The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for April 2010

Back on stage again.

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Tonight is the first show I’ve done with Doug Morrison since Summer 2008.  It’s been far too long.  Doug played with the likes of Neil Turbin, Pete Way, Fred Coury and tons of others during his lifetime in the LA music scene.  he moved here to Austin, TX right around the same time I did in late 2006.

I fell into a band pretty quickly after moving here and only did one show with them before parting ways.  Doug and I were in contact that whole time and started playing together in May 2007.  We went through a handful of drummers and found Larry.  Larry was great.  Hard hitter, good drummer, cool dude and great timing but circumstances dictated him leaving the band in 2008.  We auditioned several drummers in 2009 and just couldn’t find the right one.  Then comes this new kid in town, Ryan who started playing with us around November 2009.   Nice guy, good drummer.  He learned the stuff quickly and we’re doing our first show with him tonight.

I’m excited.  Doug is easily the best guitarist I have ever played with.  After 3 years I’m used to playing in an instrumental band and it’s nice not having to deal with a singer.    He’s a GIT grad and former instructor and is really just an incredible player.

I think this is the beginning of a brand new chapter with this band that should be fruitful and successful.  Adding lots of new songs all the time.  I’m finally excited about music again.  You can hear some stuff on the Myspace page, but it’s not a good representation of his/our sound.  There’s also some clips on YouTube.  We seem so different than when those were made.  we have a Facebook fan page as well.

One unique thing about Doug, especially in this town, is that he uses Strats.  Everyone here is primarily a Les Paul player.  Doug will be using one of his Hendrix Anniversary stacks tonight.  I’m likely using 2 of my Ashdown 4×10 cabs and my rack (heavy bitch!) and my mid-80s Japanese Fender P-bass.

It’s going to be fun.  Wish you could be here!

Written by The Metal Files

April 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hammerfall/Havok/Ignitor/Versperian Sorrow Concert Review 040810

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Was it really 25 years ago when Yngwie Malmsteen’s Marching Out album came out?  It doesn’t seem that long ago nor do I feel old enough for it to have been 25 years since.  But whatever.  It did and I am.  I remember hearing it for the first time and I think we were at Kelz’ house.  Simply blown away by the whole album and everything about it…the guitars, the vocals and especially the drums.  See, I was a relatively new drummer at the time and after hearing this guy, this Anders Johansson fella,  I wanted to play like that…and like Nicko McBrain…and like Kirk Arrington…etc.

Anders Johansson

I followed Anders through most of his career, especially with Yngwie.  I saw the Trilogy and Odyssey tours and got to witness his badassedness live.  It was pretty special for me getting to see him play back then, especially with Yngwie of whom I am still a big fan of.

Through the years I picked up Anders’ non-Yngwie stuff as well like Silver Mountain, Johansson Brothers with Jens, Jonas Helborg, Shining Path, Shawn Lane etc.  He always amazed me with his style.  I am a fanboy, I admit it.

When I found out that Hammerfall was coming to town, I bought my ticket immediately as he has been playing with them over the last several years.  I saw Hammerfall’s very first USA show at Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield, VA when they were opening for Death (RIP Chuck).  I love Hammerfall’s debut album, Glory To the Brave but never really got into anything after that one.  Sure they were consistent and I was pretty excited when I found out that Anders had joined them…but it still didn’t get me too excited to buy the stuff.

So anyway, I bought the meet and greet ticket which was $55.  Much cheaper than the Testament one plus this one would be a little more special because I’d finally get to meet one of my musical idols.  Sure I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of them, but some are a little more special than others.  Last night ranked up there with meeting Nicko McBrain in 1988.

So the M&G was to begin at 8pm and I got there around 7:30ish.  There are a few folks hanging out but none were part of the M&G.  I didn’t expect there to be many and ultimately there weren’t.

The tour bus was parked in front of us and Anders and Pontus Norgren come off the boss.  After a few minutes I walked over to them and asked Anders to sign my CD covers and the book.  I had a big stack and just in case there were a lot of people there for the M&G, I wouldn’t hold them up…of course I guess I was holding him up by asking him to sign my shit.  He graciously accepted and signed it all.  We stood in the street in front of the bus and talked for a while and Joacim Cans comes out…”We have 35 minutes to eat before the meeting.”  I told them of a few places up the street with

Seriously? Nerd!

some good food and they asked me to come along…Sweet!  I had Cans sign my Warlord CD.  I sort of felt bad for not having any Hammerfall to sign but oh well.  He didn’t seem to bothered by it.

