of the coffin and stand in position to be hit with a pin light that would light up my face. Not only that, but he had this in mind to be the big scare of the house. Guess that makes me star of the show. Now I’d have to live up to the pressure.

So we got to kicking around other ideas for the house. I had a favorite of mine, a combined effort between me and another memeber, Ben I believe. The group would walk in and see a man sitting in front of a TV, watching clips from horror movies. We had the “Boogeymen” DVD in mind for this. He’d flip between scenes, making comments as he went. He’d then hit a button on the remote, which would switch between the DVD and a camcorder that was also hooked up to the TV. “Oh! This is my favorite one!” he says. The guests see the camera shaking around in a darkened room, with only bits of light coming in. There is a door. One monstrous hand reaches up and pushes the door open just a bit. What does the camcorder see? The group in the room. It should dawn on them about the time that the monster comes flying out of the closet. Woulda worked great, but it became a matter of how much technical work would go into it. I’d also decided around this time that I wanted to put some real music in the house this year. So, I asked around the internet, and checked out a few bands. One band came to mind as I listened to one of their songs. It was Cradle of Filth. The song, “Her Ghost in the Fog”. It was Bloodbath’s entrance music in PWF. It just sounded perfect. I began downloading their music with the intent of whipping up a good soundtrack for the haunted house. I now own around 7 of their CDs. Sadly, the music never got used, but it was still to be a good year.

I don’t recall doing much in the way of clean up, but we started getting out there in the later months to work. Myself, Lara and Aki helped where we could. My job was mostly moving big things, but I did some basic construction as well. Lara and Aki helped me when possible but also handled a portion of the cleaning. I believe they also helped us grill out on a few days. For the most part, the three of us concentrated on what was to be my room. Using caulk, we glued pieces of pink styrofoam to the black wall in the shapes of bricks. Now, when styrofoam is sprayed with gray spray paint, not only does it take on the gray color, but the chemicals eat into the styrofoam and make a nice brick texture. I also bought several lengths of red satiny fabric to hang from the ceiling. In the end, the room had a nice, coffin-like appearance. When the local paper came through before the house was open, I was summoned along with Lara, Jerry and a few others to appear for pictures. The picture we had taken was myself holding Lara and bending down as if to bite her. If my scanner was up and running, I would put it up on the board for you guys to see. I’m the big scare in the house, a whole room designed for me, and my picture in the paper. This was definitely turning into my year.

My costume consisted of black slacks with a belt, long sleeve fishnet shirt, studded bracelets, plain black T-shirt, form fitting gray suit vest, classic black and red cape and a silver medallion with a red jewel. I paled my face and added some black paint around my eyes, and of course had the professional style fangs. Excellent costume. To add to it all, perhaps 15 minute before I left, I looked up some words in Latin. Enough to form a few sentence, just enough to give the guests a little talking to. And in case they stepped out of line I learned “You’re not funny”, “Idiot” and “Shut up”. I had my share of good scares, but also an equal amount of morons. My slayer was played by four different people on any given day. Aki, Kerrie, and Amy all played that they were the slayer and they had just killed me, saying the curse was over. Lara played it differently. She acted as an indignant member of the household who had lived here peacefully with the other ghouls until myself and the other vampires moved in. It was all in good fun. I had a few favorite moments of the year.

-When the lights went out, I’d smell blood. That is to say, I could make out the various scared noises made by our guests. Whoever seemed to be the most scared would be my target. I’d find where they were, lean over the rail right in front of them and turn on the strobes. I had some great reactions. A lot of people would hit the wall behind them when they backed up. I had one woman break into a frantic dance. Can’t say I’ve ever been so scared that I danced. One girl said she was gonna have nightmares. That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing that I terrified someone to that level.

-Again, some smart mouthed kids provided ample entertainment. They just wouldn’t shut up….. until I turned on the strobes. They froze and shut up as I addressed them, clearly scared at the vampire with the funny language. When I bid them to leave they did so. And as they got down the hall, they started mouthing off again, mocking me. This, I wouldn’t let slide. I hopped the rail and chased them down, getting one more good scare before they left.

-Aki had been trying to have a cigarette between groups while working with me. She assured me that when the group set off the buzzer in the adjoining hall, she could run from the door to her position in my room before they entered. The buzzer went off, she tore down the hall, hopped the rail and was in position. Excellent. She did this with the following three groups, but as we know, with any risk you run, it’s only a matter of time before it gets you…. The buzzer goes off, I hear her run, she gets in the room, leaps the rail and BAM! Slams her knee into the rail. Nothing serious, but we both had a good laugh about it later.

-Jamison working the Toxic Shock room. Classic gold, I’m telling you. He’d just rant and rave, coming up with ways to mess with people. “Your mother called! She worries!”. And to anyone with short hair “Get a haircut, hippie!” It was absolutley hilarious.

-Since I was the main part of my room, I only left my room to take a bathroom break I believe two or three times that year. It was all on the last night too. I’ll just say stomach problems and leave it at that. However, our bathroom door jams shut, so you gotta be careful on how hard you close it. I did, but someone tried to get in while I was in. I told them I was in there, and he pushed the door all the way shut. Fuck. Thankfully, it was a slow night. I threw my shoulder into the door several times, kicked it, but it wouldn’t budge. So, I stood on the toilet and kicked just above the knob and it flew open….. while a group was in the room. I only missed maybe three groups the entire year, and it was all due to that bathroom.

Another year had come and gone, and now we’re staring down the barrel of October 2003. We already have the house planned and work is already being started. Again, there is a room with me in mind for it, but it’s the first room of the house. We’ll see what this coming year holds.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com

Review: Linkin Park – Meteora

The guys of Linkin Park have struck platinum again, almost in the opening week of their sophomore album, Meteora. The much-anticipated follow-up from their debut album, [Hybrid Theory], is a continuation of feelings that lead singers Chester Bennigton and Mike Shinoda have dealt with, mixed in with their traditional rock and hip-hop feel. With [Hybrid Theory] selling over 8 million copies in 2002, Linkin Park has a lot to live up to. If selling almost 1 million copies in the opening week signifies anything, this band signed under Warner Bros. could be the biggest band of our generation.

Meteora was set for release on March 25th, and the weeks prior to the launch date, Linkin Park released the first single off their album, entitled, “Somewhere I Belong.” The song is about an individual not fitting in anywhere they go and they just want to find a place where they are accepted graciously. The group’s DJ, Joseph Hahn directed the video for, “Somewhere I Belong,” and went on to say that the concept of the video is, “Basically a dream sequence that’s taking place, and the familiar objects in the room are turning into the reality, which is the dream, which is not the reality. It’s a whole play on your mind.” The song has already hit number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Chart and Mainstream Rock Chart.

The rest of the songs are currently unreleased, but out of all the songs, I think one of my favorites would have to be “Nobody’s Listening.” This song starts out with the sound of something like a recorder, flute, or clarinet. The drums, bass, and light guitar follow this. Mike Shinoda raps about how he had a lot of stress and how common people caused them. Just when he reveals what he has to say, especially the people who caused it, he is just ignored and no one listens.

