Archive for December, 2014


On the 24 & 25th of December 1914 entered the first Christmas season while the world was at war. However in most parts of Europe in the trenches, there had been some sort of miracle during the Christmas holiday.

Both sides between the English and the German stopped fighting, came out of their trenches, and conducted themselves among each other in fellowship and celebration.

The Christmas Truce of World War I had begun.

Roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in the unofficial cessations of hostility along the Western Front. The first truce started on Christmas Eve 1914, when German troops decorated the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium and particularly in Saint-Yvon.

The Germans placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing 21hristmastruce2Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other.

Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man’s Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats.

The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a period of time where recently fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. In many places along the Front, the truce lasted through Christmas night, continuing until New Year’s Day in others.

It is even reported that a game of football was played between the two sides. One game which ended when it was kicked and it landed into barbed wire, deflating it.

Needless to say that the higher-ups back at HQ on both sides were not thrilled that the fighting had stopped and they sent word of threats, demanding that the soldiers fight. And if they would not fight they would be pulled off the lines and disciplined. Again, this came both English and German commanders. 128

But nobody wanted to fight. So leaders and soldiers alike on both sides were replaced with new recruits in some places. Other places along the trenches saw that their situation was grave as they were not willing to disobey their commanding officers. One story is told how groups of soldiers reluctantly returned to their trenches and a leader raised his pistol into the air and fired it, signaling that the war would resume.

Had the truce held on for a little while longer, the war to end all wars would have ended itself in just a matter of months. However, the war would go on until 1918. And of course as we look back in history, it would not be the war to end all wars as World War II began in 1939 and ended in 1945.

But what a sight that must have been in the trenches to hear and see the Germans decorating and celebrating Christmas and then just the fighting and shooting of weaponry falling silent and people were acting like colleagues rather than enemies.

Personally speaking when I had learned about this many years ago, I thought that it would make for either a good book or a film. And I began a long process of writing, researching, and digging to find answers and stories about this event. Naturally because it was so close to being 100 years ago as it is now… I knew that talking to anyone who had been there or witnessed it would not be possible. So for four long grueling years, I did the best that I could with books, documentaries, and other resources.

When I had finished, I began to take the composition and change it into a screenplay.

And then I found out that there was a film by the title of “Joyeux Noël” which was released in 2005 at the Cannes Film Festival. So all that I had done, was almost rendered worthless. I held on to the works until that computer crashed and I lost it all. But these things are truly fascinating and makes you ask the popular rhetorical question of “What if?” and has you think of what it could have been like had World War I ended shortly after the Christmas Truce of 1914.


scale“Music can change the world because it can change people.”~ Bono

As I sit here counting pennies for two upcoming shows in 2015 that I wish to attend, I found myself thinking back on the year about what all I have seen, done, and accomplished as far as the music world is concerned. Both as a fan and the first time ever jumping seriously into its industry. I had become the SUPER UBER FAN of many bands this year.

After years of brutal nagging and moaning from family and other colleagues about how I needed to get out of the house and away from the computer and do something with my life, once I was introduced to the band Casket of Cassandra on the 1st of January and I got to see them perform in February, I started to embark on a musical journey that would both get me out of the house and have me doing something that I liked which ultimately led to having my sorrows and worries slip away if only for a few hours at a time.

More than 30 times this year did I see live music. And that did include a number of new bands that I discovered during 2014 SXSW Music Festival.

And I did make ONE surprise trip to Houston in January to be there at a baby shower for Dr. & Mrs. Froth, in which was a very big success to be a surprise. However I am not counting it as there was no show, no band playing, no concert. I sure surprised the hell out of them though.

After Casket of Cassandra came along Beautiful Disturbance and  Wellborn Road in early March. Just days before 2014 SXSW Music Festival began. I would see Beautiful Disturbance again two more times during SXSW, but it would come to pass that Beautiful Disturbance would dissolve and be re-born as “Queen of Kings” and swiftly after that they packed up everything and moved on out to Los Angeles. But because of Beautiful Disturbance and SXSW, I would be introduced to other bands that I ended up liking a whole lot. Such is the cases of Resisting Vegas and very heavy octane and in your freaking face band of Fear Control. Of which I would see Fear Control a grand total of NINE times throughout 2014.

