Thursday, February 28, 2013

How I met Max

In 1986, I took on my first band, Sacred Reich. I met Jason Rainey when he was 16 years old and hanging around The Bootlegger, which was my brother, Paul, and my club in Phoenix. Jason came to me one day and told me he had a band. Of course we booked them immediately and my relationship with Sacred Reich began. Life was a snowball, with Metal spreading through the world like a changing Season. We morphed from travelling in the back of a UHaul truck, to circling the globe, tucked in a tour bus. Times were changing quickly and Sacred was soaring in popularity.
Sacred Reich
Sacred was signed to Metal Blade Records in the US and licensed to Roadrunner Records in the rest of the world. This was the beginning of my 26 year relationship with Roadrunner. One day, early in 1989, I got a phone call from the label, asking me if I would consider managing all Roadrunner bands that had no management. I declined because there were a few acts I didn't want to work with and also, I managed differently than most managers...I travelled with my bands. I wasn't taking on a lot of acts at the same time because I was the manager, tour manager, tour accountant and merchandise seller. It was a lot to handle and I didn't want to dilute the attention I was giving to my acts. I was managing Sacred, Atrophy and dabbling a bit with Forced Entry, from Seattle and did not want to spread myself thin. I did not want to be some out of touch manager sitting in an office, sending my bands out with $5 in their pockets, cramped in a van. No, I was traveling in the same condition as my bands and working my tail off to reach new heights. Touring took a good deal of dedication and I had a clear vision of where I wanted my bands to go. I couldn't do that from an office.
One day, and many times after, Monte Conner, the new A&R from Roadrunner, called me and asked me to manage a new band he had signed from Brasil. I politely refused. I had never met them before; what if we didn't get along with each other? No, I couldn't consider it. I wasn't interested in breaking the standard I had set for myself and my groups.

A couple months later, Sacred got an offer to support King Diamond at the Ritz in NYC, on Halloween night!! We were so excited! This was going to be super cool, not to was the famous Ritz Theater! I heard Sepultura would be one of the openers, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet them and check out their show.

When I arrived at the Ritz, I noticed many other managers checking out Sepultura. The weird thing, all the mangers came up to me and told me not to touch Sepultura, I won't say the reasoning, I felt it was discriminatory and I admit I was a bit surprised to hear the comments. As soon as the Brasilians kicked into their set, I felt such raw energy. I also got this feeling inside of me that I only felt rarely. I can't explain it. It was a sort of premonition. I sat next to Cees Wessels and said, "I will take this band for you." Cees laughed and we chatted for a bit. I went to their dressing room after their set and we all hung out. The guys didn't speak much English and I kept mixing up Max and Igor.

Their tour eventually brought them to the Mason Jar in Phoenix. Dana, Christina and me all went down early to hang out. I was shocked to discover the low level of care the Seps were receiving. For God's sake, Paulo played the entire tour with 1 pick!! Can you imagine, no one could spend a few cents and get him a pick?? They were allowed $5 a day to live on, which I could not believe. What was worse, they had a man traveling with them who said he was their manager/tour manager, but all I could see him doing was making himself a private video collection. The band didn't even have a bottle of water or a towel to wipe their face off!! It was shocking to me. When Max asked for water, this man told him, "get it yourself!" I was speechless. I took Paulo to my house and got him some picks and cruised back to the club.
WATER!!! haha

I took care of the band and got them water, towels and whatever else they needed. After the show, we went to a Motel 6 and had a meeting. They asked me to manage them. I had found out their "tour manager" had signed them to a manager who managed a soul singer(she managed a female artist such as Ertha Kitt or someone similar). This was super strange to me. The band had never even met or spoke with their manager!!! I told them I didn't step on other manager's toes and they would have to free themselves before I worked with them. We said our goodbyes with big smiles on our faces...we knew we would see each other soon. In January, I received a postcard in the mail from Max. It was a Beneath the Remains card with a nice message. I did not expect it.

A month or 2 later, a deal was negotiated and their "manager" was paid a flat fee of $10,000 and the road opened up for me to work with them. And the deal I gave them??? Haha, I said I would work for free for 1 year, to see if we would get along with each other! Now, that was for the love of music!!!

Class dismissed....

Friday, February 22, 2013

1995---Nailbomb Blast in Europe

  • Fresh off the heels of the Sepultura Chaos AD release, I got an offer for Nailbomb to play at the Dynamo Festival, in Holland. We didn't have time for a full tour because Sepultura and Fudge Tunnel were touring heavily and promoting their new releases. Chaos AD was turning some serious corners and Sepultura was growing quickly. Fudge Tunnel's Grey was opening the path for Fudge Tunnel. We were all romping the world in different directions.

    Fudge Tunnel
    I accepted the Dynamo offer, and Max and Alex began to concentrate on the members they would need to play the record live. Of course, Iggor would play the tracks he recorded. We also asked Peligro, from the Dead Kennedys, to slam a few tunes. The tracks that were recorded with drum machine required a special type of drummer. We chose Barry Schneider from the band Tribe After Tribe. He had come strongly reccommended as being able to play like a click track. Dave Edwardson of Neurosis was added on bass and Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly was on the keyboard. We all got together at the Phoenix jampad and in no time, Nailbomb breathed fire!!

    There was only one problem for me. When it was time to fly, I was only 3 weeks away from giving birth, and the airline wouldn't allow anyone on the plane in the last month of pregnancy. Yes, I was ready to explode, with my little Igor snuggled up inside, determined to go to the Dynamo! With a little fibbing, I made it to Holland with my Nailbombers.