“Figure 0.9” starts off with a nice soft drum beat, and then, the guitars and bass interrupt. This song talks about taking the bad qualities and the memories of a loved one and making them apart of you as an individual. Mike Shinoda raps while Chest sings the chorus.

Another track I enjoy has been in the writing process for six years, entitled “Break the Habit.” The turntables are used nicely on this and the beat gets a little faster but is still extremely mellow as the rest of the instruments come into play. Chester sings the whole song, which is about how one feels that they have the need to scream, fight, and lash out, for reasons unknown, but it’s hinted due to the memories, such as some terrible events that took place in their life. Once this person realizes this, they try to stop, or as they call it, “Break the Habit.”

After hearing Meteora a couple of times, I feel that this album gets 3 and a half Stars out of 5 Stars. The reason why I give this is because although the songs are good, I’ve only been really happy with about three or four, the rest were all right. I think Mike Shinoda’s lyrics have progressively gotten better, but I feel there is a little bit too much guitar on the songs. The album is still well, well enough in fact to land at the number one slot on the Billboard 200. Linkin Park will be on the Summer Sanitarium Tour with Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, and Mudvayne. For more information on Linkin Park, check out Linkin Park.com.

Soundtrack to Life – Happy Haunting – The Move

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to week 5. This week will be a continuation of last week, as I felt this story was entirely too long for one week. Though I’m not really worried about running out of stories, I’m reminding you all now that this isn’t just my column. It is yours as well as mine. Particularly, I think this is a good chance for you writers to spread your wings and be the spotlight of the week. You will get mention in the title so people know it’s you writing for the week. But anyways, enjoy this week’s naration.

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Happy Haunting – The Move

“Suggestions” by System of a Down

My second year of working for the haunted house faded into memory as one of the greats. Though I didn’t have a major role, I felt as though I was coming into my own. I’d actually had a few roles this year that I held for more than one night. Perhaps Gary was begining to realize that I was one of the more dependable workers we had. What would the next year hold though? What brilliant schemes and scares would we have prepared for 2001? I could only sit and wait to find out. Who would have thought that the Jaycees would be the recipient of the first scare.

They had been planning the house for a few months and were about to head out to the site to begin work, when they received a rather unwelcome piece of news. The owner of the warehouse had decided, that despite the contributions to the community, they would increase the rent, forcing them to pay a fee they couldn’t afford. It was over. Our house site had been taken from us. The haunted house had actually been a structure within a structure. Walls and all had been built up by the Hartford Jaycees, and now they could no longer have it there. It looked as though there wouldn’t be a haunted house this year. When I got the news, it was like telling little Timmy that there wouldn’t be a Christmas this year. In the two years working for this establishment, I’d grown so very fond of this event. Halloween had taken over as my favorite holiday. And now, I was being told that I may not be able to celebrate it this year as I’d like to. But like any Christmas story, just when things seemed their worst, a ray of hope shown through. Someone had located a vacated farm house out in Slinger. Two stories plus a basement as well as an adjacent barn. Look at Rudolph’s nose everyone! He can light our way through the fog! Christmas Halloween was saved!

Times change though, as do some of those things you’d once thought were a constant. Jay moved out to Milwaukee, and Musse could no longer work for the haunted house due to a court ruling, so it seemed my ride was history. Aki, much like myself had been looking forward to this Halloween and wasn’t about to let this be a set back. She’d talked her boyfriend at the time into taking us out there. Everything was falling into place, we just needed some new gear for the year. We made a trip out to Halloween Express. I picked up a black velvet cape and studded cuffs, while Aki collected a black velvet dress and black vinyl cape. It wasn’t much, but it would provide us with something new for the year, rather than the dressing room full of ancient costumes.

When we arrived, we were greeted by much of the staff of previous years, as well as a few new faces. Sure enough, Lara and Tiff were amongst the crowd. After getting a swift guided tour, we hurried to the second floor of the barn where our make up room now was. It all didn’t seem to have the spaciousness of the warehouse, but the fact that it was a real house added to the atmosphere. I’d found out that on my first night, I’d be working with the infamous Aaron Smiley. His claim to fame was his butcher routine. He has this ability to intimidate most anyone that enters that makes him quite helpful to the house. Tonight, he’d be taking on a new persona; That of one Dr. McNasty.

I played his giggling psycho of an assistant, but I wasn’t all that convincing. Aaron got into his role, perhaps a little too far. He began saying rather lewd things to customers. Asking them to turn around so that he could “get a specimen”. Snapping a rubber glove, saying they could do this “The easy way or the hard way”. I wasn’t too surprised to find that he’d been removed by the end of the first weekend. Second night, I had the easiest scare in the house. I was the chainsaw man. We had a path going through the forest outside. I found myself a little area to hide behind, only to come charging out at the group, saw a-blazin’. One of the first groups I did this for was some smart mouthed little kids. I came charging out, fired up the saw, and it died, not 3 yard away. The kids made some smart alec remark at me, just as I got the saw started again. They changed their tune mighty quick, and wound up cowering on the ground as I stood over them. There it was, that power trip. I laughed and ushered them away. I remember another group, one that knew my location and started running before I even appeared. I chased them anyways, saw over my head screaming “You’re all gonna die!!!”. Where else can you get away with that? I loved it. Unfortunately for me though, the saw died and I resided within the house for the rest of the night, moving from room to room.

We’d met up with Speedy, a friend of ours from West Bend at the house, and he offered to be our ride from then on in. That next weekend, I was pleasantly surprised with my assignment. Gary told me they needed someone to run the kitchen, first room of the house. I would actually be running a room! Here’s hopin’ I don’t drop the ball. I whipped up a costume, character and script and shot from the hip. It was a success! I loved working this room, absolutely loved it. I got so into it, that my southern-fried Beetlejuice accent actually carried over to my real life at times. I was high energy, always looking for some innovation, and just reasons to act strange in general. I wasn’t me and I was having a blast. I had a few favorite moments in this room.

-Our two big scares in the room were the table, where someone was hidden within and would jump on cue, and a soup pot that when a sensor was tripped, air would blast out of a hose and make the lid jump. After I got the table scare on one group, I stated “Now, if yall don’t like that, Yall gotta try mah soup!” Upon saying this, a young man in a letterman’s jacket backed away from the pot. I had to single him out. “Aww, whassa matter? Big bad letterman afraid of a little soup?!” He jumped pretty good when that went off too.

-Working with Lara on the final night, we had one group remaining. She warned me that she would ham it up for this group and I told her to go nuts. Her normal line to me was “The soup doesn’t want to be eaten!”, so that takes maybe a few seconds. She unleashed with a minute long tirade, completely off the cuff, about why the guests shouldn’t eat the soup. She wound up backing me into a corner, and when she was done, all I had for a rebuttal was “Uh, okay.” Yet another priceless memory.

