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Friday, March 24, 2017

GRAB YOUR HEADPHONES!!! WE ARE GOING IN THE VOCAL BOOTH!!!


The sky was blue as we rounded the curves, inching up the Malibu Hills. Max and I were up front. He was listening to the newly recorded Itsari, relaxed that his dream was now a reality. Dana, Zyon and Igor were jamming in the back seat. It was a relaxing drive, an exciting time. There was no reason for despair. None of us knew, or could even imagine the horrors stretched out in the future. For me, it was one blessed day out of the one year that I had 7 living children. If we could only turn back time...


Indigo Ranch Recording Studio had her arms open, waiting for us. It was a historic day, but none of us knew. Max was about to start tracking the vocals for ROOTS. Max, Dana and Zyon went directly to the vocal booth, while I tucked a sleeping Igor in the corner, in his carseat. Our moods were uplifted, electric, hopeful.


The three guys got headphones and I manned the video camera. Even young Zyon was full of anticipation! Come join us now, for that magical moment. You can hear Dana's necklaces, echoing a tribal chant as he grooved with Max and Zyon, as the first lyrics were laced into the music. Let's time travel to a dark vocal booth that also vanished, thanks to calamity. Let's return to ROOTS!!




Class dismissed.......

Friday, March 10, 2017

PROUD TO COMMIT COMMERCIAL SUICIDE!!!!


Nailbomb is a cult....a record that became timeless. It isn't disco, or '60's rock, or classical. Like Dana, it never grew old. It hits you smack in the face with brutal riffs and even harder lyrics! Nailbomb was a joke that transcended time. POINT BLANK is still my favorite album of all!! Songs like Sum of Your Achievements and Sick Life make you want to punch a wall. There will never be another record like it. And one day, there will never be another unseen photo, but the music will steadily walk into the ages.




Dana recorded the progress of Nailbomb...the writing, the recording and finally, the live shows. He even happened to be walking through the hallway of our home when I approached Max and Alex with my idea to make a band from the music they were killing time making. One day, somewhere in time, a DVD will come out and capture the real story. The tapes are still neatly tucked in my archives, waiting for the hands that will guide it into Metal history.



I came across the last photos, taken by Dana one afternoon, after the recording had wrapped. Nailbomb was always about extremes and gun shops seemed pretty extreme to 2 young men born outside the US. Alex would trip on the signs and stores selling guns in Phoenix. It seemed like a good spot to shoot some images.


Coming home, Max went in the backyard and spray painted 1000% HATE on our fence. Dana shot some cool photos there, too. People would turn a crooked eye in our backyard after that, wondering what the hell it stood for! One day, when Max and I were away on tour, a thunderstorm tore the fence down and the builders replacing it, tossed the fence away. Long gone, but still preserved here.



There were only a couple shows for Nailbomb, one being the Dynamo Festival, with its 120,000 ragers! You may get the chance soon to hear these songs live...they may be modern-ed up a bit, but I can assure you, they won't be compromised! Alex is a successful producer now, and we all know what Max has been up to! Sometimes paths change, but art is forever!!


Class dismissed......

Friday, March 3, 2017

1989....EASTERN EUROPE OPENS UP


In a couple years, it will be 30 years that I have been on the road. Times have changed; Metal has evolved, but the fans are still the same...ravenous!!



Europe has changed dramatically! Open borders, the Euro, even the English language has seeped into every day life! Now, we have cell phones instead of pay phones on the side of the road, that you never had the right coins for! No more stopping at every border, getting out in the freezing cold and proving you are you! Dogs that once sniffed drugs, now sniff for explosives. And the wall...that damn Berlin Wall, sold now in gift shops instead of having murdered bodies draped over it, and armed military patrolling it. I have seen many changes in the world, that's a definite fact.


Eastern Europe was always special to me. Mom was from Yugoslavia and much of my childhood was spent listening to her stories about the war and growing up in Europe. I was fascinated by it. When I got the chance to take Sacred Reich to Eastern Europe, I jumped at the opportunity. I had a new band that I had discovered from a demo tape called Chemical Dependency...Atrophy, from Tucson, Arizona. I landed them a deal with Roadrunner Records. They were quite new and couldn't land a tour, so I asked them to tech for Sacred Reich on an extensive run I had in Europe. They could tech and earn the cost of the airfare and travel, and perform at the same time.


Entering Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia for the first time was thrilling! I felt like I was finally coming full circle with some of my ancestors. The front of house engineer, Nino Notaro, was often as adventurous as me. We spent our first "sausage and beer on the side of the road in Czechoslovakia together!" Everything was different. All the buildings were painted in Socialist Grey...no color anywhere!!


The shows were packed and the fans went crazy! In many of the cities, we were the first American Metal bands to hit their moshpits. Basically, there were 2 kinds of Metal back then-Hair Metal and Thrash. Metalheads were all of the same family. Black band shirts were the only apparel, coupled with patched up jean vests, which only recently hits the US Metalwear scene. Let's not forget the black leather biker coats and Dr Martens! Max says Christina and I are the first girls he ever saw wear Dr Martens!



