Friday, May 29, 2015

Dana D-LOW...Growing Up Metal

Many of you know the name and the face of D-LOW. His name spread around the Metal World like fire on that August 16 morning in 1996. Donington would not be the same that year; it would be marked with a moshpit of sorrow, whose arms would spread through the ages. When the wave of bodies held their lighters in the air, this time...this time it was truly a connection of the fan's love of and the darkest moment yet for our Cavalera family. Max and I couldn't look into a crystal ball and see the dominoes falling in front of us; we could only live and breathe each second by second. We could not see the beginning of the end of the biggest split in Metal History. Tunnelvision crept in and we could only live and breathe through life, second by second. But that is another story...let's travel back in time...

Dana started out his life in Colorado with a hippie mom who loved music. Fishing, skiiing and just being a kid was life for Dana...until he turned 5. The release of The Cars first album hit Dana like a sledgehammer and overnight he was consumed by music. He began to live, breathe, eat and sleep music. When The Cars came to Denver, he had to go; he just HAD to go! Rocking the night away made him realize concerts were his new addiction and rock music his best friend. Fisherman Dana morphed into a teeny tiny rock music fan and we spent many afternoons going shop to shop looking for small band shirts, patches and stickers for his wardrobe.

When Uncle Paul convinced Hippie Mom to move to Phoenix and run a bar, Dana had no idea of what road he was about to exit on! Walking into the redneck Bootleggers, no one could see the future with the walls stuffed with black shirt Headbangers and the mighty Flots Nazi flag burning on the stage! There was only beer drinkers and lover's fighting in view. Could we see Metal in the Friday Fish Fry?

The Bootlegger's introduction of garage band St. James was an event that would open the floodgate, allowing the river of Metal to fill to the brim, never to hit a drought in Dana's lifetime. Bands poured through everyday and soon the Bootlegger's became a haven for thrash Metal and a playground for a young music lover. His mom was his hero and best friend. Why go hang out with friends after school when you could dash to the Bootleggers and chill with people who understood you, and who looked like you?

One day, Dana said he had an idea for a haircut and took off across the parking lot to Hair Blazers. When he returned, we all had heart attacks! The right side of his hair was shaved, leaving the rest in a sideways sweep. It was shaved off about the size of a grapefruit, while the rest of his hair was shoulder-length. I called the hairdresser and asked what the heck she did to my son and she insisted Dana wanted it that way, so I accepted it. With all the bands coming and going from LA, the haircut spread around the world. When it became a trend, Dana went in and shaved the other side too. In no time, that cut was a fad. When it became too popular for Dana's liking, he turned it into a foot and half tall mohawk, which he spiked up every day for school with Elmer's glue. One day he came home from school and said he was in love with Miss Arizona, who had visited his elementary school and singled him out for a photo.

Dana's drumming on Poison's drumkit was the catalyst for the downfall of the Bootlegger's and the introduction of Mom into band management. Dana was right by my side when I asked Sacred Reich if they needed a manager. He was with me booking shows, going to shows and planning tours. His life was exploding and soon he was meeting all his heroes. When his friend Jason Newsted filled in after Cliff Burton's untimely death, Dana's dreams became true and he got to chill with Metallica backstage.

One day, Dana was 13 at the time, he approached Metal Mom and handed her a cassette tape of Sepultura. Monte Conner of Roadrunner Records had asked Mom to manage this new band from Brazil and consequently, Dana had recently been given the band's cassette tape by friend, Danny Lilker. The long ride was about to begin, but that's next week's class....!!

Class dismissed...