Headrush TV: How’s life in quarantine been? Have you found any interesting new ways to pass your time?
The first large chunk of time was spent finishing up the EP, so we would have mostly been in “studio lockdown” anyway even without a nasty virus out in the world. And lately it’s been getting everything prepped for the release, finishing up editing the “Parasite” video, etc. Lots of work which we’re lucky to be able to do almost exclusively from home. We’ve been finding time to read/listen to podcasts/watch some movies+tv & talking long walks & drives.
Headrush TV: Aside from spending some well-deserved time at home, what’s next for Dead Posey?
Our video for Parasite is premiering on Spin.com Monday June 22, and we’re doing a livestream performance and Q&A on Tuesday June 23 at 7pm pst on Spin Magazine’s Twitch Channel. Besides getting “Malfunction” into as many brains as we can, we are starting to compile material for our first full length album that we are gonna be diving into soon.
Headrush TV: What message were you trying to get across as a band with this new EP ‘Malfunction’?
Malfunction was inspired by the internal and external chaos that's all around us, such as - religion, war & social perceptions all going hand in hand creating some of the world's most gravely Malfunctions. It also highlights the struggle to maintain a sane state of mind & figuring out how to cope with the chaos of this world to become more vigorous from it.
Headrush TV: Are there plans to support the new EP with a tour for 2021 once things blow over?
Most definitely! We’re ready to get back to the Gypsy life style & hitting the road again - we miss it something crazy. We’re in talks with our agents who are on the lookout for touring opportunities as soon as the flood gates open again. We’re looking forward to non-stop touring to make up for lost time!
Headrush TV: What is your favorite track from the new EP, and why?
The favorites for us shift around at different times. Danyell, “For me it’s ‘Bad Things’ which is a mix between the off-putting atmosphere like you’re in a David Lynch film and the tongue-in-cheek nature of the lyrics - that makes it my favorite.” Tony, ”Right now it’s ‘Holy Roller’ - the sounds and vibe all come together really well on that one (and it’s a favorite to play live as well.)”
Headrush TV: Did you learn any new tricks in the studio this time around creating this new EP?
We wanted to push ourselves to not rely too much on sounds from our earlier work, while still retaining the core elements of what makes us sound and feel like us. To go with the darker lyrical themes of this EP, we sort of went for a hybrid of the gritty/bluesy influences of our past mixed with an industrial edge. We probably wouldn’t have allowed something like a “synth” to really be near Dead Posey music a year or two ago, but now we opened it up to new sounds like that being brought to the forefront if it felt right. We leaned in more to the guitar here as well as tech/industrial flourishes. And we went for an updated flavor with the vocals, letting Danyell’s natural power and energy come through more without as much distortion.
Headrush TV: When writing music, who’s your biggest inspiration? Does it differ lyrically?
Sonically and lyrically our inspirations are Depeche Mode, The Kills, NIN, Marilyn Manson, Garbage, Joy Division, The Doors, QOTSA, and many more. Lyrically we lean toward artists and bands that are provocative and have sensuality and depth to them. Our general artistic godfathers of inspiration are Salvador Dali, Edgar Allan Poe, and David Lynch.
Headrush TV: Do you have a specific process when writing? (or superstitions, only finding inspiration while on a drive, lucky guitar picks, etc.)
We’ll both bring in our compiled ideas: guitar riffs and beats that Tony has stashed away and lyric and sonic ideas that Danyell has concocted. From then on we’re both in the trenches; for each song it’s like a tug-of-war of both our minds, constantly challenging each other to dig deeper to get to the real essence of what we want to say. While we’re both very interested in all the nuts and bolts of the production and sounds and all that, we try to get the core elements of the song (lyrics, melody, chords, feel) all dialed-in pretty early in the process so we have a strong foundation to build on. With this EP in particular, the actual songwriting happened very quickly – it was the production and getting things sounding just right that took some time.
Headrush TV: When you first began in this industry, did anyone give you advice that you’ve held onto till this day?
Let the music come first and the rest will follow. Quality over quantity. Don’t be afraid of new technology. Your fans are a life source.
Headrush TV: What’s been your most memorable experience in the music industry thus far?
There have been a handful of shows so far that are engrained into our brains for life, such as The Gramercy Theater in NYC, and Rock City & Electric Ballroom in the UK; shows like these have really helped it sink in how lucky we are to do this. And just being able to put music out that has an impact on people. We’re looking forward to what’s to come...
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: EDGE OF PARADISE'S MARGARITA MONET DISCUSSES THEIR NEW ALBUM AND TOURING THE GLOBE
Interview by Josh Justice
Los Angeles-based rockers Edge of Paradise have been putting in work in the metal scene for almost a decade. With 3 solid albums already out, the band is spending their quarantine working on some new material to stay busy. We spoke with lead vocalist and pianist extraordinaire, Margarita Monet, about touring, their evolution, and what the future holds.
Hello Margarita. First of all, thank you for doing an interview with HeadrushTV. How has the quarantine been treating you? How have you been staying safe and sane?
MM: Hi Josh, thank you so much for heaving me! We're just trying to make the best of this crazy time. Unfortunately our tour with Hammerfall got postponed, but on the bright side, we started to record our new album. Creating new music, and making artwork is keeping me sane these days!
Edge of Paradise got their start almost a decade ago. Prior to that, you had an extensive and award-winning musical background, as well as theatre. Who were your influences that led you down the path of metal?
MM: It's funny how life works, i never thought i'd have a metal band! Classical music and theater pretty much was my life, it's not till I moved to Los Angeles, met Dave Bates (who I started the band with) it opened this new reality for me. Now that I think about it though, I probably wished it into the universe, because when i was little, my parents had VHS tapes of Led Zeppelin, Queen... the live concerts, i would watch them and think how much I would love to do that, but it didn't even cross my mind I could pursue that, seemed like another dimension to me. Later, In college, i discovered Symphony X, that was my first heavy metal band that i really got into, probably the crazy keyboard solos caught my ear haha, I also started listening to Nine Inch Nails, Marylin Manson, System Of A Down, Korn, Dio and I loved Ray Charles songs... that was my playlist for quiet a few years :)
With a bit of a line-up change since you first started Edge of Paradise, how do you feel the band has evolved and grown over the years?
MM: Our band has evolved greatly, it was born from a thought of inspiration and evolved into a galactic force of hard rock with industrial, symphonic and cinematic edge ;)
Dave and I started this in 2011, we kind of hit the ground running, laying down the foundation for the band by releasing Mask, a month after we formed the band, now we regret our premature decision, but had to start somewhere :)
We've always been the primary members steering the ship, we were lucky to have had a some great band members along the way! Each lineup seemed like different chapters of our journey. I would say we really started to shape into what people recognize us today by, in 2017 when we put out our EP ALIVE and made an international debut in Netherlands. By then we've already toured US twice and put out 2 albums, however, it's the ALIVE EP, that really put us on the path to our album Universe and finding the sound that defines who we are. Universe, in maybe ways, feels like the first album for us, especially since it was a label debut on Frontiers Records and released on the day that we left on our first big European tour. So we're just excited to continue the evolution and keep building our world with the next album and lots of touring in 2021!
In 2017, you were the only American band to play the Femme Festival, a female-fronted festival in the Netherlands. That’s quite the honor. How was that experience?
MM: That was our first international show, and it was a great one! Music is such a huge part of the culture in Europe, people are very supportive and excited to see bands and discover new ones. The days of the festival they had a street fair filled with stands of vinyl records, we never see that in the US! I was a bit nervous as It was a new territory for us, but we received such a warm welcome from everyone! We made new fans and friends that we also saw at our recent EU tour, met people who've been following us for a few years, it was great to finally play our music for them live! Also, we had a some people from the US, that made the trip to see us play and enjoy the festival lineup! So it was a great experience! Netherlands is a very beautiful place, we love playing in Europe!