Then Poc Nation would lead to me discovering Nancy Silva Project. I would see Nancy Silva Project three times this year, four if you count the time I went out in the rain and NSP decided not to play but I got to hang out with Nancy Silva for much of the night. You tell me. Does it count as a fourth time???

Poc Nation I would see only once during SXSW. Beautiful Disturbance three times this year before they left for California.

Other bands that I would see only once that caught attention were Black Feratu and Jesus Wears Armani. These bands I saw while waiting for Beautiful Disturbance to hit the stage. These bands would be the band on stage before Beautiful Disturbance. I would also be turned on to a go-go dance troup called Hell Katz as a few of their members were there. I would see Hell Katz dancing in April and then again in October.

So as you can see how this was working. And I have a lot of people/bands to be thankful for, for without them, I wouldn’t know the others.

As the months passed, I started going to the Dirty Dog Bar a lot more frequently. Many of the bands that I got to know at SXSW were playing there in the months after.

Hell Katz led to the fascination of Jitterbug Vipers, particularly their drummer. I would attempt to go see them play again in August, but would be thwarted with buildings that were not wheelchair accessible and without a second option to get me in, resulting in me hanging my head and going back home.

I would also run into Downfall 2012, that I would see twice. March and July. My apartment manager’s current band S.L.U.R.R. I would enjoy twice as well during the same summer.

Also in August was VITERA opening for Metalachi.

Resisting Vegas I would catch one more time before the end of the year. But only after the band drama flared up after Maranda Vegas was no longer a part of the band. And the connections I would have would be torn in two until there was nothing at all.

Nancy Silva Project would lead me to One-Eyed Doll and an overnight stay with the band until almost 8:00 AM the following morning when I finally arrived home.

September would be the last time I would see Casket of Cassandra for the year. Seeing them a total of four times.

After the autumn, things began to slow down. And my wallet was seemingly looking like it was on a diet. But I would catch SIX MINUTE CENTURY in October, for the third time this year.

And then the most memorable moment of my outings in 2014 when at last after more than a decade of communicating via the Internet, I met Red Vamp in the flesh while at a CD release party for the band, Iris. It took place in mid-November.

December I saw Wellborn Road for the second time and one last effort to see Fear Control.

So then it breaks down like this:

Fear Control – 9 times.
Casket of Cassandra- 4 times.
Nancy Silva Project- 3 or 4 times.
Beautiful Disturbance- 3 times.
Hell Katz- 3 times.
Downfall 2012- 2 times.
S.L.U.R.R.- 2 times.
Resisting Vegas- 2 times.
Vicious Cycle- 2 times.
Masqued-1 time.
Echo Temple- 1 time.
Jesus Wears Armani- 1 time.
Black Feratu- 1 time.
Poc Nation- 1 time.
Iris- 1 time.
Jitterbug Vipers- 1 time.

Those are the names of bands that I cared about enough to see play live in 2014 as much as possible.

I also participated in the Gathered In Darkness project with Dr. Froth and Robert Lowe. The first time ever I was in a recording studio and I know that some of my parts will be on the record for sure as my lines were of importance to the story. That is IF I am not replaced by someone else. But I don’t think that will happen.

I’ve also ventured into a new territory for the first time in my life… joining a band.

Since Independence Day of this year, I’ve been in and out of so many different cover bands and only two original bands this year. I found out the hard way that its easy to get replaced and fired from these kinds of projects. But currently I am slipping quietly out of one, and still in the other. We’ll see what happens. I’ll keep you informed. And for those surprised by this wondering what I do. I sing. I’m a bass/baritone voice range. It works.

So for those of you who were complaining about how I never get off of the Internet…. you have no idea!! If need be, go back and read everything over again. I invite you to click on everything that is linked. Most of them to my previous blog posts and a few band websites. But if you don’t, that is okay too.