Ahh, working with Lara, yes. That’s another story in and of itself. Until this point, I’d only really known her as that girl from Hartford who worked at the haunted house. When I learned she was Aki’s friend, she was now a friend of a friend. But this year, things changed. I remember a night in particular. It had been a relatively slow night, groups coming through every 3 minutes or so. I remember it snowing, though just a little. I’d take breaks between groups, stepping out onto the balcony, watching the snow and awaiting the next group. To pass the time, Lara and I talked. Aki had told me a little about this girl, but I had no idea the troubles she had faced in her life. Much was similar in our lives, so we had much to talk about. By the end of the night, I’d realized that we weren’t such strangers after all. More like “kindered spirits”. A heart warming moment, no?

I’d made such an impression on Gary that I was asked to hold the position all year. By the end of the year, my room had shown signs of wear and tear. Dents and chip in the floor, counter and sink. Broken pots, pans and other utensils. I just went all out in here. To this day, this is my favorite room I ever worked. On that final night, Gary asked if I’d be interested in joining the Jaycees so I could help plan next year’s house. This was gonna be great! Finally, my input helps to make the haunted house. It was gonna be another good year.

The reason for the song; I remember listening to this song on the way to the house for the first time this year. We listened to the whole CD, this one just stuck out for some reason.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com

Soundtrack to Life – Happy Haunting – The Warehouse Years

I now start this column for the second time. Gotta love it when your computer freezes. Anyways, this is now the fourth week of this column and still no mail… ingrates. I kid, I kid. I would like to thank J and Aki for the positive feedback though. Thusfar, I’ve given you two examples of the kind of stories I’m looking for: Where the song is the focal point of the story, and where the song provides a backstory to the actual story. This will be a third, one where I’d heard this song frequently during the time of the events, to a point where when I hear this song today and think of this story. It’s something I talked about on the board at length, though hardly touched upon the topic, however much sense that makes. Warning, this is a long one as it covers 2 years. Expect the sequel, maybe next week. Enjoy.

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Happy Haunting – The Warehouse Years

“Superbeast” by Rob Zombie

As they turned down down the corridor, the light faded to pitch black. They’d lost sight of everything; their path, eachother and even their hands were they to even place them not an inch from their face. They felt along the smooth wooden walls, navigating their now invisible path. The girls huddled close to their respective guys who boldly, though apprehensively led the way. Another corner, and amidst the cacophony of the thunder storm they’d left behind, something else could be heard. Something mechanical, gears turning with no relent. Also, there was a hint of something else, music. To a few of the party members, it was a little familiar. An eerie electronic/metal kind of music. Down the hall, they saw light, and though dim, it was enough to illuminate the path ahead. They sped up to once again regain their vision. The concrete floor beneath their feet gave way to a hollow sounding wooden ramp. They stepped up onto the platform and turned with the path to see what lay up ahead. It was like something out of a psychadelic dream. Before them, a wooden bridge, perhaps 15 feet in length, but what was it’s purpose? Why, to carry them over the swirling aether about them. A portal, or so it seemed. Neon blues, oranges and whites rotated clockwise. This was the source of the music.

Shriek the lips across the ragged tongue
Convulsing together sing violently
Move the jaw, cry aloud
Bound up the dead triumphantly

The song was “Superbeast” by Rob Zombie, but the song was no warning, as clearly there was no “Superbeast” in sight. They marveled at the sight for but a moment, before one of the girls prodded her beau out onto the bridge. Convinced it was stable, they all stepped out onto the bridge. But the surroundings had been deceptive. With the swirling all around them, a feeling of vertigo took over. They all felt as though they were drawn to the left hand rail, as if the bridge was forcibly trying to throw them off. They fought to ignore the sensation, focusing on the end of the bridge. Another platform there, with mirror to make the deception just that much more influential. Halfway across when they noticed something else. A form, seemingly melting out of the wall and floor beneath the mirror. Before they knew what it was, it exploded into motion. A feral growl from the creature briefly drowned out the music as it charged down the bridge. The men backed up, the women clutched to them out of fear, some screaming in horror. And then it stopped, only a few inches from the party. It looked like a reject member of Slipknot: Navy blue coveralls, chains draped over it’s shoulders and tied about it’s waist, and it’s face, covered in a gray hood with a cage of forged iron covering it’s visage. It took a moment to look at each member of the group, relishing in the terror of the women it seemed. And then it laughed, a low sinister laugh. The creature’s maw glowed when it opened. Slowly, it backed off, also effected by the vertigo it seemed as it clutched the rail and faded back to the wall. The party looked at the odd figure as they walked past and into another series of black corridors.

As they left, Gary walked in. He looked around and walked across the bridge to my position.

“Good job. I gotta go follow those guys cuz they’ve been causing trouble in the other rooms.”

I lifted my mask and took the glowing mouthpiece out.

“Alright.” I said.

Gary plodded off after them, flashlight in hand. It was gonna be a long night. That’s just a little example of how things go on a nightly basis when you’re working at a haunted house.

It all really started back in 1999. Scott’s accident had brought us all closer together in my little group of friends. And whereas I’d been excluded from many things in the past due to living in the middle of nowhere, my friends now made strides to contact me frequently about what was going on. On one night, after visiting him in the hospital, myself Jay and Musse went about the town, just enjoying the night. They then offered me and invite to work with the haunted house they worked with. I figured it might be something fun to do, so I told ’em to give me a call when the time came. They came through with their promise, and shortly after on a Wednesday night, we were on our way to the haunted house. Granted, it was the middle of summer, and it didn’t start running until October, they needed to start work on it early.

I was expecting a decrepit old house but was rather surprised when we pulled up in a gravel lot with several long warehouses. This was the sight of a haunted house? When we entered, a few people milled about, moving things around. Some people were disassembling things, while others were putting things together. Very industrious it seemed.

“I wonder if Tiffany and Lara (yes, the same Lara who posts at these boards) are here.” Musse mused.

“Who’re they?” I asked.

“Some people we worked with last year.” Jay answered.

As if on cue, out they came. They welcomed Jay and Musse back fondly, but now it was time for introductions.

Jay: “Lara, Tiff, this is doG.”

Me: “What?”

Tiff: “Why doG?”

Jay: “It’s like God, but backwards. Cuz Joe is God.”

Me: “Just call me Joe.”

Lara: “Nice to meet you doG.”

Me: “It’s Joe!”

Jay: “Sure it is doG.”

Me: “Jason….”

And thus, we were called The Zoo. Jay is known often as Mouse. Musse is, well, Moose. And I’m doG. Thus, The Zoo.

With introductions out of the way, Jay decided to take us on a guided tour. As we went from room to room, we’d get in the way of those who were working, and Jay would vanish momentarily only to pop up when we least expected it. When it came time to work, we weren’t allowed to do much as we weren’t 18 yet, so for the most part we painted and cleaned things. That was our duty, but we kept it interesting, interspersing it with a quick vanishing act followed by popping up when anyone walked by. It practically became a competition.