After that, you spent much of 2019 on “The Raven Still Flies Over Europe” tour with Sonata Arctica and Temple Balls and touring parts of Japan. How have the crowds overseas compared to the American crowds?
MM: Crowds are a bit different in every country, it's really interesting. In Japan, people love rock and metal, and they are extremely supportive and respectful, they buy all the merch and are excited to meet you and say hello. We were nervous for a second, because after each song, they wait till the very last moment of the song, until they start clapping and they get so into it! In Europe the crowds are generally loud, especially in eastern Europe, we always come out after the show and people were so warm and excited to meet us, we are very grateful! The only country that the crowd was very quiet was in Belgium, we thought they hated us, but then we sold all the merch, so you can't judge by the looks of it :)
Focusing on the present and future, you are working on a new album, co-produced with Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace. How was it working with him? And how was the recording process and concept for this album compared to your other albums, like “Immortal Waltz" or "Universe?"
MM: Yes, we are very excited about this new music, working with Neil has been great, we didn't know what to expect, but he has been helpful with his input with helping shape vocal melodies! And it's interesting to see some of the approach that Three Days Grace has, plus, he is a lot of fun to work with and get's our music. So Mike Plotnikoff and Neil, they are a perfect team for us to create this new album. Regarding the concept, it's definitely different then Immortal Waltz. After the Immortal Waltz album we changed the direction of our sound. We were very lucky to be able to record that album with Michael Wagener, it was an unforgettable experience working with a legend, and he put us on a path to finding our sound! In a way, Universe feels like our debut, all the years were shaping us to this point.
The new album is a continuation and evolution of Universe, but more powerful, bit more guitar heavy and has more of a cinematic feel. It explores themes like merging artificial intelligence with human mind and the implications of that, we want to make people think about the future of the human race, consciousness, weather the soul can exist in a digital world, power of our minds... fun stuff like that :) Recording process is similar to Universe. We record vocals and drums with our producer Mike Plotnikoff and everything else we record at our home studio.
Any collaborations in the works or any dream collaborations we can put out to the universe to get that ball rolling?
MM: We're doing our thing right now, but in the future, would be fun to collaborate with Trent Reznor, I love his musical style, his live shows, how he expanded to making movie soundtracks, would be cool to do an industrial/cinematic song with him!
I stumbled across an acoustic version of “In A Dream,” with you on the piano. It was beautiful and haunting. I found a few others that were equally great. Any chance of putting out an EP or full album of all acoustic songs?
MM: Thank you so much! In A Dream was actually the first song Dave and I wrote together, so it holds a lot of meaning to us. I love doing acoustic versions, it brings out a different side of songs. Right now we're working on the new album, but after it's release in 2021, it would be great to do an acoustic release and include some songs from all our past albums!
With touring on the back burner for now, where can your fans stay connected with you?
MM: We're looking forward to get back out on the road next year! Fans can always find us on our social media pages, instagram/facebook/twitter. We love to hear from people, we have a very supportive, imaginative, creative and fun community of music lovers, we're grateful and excited that our world is growing!
We also do a lot of giveaways, we recently did a guitar giveaway to celebrate the release of Universe. Our winner Chris, is a guitarist from Germany! We do signed postcard giveaways around the holidays to everyone, so keep posted for the next one! :)
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Stay safe.
MM: Thank you very much for having me, stay safe and we can't wait to see you at a future show!
Photos provided by Margarita Monet/Edge of Paradise
Universe Album: https://radi.al/Universe/
While on tour with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in the back of the tour bus, drummer Jon Wilkes began writing music for a project that would become known as KOU. A synth-driven embalming, creating something totally unique and all its own. Since Wilkes’ work in RJA, eleven years in the making-he’s finally begun releasing music under the KOU moniker. The second single, “BURN,” features strong lyrical writing, and with the use of droning guitar riffs providing multi-layer landscapes, it captures the listener with intense emotion, inside and outside of the mind. A strong single, no doubt leaving listeners impatient to hear more.
Stream the new video accompanying the single release below.
Also, you can keep up with Jon about KOU at the links below as well!
KOU-BURN (Hyperlink) - https://ampl.ink/NjyJ9
Dan Sugarman, currently of the horror-core band, Ice Nine Kills released his second solo record [Inside/Out | Part 1] May 15th giving fans a taste of his skill in building instrumental metal soundscapes.
After leaving his first band, and facing the trauma of losing his mother to cancer, the heavy metal guitarist spent time crafting and perfecting what would become a solo artist. Dedicated to his late mother, [Inside/Out | Part 1] is a rollercoaster building upon the intensity of its steep climbs and sudden drops. The single, "Nova ft. Ruben Alvarez" (Upon A Burning Body) features pounding drums strong enough to shake the arteries, paired with the technicality of his guitar work is a treat for all willing to attempt to tame it. His fretwork layered with the other tracks is proof of his ability to sling delicate riffs through the sonic grinder to create an absolute masterpiece for listeners.
Anthony Cannella of HeadRush TV had the chance to chat with Dan about the new release and life in quarantine.
1. Hello Dan, first off all of us at HeadRush Tv hope you are doing well and are safe with all this craziness happening in the world right now. With this pandemic of the Coronavirus going on, what have you been up to?
Sugarman: Thanks so much for having me, all of this stuff has been absolutely crazy - I have no idea how it got to this point. But here we are… so I’ve been trying to make the best of a bad situation by using this time to get creative, and be more productive in all the areas that I used to not have time for.
Surprisingly, cooking has become a huge staple for us in the house. My mom was a professional chef, and an incredible one at that. I grew up watching, observing, tasting, and helping her prepare all of these insane dishes. So now I’m applying the stuff I picked up as a kid to my absolutely ridiculous gluten-free & vegan diet - so experimenting with that is always fun. It’s been keeping us occupied, healthy, and interested in educating ourselves by trying new things. Who knows… maybe I’ll write a vegan cookbook and cooking show for fun… and maybe even a vegan clothing company called Anti-Cruelty Cult with Joe Occhuiti from Ice Nine Kills? ...okay.
This house is also a new thing. I’m doing this interview from my new home in Los Angeles after a move from Austin, TX about 2 weeks ago. I left LA originally about 2 years ago to start a music education company, and that energy has since shifted to my own new guitar shreducation venture, aside from my private lessons, called Sugarman’s Lesson Lounge. It’s a growing online guitar community of close to 200 of my students. Through the [ S | L | L ] I drop loads of free shreducational videos, blogs, question prompts to get them thinking differently, interactive guitar games, resources, direct access to me, and the support of other guitar students that are on the same path as you.
Besides all of that, releasing this album has been a huge thing for me in not only how it has taken up time, but also its effect on me as a person. The making of it happened right after leaving my old band As Blood Runs Black, and in the 6 months leading up to my mother passing away. This all happened in 2016, and I couldn’t find it in me to listen to this record in order to officially release it. I decided to finally release [ Inside/Out | Part I ] once my things in my life started to move forward again. That all happened when I joined Ice Nine Kills in 2019, and I committed to releasing this record on 5.15.20 far before this Corona madness happened. The irony is too real. Once again, just finding ways to turn negatives into positives - and releasing this record, regardless of what’s going on, is one of those things.