Its been a busy year as we approach Christmas Eve & Day. I am sure that if you look back in December posts of this blog that you will find amusing and informative posts about Christmases past in my life. You’re more than welcome to hunt them down and read them.

If something spectacular arrives during this Christmas holiday period, I’ll be back to inform you.

But for now, that was quite a bit of reflection. I don’t regret a thing from my experiences written in this blog post.



“RESPECT. WALK. Are you talkin’ to me?” – Pantera, “Walk”

Ten years ago. A full decade. And it doesn’t even seem possible.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, it was ten years ago (the 8th of December 2004) where guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott was playing a show in Columbus, Ohio and was senselessly and violently murdered, along with three other people.

One man who brought down one of the world’s best heavy metal musicians with violence on his mind. And now ten years later, it feels like a blur, like a cloud, and almost an impossibility!

The fairly new band, Damageplan, was playing at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. And from the beginning of the show, tragedy struck as Nathan Gale approached and shot Dimebag three times in the head. at nearly point blank range. The third shot killing him instantly.


The weapon similar used by Gale in his murderous rampage.

Gale is alleged to have been a fan of the band Pantera who had disbanded. And he was angry for the break up. It was also alleged that Gale had issues within and that night, he was NOT on his medication. But to that report or theory there is no evidence or proof.

At 10:18 PM, local time, calls came in of “Shots fired” and one officer did respond to the call. He would be the only one that would answer the call and face the gunman.

From the point where he entered, the gunman was facing away while holding a man hostage.


The weapon similar of the one that killed Gale and ended the tragedy in Columbus, Ohio.

The officer came in and saw Gale pull the gun up to the head of the hostage. It was at that time the officer took his own weapon and fired once, pretty much blowing off Gale’s head from behind. He never saw it coming.

One shot and it was over but many other people already laid dead.

The world of heavy metal music would never be the same.

So where was I?

I was living in a bit of self-made misery in what I call either the “House of Shame” or the “House of Pot” whichever you’d like.

At the time, living with a couple of other young adults like myself with their own physical disabilities. I was outside the FOLLOWING morning not knowing the news about anything. Hell, I didn’t even know at that point that Pantera was done. I was anticipating a reunion, and patiently awaiting the news of such when the house telephone rang. dime

I was outside in the morning fresh air, playing a bit of required catch with the family dog in the backyard.

Being that I was the only one at home at the time, I struggled to quickly get back inside of the house. Finally I answered and it was a woman calling for my roommates. A female who sounded like she just had her soul crushed. Full of tears, unable to speak, sniffling and coughing and crying over the phone.

By the time I got the pertinent information out of her, shock ran throughout my entire body. Dimebag Darrell was DEAD. I started shaking with disbelief. My voice was stolen from me and I could not respond back to the woman on the other end of the line when she was asking questions as to the whereabouts of her friends, my roommates.

I’ll never forget the sound of her voice filled with grief and disbelief. It haunts me even ten years later to think of that morning after. dimebagdarrell

In my opinion, Pantera was the band that brought back metal music back away from obscurity and set itself far apart from the grunge movement that was blazing a trail. Pantera was the band that stood up to all of that. But Pantera after twenty-plus years would never return to make that reunion. The band broke apart and then the murder of Dimebag Darrell.

But I know that other people who know what the heck I am talking about also have marked this day in their minds in their own very personal ways. Along with the anniversary death of John Lennon. Same day, many years apart.

Two talented men, brought down. The wasteful shame.

Rest in Peace, Darell Abbott.
Be at rest, John Lennon


“To me, rock music was never meant to be safe. I think there needs to be an element of intrigue, mystery, subversiveness. Your parents should hate it.”~ Trent Reznor

A little change of pace but with the same good music all wrapped up into one charity event that in the end would put smiles on many unfortunate children.

Yep. Its time for Toys For Tots. And what better time than to do it on Saint Nicholas Day….. which is celebrated predominately in Europe and awareness spread throughout Wisconsin.

But as always there is a method to the madness.

