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  #61  
Old 12-09-2013, 03:20 AM
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What up people! I got another really fucking long article for y'all. This is kind of a history on Brocas Helm, a band that I consider to be among the greatest ever. After the Impaled article, I had no idea what I wanted to write about next. Then the Brocas Helm show got announced and I realized that the band is like a total fricken mystery, and that it could be fun to hunt these dudes down.

I first hit up Justin Weis, the mastering engineer for Black Death and Defender of the Crown, for the band's contact info. He directed me to our pal Mike Scalzi from Slough Feg. Unfortunately, Mike couldn't find a number for his friend in the band, guitarist/vocalist Bob Wright. So I remembered this article that Mike wrote for Invisible Oranges that said that Bob is an electrician, so I did some googling and found a random number online. I call it on a Saturday morning, and within one ring I hear on the other line this monolithic and commanding voice- "This is Bob Wright." I'm basically freaking the fuck out, and I introduce myself/explain the article/babble incessantly and somehow we schedule an interview and I get his email address. We eventually do chat on the phone and what follows is the most amazing interview I've ever done. Bob tells me so many cool Brocas Helm facts, stories and details that I just totally nerd out. He also starts grilling me, asking me what I want do with my life- best part of the interview:

Bob: So what do you want to be, a writer or an engineer?
Me: An engineer, but I like writing for fun.
Bob: Well, why didn't you go to college?
Me: I do go to college, I go to UCLA.
Bob: UCLA huh...? (Long pause) I bet the girls there are really hot, eh?!

I totally lose it and crack up like no tomorrow- that's something that happened so many times throughout the 70 minute long interview. Next was the rest of the guys. A few days later I found former guitarist John Grey on Facebook, added him and sent a message explaining myself and the article, and we did a phone interview right on the spot. John turned out to be a massive help for the article, he gave me lots of really cool info, access to old photos, and even got me in touch with the other former guitarist, Tom "T-Bone" Behney. John got really into the article, and was the only one to look over his transcript when I sent it and offer corrections. Super nice guy, and just a really cool dude in general.

Next was former guitarist T-Bone. I called him and left a voicemail on a random weeknight one day. Dude calls me on a Saturday morning while I'm asleep, I wake up, find my entire right arm asleep and I flop around like a beached whale to my phone to talk to him. My roommate got a kick out of watching me derp around haha. T-Bone was another source of good info, and turns out he really went out of his way to encourage his kids to get into music when he settled down. He even told me a really sweet story of how he played Limelight by Rush with his son on drums for a middle school talent show. Really pleasant guy to talk to.

Next was the show itself. The universe decided to say "FUCK YOU ONIONER" and gave me the shittiest possible week of school leading up the night I flew home for the show. Ended up pulling two all nighters in like 4 days or something like that, just because of homework overload. It was all worth it though, just so I could attend the show. I already recounted how that day ended up being one of the best and most awesome days in my entire life in my gig report, so you can read it there. In short though, Brocas Helm gave an unforgettable live show, and meeting Bob Wright was an experience I will always cherish. I have never met a man that loves life, the people who are good to him and the good things that come with it all more than Bob Wright- an amazing human being by any standard.

I interviewed drummer Jack and bassist Jim at the show, both were really chill and laidback to talk to. At the show, Jim gave me a CD with dozens of really cool photos of the band, some of which were over thirty years old. Most of the photos used in the article were Jim's. I did manage to hit up Brian Lew, the original Bay Area thrash historian and he found one old photo that I could use. My friend, ace photographer Ray Ahner, also took some choice shots at the show itself that I ended up using.

Once I transcribed all the interviews, I got cracking on the article itself. It ended up being less "journalistic" and more casual, just because there was less investigation to be done so to speak. These guys generally haven't had as much drama as Impaled had, so I injected more of my own opinions and such to make the article more interesting. After writing it was editing and re-writing like mad, then doing the layout. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy it! I have no clue what I'll write next, but I'm sure it'll be fun.

http://metalassault.com/articles/201...y-brocas-helm/
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Last edited by Onioner; 12-09-2013 at 03:37 PM.
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  #62  
Old 01-12-2014, 01:13 PM
Onioner Onioner is offline
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Hey dudes, got another article fer ya! This one's actually a reasonable length haha. It's on a hardcore punk band from Santa Cruz called Bl'ast! No real cool story here, this was just a standard press request for an interview and meeting the dudes at the show. Cliff and Mike were both real cool and down to Earth, and Bl'ast! killed later that night. Anyway, enjoy!

http://metalassault.com/articles/201...from-the-past/

I've got what I think will be a pretty cool article coming up, and it'll be really engineering-focused. Can't wait to get the ball rolling on that.
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Exodus - 7/25
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Swans - 9/10
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  #63  
Old 02-10-2014, 11:22 PM
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Moar article! This is a piece on Slough Feg and their new album Digitial Resistance. It's also heavily on Slough Feg's engineer, Justin Weis. As some of you may or may not know, I was lucky enough to assist with some of the sessions for the album. Well, I found out that my name won't be on the record (deservedly so, Justin did 99.9% of the hard work and this is one his best recordings and mixes ever) but I figured on the plus side that it would mean I could at least write an article without too much fuss or whatever. So I did.