2. With the music industry at a pause right now due to the Covid-19, how has this affected your life as an artist?
Sugarman: It’s been absolutely nuts. I’m supposed to be on tour right now with Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach. We had our European tour with Papa Roach & Hollywood Undead cancelled while we were in the middle of it. We’ve had to reschedule our tour to the end of September, and who knows if the state of things will even allow that. I have no inside knowledge as to whether or not things will happen as planned - but if you ask me, I think we’re going to be on hold for a little longer than anyone wants to be. For me, that means I have to find new ways to pay for the roof over my head, and the food on our table, and in my dog’s bowl.
Other than that, the effects have been positive pushes forcing my hand into launching all of these things I’ve wanted to do for ages. As I mentioned above, I’m now committing heavily to releasing my own instrumental music, along with maintaining all of the awesomeness that comes along with Ice Nine Kills. I live with Joe, our bass player now, and we’re about 10-15 minutes away from Spencer, so you can imagine the amount of writing that will be had (or has been had…)
The private lessons, and [ S | L | L ] community have been incredibly rewarding to focus on. I’ve been teaching for the better half of a decade, but watching everyone come together to learn while supporting each other has been unreal. The spreading of experience and knowledge from musician to musician is something that I find extremely valuable. Almost priceless. So I’m always finding ways to make that happen.
I actually will be launching a new podcast soon called MindFrame ...If you could sit down with your favorite musician and ask them one question that would provide insight into their mind, in order to gain actionable takeaways that you could use in your own life… what would you ask?
In MindFrame - I’ll be interviewing and chatting with incredible musicians about how they became who they are. Asking questions that harvest answers which provided immense value to anyone listening and willing to apply the insight to their own life. I’m also planning on turning all of those interviews into a book that will be formatted in a way that will make it an awesomely easy read, if taken in the proper doses.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to things far more than I’m not. Things are looking up I think. The world will be very different after this, and I’m hoping that the positives that come out will outweigh any of the negatives.
3. On a more positive note, your highly anticipated album ‘Inside/Out Part 1’ is being released Friday May 15! We know you’ve been working incredibly hard on this album for a long time now. How does it feel now that the release date is finally here and out to the world!?
Sugarman: The word “release” is so profound here for me. To physically be releasing this music out into the world is a massively cathartic thing for me. It literally feels like a release on so many levels. I wrote this record in the 6 months leading up to my mom passing away. She was battling with brain cancer for close to 10 years. I was touring for at least 8 years of that, and I sometimes regret not being there.
But when things got bad, I left my band in order to be home to help take care of her, and spend time with her. I’m glad I did, but I’m still riddled with the regret of not making that choice sooner. But everything happens for a reason.
One of my favorite things to do lately is ask myself why things happened for me, and not to me. The results have been awesome, and the timing of it couldn’t be better. I am turning the page, and starting a new chapter now.
I am back home in LA, living with my girlfriend & dog, and best friends, touring and making music with my best friends, starting new businesses, and finally releasing the record that has kept me stuck and unable to release anything since my 2016 record “Centersun”. So many things are moving, and the momentum is real. I am so excited and ready for all of it.
4. Before the release of ‘Inside/Out Part 1’ you released a killer new solo track “Nova” ft. Ruben Alvarez from Upon A Burning Body! What was the creative process like for “Nova” and the rest of the album as a whole?
Sugarman: That song was super fun to make, and was meant to happen in so many ways. Ruben and I go back close to 10 years. My original band Fallen Figure took his band Upon A Burning Body out on their first tour to the west coast, and we all hit it off. We kept in touch over the years, and have since toured together several times with As Blood Runs Black, but destiny stepped in and made this song happen.
I was in the middle of the making of what I was calling at the time my “living album”, and Ruben and the UABB dudes happened to be staying 10 minutes away from my house to shoot a new music video. I was releasing 1 song per month through Patreon to an exclusive group along with playthrough videos, interviews with my collaborators and I, exclusive artwork, tabs, session stems, and other cool perks. I used the funds raised to donate to charities such as National Brain Tumor Society, ALS Therapy Development Center, Childhood Domestic Violence Association, SmileTrain, and based on discussions I had with Ruben, we decided to use the “Nova” proceeds for OxFam America.
This song happened so naturally. We talked about our influences and inspirations. Ruben and I had always connected on Flamenco, so we knew we had to infuse the nylon guitar into the song. We also both had a love for 90’s West Coast hip hop - and Ruben was staying in the heart of where it all came from. Picking him up from Compton three days in a row was a reminder of that inspiration for sure. We also both had a love for early nu-metal, as well as the modern stuff that it’s turned into - some people might call it djent, and I don’t really care for genre names, but we wanted to infuse that into the song, and somehow managed to. There are also elements of our love growing up on Metallica, so we went hard on the wah pedal, and even had Ruben throw down a bass solo with the wah pedal a-la Cliff Burton.
One useful way to write music is to give yourself a set of parameters to work within… forced creative walls almost. By us having this discussion beforehand, it’s like we were creating a checklist of things to mark-off as we moved forward in the song. It’s a super helpful way to clear the path and help you focus on your goal if you know a few of the landmarks you need to hit. Even though this is a technique I use often and even teach, we used this approach organically as conversation with Ruben is one of my favorite things in this world. Love that dude.
A few of the tracks on this record came from the same place - organic discussions that created a vibe and direction that was so tangible, that the job was simply to bring that song to life. “Another Good Day on Earth, I Collect Them” was written in a few days with Angel Vivaldi, as destiny stepped in and stranded him in LA. He stayed at my house for almost a week as there was some insane snow storm keeping him from landing on the East Coast. When Angel and I get together, we don’t stop laughing, so naturally, that song is all good vibes and super fun. “Creatures of Circumstance” on the other hand was written from a much darker place, as me and my collaborator discussed the traumas of childhood and how they mold you. The discussion happened on the balcony of my mom’s bedroom, while she was on the other side of the wall - slowly dwindling away. We immediately knew the direction of the song, and it wrote itself.
“The Unattainable” and “Mind Frame” both came from a different set of paraments I set for myself. “The Unattainable” was originally called Zui Quan as the working title… I named it that due to a ridiculous google rabbithole I fell down. Zui Quan is a chinese fighting style that roughly translates to “drunken monkey”. Think of Jackie Chan stumbling around like a buffoon as he kicks the ass of anyone in his way. That sloppy, sloshy, accidently precise, falling apart while falling together vibe is what I wanted that track to feel like… It has this weird groove that falls over itself constantly, but somehow comes together and lands on the 1 when it needs to. It also has this disgusting dissonance and slurred grossness that changes on a dime into precision and beauty. For me, this song was an experiment that I put myself in at a time when I need distractions and things to preoccupy me.
“Mind Frame” was similar, but a bit more of a technical challenge that I put on myself. I wanted to create a song that was in 7/8 - which is a very odd feeling time signature to begin with… but I wanted to have a continually modulating key center. I wanted this song to feel insanely chaotic, but like all things were meant to be, and were in their right place. I wanted it to feel like you could never really find “home” due to the constantly shifting keys. I couldn’t find the feeling of home in my real life, and I certainly was looking for reasons that proved this is what was meant to be. It’s all some weird nerdy meta shit that I laid out for myself as a musical puzzle to solve. That song is a trip for sure. I was lucky enough to have my friend Sims Cashion drop an insane guest solo on the track as well - the crazy part? He was 16 when he did it… this kid is quite literally a prodigy, and I knew I wanted to have him on the record.
The last song, “The Art of Knowing”, was literally written in the days leading up to my mom’s death. This is the last thing she ever heard me working on. I wrote the main rhythms and structure of teh song before she died, and completed the leads and solos a few days afterwards. Due to that, there’s this super intense duality of emotions in the song that I can hardly stand to listen to. This song is the reason this record hasn’t come out yet. There’s so many weird coincidences and little easter eggs that I'm still finding.
