Unreality Check #18: Texas is fun!

This is the hardest pure procrastination has bitten me in a while. Missed the presale. Never got around to buying this round.

It’s OK though. I feel more embarrassed than anything.

I’ll get in. Turn invisible. After market. Who knows?

This isn’t until April 2022, y’all!! It is great to see metal doing so well though. And getting this festival off the ground has been a labor of love for the promoters, so I’m super happy for them.

Just…ggaaahhhhh!!

MORE INBOX GOOD TIMES! [notations mine]:

From January 2017 to January 2021, the 45th President of the United States presided over [and created] an especially intense period for the United States of America.  

From the pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands [while Trump ignored it], to the speedy development of the vaccine, to the rise of the economy, to the global challenge from China, Donald Trump was the dominant decision-maker and the most powerful person in the world.

In a series of live conversations across the country [Florida + Texas = across the country now?], Mr. Trump and Historian/Journalist Bill O’Reilly will discuss exactly how things were accomplished, as well as challenges, both good and bad!  

Dubbed “The History Tour,” President Trump will provide a never before heard inside view of his administration – which will be historical in and of itself.  

“These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the Fake News Media never mention. I will be focusing on greatness for our Country, something seldom discussed in political dialogue. If we don’t make our Country great again, we will soon no longer have a Country! [wow! this guy’s tune NEVER changes. I thought he already did this.] I look forward to working with Bill, who right now has the #1 bestselling book, to openly discuss the real problems of our Country, and how to solve them. Additionally, it will be fun, fun, fun, for everyone who attends!” President Trump said.

“My job as a historian/journalist is to get important things on the record in a fact-based way.  These conversations with the 45th President will not be boring,” [you gonna talk about the good ol’ pussy-grabbin’ days then, Bill?] Mr. O’Reilly said.

The tour opens Dec. 11, 2021, in Sunrise, FL, at the BB&T Center and continues Dec 12, then in Houston, TX, Dec. 18, and Dallas, TX, Dec. 19.   

Do-nothing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his 2022 reelection bid last week and Republicans and Democrats alike were suitably repulsed. GOP Rep. Cody Vasut said “I frankly think we need new leadership in the Texas Senate. I do not support Dan Patrick for reelection — I think he needs to go, I think we need somebody else in there, somebody who’s actually committed to being a productive member.”

The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate in Texas.

His Democratic challenger, Mike Collier, offered the following: “Time and time again, Texans have called out to Patrick for help. We’ve asked him to fix our grid, ensure a smooth and efficient vaccine rollout, expand Medicaid…Instead, we’ve gotten a corrupt and inefficient leader who dabbles heavily in conspiracy theories that are beneath the dignity of the offices he was elected to represent.”

“I believe in efficiency and I believe in fact over fiction, good governance over nonsense, and light over darkness. In this race for Lieutenant Governor, light will prevail over darkness and Dan Patrick’s time as Lieutenant Governor will come to an end. I’m going to retire Dan Patrick.”

Then there’s this guy, elected into asking somebody testifying during a Congressional hearing if we could maybe change the moon’s or the Earth’s orbit as a way of addressing climate change…

And finally, fuck ERCOT and fuck the Texas Legislature. There’re people who still haven’t gotten repairs completed in the wake of the last great avoidable power outage, and now you’re sending out system advisories again? What about all the hand-wringing assurances that things were going to be done right this time?

Unreality Check (#3)

‘To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth,’ released in 1997, is Swedish metal band Entombed’s fourth album. It was a step away from the band’s death metal roots, providing the cornerstone for the then-nascent metal subgenre, death n’ roll (yes, a blend of rock n’ roll and death metal).

Most fans would choose one of the three albums that preceded it as their favorite Entombed record, but ‘Too Ride…’ has a special hold on me. It was the soundtrack of my first trip to Rio de Janeiro. Rio in 1997 was better than Rio even three years earlier, but it was still a place where it was never clear who the bad guys were and in which nightclub madness could turn into actual chaos in the blink of an eye. Gunfire rang from the favellas well into the night and police sweeps of Copacabana were non-stop once the sun went down.

‘Too Ride…’s’ overdriven everything, nearly continuous swing, and lyrics focused on the perpetual struggle for sanity (or at least peace) made the perfect musical accompaniment for a new visitor to a society on the edge. Vocalist LG Petrov didn’t write the words he sang, but he delivered them with such unfettered disgust, amazement, and ferocity that they were inescapable.

LG died today, taken at age 49 by bile duct cancer. He was a unique and striking personality in a genre full of them. But I have ‘Too Ride…’ forever. And the journey’s just getting started.

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So it looks like everyone’s cool with Marilyn Mansion getting cancelled. Let’s use that common ground to build something. You know where to reach me. #bipartisanship

—–

When Trump backed COVID relief legislation it was urgently needed aid that got broad support from both sides of the aisle, but now that it’s Democrats it doesn’t even merit consideration. How can anyone take the GOP seriously? That’s a real question.

Unreality Check (#2)

Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ turned 35 today. A true masterpiece. One of those rare albums that not only stands as a cohesive piece of work rather than a collection of songs but actually envelopes its listener, taking them on a journey. When you add in the great individual performances and the fact that it sounds great no matter what volume you play it at, it’s pretty much the best.

Was living in a group flat in London in fall of 1986 and would fall asleep some afternoons sitting on its hard couch with my headphones on, just letting it wash over me.

