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Friday, June 23, 2017

EVER BEEN TO A CONCENTRATION CAMP? SURVIVORS RETURN!!!

In 2003, we took several people to Europe with us, friends of our children, family, and even my Mom and Dad. We were heading to Christina's wedding and wanted our close peops with us. We must have been a promoter's nightmare, cruising into catering with an entourage that would make any rocker strut! Crossing the countries off the itinerary, we eventually arrived in Austria with a day off. I decided it was time for Mom to face her past journey, and the kids to learn about mankind's mistakes. We made the journey up the mountain to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, the camp my Mother and her family had been kidnapped and taken to, in the early 1940's.






As we drove up the hill in the bus, Mom told us how the road was dirt when she last walked up it, carrying her younger brother on her back, piggy backed. Houses were along the road and people were hanging out the windows yelling at them as they walked. They couldn't understand them because they didn't know the German language at the time. They had no clue where they were being forced to go. When they got to the top, a large foreboding stone structure with barbed wire everywhere, awaited them.



They were put through the routine of admitting and were shown a large tent for the Russians to stay in. The beds were up off the ground so the rats scurried under you, instead of on you, while you slept. People were stuffed everywhere. They were told nothing of why they were there or how long they would be there. In the day they would be shown tasks or told to sit in one spot. If you turned your head, you were shot. The toilet was a big hole in the ground with Nazi guards around it, watching you. The food was a weak broth with a sausage that everyone thought was human flesh. Occasionally, they were given beer and bread that often had wood chips in it. Mom recalled that one day, the guards came and took 2 girls with flawless skin and they never returned. People whispered that they used their skin for lampshades.


I try to imagine what my Grandmother felt like, having her 6 children with her in a frikken concentration camp!! When I get stressed, I think of her, and any stress I have is wimpy compared to hers! Taking Mom back was a feeling I can't explain. She survived. After 3 months, the Nazis relocated them to a forced labor camp in Nurnberg. It wasn't comfortable by any means, but it wasn't a concentration camp!


As soon as we walked in with Mom, she said she had to go see what something was. She said she could always see smoke rising from the ground in a certain area, and she lead us straight to where the pit of ashes of cremated people were! On the way, she passed by a barracks with glass windows. She stopped and said "this is where I learned the word, Baby! This window was full of American GI's." We were shocked, as we had never thought about Americans being in there!



On the way out, after reminiscing the horrors and survival Mom had been through, we decided to stop in the small gift shop and get some pamphlets. The people working said Mom was the first woman survivor they had ever met. They said that occasionally men who survived Mauthausen would revisit and they were grateful to know that some families had made it out alive.



It was a somber ride back down the mountain. Talk of being transported in trains with only a pile of straw in the corner for a toilet, starving and eating an SS guard's cat, and eventually slaving in a factory, making parts for hand grenades, engulfed the rest of our day. We, as educated people, must make sure this madness never happens again! I am not sure humans have learned a lesson, though...there seems to be some craziness brewing worldwide again! In the days to come, on the tour, Little Igor's birthday was approaching. We all had much to celebrate and be grateful for. We were alive to see it! Let's keep the planet on track....


Class dismissed....

Friday, June 16, 2017

SUSHI ANYONE? NOT UNTIL MAX PUTS BAGS ON HIS FEET!!!

Japan rocks Metal! We have been traveling there since 1992, and love every trip! Most shows in the past were produced by Udo Artists and the famous Mr. Udo. He was a G to the max and once even cooked our dinner on round, hot rocks at a Korean BBQ restaurant!! Every show we ever did with him was an art of perfection! Sadly, I never took a photo with him, but I will never forget his generosity and gentlemanly ways! We were very fortunate to work with him and his majestic operation!


Mr. Udo always treated us to fantastic dinners on our days off in Tokyo. Large, private rooms with low tables circling us and plushy pillow seats, accompanied the saki and delicate meals! The funniest memory I have of the dinners, was when the servers told Max his feet stunk too much and he had to wrap them in plastic bags! They tucked his shows in a faraway niche and grabbed some grocery store plastic bags to sink his paws into! We still laugh about it!




Mr. Udo had a very professional team assembled to run his shows. Talk was his tour manager and perfection was in his veins. He was thorough and knew the ropes. I admit, once, I drove him crazy. The original Citta Club in Tokyo had the entire floor divided into barricaded squares that held a limited number thrashers, approximately 10 or so in each one. I was thinking it was an insane idea and argued till I turned blue, to remove them. Tak went out and asked the fans what they felt about it and they were accustomed to it, so I eventually waved a white flag and let the show carry on.




We were always treated to a translator and a tour of the city, which we appreciated. The fans seemed to know where we were every minute! Mobs of fans were everywhere we went! Tokyo is a bit like a zillion Times' Squares joined together. People thickening the streets, and many are running!! Tattoos weren't favored back in the day, so Max and I would walk around in sleeveless shirts and colored hair just to get the local's blood pumping! You cannot sit at a hotel pool or visit any of the famous bath houses, if you sport ink. One of our favorite stores is called Toyland. You can find all the Japanese Godzillas, Ultraman and his family and every crazy Japanese monster available there!! It is a must see, if you go to Tokyo! Just be sure to pack new shoes!! You are eventually going to get hungry!!