This song, and record for that matter, was written in my mom’s bedroom. After her stroke, she was paralyzed and unable to speak. Due to her room being upstairs, it made more sense for us to switch rooms. Her new bed was put in the exact spot that I wrote my previous album “Centersun”, as I sat in the exact spot her bed was for my entire life as I wrote, channelled, and recorded [ Inside/Out | Part I ]. That in it of itself is wild to me. I don’t know what’s there, but I know there’s something to that. I also managed to pay a nod to the first song I learned on the guitar from when my mom forced me to go to my first real guitar lesson. “Come As You Are” by Nirvana somehow slipped itself into my subconscious here. I also somehow managed to accidentally pay homage to the first song I ever wrote and recorded in my house when I was 13 by using the same chord progression. My mom and I watched X-Files almost religiously, and I pulled on that somehow and slipped the theme song melody into this track. There are more weird easter eggs that I’m forgetting about, and still finding, but this track is a super tough one for so many reasons… same goes for the album as a whole for that matter.
5. In addition to the creative process, what were some of your biggest inspirations that got you through this creation time?
Sugarman: My own music has only ever come from my experiences and what’s around me. “Centersun” was the journaling process of finding out my mom’s brain tumor came back in 2015, and [ I/O ] was written after the doctors gave us what felt like an expiration date. Situations like that throw you onto your knees and force you to pick yourself back up again. Writing music has always been a necessity for me. It’s how I express the things I don’t have words for. I was going through what was to this day the hardest time in my life, and I didn’t know how else to get things off of my chest and out of my head. That’s always what music has been for me. [ Inside/Out | Part I ] is the purest form of me that probably exists.
6. As we all know, you are a very well known musician in this music industry of ours as you have already released one instrumental album along with previously being in As Blood Runs Black and now smashing it with Ice Nine Kills! Have you taken anything from these experiences that truly assisted you in the making of ‘Inside/Out Part 1’?
Sugarman: My biggest takeaway from everything has been to be the musician that I wanted to meet when I was younger. It’s helped keep me focused on what I want to do, and continually humbles me. When I was coming up, I met far too many musicians who left a sour taste in my mouth. I also saw far too many musicians hiding and refusing to interact with fans in the way that I wished that I could have when I was a kid.
I truly feel like the age of the hooded enigma band member is something of the past, and connecting directly with your audience is the way of the future. A rare few like Maynard and Ghost can pull of that type of mystery and distance from their audience. I think that had a place and a time, but there’s something really special about the connection that can be made if you take a few extra steps off of the stage and remove the barricade… I’ve found that almost every time, people who are drawn to my music, are in one way or another, reflections of myself - and we have things to share and learn from each other.
It’s like music is some type of energetic bait, pulling like-minded people and frequencies together. And we, as musicians, have a huge responsibility when all of those people come together to watch us do what we do. You have a musician onstage, leading a musical mass to a loving and receptive congregation. I’m not religious in the slightest, in fact I’m Jewish haha but I would be lying if I didn’t say that some of the best shows I’ve been to have felt like religious experiences.
If a musician can create that experience for others, it will have a lasting effect on their lives - whether it be positive or negative... That’s up to the musician and their message.
My message is that you can turn any negative into a positive, and that you can be the beacon of light in a dark place by opening yourself up to the world. It’s my hope that anyone who hears my album will see some sort of reflection of themselves in my music, and maybe feel and understand something they too didn’t have the words for.
7. Lastly, we would love to give you the full platform here for your fans and following! What can they expect now that the album is out and what’s the next step you have planned during or after this pandemic?
Sugarman: Thanks again for having me, I appreciate the platform and awesome questions! Once this album is out, and this quarantine madness is over, I have some awesome plans for music videos for this album. I will have tab books for this album, as well as my previous albums for sale sometime this Summer, and new merch coming to www.sugarmanshop.com soon. That’s where you can check out my album, and pick up the merch I have left before it’s sold out.
The thought of touring on this music has always been a dream of mine. If things line up just right, and the opportunity presents itself, I would love to do that. So who knows… but I’m game for it.
For updates, you can follow me at www.instagram.com/dansugarman & www.facebook.com/dansugarman for more updates on what’s going on with me. If you want to link up for private lessons on Skype, head to www.dansugarman.com/lessons - or head to www.dansugarman.com/lessonlounge to signup for my free online guitar lesson community!
If you want to be a part of the start and growth of my MindFrame Podcast where I get into the minds of your favorite artists to dig for nuggets of advice that you can use in your own life, then head to www.instagram.com/mindframepodcast and www.facebook.com/mindframepodcast
And believe it or not, there is a very good chance that I’ll be bringing my Patreon back to life. I am currently toying with ideas on how I want to do it this time around, but my “living album” is very much in the cards for the creation of [ Inside/Out | Part II ]. If the album coming out now is from within the chaos, this album will be the sonic world that emerged from that. It’s me looking back, and looking forward. I’m very much looking forward to digging into this, and myself to make this happen. Be sure to head to www.patreon.com/dansugarman to keep and eye out, or sign up for email updates at www.dansugarman.com so you don’t miss anything! This exclusive early release of the album would be a super sneak peak into “the making of”, and a behind the scenes look “from conception to birth” ...raw and uncut haha - Again, I have a lot of ideas flying through my head on how I want to make this happen, so keep your eyes open for that.
Hope you all are staying safe out there during this, and keeping yourself sane by diving into the things you love, and the doing the things you always said you’d do! Thank you for your continued love and support, it’s my goal to return it ten fold! ...and wash your hands for once, alright?
Thanks HeadRush Tv!
Do yourself a favor: purchase a copy of [Inside/Out | Part 1] here.
Written By: Zane Brammell
The world is currently seated in one of the most hellbent roller coaster rides we will most likely ever see in our lifetime. With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the entertainment industry has taken a massive hit: putting an end to scheduled touring-forcing artists to push releases back... ultimately endangering the health of the entire entertainment industry. Along with the dangers this poses artists’ livelihood directly, the damage is apparent in all markets: including closures in general retail and education with hospitals combating the pressures to appropriately stock supplies needed to fight the influx in patient numbers. However, the same souls affected by this have turned to various alternatives to continue to push their industries forward. From artists holding online benefit concerts available for livestream including subsequent donation options and seeing businesses put employees over profit in an attempt to slow the progression of the virus by designing work from home programs. Despite the worldwide requirement to quarantine and the unnerving teeter-totter loneliness many are feeling, this resounding outpour of support reaching across countries and belief systems is a reminder of what we are before anything else. Human.
Alternative rock band Shinedown, known for mega-hits “Second Chance” and “Cut The Cord” is doing their part to aid in the relief effort by teaming up with Direct Relief, one of the largest providers of humanitarian resources worldwide. They are working tirelessly to supply medical facilities with the supplies they need to not only aid patients in fighting COVID-19, these same materials that to go without, puts the facility staff at risk. Along with a donation made in their name, the band has released a shirt, with all sale proceeds to be donated to Direct Relief assisting them in their actions to continue working to provide the personal protective equipment so many healthcare providers are short of. The band has also released a once vaulted single, “Atlas Falls,” a harrowing anthem based on Greek mythology, reaffirming that if atlas falls, we still hold each other up in hard times-providing a battle cry for all of us to rally behind. The song is eerily destined to be one of the most powerful Shinedown releases yet. The previously unreleased song is available for instant download along with the purchase of a shirt.