So we went to Jackalope but the music was loud and Cans didn’t want to strain his voice trying to have a conversation so we went next door to Chupacabra.  We sat and ordered quickly.  Unfortunately it didn’t come too quickly but they didn’t seem to mind being late to the M&G.  Pontus, Can and I all had the steak tacos and Anders had a 1lb burger.  I’m sure he could have eaten 2.  He’s a big dude.

Dinner with Hammerfall.

Conversation was cool.  Anders spoke about how he spent some months here in Austin while Yngwie was recording the Odyssey album.  He told me some pretty funny and crazy stories that I am not comfortable sharing here.  He also gave me some cool insight on Yngwie and Joe Lynn Turner.  We talked drums for a while and the other 2 guys asked about Austin and the area.  I told Cans about seeing their first US show.  “Wow!  You were there?!”  Yep.  Rocked.  I need to find my photos from that night.

Service was pretty slow and we were all done eating and waited on the check.  I offered to buy their meals but they instead bought mine.  I told them to go ahead and I’d settle up the bill.  Boom.  Done.

Get back to Emo’s and the handful of people went to the back for the M&G.  I ran into Jason McMaster who is a close friend and plays guitar in my Motorhead tribute and he was getting his gear together for his performance with Ignitor.  During and before dinner, Anders reminisced about hanging out with Jason and Dangerous Toys back in 1987 and the

McMaster and Anders.

fun times they had.  So I grabbed Jason and told him that Anders was in back.  It was cool seeing them hanging out and talking about the old times.

All of Hammerfall were there for the M&G except for Oscar Dronjak, who apparently was having a bad case of Montezuma’s Revenge.  Poor dude.  They weren’t sure if he would even be alright for the show.

After the M&G I walked back to my apartment to dump off my swag.  As I got back to the club, local band Vesperian Sorrow was playing.  They’re a death black metal band.  I’m not so into them but they played a fine show.  Their drummer is a badass.

Ignitor came on next and rocked it.  I still say McMaster is the best front man around, no matter what band he is fronting.  Ignitor only had a 30 minute set so they were on and done in the blink of an eye.  Always good to see Batlord and Co. do their thing.

Next up was Havok from Denver, CO.  Nice kids.  They were a mix of Slayer, Metallica, Death Angel, Megadeth, Exodus etc.  Nothing new in their sound but they had fun and the crowd really dug them.  But please, guys…change your name.  There have been too many bands called Havoc/Havok over the years.  They closed with a medley of songs from Reign In Blood.  Not too bad but the drummer totally cheesed the drums in Raining Blood.  If you can’t play the song properly, just don’t play the song.   Usually an unknown band will throw covers in to get the crowd into it.  These guys already had the crowd into them so I thought closing with the covers was a bit daft, but hey, not my band, eh?  The bassplayer was really good.  Both guitarists had good riffs but weren’t very tight in the solo department.

Next up came Hammerfall.  As stated earlier I haven’t been into Hammerfall in a long time but was excited to see

Pontus Norgren

Anders play.  Not too much stuff from the first 2 albums unfortunately for me.  It was a very lightly attended show.  Maybe 120?  Weak.  I thought the San Antonio crowd would come up for this since there were no dates down there.  I thought wrong.

Oscar did play although he left the stage a few times mid-song.  Damned Montezuma!  The whole band was tight and

Joacim Cans

everyone there was into it.  It was good to see some of their real fans there to support.  Pontus Norgren played most of the leads and that dude is a really good guitarist.  I was quite impressed.  Anders was great on drums.  Duh.  He played with headphone to a click track.  As expected he did some really great stuff when it was necessary.  That’s one thing I always liked about his style.  He never seems to play cool licks just to do them.

Faster Than The Speed Of Light! get it? Major points if you do.

Everything seems very calculated, but proper and with feel.  Impressive.

I spoke to a few dudes before the show who had never heard of Anders or Yngwie (WHAT THE HELL?).  I told them that if you like the drum work you hear tonight, go buy those early Yngwie albums.  Do it!

It was a great time and the experience with Anders, Pontus and Joacim was priceless.  I’ll never forget it it.  I’m a lucky guy, really.  And a music nerd.  And a doofus.

Look! Anders thinks I'm cool. Not.

Setlist