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King of the drums, Gene Hoglan

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The guy is a total badass on the drums. I’ve been a fan since I first bought Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends. That album is still awesome today even though a bit tame by death/thrash standards. I really didn’t care much for the band’s subsequent albums but I did get to see them live @ the Atlantic Beach Club in ’89. Death was part of that tour as wel but their van apparently broke down and they couldn’t make the show. Didn’t matter, Dark Angel ruled that night. Right before they went on, the band was walking through the crowd of people (maybe 40?) and I was standing right next to the stage when BAM! I get knocked down by a train…well…Gene Hoglan.

They started rocking out and he was phenomenal to watch. For whatever reason the singer didn’t care to sing Merciless Death so I got to do vocal duties for much of the song. Quite a thrill for a pimple-faced 19 year old like me.

Being a huge fan of Death I was stoked when I read that he was doing an album with them. he ended up doing 2 and by far those are my favorite Death albums, Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic. RIP Chuck.

Although his drumming was pretty awesome on the Strapping Young Lad (SYL) stuff, I just couldn’t get into the music. I was a distributor for Century Media at the time SYL came out and used to get their promos and stuff and I tried to dig it but it never stuck with me.

In 2003 SYL came to Norfolk with Napalm Death and Dark Tranquility. SYL was the opening act. I got to the venue pretty early to hopefully catch Gene outside. Sure enough he came off the bus and hung out with my friend and me. I had him sign my book (which will be discussed in another blog) and some other Dark Angel stuff. The guy was so cool. We talked for quite a while and he asked me what I was doing after SYL played. i told him my plan was to watch SYL and go home as I didn’t care much for the other bands. Nuclear Assault was playing about 15 minutes away and he asked if I could take him to that show after the SYL set was finished. What was I going to say, “no”? “Of course I’ll take you!”

This is where the story gets a little more fun. At the time I had a 2000 Saturn Wagon and they aren’t the biggest cars in the world. If you know anything about Gene you know that he’s about 6’5″ and 300+ lbs. You should have seen us trying to stuff him in my front seat. It was pretty hilarious. Once we finally got the door closed on the car we were on the road to see Nuclear Assault.

I guess I was being a bit quiet while we were riding because gene said something like, “You ok over there, man? You’re really quiet.” I looked at him and said, “You’d be quiet too if you had one of your musical idols in YOUR car!” We all laughed and talked a lot in the short trip.

We arrived at the shitty venue that Nuclear Assault was playing and Municipal Waste was in their last 2 songs. That was my first time seeing them and they were pretty awesome live. After their set gene walks up to their drummer and tells hiim he was great. The kid looks at Gene and just says, “Thanks, man.” Then a second later the guy realized that it was gene Hoglan and flipped out. I think he even got a tear in his eye. He was obviously a big Hoglan fan.

We drank a lot there. ufff. Gene kept buying shots.

Gene grabbed the guys from Nuclear Assault and introduced them to me. Super nice guys. They got on stage and just ripped it up. Great show! After some more greetings and hanging out with NA after the show, I took Gene back to his tour bus and we were invited on to hang out. Devin Townsend was sitting next to me eating a banana. He offered me a bite and I graciously declined.

It was an awesome time and I wish I could find the foto of Gene and I from that night.

Written by The Metal Files

January 21, 2009 at 1:28 pm