Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Artist Entry: Animosity vocalist Leo Miller reflects on Metalfest

He got game.

Leo Miller here, writing from the Canadian border at Niagra Falls.

We just finished up the very deep cleaning of our van before we cross the border -- those immigration people will find anything and we don't want the next blog entry to look like what happened to Brain Drill, if you know what I mean.

If you don't know what I mean, just Google search "I had to life my nutsack..."

Having just finished up our second/third (we played twice last year) New England Metal and Hardcore Festival performance, I thought I would give you all a look into what the festival is all about from our point of view.

This is pretty much the only established heavy music festival we have in these United States, so it definitely makes for an eventful weekend.

To be honest, I can't really say the whole shindig is about the music. Most of the bands are given literally 15 minutes of fame with no sound check whatsoever. Honestly, you gotta just get on stage and rip it as hard as you can and if you aren't having fun, then this is the time to pretend -- if anyone caught our set, that was some grade A pretending.

All musical performances aside, the fest seems to be more of a big publicity stunt and a fun one at that than a concert. Like I said, there is not much done in the way of making the bands sound good or different from each other but rather just to showcase which bands are kicking in 2008.

It's the one time of the year where nearly every touring band in our community is together and in a lot of ways functions as a big family reunion. There is a lot of photo shoots, interviews, handshaking and dude kissing, but by the end of the night, everyone removes their Bluetooth earpieces and things turn into a pretty awesome party with a bunch of friends that you never get
to see.

I actually missed about every band that I wanted to see this year, but I was able to go to the most punk rock show of my life at a near by warehouse to see Disfear and Toxic Holocaust, which was a blast.

For many people involved, Metalfest can mean a lot of stress and a big hangover, but when all is said and done, this event is a 10 year staple in our community that everyone looks forward to each year.

Props to Scott and everyone involved for keeping this thing going.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Artist Entry: From a Second Story Window vocalist Will Jackson dissects the 'Space'

Has anyone even been taking a look at the kids out there these days?

I mean, yes, I went through my "Hey, lets wear big jeans and hemp necklaces," phase. But really, it seems that the trends and fashions that these kids are all about are just becoming more and more unbearable to look at.

For example, a red handkerchief tied around your neck, too small jeans that barely pull up over your johnson, a white belt (studs or no studs), boxers that puff out like a chef's hat--due to the too small jeans--and a t-shirt that barely fits your 14-year-old body, baring the name of the coolest band out, doesn't scream that you're someone who knows what the hell is going on.

Now, I am not saying that this fashion fad, or err, horror, is anyone's fault. In fact, it is not any humans' fault at all. It is the fault of the worlds largest Web site, ever! That's right, MySpace.

The corporate giant that we are all slave to is not only forcing the human public to not care for privacy anymore, but is causing our youth to no longer take stock in their own sense of self.

After traveling this great country of ours, the expansive green north of Canada, and having gone over seas a few times, it just seems that via this instant fashion gallery available online has our children unable to simply venture into their closets and enjoy the idea of wearing what they want.

Now, I know that I sound like an old hag here, but really, there is just a sense of youthful sell-out going on here. We see more and more folks out there buying into the glitz and glamour of the mystical Internet personality.

Everyone wants to be the next Tila Tequila, and this is NOT a good thing. Have you seen her show, eeessshhhhh! A person should not want to embody a small bimbo who lurks both men and women on national television in order to find true love.

Let's face it, MySpace is not the place for love, it is a place to connect with friends, keep in touch, and perhaps throw up a bit of yourself for all to see. It is NOT a place to find women, men, or whatever you may wish to connect with.

Take my cousin Hank for example, who flew all the way to California to meet his MySpace fling and found himself not only out a grand in air fair, but came across a whale of a woman (be wary of those angled pictures) and her jealous ex-boyfriend, who kicked his ass from Santa Monica to Hollywood Boulevard -- it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

Okay, back to these kids and their lack of fashion/self-image. I know, I shouldn't be fixating on hair, or clothes, or whatever, but, there is an entire attitude that goes along with this conforming calamity that is going on in our world today.

At the tender age of eight children are accessing the net, pulling up MySpace, and formulating who they are based on who's page has the most friends, or views. The idea is simple, just lurk around the "Space" and pick out someone who is the epitome of what you want to be and POOF! you can become the next great MySpace star at your local grammar or high school.

All I can say is, whew, what is the world coming to?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Artist Entry: the_Network guitarist Kevin calls on his spidey sense

Real name/persona: Kevin Howley, guitarist, the_Network
Alias: Spiderdude
Location: Crusty alley, Birmingham, AL
Toxicity level: Moderate - High

One minute I’m swinging through a cityscape as Spiderman and the next I’m looking at the charred innards of some old car on a street in Baton Rouge.

For the past two nights, I’ve slept gloriously and indulged myself through a variety of dreams. Last night, in the van, I was Spiderman. I shot black webbing and nabbed plenty of bad guys.