First night of actually working as a monster, I worked with Ben. Ben is infamous not only in our house but in the community for piecing together some of the best costumes around Halloween. This year, it was a hideous alien costume with boots that made him about 8 feet tall. Pretty imposing when he comes stalking out of his cell. I played the survivor of an alien attack. Smashing outfit too; black and neon yellow jogging jacket, a red bandana and Laser Tag gear. In any case, I’d tell the groups of the attack and tell them to get out. At this time Ben would come charging out in his alien gear and I would “fend him off”. When Jay helped me in here serving as Captain, we were a little better. After that night, I worked in the dark maze. Basically, I didn’t have to be seen, didn’t have to act, just give the group a scare when they walked past. I still dressed up, as I’d occassionally follow groups into the light. Beat up flannel, chain around the waist, glow in the dark hockey mask.

One of my fonder memories was trailing one group for two rooms. Through the cemetary, into the Ogre’s room. The Ogre was a huge prop we’d pieced together with what we could find. It was rigged so that it would stand up, over 10 feet tall. Someone, using a voice changer would then speak for it. I’d followed this group in, the Ogre stood, and demanded one of the girl’s to step forward. After several demands, she still wouldn’t budge.

“He said ‘Step forward'” I rhasped. Now, she moved. They were honestly scared. I’d put fear into these people. Shy little me who’d never really been taken seriously by my peers before was now making the demands, and they were listening. Power trip, ‘nough said. And honestly, that’s a part of doing this that I absolutely love. On any given day, I’m just another guy in this world, another face in the crowd, someone you wouldn’t think twice about, someone you’ll forget in a minute’s time. In that house though, I’m not me. I’m feared, I’m a focal point, I’m someone you’ll remember days later, maybe longer. It’s a complete role reversal, and it’s just such a rush to me. The fact that I might be giving someone nightmares….. and then when I get into costume those nightmares are worse! Couldn’t miss the dig at myself.

After the season was over, I coudn’t wait for the next year. And in the late spring, we returned to start working. As per usual, the comaraderie was much the same. Idle chat and gossip while working, brief breaks during our job in which one would chase one another with a broom or something that could conceivable hurt. During one such spree, Lara walks in.

“You guys are crazy. I missed you!”

That gets ya right here, don’t it? I was starting to feel at home here. I couldn’t wait for our weekly visits to help out, as is the case to this day. But this year, we didn’t show up for most nights. Still there was our share of memories.

As mentioned above, my favored costume was the Slipknot gear I’d assembled. I worked the black hole (as described earlier), and the office. I’d hide behind what was supposed to be French Doors, and on cue I’d shut off the lights, throw on the strobe and come charging out. That was actually my first role as a big scare, so I was happy for the opportunity. When I wasn’t working those rooms or the dark maze, I’d be working the Exorcist room in which I played a priest. Everything was rigged to move around at the push of a switch. Drawers, a chair, the bed. I would either be chanting over the afflicted girl’s bed, or sitting in a chair rocking back and forth saying “No hope.” Being me, I had to take a few shots at organized religion while dressed the part. Never in front of the guests though, as it would likely offend them. I was often found in the dressing room crossing myself, nodding and saying “Send me money.” Well, I thought it was funny.

Of course there was the whole Legacy room fiasco I’d mentioned before on the boards. Jay and Musse basically turned this room into a two man mosh pit. They ruined everything in that room. Shelves, books, decorations, you name it, they wrecked it. They actually put a hole in one of the walls, illuminating one of the dark mazes. When they weren’t working it, thankfully others continued the trend with that room. Actually, Lara and Aki worked the room one night. On that night, I just so happened to be roaming around the place, lookin’ for a good scare. I got it in my mind, that these people are already jumpy, so I don’t have to try hard, just thump the wall. Trust me, sometimes, that’s all it takes. So, I was walking down an access hallway, thumping the walls every few feet. And when I made it to the Legacy room, I hear a group in there, so I gave the wall and extra hard thump. Screams come from the room. Yes!

“Hey! You knocked the light out!”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Ah yes, Aki. How she became a part of the house was a different story. See, we didn’t want siblings getting involved, namely due to Musse’s little brother. He was obnoxious at the time, just trust me. The annoying sort of tag along. As it worked out actually, Aki met Lara online. Lara had been a part of the house, practically since it’s conception, so that’s how she was a part of it. Anyways, she was trying to get ahold of Jay, and wound up getting Aki. They clicked, and the rest is history. So that’s how Aki became a part of it all. She and Lara frequently worked the elevator. They didn’t aim to scare, just to entertain. Their method: Speaking in British accents and taunting the guests. It was quite hilarious.

Even the hallway after the elevator had it’s own stories. For one, we had fake picture frames that the monsters could “interface” with the groups through. Whether it be just snarling or reaching at them. I got quite a few good scares like that. It was through one of those pictures that I caught something I thought was priceless. The group came out and was greeted by my friend Adam standing there. “I’m Adam, I’ll be your screaming idiot for the night.” And with that, he tore off down the hall. Well, we say if ya can’t scare ’em, entertain ’em.

That final night, as we had our “cast party after the show”, there was a nacho cheese fight. It all kinda started by accident, but it was all in good fun. Nights like these layed the foundation for coming years. Not just for the haunted house, but for friends as well. And every night, before and after we were done, a few select tracks from Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe could be heard over all, blaring from the black hole. I can never hear that album without thinking of my nights working for the Hartford Jaycees Haunted House.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com

Soundtrack to Life – Graduation

Okay, so the past two columns have not been exactly what the idea of this column is all about. As such, I’ve received no other stories from any of you. No matter. Things may change over time. But anyways, this story will be a break from the other two, and give you a better idea of what I’m looking for.

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Graduation

“So Long” by The Suicide Machines

I barely remembered the past few nights. Most of the other students were studying hard to see to it they’d make it out those doors uncontested. That was never a worry for me. I’d always been good when it came to tests and exams, so that was the least of my worries. My past few nights had been spent with my friends, lovin’ life on the streets of this miserable city. I was too focused on the days ahead to worry about what questions might be on the papers they threw at us. Here it was, I was finally here. After 13 long years, I’d no longer have to wake up every morning and settle into the ever-conforming crowd so that I could learn. This was it, time to graduate.

I’d taken care to wake up early that day. My friends and I had decided to arrive in style on that final day of school. I was all set, waiting for our chariot to arrive. And there it was. A red convertible Pontiac Sunfire, top down of course. Okay, so it ain’t the snazziest car out there, but come on, it was a convertible. Musse was driving, and I was his first stop. Hopped in the passenger side and enjoyed the crisp summer air of the early morning. Dew still clinging to everything gave the world a distinctive smell. Ahhh, freedom. We gathered up Jay and Tim on the way to school. My god it was beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a morning as much as I enjoyed this one.

I finally felt liberated in this school. With a spring in my step and the heels of my brand new combat boots clicking off the ground, I wandered through many of the halls for what I knew would be the last time. Memories came flooding back. The friends I met, the jokes we shared, the girls I admired from afar, the classes I’d had throughout the past 4 years, and all the changes that had taken place in the building. I looked around for Her, one last time, hoping for the courage to speak, but it never came. Oh well, time for class.