Wellborn Road was coming to town and I had not seen them play since March. I could have had a baby by now since the last time I saw them at the Red Eyed Fly, just days before the insanity of the 2014 SXSW Music Festival. And nearly a month since I last had been to Dirty Dog Bar.

But to bring a new toy and get indoors is an awesome act of charity.

When I had reached Sixth Street, I ran over to a different shop to grab batteries for my camera as I did not want to be left stranded taking a ton of photographs and then not being able to finish the night because of dead batteries.

I noticed on the wall some really kick ass “toys” for sale. I picked up a Dr. Who figure and flipped the package over and then swiftly put it away.

Then I found a Godzilla figure and did the same thing. These figures were running almost $30 a piece!!!

My childhood… ruined by inflation and time!

I am sure that some child would absolutely love these toys. But damn. My wallet would have something to say about it in protest.

So I zipped over to the Dirty Dog and turned in the toy that I had purchased into the collection boxes that were set up. I was horrified to find in the mix of action figures, stuffed animals, and Lego boxes, was a sex toy.

I could not believe it.


Who the hell put that in there?

Wait on second thought, I don’t want to know. Oh well. Moving on!!

Then I was swiftly greeted by members of Wellborn Road. I took advantage of the opportunity and took some photographs with the guys. But always missing the drummer. Why is it always the drummer?? Nonetheless, the guys were there. I was there. And it was time to get it going.

First up was just music for one song. I went to the stage area to figure out what was going on. Suddenly I looked up and I saw two strippers dressed as either reindeer or Santa Claus just squirming all over the stage. You would have thought they were earthworms high on crack.

My question is: Who hired the strippers?

Next was INCH OF DARK.

I’ll admit. The first two band I had never heard of. The last two bands I have. But I sat there watching and listening and thought that the lead singer and guitarist looked similar to someone but I just could not put my finger on it. But the most I sat there and listened, the better and better and better it got. So I was impressed. Only today did I find out that they were a local band. Bonus points for me.

Their bass guitarist screaming at the top of his lungs at the crowd to keep them going. He didn’t even need a microphone. I thought that was really impressive as well. To outdo a microphone!


I do not know what the situation or story is behind this band, but it ended up being just two people. A drummer and a guitarist. No vocals whatsoever. Due to conversations I participated in, I didn’t take a lot of time to listen to them unfortunately.

Wellborn Road was next, and I felt a jolt of adrenaline just shoot through my body. I knew that they were going to play my favorite song of all-time “The Mirror” and it was early in the set. How funny though to watch them write up four copies of a set list just moments before getting on stage. That’s rock and roll for you!!! 0phr1

Kicking things off with “New Found Life” from their latest album PAIN HATE REDEMPTION, there were a few people that really started to get warmed up.

There’s always something about Wellborn Road crowds that just make them cut loose.

One fan was front and center and was everywhere. He was moving to the music, headbanging, swinging on things, and overall enjoying himself. All the while attempting to hang on to a beer.

During the middle of the set, he got so into it that another man came up to him and walked him to the side up against the wall and gave him a cup of water.

Lead singer Scott Emanis probably covered every last inch of that stage either walking, marching, or jumping all over it. His stage jumping is definitely a sight worth paying for! I tried so hard to get photographs of him in mid-jump that he was in the air. But my efforts sadly were in vain. Maybe one of these days in the future. Maybe.


Tyler Tracy

A tribute was done in honor of Dimebag Darrell. A medley of Pantera songs were performed and that probably had to be one of the coolest things I had ever personally been an eyewitness to. Very humbling too!

A few moments later was the icing on the cake for the night. At least for me. Tyler Tracy switched guitars and pulled out his custom made American flag guitar. Watching him play that was a big thrill. Considering I had been harassing him on social media to bring it with him the next time that he was in town.

Damned near broke my camera taking so many photographs of him with that guitar. Trying to get as many close up shots and shots from the floor which now I am calling TOE CAM.

Tyler Tracy is a remarkable musician. A fire fighter by trade. And an all-around, all-star bad ass. This is the guy you want in your pocket for sure!!

