Saturday, June 20, 2009

Doin' it for the kids. MegaDave saves the day!

Of the many historical moments that happened in 2005, this was probably the biggest. The first ever Megadeth headlined Gigantour. A festival that defies logic by not only by trying to eliminate the Satanic element of Heavy Metal but actually playing smaller venues year after year! But back in 2005 the inaugural run of this traveling travesty was booked into outdoor sheds with at least 10,000 empty seats every night. The Tinley Park, Il gig was no different. It was really, really poorly attended but hey, what do I know right?

The bands on the first run were Dream Theater, Nevermore, Life Of Agony, Fear Factory, Dillenger Escape Plan, Symphony X and many, many side and 2nd stage bands (Boboflex being one of them?!) which resulted, for me at least a few times where there was an hour and a half or two hours of nothing I wanted to see, at all. This made for a long night and a hefty beer tab.

During one of my boredom waits I started wandering around the venue, went backstage and did more wandering. I found myself in Nevermores dressing room talking to Bassist Jim Shepherd. Amongst my introductory words was the fact that I saw Sanctuary with Megadeth back in 1988 at the Aragon Ballroom. Jim smiled like a kid in a candy store and said “well look at this!” With that he went into his bag to retrieve his lanyard containing his passes and other various credentials to show me the “this!” He still had his laminate from that 1988 tour so we sat and bullshitted for quite sometime about things I can’t remember.

After speaking to Jim for a bit I decided to go find something else to occupy my time, I wandered through a door I had no idea where it led to and I found myself smack dab in the middle of a Megadeth ‘meet-n-greet!’ Holy shit…this was funny. It was wall-to-wall MegaDorx! You know the guys I’m talking about, the arpeggio studying, ‘Rust In Peace’ note for note memorizing dudes that paid well over $100 for their opportunity for a Polaroid with Dave.

Dave couldn’t have been more bored, it was pretty bad and I actually felt sorry for the guys in line as they argued the pros and cons of Marty Friedman’s goofy right hand and Dave’s pseudo Christianity.

After some more time wasting, I did go and shoot Dream Theater (what’s up Ali?) and then waited for Megadeth to take the stage. I was in the photo pit talking to a few people when I noticed this little kid in the front row.

Now, I’m not going to be too judgmental here because I’m actually looking forward to taking Max to a gig in the very near future, but this was uh, different.
So the kid is there with (presumably) his father and that’s OK, so when the show started the place erupted, it was fucking loud as hell and there was pyro and it was just an audio/visual overload!

So I look back and I see the old man put the kid on his shoulders…this is where it gets weird.
The band is well into their first song, “Set The World A Fire” and I sort of forget about the kid. However as I’m shooting Dave it was easy to notice he was giving someone a “look”, something was obviously distracting him and that’s when I turned around. What I saw was this kid on his old man’s shoulders and he’s freaking out. He’s crying, it’s loud, there’s the pyro…he’s visibly shaken and his old man is just rocking the fuck out the whole time with the kid on his shoulders.

This bothered Dave, so much that he stopped the show, had security remove the kid from the front row barrier and brought him up on stage.

At that point then bassist James MacDonough gave him a bottle of water and then security took him to the side of the stage to watch the rest of the show.

At least I think that’s what happened, I didn’t stick around much longer after that. So here’s a few pix of Dave saving this kid from a crazy experience he probably soon forgot, however I’m sure the kid will never forget it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Review: 'To Live Is To Die, The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton'

I was going to try and do this really big elaborate book review on Joel McIver's 'To Live Is To Die, The Life and Death of Metallica's Cliff Burton.' I think I can save us all a lot of time and energy and just say, it's awesome!

This book is easily a decade,if not two overdue so to finally have it available to read and absorb is something of a gift from the Metal gods. Through research and interviews new and old, the book traces Cliff's brief 24 years on Earth as he goes from being a normal northern California kid to one of the greatest Rock/Metal musicians the World has and will ever see.

McIver does a spot on job intertwining the scarce interviews Cliff partook in during his three year tenure in Metallica and fills in the gaps by speaking to those who knew him well. Folks such as Harald Oimoen, Ron Quintana, Brian Lew, Fred Cotton, John Marshall and Cliff's bass teacher Steve Doherty and many, many more provide an insight to the character and person Cliff truly was.

If there's a persons views whom I'd waited some 20+ years to read, those would have to be Cliff's girlfriend at the time of his passing, Corinne Lynn. Sometimes it's hard to remember, but to the masses September 27th, 1986 we fans truly lost something special but those who loved the guy, they were left with an unfulfillable void. Reading Corinne's recollection of that day and the ones to follow is pretty heavy.

So in closing, I think this book is about the closest thing we'll ever get to knowing or trying to understand Cliff Burton and his undeniable importance to the music, vibe and create our own path work ethic to the worldwide phenomenon known as Metallica. Joel geeks out a plenty in describing his bass work and all the fills and nuances he added to the music of the first three albums. In fact it's during the geek out moments of the book I find myself smiling the most because, fuck, let's face the facts, Cliff's worth geeking out on!

Finally, finally. I was totally fucking floored to start reading this book and see I was able to "contribute" to it. Joel McIver used some of my Lars interview to help tell the story of Cliff and what can I say? It's nothing short of an absolute honor to be included. Sure, this might not be something you think is important or whatever...but to a kid from Brookfield? Well let me tell you it's the bee's fucking knees.