I don’t remember what exams I had that day, though I think it was only one. It never felt so good to leave that school. I wouldn’t have to put up with these people anymore, I hoped. The fact of the matter is, no matter where you go, you’ll have assholes to deal with. But that’s neither here nor there. School had been this burden on my shoulders, the warden watching the inmates, the obligation to which we all had to respond. Perhaps I took it more seriously than others, and that’s why I felt so liberated to be out of there. Honestly, I still have recurring nightmares of being late for school. Told ya I was lame.

Our school, West Bend East and West Highschool, was divided into those two compass points. East had their graduation first, which I sadly didn’t attend. Jay was there, Tim was there, yet I didn’t make it to the cerimony. The next night, West Highschool held it’s graduation. All of the graduates had to go to their homeroom class rooms to get ready for the cerimony. All the guest had to wait in the gymnasium for the cerimony to begin. Teachers and staff patrolled the halls to be sure nobody was breaking the rules. But, leave it to my friends…..

“Joe!”

I looked down the hall and here came Tia, Jay and Adam. The three had gotten past security just to see me before the cerimony. I got a hug from Tia and the four of us chatted for a moment before they wished me luck and headed back to the gymnasium, unescorted by “security”. Here I was, feeling all alone up here, couldn’t find anyone from my class who cared enough to talk to me, and these three wind up finding me. I didn’t see anybody else breaking the rules to see their friends. Damn, I felt special.

We entered the gymnasium, double file, guys and girls arm in arm. Hearing the graduation theme playing, I held myself up high, almost strutting into the assembly. Of course, being a wrestling fan, I couldn’t shake images of Macho Man Randy Savage, but that’s neither here nor there. We sat through the speeches and performances from our valedictorians and other students. I didn’t care much for it, as I remembered some of these people being pompous asses. Of course there were people in the class wearing the masking tape “Hi Mom” on their mortar boards, but no, no streakers. Zack Aiuppa talked about it, but of course he didn’t follow through. The moment of the cerimony had to be Mr. Klingon standing before the assembly and singing “I Hope You Dance” by Leann Wommack, a song which to this day I haven’t forgotten, and have sort of grown attached to.

Time came for us to walk across the stage. I watched as single file they went across the stage. Applause was to be held until the end of the cerimony, but there were a few rowdy onlookers who felt a need to hoot and holler for their friend or family member. I didn’t plan on doing anything fancy when crossing the stage. Just to take my diploma with a somber straight face. My time was coming as we wound down the line.

“Joseph R. Nichols”

I walked up the steps, shook hands, and just as I reached for my diploma, I hear it straight ahead of me in a higher tier of bleachers.

“Go Joe!”

Damn them. I couldn’t help grinning ear to ear. One of the few who got a cheer.

When all was said and done, the tassle had been turned to the other side, it was time to mingle. We left the gymnasium, passing by friends and family. There was my ever-proud father with the camcorder in hand and his friend Tom. We made our way to the cafeteria where all could meet and talk. My dad handed me the camera as I went around meeting up with my friends and other graduates. While wandering from group to group, I couldn’t help but sing a little, low enough so the camera didn’t catch it though. A song I’d heard lately, playing from the tape deck in Jay’s van.

“You know you make me wanna say so long
You know you make me wanna say good bye.”

A lot of them did. There were a lot of people in the cafeteria that day that I never cared to see again. I wanted to put this place behind me as soon as possible. I still had one more social event to attend though. Project Graduation.

I got in Jay’s van and stopped at his house to change into my street clothes, nameley my black T-shirt with a red anarchy symbol on the front, and “Punk’s Not Dead” in white lettering on the back. Oh yeah, I was gonna ruffle some feathers. The whole event was basically to keep us from drinking and raising a ruckus on the streets that night. Jay and I went cuz it just seemed like a good idea. Hell, free food and a variety of activities beat the hell outta boredom and having to pay for a meal at Webb’s. Jay cleaned house in the gambling event we had there, and wound up ranking third over all. He picked up a microwave as his prize. This was very exciting at the time as we were talking about opening a coffee shop at the time. In the big raffle we had going on, I got a blanket. Whoopdeefuckin’doo. Well, we could use it for the roadtrip we were planning. We still had fun though. An American Gladiator style joust event was there, and a boxing game with oversized gloves. So whenever we got bored we beat the tar out of eachother. There was a hypnotist there later on, always good entertainment. Yeah, it was all sappy wholesome fun, but hey, it was fun.

As we drove off that night, I couldn’t shake the song from my head. This was it, the last hurrah. I wouldn’t see a lot of these people ever again. And as I thought about it, I smiled. Though the song is more of a breakup song, I guess it fits my relationship with that school.

How could such a simple argument turn into this?
I thought that I knew everything about you.
I pushed that flashing red button that set you off.
I guess that I didn’t really know you as well as I thought I did.
I guess that I figured out everything about you.
I guess that I know all there is to know.
I guess that I figured out what makes you do the things you do.
I guess that I know everything that there is to know.
You know you make me wanna say so long.
You know you make me wanna say good bye.
You know you make me wanna say so long.
You know you make me wanna say GOOD BYE!!!
How could you do all the things you’ve done to me?
And still have the nerve to say we’re friends, I don’t know.
They tell me that it’s all a part of growing up and being scared.
When I was down and out, where were you, you weren’t there!
I guess that I figured out everything about you.
I guess that I know all there is to know.
I guess that I figured out what makes you do the things you do.
I guess that I know everything that there is to know.
You know you make me wanna say so long.
You know you make me wanna say good bye.
You know you make me wanna say so long.
You know you make me wanna say GOOD BYE!!!
Good bye!
Good bye!
Good bye!
Good fuckin’ bye!