“I have always said and believe to be true that music can heal us all. We need music, and each other, now more than ever as we all are witnessing a global pandemic unlike anything we have ever seen in many generations. Myself, Barry, Zach, Eric, and our Shinedown family want the entire world to know that we are in this together, and we must all do our part and continue to encourage love, respect and taking care of each other. Now is the time to put our differences aside so that we can truly lift each other up. We have partnered with an incredible organization Direct Relief who are doing important work globally to help the medical community receive the resources they need in order to save lives. Years ago during the writing and recording of the Amaryllis album there was a song that meant a great deal to me and the band titled “Atlas Falls.” Although the song did not make the album, I always felt that one day the world would hear it...It has never been more clear to me than right now that the time has come for ‘Atlas Falls’ to arrive.”
- Brent Smith (Shinedown)
To read more about Direct Relief, and the work they’re doing to aid communities struggling during this pandemic, please CLICK HERE. To order a shirt to help support the men and women of Direct Relief working hard to make the world a safer place, CLICK HERE.
You can check out a soundbite of "Atlas Falls" below.
By: Zane Brammell
One of rock’s newest heavy-hitters, DED continue to knock charts with the release of their newest project, the two track micro EP entitled “Mannequin Eyes.” The release is the follow-up to their 2017 debut album “Mis-An-Thrope.” After generating over twenty five million streams on streaming services, landing the band on popular playlists such as Spotify’s Viral 50, Apple Music’s Rock Hard and Amazon Music’s Top 50 Rock Songs, the band set a high bar to follow.
The lead single, “A Mannequin Idol (Lullaby)” is a fast tempo race around the bases blending both hard rock and post-hardcore allowing listeners little time to breathe. With a voice reminiscent of Jonathan Davis of Korn, the ferocity in which DED lead singer Joe Cotela provides one vocal remedy sure to cure any ailment. Directing distaste towards the music industry, “You just want a pretty face to sing you a song / a lullaby that turns you on / but it’s all so vain, so criminal / do you really want a mannequin idol?” the band is steadfast in distancing themselves from the ‘mannequin idols’ on popular radio today.
Known for their headstrong attitude made apparent on their last release, the second track from the micro EP “Eyes Sewn Shut” further pushes boundaries. A ballad-esque provocative piece about standing strong in the face of adversity “I won’t be a slave / and waste away / living everyday with my eyes sewn shut / as the world decays / I remain / Have you had enough? / living with your eyes sewn shut” is a demanding testament to defend what you believe in, in the vein of punk rock.The lead single, “A Mannequin Idol (Lullaby)”
To support the release, DED is slated to hit the road with a powerhouse of performers: In This Moment, Black Veil Brides, and Raven Black for an extensive cross country forty-date tour beginning March 24th in Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues Orlando and wrapping up May 17th in Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre. You can check below for a full list of dates.
DED is expected to release a full length album later this year. The album will be the first release under Suretone Records’ renewed, multiple-year deal with ADA Worldwide for exclusive distribution. In the meantime, add “Mannequin Eyes” to your workout playlist and hit the gym. You’re gonna need it to keep up with the pit when you catch them on tour later this year.
Stay tuned for updated tour dates, due to the tour being postponed!
Written & Photos By: Zane Brammell
After their debut full length “Dazed In Danville,” Kentucky punk rockers, When Autumn Calls returned to the studio to begin work on what would become their follow up release, “W.A.C. Tracks.” Teaming up with producer Cole Clark of Sightglass Sound, the band prepared to break out of the local scene, and do it in a dangerous way-carving their gloryhole in the punk rock stratosphere. The band started on their first tour to support the release. Allowing time for things to simmer, the band rejoined Clark to begin recording a second string of releases, beginning with the fresh new single “Millennium.”
A tale of friends circling others while stationary, the song follows their snappy song writing niche with catchy lead lines and Turner’s strong vocal delivery proving “Millennium” is guaranteed to be one of their most honest releases to date.
Headrush TV had the chance to chat with the band’s lead singer, Bradley Turner and lead guitarist Jacob Kerfoot about their plans for 2020.
Headrush TV: First off, congrats guys on a stellar two years! You’ve made quite a dent in the music scene in Lexington, Kentucky and the surrounding cities with your releases and live performances. “W.A.C. Tracks” even earned you guys a nomination in the inaugural year for “Best Punk” at the Lexington Music Awards. That’s gotta feel pretty good, right?
B. Turner: The first round of voting was designed specifically for the public, and it felt great to receive that praise from our peers.
J. Kerfoot: It’s been a lot of fun. Very happy to feel the love!
Headrush TV: One of my favorite songs from the EP is the least abrasive on the record, “I Know, I Know.” I heard that you’ve decided to retire it from your live shows for the time being. How come?
B. Turner: No one seemed to vibe with it when performing it live, so we decided it was best left for fans on the record.
J. Kerfoot: Yeah.
Headrush TV: How did When Autumn Calls start, and where did the name come from?
B. Turner: It’s actually been a thing for a really long fucking time. Haha.
Basically, it started years ago when my cousin Zacc, and I started playing really bad acoustic music. We had grown alongside the Kerfoot twins in the same scene, and at one point we realized we were less attached to the more intimate acoustic sound, and so we linked up with Jacob and Aaron to pursue a more energetic performance, with the goal to keep the intimacy intact. As far as the name goes, I really wish there was a unique story behind it, but there just isn’t. Zacc overheard someone talking in class one day saying “Man, I can’t wait for Autumn to call,” and he just liked the ring of it.
J. Kerfoot: We’ve more recently adopted the shorter acronym, “W.A.C.” as well. Friends started calling us that, and it just sort of stuck.
B. Turner: It’s actually pretty funny, because a lot of people assume it’s a reference to the season, but it’s not.
Headrush TV: I can remember discovering Green Day for the first time back in 2004, and answering the age-old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?`` with “Billie Joe Armstrong” for the following ten years. Can you recall the moment you decided to become musicians? When did you decide to start making your own music?
B. Turner: Honestly, I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment. As a kid, when asked that question, my usual answer was either a cartoonist or professional skater.
I can remember my parents buying my first guitar and it just sat in the closet for years. One day, out of the blue, I decided to pick it up and sat down to try and learn the first few notes of the Green Day song, “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” When I had figured it out, I thought I was so cool. After that, it just stuck. It’s weird because I wasn’t really into music as a kid. I sort of just listened to whatever my parents listened to, and never thought twice about it. I was spending some time at my grandparent’s house and my older cousins were watching VH1; I saw the Bullet In A Bible performance of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and it just liberated me in a way. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I had never felt music before, and it all just hit me at once.
After learning how to play Green Day’s catalog at home, our (Zacc and I) grandfather built us this little stage out of plywood in his barn. We would turn on music on the radio and pretend we were performing at Woodstock to thousands of people. I’ve yearned for that ever since those days.
On a side note, for the first couple years while learning to write songs, Zacc and I would draft concept albums basically rehashing Jesus of Suburbia with various character names. However, I would literally write new lyrics to their music. I had no idea what I intended to really ever do with them, but once I was done, I felt accomplished. The most memorable was my shitty rip-off of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” called “Path of Misheld Contempts.” Maybe I could rework and release them as a parody record… Hahaha.
J. Kerfoot: In school, my brother and I participated in interpretive speech acting, singing and spent hours watching MTV. My father was a touring musician in his glory days, so access to music and instruments was easy. Plus, there’s no greater feeling than seeing positive crowd response. It makes each show different, and fuels a fire to work harder, whether it be the next show, or the next song.
Headrush TV: You guys have spent a lot of time with Cole Clark in the studio. How has working with Cole been? Is he pretty hands-on deck when working through kinks, or does he just let you guys loose to see what comes out?