    We were so excited, our emotions were scurrying all over the place. We had to get into our HATE MODE! We were having so much fun though! We had brought all the kids with us. No one was missing this gig!
    The night before the festival, Nailbomb did a surprise gig in a tiny club in Eindhoven. It was dark and tiny. The Nailbomb Day of Hate mood filled the club like creeping fog, infecting each corner. Actually, the club was so small that even with it sold out, more people were outside than allowed inside; each straining to hear a note from the stage.
    When the band started, Christina and I were so proud of our baby. Our little joke was soaring to the sky with no limit! I looked in the crowd and saw Dana videoing, jamming, moshing. His eyes were filled with fever; there were no words for the experience we all shared that night. When Alex hunched over and belted out Sum of Your Achievements, I could barely breathe!

    The next day, the big show. It was one of the biggest audiences ever for a Dynamo Festival! There were over 120,000 people slamming in the pit that day.
  • The Dynamo Festival was Richie's first live performance, as he shredded his famous feedback at the beginning of Cockroaches. He was 9 years old.

    The flight home was brutal for me, until a sympathetic stewardess slipped me into a first class seat.
    3 weeks later, Igor made his debut! After his birth, we went to a hotel in Scottsdale to lay low. Max took the band photo for the Nailbomb Live release in the hotel room. He played Korn's first line of Blind over and over, and Richie, Jason and Zyon raged to it. Just the one line a zillion times...there was so much energy! Alex and Max decided to use one of the poloroides as the band photo. They were all just keeping it real...

    Class dismissed....

Friday, February 15, 2013

How To Wrap A Bomb...

   The recording was wrapping up.  Max and Alex and Dana-ever their shadow-were finishing all the lose ends on our punk rock rip off project.  On the final day in the studio, Max phoned me and said, "some redneck, cowboy dude named Glen Campbell just arrived at the studio.  He is recording after us."  I was shocked and asked if he was sure it was Glen Campbell.  Max said yes, it was an old cowboy dude.  I laughed my butt off!  Alex and Max had never heard of him before.  The thought of the Rhinestone Cowboy walking in as Nailbomb was walking out, was hilarious.

Glen Campbell

   Next up was the thrill of loading all the gear into the U Haul Truck and dropping it off at the jam pad. It was a rush to actually have the album recorded.  What had started as a joke in our nanny's bedroom, had turned into an actual fire breathing dragon!


We thought it would be cool to do some crazy photo shoots, and decided to hit up some gun shops. Alex and Max had chosen a shocking photo for the abum cover, so we decided to run with brutality as our theme. We cruised to south Phoenix, which, at the time, was a bit rougher than it is now.  We found a cool shop and got out and did some shots.

Driving home, someone came up with the idea to spray paint 1000% HATE on our back yard fence.  The photos turned out killer.  We were only shooting black and white, and Dana and me took turns shooting. We had a riot with our Hate Vibe going strong!

We had moved into a bigger home, only a few blocks from the old one. We thought it was cool to have 1000% HATE on our fence when we had birthday parties for the kids.  We weren't really caring what the neighbors thought about it.

Roadrunner began its campaign to promote the release, in the months after the recording.  They flew a real photographer out from LA, Kevin Estrada.  He did some killer photos around Phoenix.  The most famous was taken in a club that had suffered from arson.  He had the guys wear blindfolds and get on their knees.  It was slaying.  It felt good to be a punk loser.

Class Dismissed...

Friday, February 8, 2013

How to record a bomb...

We were all having a blast.  Zyon was perfectly perfect.  He was so chill we could take him anywhere.  He was tiny when Nailbomb went in the studio, and I was staying home and going to the studio everyday to check in.  I was working on the Chaos recording arrangements.  No cell phones, or email in 1993, so we spent a lot of time on landlines.

Max and Zyon

Once the Roadrunner Records deal was done on paper, we were ready to rock the planet, and put the finishing touches on the record.

The only studio I knew in Phoenix was Chaton Recording.  Chaton was the studio that donated the time to Bootleggers for the Battle of the Bands.  The prize gave birth to Flotsam and Jetsam’s Metal Shock demo, which snagged them a deal with Metal Blade Records. 

I knew the owner of Chaton, Ed Ravenscroft.  I rang him up and he was happy to host the recording.  His engineer at the time, Rusty (Otto D’Agnolo), was a valuable person.  He was full of patience, humor, and had a good ear. He also could work at a fast pace. 

I will never forget the day we rented the Uhaul Truck to get the gear to the studio.  It was super hot out and Max and Alex had to haul the gear because we had no crew.  It was comical, I must admit.  As soon as the gear was loaded, we drove about 6 blocks and the truck broke.  We all had to sit and wait for a replacement.  This one came with a redneck driver.  Alex and Max cracked some rude jokes all the way to the studio.  I think the driver growled a couple times.   Dana was videoing the conversation. The driver kept quiet but his expression said it all. 

We invited a couple guests to play on the record…..Dino Cazares, Iggor Cavalera, and Andreas Kisser.  Our friends, Mike “Fatty” McArdle was also hanging in the studio.  He was the president of the Sepultura fan club, at that time and throughout the Max-era.
Danny Marianino
Alex and Max came up with the idea to play a phone trick on someone and record it.  Fatty suggested a person he had just met named Danny Marianino.  They pranked Danny and it was a riot!  You may know Danny; he eventually formed North Side Kings and also clocked Glen Danzig after a show.   Danny was perfect for a phone trick.

One afternoon, Alex and Dana called me on separate occasions and complained that Max was too drunk to work.  They said he drove up to the studio, drinking a fifth of rum, wasted.  I asked them to put Max on the phone so I could try and talk some sense it to him, but it was useless.  I had to go there.  While Max was sitting in the studio, he blurted out “Feels good to be a punk loser,” and luckily the tape was rolling.  Haha, art was just spouting all over the place…..

Class dismissed.