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com

Interview: Depswa

Well everyone, a little bit after 3 PM on March 14th, I had the privilege of interviewing Depswa, a new band signed to Geffen Records. I recently saw them on tour with Trust Company and The Chevelle (Pacifier was unable to attend) and they did a great job. Finally, here is the interview with Depswa. For more information, go to Depswa.com
I interviewed Jeremy Penick, the lead singer of Depswa.
Bear: Hey Jeremy, how’re you doin’ today?
Jeremy: Uhm, great.
Bear: OK, so right now, I believe you guys are n the Sensory Overload Tour with Trust Company and Blindeside. How’s that been going for ya?
Jeremy: Actually, right now, we’re with Mudvayne and In Flames. That’s been going good so far.
Bear: So why did you guys hop off the tour with Trust Company?
Jeremy: We jumped off because of the dates, better dates for us.
Bear: Alright. Well, as I might have said before, it was on the Sensory Overload Tour where I first heard of you guys. I was at Ziggy’s in February when you played with Chevelle. I mean, how did it feel sharing the stage with Chevelle and Trust Company?
Jeremy: It was great. The guys are awesome, they’re nice, and they’re a real good band. Trust Company was cool too. Chevelle is real hot right now though. We wish them the best.
Bear: Yea, I agree totally. They got a new video and single out right now. Alright, let me shift gears for a second and talk about Depswa’s past, because my audience isn’t too familiar with you guys.
Jeremy: That’s cool.
Bear: From my understanding, Depswa was originally a three piece set, and you guys were called Carcinogen. Since then, they were additions to the lineup and you guys were located at San Francisco at the time. Is that right? Like, different is Depswa compared from the beginning?
Jeremy: Actually, we were located in Turdock-
Bear: What was that?
Jeremy: Turdock, T-U-R-D-O-C-K, it’s near Canton and that area, there are huge differences since then. There were lineup changes and we were something we really weren’t. We were hardcore and we weren’t too different. Now, we are more into what we are now, we are more ourselves now.
Bear: I hear ya.
Jeremy: We were called Carcinogen, but like we said, we changed to Depswa. No one knows what a Depswa is.
Bear: I hear ya there, but let me ask you. How did you enjoy your time in that period? I mean, how different was that time compared to now? Like, when you reflect on those times, how much did you change? Better?
Jeremy: Yea, definitely better. Personally, I’m more comfortable (now), happier, we have more of a gratitude. We don’t really have many influences in our music, we are strictly ourselves.
Bear: A few years later, the band as a whole noticeably changed, in the respect of the name changing from Carcinogen to Depswa, a move to Los Angeles, changes in the lineup. What sparked this?
Jeremy: Well, I don’t think any one thing sparked this, I think it is something every band goes through. It was definitely a good growing period to get where we are now. I mean, new bands start out and try to play like who they admire, but as they get older, things keep on changing and they keep on working into their own mold. And, we’re continually changing, not just one day, but more like evolution, you know what I mean?
Bear: Yea.
Jeremy: Like, we have more guitar players. I enlisted with Dan (Noonan). We used to play together and then, when we moved to Los Angeles, I contacted him, and he really helped us out, with like a place to live, helped us get on our feet, and such. So, it has two parts.
Bear: Alright … there are lots of people, some including my site are wondering, just like anyone else � what does Depswa mean?
Jeremy: Depswa came from the movie, “Medicine Man”, Sean Connery was in it, and it took place in Venezuela. He is looking for a cure for cancer and he is working with these Venezuelan Rainforest people, and a Medicine Man, or healer in mind was called Depswa. So that’s where we got it, it has a certain stigma to it. No one knows what a Depswa is.
Bear: Alright. So you guys have been getting a following and eventually, signed to Geffen Records. How did this come about and what was the first thing you were thinking?
Jeremy: It was great. We are able to have a chance to have a chance, and we don’t take it for granted.
Bear: How did Geffen hear about you?
Jeremy: Well, we have been making demo recordings at our house, that’s where we do all our recordings. We pass out demos to people and someone passed our demo out to someone at Geffen’s A+R and they loved it. Also, a friend knew Slipknot, we met Cory, and we jammed for him. He really liked it and tried getting us to sign with their label, Maggot, but we went with Geffen. Cory understood and Maggot slipped.
Bear: Now that’s cool as hell man. I never knew that. Anyways, so you got signed and I believe you guys went into the studio around I’d say early spring 2002?
Jeremy: Uhm, yea.
Bear: You guys went in early spring 2002 to record Two Angels and a Dream. How do you guys feel about this album as a whole? How do you think the fans as a whole will respond to it, and are we expecting that out in May?
Jeremy: So far, it’s set for May. Yea, we were in the studio for three months, recording songs, and then, went back to record more songs and were done by October. We accomplished a lot and we’re very proud of it. We feel each song is individual, each song is an entity. I’m very proud and feel like a record hoping to make it. I’m just happy and fortunate. I’m not taking any of these for granted. As for the fan’s response, so far, a lotta people are connected with it. There have been kids who were impacted by it. I’m still stoked to listen to it. I’m stoked that the peeps are going to listen to it. Hopefully, everyone will just spread the joy.
Bear: I hear that. I know a lot of time and effort goes into the songs. When I attended the show at Ziggy’s, I don’t remember everything that happened, but I do remember hearing you say that one of your songs were about some aspect of Substance Abuse.
Jeremy: Yea, that was “Needles.”
Bear: Yea, this present my next question, what songs stand out the most in your mind? Is there a favorite?
Jeremy: Really, I have heard it a few times and, this is tough. Honestly, I can’t say I have one favorite songs. Every song is special. I love just listening to all the songs on “Two Angels and a Dream.”
Bear: Totally understandable. So, what will be the first single off “Two Angels and a Dream?” Can we expect a music video?
Jeremy: Well, we shot a video and we just did the video shoot for “This Time,” which is coming for a show called, “Adrenaline X,” so there are two we can pick from. “Adrenaline X” will be cool, it’s all like motocross, where all these pros live in a contest situation, and they have aerial jumps against each other. We even get to see the insight of the riders. When they did the last jump of the last day, we played underneath the event. It was cool and intense. There were mud everywhere, mud underneath it. It was cool!
Bear: So, will “Adrenaline X” be on TV, I mean, when could we expect it out? Like, channel, time slot?
Jeremy: It is going to be on NBC, Primetime … let me see if I remember this. I think the ads will be in May and it will air in June.
Bear: Sounds pretty tight. Now, you guys recently just signed up with what I consider one of the most important tours of the year, an annual festival of metal, the Ozzfest. How does it feel to play Ozzfest later this summer?
Jeremy: Fuckin’ dream come true! Yea, it’s like wishing for it to be the ultimate goal and how it’s come true. I can’t wait for it! I can’t wait to see all the bands, the performers, it’s going to be amazing. I’ll be seeing my aspirations for the past. My goal though is to represent Ozzfest and do a good job.
Bear: It’s no secret a ton of bands get known on the tour. This further Limp Bizkit’s career back in �98, Godsmack got big off of this, Drowning Pool was a huge breakout band. Could Depswa be the next?
Jeremy: Couldn’t say. No idea. I hope, I hope for the best, prepare for the worse. Ways don’t always come out as you like them. Mainly, just trying to connect with the music. Never say, “Yea, we’re the shit cuz we’re real.” We’re just glad to be doing it.
Bear: Lets hope you become the next breakout band though. Has there been any artists that have influenced Depswa?
Jeremy: Throughout the years, there have been all different influences and with all of us in the band, there is a wide variety of genres. Personally, I love all kinds of music, not just any one genre. You like what ya like. I like some songs, but then, I could like a band entirely. I like Radiohead, Meshuggah, I’m more into 70’s Music, the Doobies, Jeff Buckley, the Eagles.
Bear: It’s no secret you guys have shared the stage with a lot of bands. What has been most memorable?
Jeremy: That’s tough … there is a lot … I’d probably say Rob Zombie. He was cool and has been around for ages. KoRn, that was huge, it was like amazing to open up for them. It was amazing to me that they defined a scene.
Bear: Pretty much opened the door up for the Rap Metal Scene. What I want to know is, what do you guys, what does Depswa want to be remembered for when you’re at the end of your careers?
Jeremy: Sincere. Just hope people know we are sincere. Every song we write is sincere. We expose a part of our lives and we’re letting everyone into it. We’re a positive and real band, and we balance between negative and positive. That reflects on “Two Angels and a Dream.”
Bear: Well Jeremy, I am really grateful that you let me interview you and spread the word for Depswa.
Jeremy: No problem man. Glad to do it, anytime. Thanks Bear.
Bear: Take care and good luck. I’ll try to see you at Ozzfest!
For more information on Depswa, go to Depswa.com or Interscope.com
Maybe in the future, we can do a follow up interview for everyone here at BP.com. If you would like to respond to this interview and tell us here at BaloolaPalooza.com on your thoughts about the interview, the band, the music, or any questions concerning them, please respond here be clicking this message (note: you must be registered at the forums) or, email me (bear@baloolapalooza.com).