A dream is kind of like a child’s testimony in a custody hearing; it’s full of emotion but the details lack certain things. For instance, my Spiderman suit wasn’t as cool as it is in the movies. I looked more like the Spider-men we saw in front of the Chinese Theater in Hollywood; my suit was all baggy and the definitive muscle structure was missing -- I might have even had a fanny pack full of tourists’ dollar bills. The foreboding black spider logo that is supposed to cover my chest hung to above my belly button and the intimidating white eyes sagged around my cheeks. So I looked ridiculous but I was asleep -- And I’d hang upside down in the town square in a bikini if it meant I’d be asleep.

Then I was awake.

I crawled out of the hot van and walked up to the house we played at last night. A guy inside told me that a transformer fell from a power line onto a car a few hours ago and that the two erupted in a fiery steeple of metal and smoke.

Next, I’m staring at the black skeleton of some little car from the '90s (I don’t know anything about cars). The wheels are literally singed into the ground and the inside looks like an ashtray near the last call at a Florida bar.

For some reason, I imagined bone, teeth, hair, and all types of roasted viscera entwined inside and scared myself. I’m glad that no one was in that car, or that the transformer didn’t fall on our van with Tim and I inside.

An alarm clock is bad enough to wake up to, but a burning face? Fuck that. That transformer sounds like a Decepticon to me.

So last night, we played at some guy’s house in Baton Rouge, LA and the night before we played with Converge, The Red Chord, Genghis Tron, and Coliseum at Club Red 7 in Austin, TX.

The Austin show was one of those amazing shows that reminds me why I live this ridiculous life style. I had never seen Converge or The Red Chord outside of New England before. That’s three bands --the_Network being the third-- from right around Boston tearing it up all the way down in Texas.

And tear it up we did. When Guy asked the crowd if they like Boston, hundreds of mouths screamed back with a uniform, “Yeaaaaaaaa!” The whole night was surreal.

On that night, we were in Austin surrounded by hundreds of people at a huge venue with a sound guy, light guy, employees, bars, bartenders, janitors, etc., and the next night we’re playing next to a kitchen where some kid’s pouring himself coffee while I’m plugging my amp in.

Sweat is the same whether under the expensive, professionally setup lights of a big venue, or the neon of those annoying kitchen lights -- and the excitement is no different either.

There’s tour for you:

you’re Spiderman,
you wake up,
you’re one of hundreds,
you sleep,
you’re sharing a small space in a living room,
you wake up,
and you’re looking at a car someone once cherished after a power line’s transformer treated it like napalm.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Artist Entry: the_Network guitarist Kevin and "Murderfest" shenanigans

If I’m to be writing in this forum for some considerable time, I think that it’s fitting I let the reader know a little bit about myself. Yes, there’s the “me” that can be summed up like any obituary:

Kevin Howley.


Lived to laugh, play music, learn, enjoy the company of friends, and deeply loved
his family.
Played guitar for the_Network.

Left nothing behind.

Yea, anyone can be put into a written description of under twenty words, and usually are, but what sick pricks out there reading the obituaries? The text is just far too dull. I need a good story to get to know something about a person. I need something real, funny, and with truth to it. If I’m going to meet someone, I don’t want to be in the cheap seats. No, I want the grand, $20 tour. You better give me a reason to care about your next spoken or written word. You better give me scripture.

So think of this as Kevin 1.11

Of course I’ll get into the fact that I was kicked out of the Murderfest at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood yesterday, but let’s start at the beginning.

I’m the type of person that, when sober, washes his hands and douses them in hand sanitizer and, when drunk, pisses with the predictability of a volcano. I try to stay happy, in shape, well read, friendly, hard working, concerned about global issues, understanding, on time. I try to develop meaningful relationships, be creative, spend time with my family, stay up to date on current events, have my own, well-informed opinion, and be articulate.

I’m proud of graduating from college, playing in a band, and I hate to hurt people emotionally or physically and can’t stand feeling like a burden to anyone. I try to think things through. I look on the bright side. I want to catch the worm. I want to be pleasing to all five senses. I want to be the dead center of a tornado of inequality. I want to light up the place. You know what I mean. I want to be fucking NORMAL.

Yes, I’ve been diagnosed with insomnia. I’m currently awaiting a DWI trial. I’ve hurt people. I’ve let people down. I’ve been a burden. I learn everything the hard way. I’ve felt like the sun doesn’t rise. I’ve broken down. I’ve had to apologize. I’ve done and incurred damage. I have to pay for a smashed window in Santa Cruz. I’ve wished for better times. I’ve felt as if every star in the sky was staring at me. I’ve felt safe. I’ve felt like the whole world was a shaded spot under a tree made just for me. I’ve screwed up. I have, and will continue, to live in a constant state of learning. Through ups and downs, I’m taking notes. I’m not going to cheat; I’m going to study.