When I heard about Cliff’s death I cried. Rest in peace, genius. You will live forever.

—–

Does the GOP want us out of Iraq or in Iraq? Or whichever is the most expedient answer to the particular question they face? I think that’s the one.

—–

Conservatives have attempted to cancel an absurd amount of literature over the years, and almost all of it simply for wanting to broaden the minds of those who would read it. The forces behind what is happening now are different. It is an effort in include. Not exclude. At least their reaction is consistent I guess.

—–

In the words of great Indiana poet, William Rose Jr. (@axlrose) “I don’t worry ‘bout nothing, no, cuz worrien’s a waste of my time.” The earth is a self-balancing system. She’ll be fine. But if we want to stay here (or live elsewhere), it’s past time to get busy.

—–

The US Interior Dept. took steps today to recommit to scientific integrity and empower its experts to use the best available science. Its Order 3397 revokes Order 3369 – falsely branded the “open science” rule – that imposed improper restrictions on what science and data could be considered when making its decisions.

—–

BREAKING INTEL: When Texas COVID-19 numbers spike towards the end of the month the right’s plan is to blame it on illegal immigrants. They’re literally broadcasting it. #OnBrand

Protest 100: Sacred Reich – ‘The American Way’

Artist:          Sacred Reich

Song:           The American Way

Album:        The American Way

Producer:    Bill Metoyer

Label:          Metal Blade

Year:           1990

Notes:

Straight into the deep end! Sacred Reich bassist and main songwriter Phil Rind has a wide social justice streak in both his craft and in general and brought it to the fore with his band’s second full-length album, ‘The American Way.’ The record is one of most overtly political thrash releases ever and stacks up with the very best musically as well.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ (now seeking publisher!) –
“All the reactionary freaks in the American Civil Liberties Union and associated organizations had ended up being right. Freedom had been traded for security.”

Lyrics:

Truth and honor, faith and pride
All conviction’s surely died
Honesty’s time has passed
Time for lies is here at last

Truth is false, I’m so fed up
How did we come to be so fucked
Hate, fear, pain, death
All our country has got left

Talk to children hear them say
Daddy left again today
Brother steals and mommy lies
Future lost before their eyes

The sun was lost behind the clouds
They wrapped it up and blacked it out
Acid rain fell today
It came and washed our hopes away

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

Don’t look past your TV
All of us are what you see
A looking glass into our lives
What we watch is what we buy

Priorities are out of whack
Who is next to stab our back
Doesn’t it make you mad
To have lost all that we’ve had

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

Doesn’t it fill you with disgust
That there’s no one left to trust
Is this happening, is this real
My body numb, I cannot feel

Are you happy? Are you sad?
Are emotions a thing of the past
I have no tears, I cannot cry
No one mourns for a world that’s died

This was once the land of dreams
Now these dreams have turned to greed
In the midst of all this wealth
The poor are left to help themselves

A capitalist’s democracy
Why no one said that freedom’s free
Lady liberty rots away
No truth, no justice, the American way

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Ultraphonix – ‘Walk Run Crawl’

George Lynch and Corey Glover are both icons of the rock and metal worlds. And, lucky us, they’ve got new music out. Together! Ultraphonix—a four-piece featuring Lynch, Glover, drummer Chris Moore and bassist Pancho Tomaselli—have released a video for their first song ‘Walk Run Crawl,’ taken from debut album ‘Original Human Music’ out Aug. 3.

You can read more about the band and preorder the album here. The video is below.

This is vital, catchy hard rock, picking up where Lynch left off in KXM (he just keeps getting better) and featuring an inspired and important lyric.

Speaking of KXM, both Lynch and Glover appear multiple times in ‘What You Make It: The Authorized Biography of Doug Pinnick’ available for preorder on Kindle NOW, with hard copies out June 8.

 

Power Trip. Inspiration.

As I get ready to release ‘What You Make It’ I’ve been contemplating influences, both old and new.

Among the latter is Power Trip.

They’ve been my favorite band since first seeing them at Fitzgerald’s here in Houston back in 2012. I hadn’t felt a room that charged in a long time. And when Power Trip hit the stage the place went off, danger mixed with the brotherhood of metal. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out unscarred, but I also didn’t care.

Since then, they’ve done nothing but impress.* Yes, as a live act. And yes, on record. ‘Nightmare Logic’ deserved every accolade it received. It is the rightful benchmark of metal today. But they’ve also remained accessible to their fans (young and old!) at shows and have one of the realest social media presences going. Promotion? Absolutely, but not hype. It’s a conversation. And it’s welcoming. No macho posturing. But also not for the dimwitted, or the troll-minded, or those without a sense of humor.

The way they take care of their business is the way I aspire to take care of mine. I’ve got a long way to go. But, hey…goals, ya know?

At the heart of everything remains the music. And as good as their recordings have been, Power Trip’s forte is the stage.

I’ve attached one of my favorite live recordings of any band, anywhere, ever. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watch this clip. But I feel another two or three coming on today.

Power Trip is in Europe opening for Trivium and kick off a North American headlining tour next month.

*Full disclosure: I’ve felt weird about this band exactly once, while watching a recording of their performance at last year’s Golden Gods awards. They were fine. But (at least on video) the sound was thin and the overall effect was like seeing a shark at the aquarium versus accidentally pulling the same fish into your boat and not knowing where the fuck your grappling hook went.