I proposed the idea to Mike Scalzi months ago and he was stoked, so I reminded him and we got it rolling right away. I spent two hours on the phone with Scalzi just info gathering and shooting the shit. Scalzi is probably one of the most intelligent and genuinely cool people I know. He's the kind of guy that will take time out of his day to do something mentally stimulating like spend time with a friend even if it may inconvenience him. I really really wish more people my age or hell, more people in general were like Mike Scalzi.

I interviewed drummer Harry Cantwell next. He's just an incredibly cool and humble dude and a constant inspiration as a drummer to me, so calling him a friend is something I'm continually mindblown by. Our interview was via email, but it still worked super well.

Last was Justin Weis. He's a busy guy so it took a while to find a time to talk, but we eventually did and it was killer. He's been like a mentor to me in so many ways, which is again kind of a mindfuck since I worshipped the guy's work just two years back before I even met him. Hell, I still kinda do. Life's weirdly awesome like that right now. Anyway, here it is. I also threw in a fuckton of electrical engineering analogies and jokes and crap, I hope it ain't too enginerdy.

http://metalassault.com/articles/201...ital-resistor/
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Swans - 9/10
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  #64  
Old 03-24-2014, 01:56 PM
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This is a little old, but here's a short piece on Hazzard's Cure, a band I helped record last summer. To me, they're kind of like what the ideal bay area metal band would be like: unique, rocking and kind of weird. They're the nicest guys in the world, and true underground heroes. The EP they did also has Laurie Shanaman from Ludicra doing vocals on a song. Her performance in the studio was one of the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring musical performances I have ever witnessed. I remember she basically nailed the entire song in one take, and we were all just like, "Well shit, I think we're good." I think we got another take from her just for the hell of it. She is also a total sweetheart, which made her performance all the more striking haha. I did the interview via email, so I don't have any fun details to offer there unfortunately.

http://metalassault.com/articles/201...tal-amorphous/

Next up is something that has the potential to be my masterwork when it comes to heavy metal journalism. It's a story that I can't wait to share when it's ready.
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Flotsam & Jetsam and/or War Master - 7/9
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Exodus - 7/25
Impaled (?) - 8/15
Sleep - 8/30
Swans - 9/10
King Diamond - 10/31
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  #65  
Old 06-03-2014, 10:25 AM
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So I realized that I didn't update this thread with the last interview I did. This is with Scotty Heath from Tankcrimes Records, a punk/death/thrash label based out of Oakland, CA. This was conducted back near when the Brainsqueeze festival happened, and I thought I'd try and help out a cool fest/label/dude with an interview, so we did this over email.

http://metalassault.com/Interviews/2...-scotty-heath/

I later met Scotty at the fest, very cool dude and an incredibly hardworking guy.
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Flotsam & Jetsam and/or War Master - 7/9
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Impaled (?) - 8/15
Sleep - 8/30
Swans - 9/10
King Diamond - 10/31
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  #66  
Old 06-03-2014, 10:28 AM
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And here is Part 1 of what will probably be the best thing I ever write. This is basically how the the rad Bay Area metal scene that's been around for the past 17 years came to be.

http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2014...hammer-part-1/

When the series is done next week, I'll do a post about how this thing came to be and the adventures that came with it. Needless to say, working on this article had a pretty big impact on my life the last few months.
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  #67  
Old 06-05-2014, 10:28 AM
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Round two of this thing.

http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2014...hammer-part-2/
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  #68  
Old 06-10-2014, 12:47 PM
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And it's over.

http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2014...hammer-part-3/

So this thing began months and months ago when I was interviewing Mike Scalzi for my Slough Feg article. I brought up social media as a possible means for Slough Feg becoming more popular these days, and he countered by telling me about the tape and flyer trading system back in the mid-90s. I asked if that system was what promoted Lucifer's Hammer. For those who don't know by now, Lucifer's Hammer was a metal night on Tuesdays at an SF bar called the Covered Wagon that featured metal shows, or even just metal playing on the PA. Scalzi then spent 45 minutes telling me about how John Cobbett used the Mission punk scene to start Lucifer's Hammer, and how John would intentionally throw together weird bills to kind of wean the punks into becoming metalheads. I thought that was the coolest story that no one had ever heard, so I decided to give a shot at documenting it upon Scalzi's encouragement. He suggested that I hit up Aesop Dekker and John Cobbett. We also nerded out over Raven super hard, I knew that they're one of the best bands ever and Scalzi reaffirmed that, so HA!