B. Turner: Working with Cole has been great! When it comes to songwriting, I believe he elevates our output when it comes to restructuring and general additions. He’s also an incredibly positive person, so when I’m feeling a bit nervous working through different song elements, he’s quick to reassure us of what’s going on, and is easy to correct us when we’re drifting.
Headrush TV: I need to know, as I’m sure everyone else does, what the hell’s on the cover of the “Millennium” single? It looks like a ticket.
J. Kerfoot: It’s a collection of memories from tour. A parking ticket can't stop us! Haha.
Headrush TV: Your instagram announcement to accompany the release of “Millennium” gave some insight to the song’s subject matter, but what does the song mean to you?
B. Turner: This song has been worked on so many times, with so many variations over the past few years. It was tough to figure out what exactly we wanted to say, or how to say it. I’m still not sure that the finished version said everything we needed to say. It does very come close though.
J. Kerfoot: Our memories of growing up in Danville are stories that I share often. Most of our music reflects our lives and experiences there, but I believe this song is easier for everyone to relate to.
B. Turner: With that said, it’s basically a reflection and observation that although time and people come and go, we have remained close. It’s a love note for the four of us.
Headrush TV: Is there a general underlying anxiety that runs parallel with time/friends coming and going, or a contentment knowing that you’re still growing with certain people?
B. Turner: I like to think some people aren’t intended to be in your life permanently; everyone has their own path to forge. So, for the four of us to remain close despite everything, I think that’s what makes “Millennium” special.
Headrush TV: In the video for Millennium, you guys packed out a small cabin for a live set. How was that experience?
B. Turner: That was great. I thought no one would come. It's Jacob and Aaron's new property out in the middle of nowhere in Nicholasville, KY. Who would come to that?!
J. Kerfoot: Very fun. Nathan Hampton was very professional to work with and captured the energy perfectly. I wish I got to crowd surf, though. Hit me up for a house show if your band shreds.
Headrush TV: Not only are you all close friends, I know there’s family ties in the band. How is it getting to work with family as well as friends? Does it make resolving issues more efficient, or more difficult?
B. Turner: Uhh, that’s a tough question. As mentioned before, Zacc and I are cousins and Jacob and Aaron are twins. If anything, I think it helps resolve issues in the long run because we are able to voice our opinions at a personal level, rather than a business level. I mean, we’re not fucking coworkers! We’re brothers.
J. Kerfoot: I think it makes our decision making a lot more cohesive. There’s no mixed signals. I know it’s hard to make a band work, but having a relationship that extends beyond WAC is beneficial for all of us.
Headrush TV: I was a huge fan of the skulls design you guys printed on shirts a few years back. Will we see a return of that design, or do you have plans to release something new?
J. Kerfoot: Probably won’t see the skulls design anytime soon. We are actually looking for a graphic designer to make some new WAC designs. Any inquiries are welcome (with a portfolio)!
Headrush TV: Although you work hard to release quality work, you attempt everything with a D.I.Y. finesse. What does D.I.Y. mean to you, and what advice would you recommend artists coming up in the D.I.Y. scene?
B. Turner: The D.I.Y. attitude is the most important thing any up-and-coming band/artist can have. I feel that if you’re relying on too many outside sources, your control over your own art is less tangible, and you start to lose genuinity. However, I DO think receiving help from peers is still D.I.Y. You shouldn’t expect to do everything alone, and it’s much more beneficial for the community if it’s done together for the same end goal. I guess I feel the heart of D.I.Y. is making art for the same reasons, not in competition. Art can not be done in competition.
J. Kerfoot: There are so many incredible artists out there that people miss out on, and simply comb over because there’s a lack of community to support them. If more people would strive to design a community around the art they create, and less about the finished product-everyone would grow. Everyone would benefit.
We have a playlist on Spotify, showcasing various artists we’ve played with during our time as a band. It’s called “A WAC Playlist” on Spotify.
Headrush TV: What’s on your personal playlists right now?
B. Turner: I’m basically cycling between PUP and Slaughter, Beach Dog. Hahaha
J. Kerfoot: Hot Mulligan, Gus Daperton, The Story So Far, Brigades, and Niiice.
Headrush TV: What’s next for WAC in 2020?
J. Kerfoot: With everything going on health wise, we decided to postpone our March-April run for this summer. We have a couple festivals and mini-tours planned for later this year! But we can’t really talk more about those at the moment while details are being ironed out.
B. Turner: Right. Our main hope right now, is that everyone stays safe and is careful when attending shows. We’re hoping to write more music for an expected release later this year. We’re really bummed that we are unable to head out on the road to promote the new song, but in the meantime, check out “Millennium,” and come say hi this summer.
You can watch the new video for “Millennium” below, and follow the band on their various social media outlets. While you wait for everything to pass, flip the record over, lay the needle down and listen to some great music.
By: Anthony Cannella
Dashboard Confessional is currently on their 20 Year Anniversary Celebration Tour and recently made their way to the House Of Blues in Chicago for three straight sold out nights! On the third night we were able to catch them with The Get Up Kids, as we witnessed Dashboard Confessional serenate the legendary venue to perfection. The third show out of the three in Chicago was the absolute perfect one to be at, due to the fact that the setlist was a combination of the two albums “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most” and “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” instead of just one of them in its entirety. This heartfelt, well thought out setlist can be found below in the photos along with a visual of the unforgettable night of celebration we had with Dashboard Confessional! Check it below!
Dashboard Confessional, Photos by Anthony Cannella
This tour genuinely is one you do not want to miss as Dashboard Confessional showcases their talents and proves why this band has been in business for 20 years and counting. Also, this tour will bring you down memory lane with these chart-topping hits! There are still plenty of dates on this tour, so we assure you that if it’s coming near you, don’t hesitate to see it no matter what setlist/album they are performing that night. Most shows, as you can see, are sold out, but don’t let that stop you from trying to find a ticket. We promise it will be worth it!
Check out some of the videos below to have a taste of what songs you could be hearing at the show!
Author and Photographer: Jonathan Stark (Stark Raving Mad Photography LLC.)
This article represents my beliefs, opinions and views. It does not represent the beliefs, opinions or views of Headrush Tv, Epitaph Records or Thrice and the members thereof.
Greetings to all good men and women. Twenty months ago, I was driving my wife, whom I had impregnated with our fifth child, to an OB appointment. Fifth child and fifth boy, in case anyone was wondering the ratio. Same wife. A deer had ended its life on our family transport just prior to this point and I was driving a rental. It was a rental with an XM Satellite Radio and on that magical radio signal from outer space I heard a song titled The Grey by a group named Thrice. I had stumbled onto a treasure trove of wondrous sounds spanning almost two decades.
Upon returning home from the appointment, I promptly started mining the depths of Thrice and the lead singer Dustin Kensrue’s solo gems. There was not one thing I heard that wrinkled my nose. Every single song was fragrant, potent and delicious. The songs were deep, meaningful, purposeful, well-constructed and beautifully executed. For me personally, there are a few groups like this such as Bad Religion, Rancid, Needtobreathe, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Demon Hunter, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd.
While listening to Thrice, of course Black Honey floored me. Talk about painting a powerful picture of selfishness and greed. Beggars also resonated with me. It is such a fantastic melding of the content to the sound. I knew an old theologian who said that he was just one beggar showing other beggars where he found bread. There was another one as well by Dustin Kensrue titled It’s Not Enough that made me pause with emotion. Yes, I’m old and yes, I’m a warrior, but I’m allowed to be touched by a work of art.
Anyways, to my joy, Thrice was on Epitaph Records. Epitaph Records had been and continues to be a pleasure to work with. Having shot some of my favorite artists from the label, I reached out to them for approval to behold Thrice’s Vheissu Tenth Anniversary Tour.