Soundtrack to Life – Making Your Own Decisions

Okay, so last week’s column wasn’t exactly a good example of what I have in mind for this column. I’ll warn you now that this one isn’t either, and perhaps not the one after that even. I’m trying to start at the very roots of my facination with music and work my way into the interesting stuff. Just bear with me people. And even if you don’t, I’m still gonna write.

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Making Your Own Decisions

“Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots

As I said in the last article, there’s a time in our lives in which we respect our elders, perhaps a little too much. As such, my musical tastes came from my brother and his friends. I was a metal head, but didn’t nearly look the part. Only listened to metal, and only the songs that they thought were cool. “This Love”, “Walk”, and “Fucking Hostile” by Pantera. “Wish” and “Head Like a Hole” by nine inch nails. “Symphony of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets” by Megadeth. “Rooster” by Alice in Chains. You get the picture. They had deemed it worthy of listen with that one simple word: “Cool”.

We’d be watching MTV or Headbanger’s Ball and as the videos came on, they got judged. As always, I went with the final decision.

Primus. Cool.

Ugly Kid Joe. Cool

Suicidal Tendencies. Cool

Winger. Sucks

Pat and Sam were like a real life Beavis and Butthead, though not as dumb. Time changes things though. Yeah, granted, that was off topic, but I couldn’t resist getting a shot at my brother in there. I watched the videos they watched, listened to what they listened to, aspiring one day that I would be as cool as them. *snort* Okay, two shots. Sue me.

One night, the two of them were watching over myself and Tim yet again. As usual, Headbanger’s Ball is on. Rock on. They’re going through the countdown, playing all the favorites. Our MTV God, Ricky Rachtman, was the host of the show as I’m sure some of you remember. As one of the videos ends, I forget which, he makes a startling announcement. Not only do we have a new number 1 video this week, but this video is a world premiere. It has never been aired before, and yet it’s number 1.

Whoooooahhhh…..

This must be the end all be all metal video, nay, music video since metal videos are the best anyways. This video is gonna revolutionalize the music industry and it’s gonna be the coolest thing we’ve ever seen. We sat on edge waiting for this video masterpiece. And when it was time, our MTV God told us what it was.

“This week’s number 1 video is a brand new one from Aerosmith. Here is ‘Livin’ on the Edge’.”

We stared in amazement at this work of music video mastery. So many odd images, it was almost dumbfounding. I didn’t need them to tell me, this was cool. It held the number 1 position for a few weeks, and we had taped at least one of these weeks. One day, feeling bored, I decided I was gonna learn this song. Not recorded off the radio, all we had was the video recorded off of MTV. So, I popped the tape in, rewound to about the spot that it was on and hit play. Well, I was a little off, as it was actually time for the number 2 video.

“I guess I can sit through it” I reasoned. At the time, the unplugged style of music was a hit on MTV. What I see is a studio audience applauding two men. One with spiked reddish brown hair and a goatee, the other with a mop of brown hair strumming a guitar. I’d heard this song before. It was “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots. One of the songs and bands Pat had deemed uncool. I remember thinking it was an alright tune though, so I sat through it. The soulful crooning of Scott Weiland and the melodic strumming of Dean DeLeo made the song sound even better. I let it play through and then listened to “Livin’ on the Edge” afterward. I paused the tape as need be to learn the words, but wound up having to rewind it several times, each time making sure to catch Plush as well.

Next week the song came on and I began singing along.

“Dude, don’t tell me you like this song!” Pat sneered.

“Actually, I do.” I stated matter-of-factly.

Wow, I was so damn rebellious. He didn’t like ’em, so what. I’d finally understood that my opinion in music mattered, not just those of my peers. He tried though, I’ll give him that. He tried his damndest to make me dislike this band. Coming up with the clever acronym “Sexually Transmitted Parasites” for one, I guess he was smarter then. That’s three. He also had to point out that Scott Weiland smoked. Mind you, back then I knew nothing of the outside world. “He couldn’t smoke. He’s a singer! That’s not right!”. I even went so far as to write the band, and part of the letter mentioned that Weiland shouldn’t smoke. Thank God I never sent that out. See, right here, King Dork. I can’t believe I was ever so naive. In any case, he couldn’t sway my opinion.

Not too long thereafter, we’d signed up through a record company. One of those deals where on your first order you get like 7 CDs for the price of one and I got to select one of the CDs. My pick was Stone Temple Pilots “Core”, the very CD with Plush on it. It was my first CD ever. From here on out, I liked music because I liked it, not because somebody told me to. Had I still followed my brother, I wouldn’t have enjoyed such bands as the Gin Blossoms, Blind Melon, Soul Asylum, Duran Duran and Counting Crows. This was the start of a musical revolution for me.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com

Soundtrack to Life – A New Interactive Column

If ya frequent the board, you know who I am. I go by many names, but only one iB ID for this board. Loki. 21 years old, still livin’ at home in the grand state of Wisconsin. It’s a boring life in a boring town with that same old crowd. Recognize that line? I’m sure some of you do. “History of a Boring Town” by Less Than Jake. Which is a nice little segway as I tell you what this column is about.

What this column is about is the importance of music in our lives. We all have songs that hold a significance to us, whether they remind us of a relationship, a period of our lives, or just a day we felt was special. I’d thought of opening this on the forums, but it just seemed like so many stories would be told that would get overlooked, as well as stories that are just one line of pointless crude humor. Don’t worry, I’m not depriving you of the chance to tell your story, cuz I think there’s gonna be a lot of great stories that come of this. In fact, I’m making this column interactive. How can you get involved? I’ll give instructions at the end of my little story. For now, this is a taste of things to come from me, and hopefully from you.

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My Metal Roots

Song: “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth.

I don’t quite remember the year, but safe to say I was pretty young. Music really didn’t mean much to me back then. The only songs I’d bothered to memorize were the ones we learned in music class. I never sang along with the radio, just lip synced. I felt it was more respectful, probably because I’d oft had to sit through my older brother’s off key renditions of Motley Crue songs. The only songs that meant anything to me were those taught in music class, and what bits I’d heard on the radio going from point A to point B. Occasionally, Pat (my older bro) would catch on to the hits of the day, buy the single and play it over and over again. Needless to say, I heard my share of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. Thankfully, he wasn’t a New Kids on the Block fan. No, that was left to the other kids on my bus route. But that’s all another story for another time.