My first memory of him was that he stuck his guitar behind his head and then played a rocking version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” at the House of Blues in Houston, Texas. And even before that rocking out at Acadia Bar & Grill during R.N.I. Fest some years ago. So I have seen them in Houston, I have seen them in Austin. Hot damn!!!

But to be sincere, the entire band is very down to earth and very humble and proud of their growing audience and fans that they nickname the “Brew Crew.” They know that without them, they wouldn’t be who they are today.

Then Tyler totally took it to another level and allowed me to take a photograph with his American flag guitar. I damned near shit myself when he asked if I wanted to do so.

So yeah, that totally happened. The photograph- not the shit. I am however forever thankful for that opportunity.

And through all of that Scott Emanis was actually ill with a cold. But he got all those screams out and I did ask various members of the crowd if they could tell if he was sick, and they all but one said “No.”

Even Critical Assembly who played after Wellborn Road threw some respect out there stating that they destroyed the place.

I honestly hope that I get to see Wellborn Road play again and again and again and again. As much as I can. Whether I am here or there or wherever. Being the #1 fan in this area and a member of the Brew Crew, I have that flag flying at all times.


“Two things scare me. The first is getting hurt. But that’s not nearly as scary as the second, which is losing.”~ Lance Armstrong

I honestly had never heard of this incident until just a few days ago. I have no recollection of it happening when it did happen either.

For those of you who do not know the infamous character in the image, it is a British fictional AI who was introduced to the public in 1984 named Max Headroom.

Max Headroom was portrayed by actor Matt Frewer and became the world’s first computer-generated TV hosts. Known for its quick wit, stuttering, and computer-distorted voice.

Max Headroom even was a spokesperson for New Coke when their “Catch the Wave!” campaign was released.

So then on the 22nd of November 1987 in Chicago, Illinois… everything was calm and peaceful. WGN-TV was broadcasting their 9:00 PM  primetime news program to their viewers.

Suddenly the signal was cut off. A couple of seconds later, there was an image of an unknown and unidentified person in a Max Headroom mask bobbing their head back and forth. There was no clear audio other than an annoying loud buzzing sound. If there was anything that was being said, it was never heard. And almost thirty seconds later it was gone and WGN-TV had returned to broadcasting. The signal intrusion had ended.

WGN-TV engineers changed their frequency of their link to the transmitter and cut off the pirated broadcast.

The entire incident left sports journalist Dan Roan searching for an explanation. And still confused, he said “Well, if you are wondering what’s happened. So am I.”

Later on the same evening, sometime after 11:00 PM,  Chicago’s PBS television station WTTW-TV was broadcasting the Dr. Who episode “Horror of Fang Rock” when the hijacker struck again.

Around 11:15 PM the signal faded to black and the person dressed as Max Headroom was back. But this time, audio was available even though it was manipulated. Most of the things that were said were inaudible. The rest of it was senseless ramblings and profanity (in 1987’s FCC standards) and singing. Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion

This hijacking lasted longer than the WGN intrusion.

One of the statements made was an incorrect “product placement” of Pepsi-Cola, rather than Coca-Cola in which Max Headroom was the spokesperson, the man in the mask blurted out the slogan and laughed like a maniac before turning his verbal intentions to moaning and psychotic screaming.

Several other props were broadcast including one glove and a sex toy before things turned even stranger and darker during the hijacked broadcast.

The picture cut to a shot of a man’s torso and exposed buttocks. The Max Headroom mask was apparently removed and shown in front of the camera and the howling and screaming continued with “They’re coming to get me!”

Another accomplice was in view standing behind the exposed buttocks wearing a French maid uniform. Its reported that second person said “Bend over, bitch” and a spanking session began that was carried out by a simple household flyswatter and the occasional other hand on to that person’s backside. The screaming continued.

Then suddenly the transmission went black. And then the episode of Dr. Who returned to viewers in progress.

The entire broadcast lasted much longer. Close to a minute and a half in length.

WTTW Technicians attempted in vain to do something about the transmission, but were unable to stop it as WGN-TV was able to just a couple hours earlier. The Max Headroom figure never appeared again.