I then spent some time doing some small research online and talking to a few people I knew in LA and up north about Lucifer's Hammer, and asking what it was like. I then scheduled interviews with Aesop and Cobbett, and the latter pointed me towards Matt Shapiro as well. During this time, I also emailed the folks at Invisible Oranges and we got the ball rolling for hosting the article on there.

During my spring break, I went home and met up with the three of them at a coffeehouse in the Lower Haight, and we just talked about the history of Lucifer's Hammer and metal in the '90s for two hours. I barely had to say any words, the three would just talk and talk. Easiest interview ever haha. Cobbett went home, but Shapiro and Aesop and I went to a local punk bar after. Shapiro eventually went home, but I had the pleasure of hanging out with Aesop until something like 1AM, just talking about heavy stuff. Hearing about Aesop's life experiences really opened my eyes to how good I have it, and it ended up curing me of the burnout and got me over what I thought were kind of shitty times I had recently experienced at school. I've been totally stoked and excited for the future ever since. That same week I ended up getting lunch with Scalzi and I told him about all the progress on the article and seemed genuinely excited to see it. Then some kid recognized him in the taqueria we were eating at. Fan-"Hey man, I saw you guys at the Eagle a few weeks ago, you were awesome!" Scalzi-"Oh hey, thanks." Fan-"Sure! It's Alex, right?" Scalzi-"Uh no, I'm Mike..." cue awkward apology from kid and me and Scalzi cracking the fuck up when he walked away.

A few weeks after that, I found myself with the Ghoul dudes at a radio station in downtown LA (that's another story in and of itself). Basically, Leon del Muerte and I were hanging out in the lobby waiting for those guys to finish up and I mentioned that I was working on a Lucifer's Hammer article and he gave me a "Dude, what the hell?! I want in!" face/body movement. So we agreed to get him in there as well. I also realized that del Muerte was a cool choice to interview because he was actually underage during the formative years of the club and had to sneak in, and he also arguably ended up having one of the bigger impacts on metal out of all the Lucifer's Hammer alumni (original member of Intronaut, played in Exhumed, Impaled, Phobia, Murder Construct etc).

The week after that when I went home for the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze festival, I told Ross Sewage and Sean McGrath about the article and they offered to send me photos. Cobbett had sent me some photos earlier, but they were very low-resolution, like only a little bigger than a thumbnail. So I met up with Cobbett that weekend, and picked up a handful of physical photos that he had from Lucifer's Hammer. I tried really hard to scan them and return them that same night (these are actual original photos from 15 years ago, it's precious stuff!), so I found myself literally running all over San Francisco on Easter Sunday looking for a copy center. I had no luck, so I offered to take the photos back with me to LA, scan them and mail them back. Cobbett was gracious enough to allow me to do that, and the scans came out great. Later that night, I ended up actually going to a Lucifer's Hammer show, Godflesh at the DNA Lounge where I got to say hi to Aesop, Shapiro and Laurie Shanaman from Ludicra among many other very friendly faces.

After that, I interviewed del Muerte at a bar across the street from the Echo in LA right before he played a show with Nausea and Nails. At one point, I once again found myself in the Bay Area for work for a few days and I went to another Lucifer's Hammer show, this time it was Floor at Elbo Room. Shapiro stealthed it up as the bartender, not revealing that he had put the show on (or owned Elbo Room entirely) and Cobbett was keeping the sound guy's seat warm. I then had the odd pleasure of nerding out with Cobbett over all things metal. Like, air-guitaring/singing the bridge to High Passage/Low Passage by Slough Feg nerdery here. It ended up being one of the most fun conversations I've had with one of the guys from the scene up north. During those few days, I went to like three shows in just a couple days, and there were shows that I could have caught but I ended up missing. That kind of affirmed for me how rad the bay really is for metal right now.

I then spent my spare time writing, editing and doing final photo gathering. Ian at Invisible Oranges got super into the article, and edited the fuck out of it and took it to a whole new level of rad. A big reason why it turned out so great is because of his efforts.

Anyway, hope you guys enjoy the article. It was definitely a labor of love on my end. Onioner out.
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Flotsam & Jetsam and/or War Master - 7/9
Grindcore Fest - 7/12
Exodus - 7/25
Impaled (?) - 8/15
Sleep - 8/30
Swans - 9/10
King Diamond - 10/31

Last edited by Onioner; 06-10-2014 at 01:34 PM.
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  #69  
Old 06-10-2014, 01:11 PM
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Spiner202 Spiner202 is offline
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Awesome man! I really enjoyed the article and your writeup here. I shared the article on my 'zine's page. It is wicked that you were able to just hang out with all of these guys and get to know them, even beyond the interviews!
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  #70  
Old 06-10-2014, 01:37 PM
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This is all awesome stuff man!
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