To be fair, I had the honor of shooting Thrice on the Rockstar Energy Disrupt Festival this past summer. It was my first time seeing and photographing them. I found the performance absolutely amazing. Everyone involved does a top-shelf job.
Fast-forwarding, Thrice played a sold out show at Summit Denver on January 28th on their Vheissu Tenth Anniversary Tour.
The last sentence was the last sentence I wrote before my son passed away. I had planned to finish this article the following day, but instead I was laying on the couch in tears as our friends came and went. That first day I just wanted to lay there and listen to worship music, then about halfway through I wanted to hear Thrice. I had been listening to so much of their music leading up to the concert and when I write an article, I listen to live performances. Some of the songs brought me comfort. It’s true; we are all beggars. There is no them and there is an artist in the ambulance. But the song that really struck me over and over was It’s Not Enough by Kensrue. One of my kids asked why I kept playing it and I said because it’s important to me.
My wife and I, along with our family, had been wandering around in the desert for 7 years. My son who died had been in the foster care system, abused and neglected, and at the age of two months he was placed in our home. We knew he was our son from first sight, the first sight of his little misshapen head from being left laying on his back, the sight of unknown sores all over his body, and the sight of his drooping left eye socket. We knew that he wasn’t like our other biological babies as we loved him through the endless angry screams. Through years of severe challenges and stresses we fought for him in court and in doctors’ and specialists’ offices. We fought for him in our home and on our knees.
Shortly after he came into our home, I stopped being able to see God’s hand in our circumstance. My son was diagnosed with autism pretty early in his life. We had little support from our church and friends, except for one friend. We felt that hot sand, the never changing landscape and no nourishment. We watched others walking through rich flowery fields with their foster children. Their stories seemed perfect.
My wife and I had loved doing missions together in the past and had arrived at the decision to foster as a way to continue to serve the least of these. James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world.” Additionally, we had hoped to adopt. I’m adopted and knew that one day I would adopt a child as well. In my ignorance I thought there was an equation here. We care for orphans plus self-sacrifice equals God’s blessing, God’s provision and praise. I had failed to read the preceding verses in James 1 which talked about trials and perseverance.
Three years ago, we were able to adopt our son. It was also three years ago that the diagnosis of autism was thrown out and he was instead diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. We had not heard of it before; few have. We had no idea of what this meant. However, we are his parents and we would labor to find solutions. Turns out there’s no real solution and no real cure for this disorder, for this mental illness.
I kept our daily trials from the majority of people. He is my son. This is my family and it’s my job to protect them. Therefore, I’m not going to write in detail about it here. Those who were really close to us knew, his doctors knew, and his psychiatrist knew. My wife was amazing and resilient. She worked so hard for our son, fighting daily on the battlefield of life for his protection and healing.
Undeniably my son loved some things in life- his baby brother, trains, bowling, spaghetti, spaghetti pizza (his own invention), control, Mr. Rogers, the Triune God, the Bible, his Daily Bread and the mountains to name a few. With his disorder, had he decided not to love God, he would have shredded his Bible. But instead he loved it. It calmed his mind. At the time he passed away he had memorized Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 and hundreds of other verses. He had just turned 7. Additionally, a couple of years prior, he had just started reading out of the blue, without anyone’s assistance, and he loved to read the Bible. God’s provision.
I don’t mean to go on and on, so I’ll get to the point….perhaps. My son’s disorder was like The Nothing in The Neverending Story. So often it swallowed up all and so often I felt like the Rockbiter. I’ve also got big strong hands, but it seemed that I, that we, were not enough to hold onto our loved ones. However, near the end there were more good days than bad. We had a good Thanksgiving, a good Christmas; he had a good 7th birthday, and my wife’s birthday in the months preceding his death. That was so rare, and I was so grateful.
The night he passed away I was praying about him and felt the Lord tell me to have my wife go and lay down with him. She came to me just after and said she thought the Lord was telling her to go lay down with him. She did and got to pray over him, sing to him and tell him she loved him. We thought he was having another mental health crisis, which we had seen in the bad times in the past. As I put him in the car to go to the hospital, I got to tell him that I loved him. I was able to look him in his face and tell him, “Daddy loves you.” I thought that he’d be home the next day as I sent him and my wife down the mountain to the children’s hospital. I’m eternally grateful for that moment to hold him and tell him I loved him. So many don’t get that opportunity.
Moments later he was gone, absent from the body and present with the Lord. I know that many of my friends don’t believe in God; many of you who read this don’t believe either. It’s my position to love, but in that love, I want you all to know the peace and joy we have in the sorrow and where that comes from. Jesus was only harsh with the religious leaders. He was compassionate with the lost, the humble, with the lowly, the sinners, the adulterers and the broken. He was compassionate with me. I was against Christians, against the God of the Bible up until God saved me kicking and fighting against him when I was in my mid-twenties. I get it. I so get it, and my heart breaks for you. I love you where you are, and He loves you where you are too.
Seven years in the desert, seven years as the Rockbiter, seven years looking for the star of Bethlehem. Then all of a sudden, the fire, the light, the burning bush surrounded me, surrounded my family. In our grief and anguish there was a tangible peace, joy and love present. In the fire another was with us. It’s hard to describe because the grief is still there, but it’s not the same; it’s not hopeless. There is hope. My son is no longer is consumed and troubled. He wanted to do better. He wanted God to change his heart. He wanted to be rescued. All I wanted was to be his dad but The Nothing is a thief and so often stole moments from us. In that moment God entered and said, “He is mine.” What belongs to another can’t be taken or stolen from us when the one with ultimate claim demands a return. I see God’s hand through all of this from the smallest things like my friend Steve randomly showing up to plow our drive the day before my son died. The next day our driveway was lined with grieving friends that never would have been able to park if that small act had not been performed. To every need being taken care of, love, emotional support, playing with my other children, taking them out, financial help, food in abundance, the empathy and compassion of the law enforcement community, love from the community at large, and love from the schools I work with. A local pizza shop, Altitude Pizza, specially made twenty-five of my son’s spaghetti pizza creations for the memorial service and would not accept payment. The funeral home was exemplary and loving like a friend. A friend supplied handmade Minion cupcakes that were outstanding and hosted a tamale party to give us a large supply of frozen meals for the future. But the biggest evidence was the peace, the peace and joy in the midst of the storm. In the midst of the tears.
Don’t get me wrong, the pain at times pierces me like a knife. It’s a pain I’ve never felt. Morning and night I cry, but I’m so grateful for his peace. I miss the missing. I just wanted to be his dad completely, to hold onto him like the Rockbiter. But in the end, it wasn’t The Nothing that took him. No darkness, but the Light, the King of King’s, the Warrior King.
A few days after he passed I woke up around 3 or 4am. My wife had gotten up; I knew she was writing, that God had given her an outlet. It turns out that He had given her the words to say at the Memorial Service. As I lay there praying, the words of It’s Not Enough kept coming to my mind and I felt God telling me to use it at the Memorial Service. An odd choice I told God, but I rolled with it. I’m not in a position to argue. I’ve learned to listen, and God would show me why the song needed to be included.
Around that time my friend Mark had text extending his condolences and asking if there was anything he could do. Mark had joined me at the Thrice concert having been a long-time fan. Mark is also a pretty talented singer and guitar player. I asked if he could perform the song. He immediately said he would. I had imagined an acoustic version, so when he sent back a link for an acoustic version and asked if that would be ok, I said it was excellent.