30 years later and I know my way around most cities. I have a network of true friends I get to see when I am working. Our bus breezes through borders and countries with ease. When I need to contact someone, I just pick up my cell phone and talk. Gone are the headaches of monthly $6000 phone bills! Facebook and emailing allows me to contact my friends far in advance, to warn them I am on my way! My family can FaceTime me, keeping us all close. Heck, we didn't even have video recorders or even pagers, in the good old '80's! Cameras were a luxury, and developing film costly. Half of your photos could be crap and you still had to pay to develop them!

Even the dance in the pit has changed through the years. Headbanging gave way to stage diving, gave way to kung fu fighting, circle pits and walls of death! But the Tribe still picks you up when you fall, hurls themselves over the barricade and try their damn-ness to get a pick!! And the photos!!!! I must have taken a million photos of Max with fans!! Some things never change..they just evolve!!


Class dismissed......

Friday, February 24, 2017

MAX'S STAGE GEAR 101


Max is pretty solid on his set up on stage. He doesn't diva-out and need every new item that is born each day. When he gets his set up sounding good, he stays with it! He has had an endorsement with several guitar companies through the years, but settled long ago, with ESP Guitars. He is also blessed with a Peavey endorsement, and actually, he is the longest running endorsement of any artist, with Peavey! Of course there are many endorsements for things like cords, cases, strings and picks, but his guitars and cabs are the spine. But, let's talk berimbau!!


When Max informed us he was going to play a berimbau, he really caught a lot of crap. "Only black people can play that!" Max would just chuckle and look at me...our eyes would connect and we would both know.... The berimbau is traditionally an instrument played by African musicians, in Brazil. It looks a bit like a bow and arrow, with a gourd connected in the middle. The wire is similar to a piano wire, and it is played by hitting the wire with a slim stick. The open end of the gourd goes against your body. You also need a round, flat stone (or metal fitting) to hold between the string and the wood, to keep it seperate. It sounds confusing, but Max handles it like a pro. He is the only Metal artist known to use this.




Peavey has supplied Soulfly and Max's other bands with gear in every country we play! In Europe and the UK, they sent him camo colored cabinets and amps, which we store in our location in Germany. When we fly across the Atlantic, our gear is there waiting for us! Max's amps are always updated with Peavey's newest line. Currently, Max uses the 6505's.



Max's World is always on the side of the stage Kenny chooses. Kenny has been Max's tech over 15 years now. He is much more than a tech; he is a friend, a family and occasionally, when I ask, he is a bulldozer. I am pretty sure he would take a bullet for any one of us and therefore he needs to be included in any mention of Max's gear...Kenny comes with it! He is always surrounded by cases, pedals and guitars but if you look hard enough, you will see bit of Pokemon hunting going on and the Kings playing hockey on a mini TV!!




One pedal Max uses is a D tuning pedal. This enables the guitar to down tune and not switch the guitar. Another is a mild distortion pedal, and the other pedal is a noise compressor. They all stay in his rack and slide out on a small tray. On top of the rack cabinet is Kenny's guitar tuner and another noise suppressor. The amps are stored at the bottom in the rack and there usually is a spare in case of a blowout in one.




On stage, Max has a pedal board with 2 pedals on it. Max uses these when he chooses to. One is an Auto-Wah and the other is a Super Flanger. They both make various noises and Max uses them parallel to his whims! One of these whims is throwing water all over the place, so Kenny keeps these tightly covered with plastic sheeting. You can see this above, as the pedalboard sits in the guitar boat, waiting to go on stage. The guitar boat is also a necessity, holding the guitars upright during the shows!



That is the bulk of the gear, other than the Shure mics, guitar straps, cords, SIT Strings, cases, and oh, yeah.....these little pieces of plastic everyone goes crazy for......



Class dismissed........

Friday, February 17, 2017

SACRED REICH.....LIVING WITH IGNORANCE!!


In 1983, when my brother, Paul, and I owned the Bootleggers Club, I dabbled in band management. What I really was focused on though, was the production of the shows. I had never known one drop of production, promotion, gear, anything to do with the music biz! The first music dude who contacted me was Bill Metoyer, the Vice President of Metal Blade Records. Damn was I excited!! He called to book Lizzy Borden.



When the city illegally took our club, I plunged into silence. Damn, we had lost everything we had, in one night! We couldn't afford a costly court case, so we just walked away. I guess it was a blessing that I didn't recognize at the time. A few months later, I was talking to Jason Rainey, of Sacred Reich, and he was telling me they had gotten an offer to record, from Metal Blade. I asked if he wanted me to manage them and he said yes!! When I hung up the phone, I looked at Christina and Dana and said "what does a manager do?" Being a woman in the music business, you can't count on much help or favors. I dove in and here I still am.... The Sacred adventure was about to begin!




Bill was also a record producer and worked with most of the Metal Blade bands. He was the coolest to work with and we called him Bill "Valium" Metoyer! When the time came to record, he arranged the transportation, per diems, gear, and even found us an apartment to stay in!! He was professional from Day 1!! I even had my own room! We were going to stay in California for a whole month!!




Step by step, we went through the recording process. Everything was new, fresh, exciting! We laughed, partied and recorded. I admit the guys got wild at times, and once even rumbled in my room, breaking the night stand. It was Metal, I guess.


Ignorance turned into a classic and Sacred is now viewed as one of the early Metal pioneers! I was very blessed to work with them and go to the Metal University of the 1980's!! It was so fresh! I didn't know the long road I would travel. 33 years in Metal...