And the most interesting point of this story: Those responsible were never caught. To this day, the pirating case remains unsolved.

It was not the first time that a television station had been hijacked and it would not be the last. Hbocaptainmidnight

In April 1986, HBO was hacked in by someone calling themselves Captain Midnight. But Captain Midnight was caught and brought to trial. He plead guilty as he feared a lengthy jail sentence and was given probation and a fine. Captain Midnight would be identified as John R. MacDougall, a Florida business owner and electrical engineer.

Twenty months before the Max Headroom Piracy Incident, was Captain Midnight. He was unable to be stopped and his intrusion lasted for several minutes before he just simply ended the transmission and returned HBO to his programming.

For those of you wondering, $12.95 a month in 1985 US money would equal almost $30 a month in 2013.

But the Captain Midnight HBO hijacking was almost two full years before the absolutely creepy Max Headroom piracy.

The fact that it remains unsolved is somewhat of a fascination. And a creepy one at that as many still are trying to decipher the audio to make sure we all know what the person was rambling about because none of the statements that were audible make sense from one to the other. Throwing a Pepsi-Cola can, using a sex toy on their finger, and singing a 1950’s cartoon theme song is just irrational behavior and makes no sense.

It could be that the person or persons responsible were either on drugs or drunk when they interrupted with their broadcast.  And even though it lasted a creepy minute and a half, it is almost as if they knew to cut off the transmission to avoid being detected by the very same satellite that the illegally took over.

So who are they? Where are they?

I would hate to be the bearer of negativity but it is a theory that I have that since this intrusion happened so long ago that the person or persons responsible may no longer be living. It is just one theory. Another theory is that the person or persons responsible got the hell out of Dodge to avoid capture and arrest and have been living unnoticed in society and they have never attempted the same action again.

Yet I wonder if any good fan-fiction writing has evolved because of this??

Other signal intrusions include 1977 in England with a direct and clear message. Otherwise known as The Vrillion Intrusion. Someone overran the signal to a UHF television station.

May 2007 in Lincroft, New Jersey a Comcast feed of “Handy Manny” was interrupted by hard-core pornography. An investigation took place but authorities never released their findings.

February 2009, Comcast’s NBC affliate of KVOA’s broadcast of Superbowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers was interrupted during the fourth quarter and a ten second transmission of the hard-core pornography film called “Wild Cherries 5” took its place. But the piracy was only seen in certain portions of Arizona.

April 2012, three minutes of gay hard-core pornography was broadcast during a morning news program on CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The footage was spliced into the feed of CHCH-TV.


Then on the 11th of February 2013, the EAS (Emergency Alert System) Great Falls, Montana CBS affiliate KRTV-TV  been hacked with an audible message warning viewers that “dead bodies are rising from their graves”.

Later the same night in Marquette, Michigan, the same type of hijacking and reference to a “zombie invasion” was made over the EAS systems of ABC affiliate WBUP-TV and PBS member station WNMU-TV during primetime programming. Shortly afterwards, PBS affiliate KENW-TV of Portales, New Mexico was struck with a similar hacking incident, repeating similar information regarding zombies; however, this led to the arrest of the hacker of the four television stations.

And most disturbing of all:

September 18, 2012, the Disney Channel once again was interrupted on the Dish Network, replacing 6 minutes of “Lilo & Stitch” with a portion of a hardcore pornographic movie. The incident was reported.

There are other incidents of hijacking throughout history that have happened in random cities across the United States of America.

So not only was analog television hacked as it was in the 1980’s, but even satellite and cable television also has been pirated. Some have been found and prosecuted while others remain a totally dark and strange mystery.

I would love to see the person or persons responsible for the 1987 Max Headroom Piracy Intrusion come public and yes even morbidly, I would love to see them take a bow and talk about their experience.

Sadly because of the fear of arrest and imprisonment and fines, I don’t think that its going to happen.

Clips of some of the intrusions listed above, including Max Headroom can be found by searching on YouTube.