God had revealed to me the purpose of the song being included. No matter how much money we had to try and heal our son, no matter what I did to try and find peace in our stormy life, no matter how much sacrifice was made, it would never be enough to make him whole… to make my family whole. To make me whole. Only God makes broken things whole again. Broken hearts, broken minds, broken lives and broken souls made whole through Him. That’s the point. In spite of all our striving we are incapable of making ourselves whole, of making others whole. There will always be something left to be desired. God is enough though, enough to make my son whole. To make us whole and it's beautiful.
Feel free to reach out to me if you like, feel free to watch the memorial service on Facebook or just drop me a message.
I would like to give a big thank you to Thrice and Dustin for making music that spoke to me, my family and friends during this hurricane. Thinking back now I can hardly remember the concert. What I remember was that they were outstanding. If I were to summarize, it would look like this- spot on, on point, and awesomeness. What I will remember is the comfort I received, and that God gave me It’s Not Enough for my son’s memorial service.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I wanted to honor my God, my son, my family and the band in the writing process. It was healing to a degree. Thank you for allowing me to have this outlet.
Just Another Beggar
Sturgill Simpson and ‘Country Squire’ counterpart, Tyler Childers invaded Lexington, Kentucky during a stop on their “A Good Look’n Tour” slinging their white-powder coated country to a sold out Rupp Arena. The arena seats more than 23,000 bodies, although the majority of the crowd made little use of their recently renovated seatbacks, as standing was the primary mode for such an adrenaline charged event like this. Lexington was just an early pit-stop while embarking on the rest of their North American stint which intends to make stops in key cities like Detroit, Boston, San Francisco and Nashville before coming back to Kentucky to perform at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville to round out the 37-date run.
Tyler Childers -
Following a four-times sold out residency at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee in early February, Tyler Childers and his band of rag-tag-ruffians returned to Kentucky received with open arms to perform songs from his sophomore release, “Country Squire.” Raised in Kentucky myself, I know the love for honest-hearted folks like Childers runs deep, but the love of country music paired with ice cold beer runs even deeper, and the packed house and full glasses (despite the freezing snow) is a testament to that. Not a man for flashy performances, Childers timidly stepped on to the stage to face a roaring crowd. The stone faced storyteller began by singing his smash single, “All Your’n” with his hands stashed in coat pockets and ball cap brim pulled low, donning a relaxed aurora which radiated from one corner of the arena to the next. Members of the crowd quickly shuffled to their seats spilling/tipping drinks as they walked with their focus on the stage. The set contained songs spanning both studio albums, “Purgatory,” and “Country Squire” with little time left for banter between songs due to the regular roar of applause. Childers finally made time to address the crowd towards the end of his set, by softly saying “I love you guys'’during an instrument change, before ultimately removing his in-ear monitors, standing to admire the crowd as his bandmates quietly left the stage. In what felt like a one-on-one conversation with Lexington itself, he referenced his relationship with the city, name dropping Al’s Bar as the first venue he played in Lexington. He finished his speech with “It’s good to be here.” Once the band vacated the stage, the soulful songwriter stayed behind to perform one last song. He leaned over to pick up his acoustic guitar and returned to the microphone and began the chords for his emotionally charged track “Nose On The Grindstone.” The audience members still seated were raised from position in a trance-like state. While Tyler chugged through the deep narration of one individual hoping his son/offspring escapes the curse of downtrodden appalachia, not a soul in the room was left silent as the echoes of the crowd repeating the lyrics rang throughout the arena. Those that stood, stood in solidarity---myself included.
Sturgill Simpson -
Guests were to be surprised when Sturgill Simpson took the stage. Prior to Simpson’s release of “Sound & Fury,” his totem was revered for the niche he carved, known to despise his outlaw country descriptor, he set out to defy everyone, (including Nashvillian morale) to release something unique and tasteful. Known for his dedication to his craft, Sturgill Simpson surprised fans last September by co-developing and releasing an anime special simultaneously for Netflix to accompany the release of his tumultuous record, “Sound & Fury,” with it-shedding the title of country outlaw that he earned from previous releases, but once his vocals begin in the song “Remember To Breathe”, his distinct twang is unmistakable like the yore of ole. On his road to triumph, he brought cowboy cohort Tyler Childers to bare witness in sharing the vibrant sound of “Sound & Fury.” Earlier in the day, Simpson added to his long list of career milestones by receiving the honor of having a road renamed after him in his hometown of Versailles, KY-a milestone for his tenacity. Playing to a sold out Rupp Arena was an obvious well-deserved next step for him, explaining at one point during the night that he “cut his teeth '' and “learned to lead a band” in Lexington.
A faint red strobe light signaled the band’s near much anticipated entrance, the lights flashed and the band was suddenly in position. Simpson frantically bounced over to the mic exclaiming “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this shit-get the fuck up!” as the familiar sound of an open chord erupted from his guitar starting the fast-paced instrumental “Ronin” showcasing the band’s ability to stay tight while firing on all cylinders. The song to follow, “Remember To Breathe,” subject aside, proved ironic with Simpson allowing little time for the crowd to finish their drinks, let alone catch a breath throughout the duration of his performance. Playing an array of songs including past hits and tracks off ”Sound & Fury,” a fan of any slew of Simpson’s work would enjoy the vintage vibe of his current catalog or the fire-blazoned reimaginations of older songs. During supercharged performances of songs like “Sing Along” and “Mercury In Retrograde,” the fans were split between a dance party and rock extravaganza complete with flashing lights and Simpson’s amped guitar playing style. Being the primary guitarist for the band, Simpson was able to flex a little of his skill during guitar solos and difficult rhythms while still carrying sole vocal duties. We were treated to two hours of stellar rock-n-roll.
Both Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers are representing some of the best work Kentucky’s blue collar familiars have to offer, paving a road for upcoming artists to follow. You can catch them at one of the remaining tour dates below. In the meantime, lay the needle down, turn the dial to 11, and enjoy some incredible music.
By: Zane Brammell
A Good Lookin Tour
March 4 — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania @ Peterson Events Center
March 6 — Charlotte, North Carolina @ Spectrum Center
March 7 — Duluth, Georgia @ Infinite Energy Center
March 10 — North Charleston, South Carolina @ North Charleston Coliseum
March 13 — Hampton, Virginia @ Hampton Coliseum
March 14 — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania @ The Met Philadelphia
March 15-16 — Washington, D.C. @ Anthem
March 18 — Toronto, Ontario, Canada @ Coca-Cola Coliseum
March 20 — Columbus, Ohio @ Nationwide Arena
March 21 — St. Louis, Missouri @ Chaifetz Arena
March 22 — Southaven, Mississippi @ Landers Center
March 27 — Dallas, Texas @ American Airlines Center
March 28 — Austin, Texas @ Frank Erwin Center
March 29 — Sugarland, Texas @Smart Financial Centre
April 1 — Independence, Missouri @ Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
April 3 — Chicago, Illinois @ United Center
April 4 — Minneapolis, Minnesota @ Armory
April 9 — Omaha, Nebraska @ Baxter Arena
April 10 — Madison, Wisconsin @ Alliant Energy Center
April 23 — Tulsa, Oklahoma @ BOK Center
April 25 — Denver, Colorado @ Pepsi Center
April 28 — Salt Lake City, Utah @ Maverik Center
April 29 — Missoula, Montana @ Adams Center
May 1 — Portland, Oregon @ Veterans Memorial Coliseum
May 2 — George, Washington @ Gorge Amphitheatre
May 5 — San Francisco, California @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
May 8 — Inglewood, California @ The Forum
May 15 — Boston, Massachusetts @ TD Garden
May 16 — New York City @ Madison Square Garden
May 22 — Nashville, Tennessee @ Bridgestone Arena
May 24 — Louisville, Kentucky @ KFC Yum! Center
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