Class dismissed.....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

SOULFLY RISES...1997.....BLEED!!!!!!

As Max gathered his senses, lyrics flowed like blood.  This was 1997, an ending that lead to a beginning.  He went into the makeshift studio in our bedroom, and came out with another masterpiece.  This wasn't the time for depression, or sinking the ship.  The world spread out before us.  We had nothing but each other and the children, minus one....but that one that was missing, was what gave us strength to carry on.  We cleared the stress and pain and turned it into power!


After I secured the new record deal from Roadrunner, it was time to put together a band and get on the road again.  We did everything we could to care for our family and to rebuild our life.  We were left with nothing at the end of 1996....a fractured family, no record deal, no band name, not one song, and no gear.  We had each other, and we had a dream to carry on.  From these ashes, Soulfly arose.

 

In the studio, I saw Max get stronger each day.  By the time the final note was recorded, Max had assembled an army!  The collaborations not only had savage artists, but each song had a meaning!  We anticipated amazing shows and getting back to some type of normalcy for our family.  I can now look back on these days with satisfaction.

 

I don't know who took these photos, or where I got them, but wanted to share with my Students.  The 20th year of Soulfly is upon us.  We survived the breakdown.  I pray, that along with music to mosh to, we can provide hope to people who have none.  When Life gets too heavy, don't give up.  Keep one foot forward and you will see the right direction.  The sky is always blue beyond the storm.  The hair in the mosh pit is always cleared the next day!

Class dismissed....

    

Friday, June 2, 2017

MAYHEM WITH MOZART AND CHABLIS

Early in 1995, Max and I travelled to Amsterdam, courtesy of the Big Boss, Cees Wessels, the owner of Roadrunner Records.  Cees had a arranged a meeting with us, to hear Max's concept about the next release.  Max had hashed it over a zillion times with Monte, but this was a meeting with the Top Dogs.  Max rolled out the spread and presented his idea for the Roots record.  He had several songs on his minidisk and the title of the record.  He also had a crazy notion to record with a Brazilian Tribe.  The label battled with the Roots name, saying people would think  it was a blue's band, but in the end, Max convinced them.

 
 

To celebrate our conquest, and with a great deal of excitement flowing through us, we decided to hop a train to Vienna.  Max had a dream....he wanted to drink a bottle of wine at the doorway to Mozart's apartment and smash the bottle then and there.  Who was I to darken the mood?  Yes, I was about ready to hatch little Igor, but what the heck!  This sounded like a once in a lifetime spectacle.  Why miss out?

 

 

We trained it leisurely to Austria.  First stop Vienna, and then on to Salzburg.  Vienna has the flavor of the old world.  The city center with its local shops, and sauerkraut and schnitzel smelling beer gardens, is a savage location to spend the day.  Mozart was right around the block, too!

 

We discovered it wasn't just going to be that easy to drink wine at the doorway.  Max was intent on slugging it down, though, and breaking the bottle.  With people coming and going, it was  bit edgy.  By the end of the night, he had his sufficient buzz and the bottle came tumbling down.  I was relieved to get the heck out of there and move on to the next city.  Cross this off the Bucket List!!!  Sorry, Vienna!!!!!  I don't recommend my Students try this!


Class dismissed.....
 

Friday, May 26, 2017

SOULFLY ONE...THE FIRST COMMANDMENT!

In August of 1997, Max and I had a memorial dinner in our Phoenix home. It was one year after Dana's death and we wanted to bring his friends and our family together, to celebrate his life. There was a lot of emotional activity buzzing around us, during that year, I will admit. The investigation into Dana's death was in full swing. Max had a killer record in his hands and a new band. Our family was slowly getting stronger. We were going to make it through.


As Max was completing his songs for Soulfly 1, he began to invite guests for various appearances. The guitarist, Lucio Maia, was a special guest, courtesy of Max's friendship with the late Chico Science and Nacao Zumbi. Lucio is one of the most emotional guitarists! His haunting guitars on Bleed and the other Soufly 1 tracks is beyond comparison. Lucio's guitar and his heart seemed entwined with our feelings. He was the perfect choice. Chino came to Arizona and contributed on First Commandment. Chino was very good friends with Dana. In fact, I gave Chino the rasta belt that Dana was wearing when he died. That's close. It was righteous that Chino was involved.





Dino Cazares dipped into the jumpad and went to battle on Eye For An Eye. Dino was a friend that was super tight with us, besides being a great Metal guitarist. He was the finishing touch. And in between Chino and Dino, there was Burton C Bell, Fred Durst, Christian Olde Wolbers, and Benji Webbe, each hand picked by Max. They all told the story. Keep you friends close, and ignore your enemies. Give them a bit of rope and they eventually hang themselves. That's the lesson for today, my Students!


Class dismissed........