And as I expect scripture, I’m certainly willing to deliver it.

Yesterday, the band I play guitar in, the_Network, was booked at the Murderfest in Hollywood. Napalm Death headlined. Today is the Day, Trap Them, Cattle Decapitation and many others were on the bill.

Yesterday’s show was the reason we’ve been on the road for a week and won’t be home for another. I’d been looking forward to this show for months. Our set time was 4:35 pm on the main stage and we arrived at the venue around 10:45 am. With that knowledge, I began synthesizing a drinking formula (I enjoy a few chardonnay’s before performing, what of it?).

My plan was to eat something and wait until 1:00 pm to have my first beer. Then, I’d have two beers an hour until we took the stage. I also factored in that I’d take three shots of Jack Daniels at various points throughout the allotted time.

2 beers + 1 whiskey+ 2 beers + 1 whiskey+ 2 beers + 1 whiskey+ 1 beer = 3 hours and 35 minutes.

I hypothesized that this amount of alcohol would give me a solid buzz with which to play with but that the amount would also be significantly sweated and rocked out of my body while performing, and thus lessen the alcohol’s effects for the rest of the day. (Like I said, I like to think things out.)

The time came, and I went to the bar. Our vocalist, Mikey Bones, also went to get a glass of water. I used a credit card to open a tab and ordered a Bud Light. The bartender gave me my beer, Bones his water, and then asked us if we’d like a shot as he began pouring three shots of whiskey.

A new variable.

I took the shot down and began work on the formula. Things started well. Ryan and Brian from Trap Them showed up and I had to buy them shots--them being from New Hampshire and all. It was during this that I might have slipped another shot past the formula. The numbers began shifting and losing their shape in my mind.

I had to get away from the bar for a bit. I had a beer with me when I realized that Today is the Day had shown up and that I could probably go kill some time talking to Steve Austin. He was in the back room reserved for the headlining bands but I was somehow allowed in. Him and I chatted it up over a few bowls of weed.

More variables.

So much extraneous data began clogging the mechanics of my skull and the formula was becoming harder and harder to hold on to. So, around 3:30, I stupidly thought to myself, “Wow, I should probably take a shot or two before we play.”

I woke up in the van seven hours later.

From the rest of the night on, I was to play Sherlock Holmes in the film adaptation of “What the Fuck Happened to Kev?” Based on witness reports and some dreamy images in my mind, I believe the story went thusly:

“Kevin Howley, age 28, NH resident, went to buy a bottled water around 4:15pm and was told that the waters cost $1. Upon hearing this information, the suspect then threw a sign indicating the water’s price off of the bar. He was escorted outside while the bartender accessed the situation inside. He then tried to push his way through the employees outside in order to get to the stage. He was again leisurely escorted outside. He remained cooperative but complained vocally when accused of trying to punch somebody. It was approximately 5:00 pm when he gave up hope of getting back into the venue and retreated to the van.”

Bones had to cover my $61 bar tab, my band had to play missing a member, and I completely screwed up something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Again, I was stupid. But here I am, taking notes while apologizing to the_Network. They’re my best friends. I think they know I’m a good guy, and now I hope you do too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From a Second Story Window post debut track from upcoming album, 'Conversations,' on MySpace!!

From a Second Story Window has released the song “Leaving the Earth” for the
masses to hear via the band's MySpace page:
“Leaving the Earth” has already received over 7,000 plays within
a mere 24-hours of being posted. The song is the first unveiled from the
highly anticipated, upcoming, May 27 release “Conversations.”

From a Second Story Window will hit the road for two dates with label mates,
Dance Club Massacre, then jump on a tour with Divine Heresy, Sworn Enemy, With Blood Comes
Cleansing and Dance Club Massacre.

The tour’s itinerary is as follows:

w/ Dance Club Massacre
4/15 ­ Terre Haute Music Venue ­ Terre Haute, IN
4/18 ­ The Factory ­ Oklahoma City, OK

w/ Divine Heresy, Sworn Enemy, With Blood Comes Cleansing and Dance Club
4/19 ­ The Black Sheep ­ Colorado Springs, CO
4/20 ­ Marquis Theatre ­ Denver, CO
4/21 ­ Eagles Lodge ­ Witchita, KS
4/22 ­ 2 Cents Plain ­ St. Louis, MO
4/23 ­ Uncle Pleasants ­ Louisville, KY
4/24 ­ Headliner¹s ­ Toledo, OH
4/26 ­ The Palladium ­ Worcester, MA (New England Metal Fest)
4/27 ­ Chameleon Club ­ Lancaster, PA
4/28 ­ Crocodile Rock ­ Allentown, PA
4/29 ­ Xtreme Wheelz ­ Buffalo, NY

Full bio, news and music can be found at the FASSW MySpace