Despite his brief flirtations with rap music, Pat was big into rock, particularly metal. He loved all the 80’s hair metal bands. You name it, he listened to it. When you’re young and impressionable, you take a cue from your elders, and older siblings are a good example. Basically, I listened to whatever he said was cool, therefor I took a liking to heavy metal music. but what the radio offered wasn’t exactly heavy metal. I’d occasionally get a taste of Metallica, but aside from that it was mostly hair metal and AC/DC.

Anyways, there came a time when our parents had decided that Pat was mature enough that he could babysit for us while they were gone. Most weekends, Pat would be at his friend Sam’s house. Sam was much more in tune with the metal scene and he had tuned Pat in to something that would become a Saturday night mainstay. As it turned out, our parents had started a Saturday night pool league, so Pat was our babysitter. When you’re cool with your brother, it’s cool to have hime as a babysitter. I believe him, myself and the youngest brother, Tim, had spent the evening having some sort of war involving Nerf weapons. It was getting late but we were all still up. All of a sudden, Pat looks at the clock.

“Whoah! Headbanger’s Ball is on!” he rushed off to the other room and began programing the dish to find MTV.

“What’s that?” I asked. But I knew back then, if Pat liked it, it had to be cool.

“They play nothing but heavy metal videos! Like Metallica and Motley Crue. It’s awesome!”

I needed no further prompting to watch. So I took a seat and waited for the program to get back from commercial. Various images flashed before the screen with a vicious guitar riff in the background, all ending with a spinning head sporitng bondage type headgear and the sound of Phil Anselmo from Pantera screaming “HOSTIIIIIIIIILLLLEEE!!!!!” in the background. Rather than cutting to the VJ, they went straight to video. Peaceful images filled the screen followed by an almost angelic chant.

Ahh ah

Was this what they were so crazy about? Suddenly a blastwave wipes the peaceful scene from existence as a brutal riff ripped over the speakers.

“Whoah! That was cool!” The little title appeared in the lower left hand corner. “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth. How hardcore is that? This was the very personification of heavy metal. Macho, brutal, powerful music. I was hooked. Saturday had become the greatest day of the week. Not only were we off school, but we bowled in the morning, and at night we were treated to a plethora of amazing bands and videos. In sixth grade I wore my first band shirt. It was Alice in Chains for Jar of Flies. Nobody really believed it when they saw it. Quiet little knows everything boy listened to metal. They never really got over it. My taste in music won me some great friends though, guys I’ll never forget. I became a fan of some of the most hardcore bands of the time; Metallica, Pantera, nine inch nails, and of course Megadeth.

Whenever I think about how I got into heavy metal, I can’t help think about that song.

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Now for the crowd participation segment of our show. Got a story you’d like to share? Please don’t post it on the board. Email it to me. I plan on making this a weekly segment, more frequently if needs be. Describe to us an incident in your life in which music has been the back drop or played a profound role. It doesn’t have to mirror what I have here, this is merely an example. I won’t play favorites. All I ask is that your story be of reasonable length and have some substance to it. Since this will be posted on the main page, I recommend you run a spelling/grammar check before submitting it to me. That email again is:
loki@baloolapalooza.com

The Bear Truth 2

Welcome everybody and it feels great to bring all of you another edition of the best column on the East Coast, The Bear Truth! There has been a lot of happenings in the world of entertainment as of late and I know you all are “oh so” interested on my thoughts concerning the various areas of media. So buckle up tight, because you’re going for a ride!

As reported on LimpBizkit.com, Fred Durst gave everyone a sample of their fourth studio album, “Bipolar” (originally named “Less Is More”) by delivering one of the songs that will appear on the album, called, “Just Drop Dead.” The song was rumored to be about Durst’s alleged romance with pop icon, Brittany Spears, however, Durst shot those rumors down and claimed that the song was about, ” someone who shouldn’t have crossed the line.” It’s the type of song where someone toyed with an individual’s emotions and lied to them, and now, Durst is wishing that they were drop dead, hence the title, “Just Drop Dead.” The only other song that is guaranteed to appear on the album is “Crack Addict,” but he hinted to something about having “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” appear on the album, a song which lead a new revolution of music in 1991 by the infamous band, Nirvana.

The 45th Annual Grammy Awards occurred on January 23rd in Madison Square Garden, New York. The big winner of the night was Norah Jones, who won the top three categories, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. She also grabbed the Best New Artist Award, Best Female Vocal Pop Performance, and a couple others, rounding out the night with eight Grammys. In my opinion, the best performance of the night was No Doubt, as they started out with “Underneath it All,” but then kicked in with “Hella Good.” They also nabbed the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. Bruce Springsteen also made a good showing and took home four Grammys. Eminem could be considered the biggest loser, as he only won the Best Rap Album, although I feel he should have won the Album of the Year Award. I also felt that Nickleback should have received the Record of the Year, because “How You Remind Me,” has been nothing but dominating the radio stations, television, and Billboard Charts since it came out in late 2001.

Now, I know everyone has been seeing the stories about Michael Jackson. You know, the interviews and the stories? Anyways, it seems like the so-called, “King of Pop,” has turned into the “King of Crack.” The guy says he has had only two facial surgeries, both of which have been on his nose. I’m sorry, but that is entirely phony like bologna, if you catch my drift. And then, you got this wanker whom once his second child was born, once the umbilical chord was cut, he grabbed the kid and ran out of the hospital and cleaned it up at his house. What’s up wit dat!?!? What did he do with his third child? The same exact thing, except this gets better. He gave his third child the same name as the first one: prince. But what does he call him? Blanket! Blanket! What kind of name is Blanket! Now, I know all of you are thinking, “What kind of name is Bear?” See, there is a difference. There are multiple people who go by the name, “Bear,” and yes, I am the most popular person with the name, but Blanket!?!? That kid is going to be made so much fun of. Oh wait … this is the thing that gets me … ready? Michael Jackson makes his kids wear masks when they enter the public. I don’t know whether it’s because his kids are uglier than Betty Crocker or not, but no one should ever hide who they are. In my eyes, hiding yourself from the rest of the world makes you forgotten, and I would never want to be forgotten.

There are going to be some incredible tours this summer. The one I am looking forward to seeing is the Summer Sanitarium Tour, which features Metallica, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park, and starting the show will be Mudvayne and the Deftones. The Ozzfest will reappear this year, as the annual summer tour pits Ozzy Osbourne, Disturbed, KoRn, The Chevelle, and Marilyn Manson taking the headlining spot, and Trust Company will headline the second stage. Lollapalooza will make it’s first return in five years and on the bill is Incubus, Audioslave, Jurassic 5, Queens of the Stone Age, and Jane’s Addiction. The Vans Warped Tour will have a couple million of bands participating in the festival, and on that bill are a Simple Plan, the All American Rejects, Finch, Authority Zero, The Starting Line, From Autumn To Ashes, Suicide Machines, Less Than Jake, Glassjaw, Rancid, Andrew W.K., and The Used. Notice how there are a couple of bands in there from Long Island … my hometown … Long Island Pride, Baby! Also, I think the best tour of the year will without a doubt be the one with Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. They are the best performers out there … note the sarcasm.

That’s it for this issue … I WILL SEE YOU ALL SOON!!!!