Archive for the ‘Thankfulness’ Category

SLAAAAYERRR!

Posted: 09/03/2010 in Metal, Music, Social, Thankfulness

On September 1, 2010, I was blessed with the opportunity to see legendary thrash metal band Slayer live for the first time in my life. Now all you metalheads may be asking “WHAT?! You’ve never seen Slayer live? You can’t call yourself a dedicated metalhead!” Well, let me explain:

I grew up in a Christian home, basically born on Saturday and in church on Sunday as the saying goes. I was never allowed to listen to secular music, which was known as “the devil’s music.” When I was a tween, I heard Stryper for the first time. This was right around the time I had inherited my grandfathers guitar when he passed and got interested in playing. There was something about the sound of a distorted guitar that really spoke to me, so that’s where my love of metal started. Hair metal is not quite “metal” in the real sense, but I digress. Using Stryper as a starting point, I was able to explore heavier Christian metal bands such as Whitecross (Rex Carroll is the shit!), Believer, Deliverance, Bride, Tourniquet, etc. I found that thrash metal was the style that I liked the best. In learning to play by reading guitar magazines, I found out about a whole new world of metal. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, and Testament really caught my interest. I ended up sneaking around to listen to these bands and watch Headbanger’s Ball and it all went downhill from there. So if my mom ever reads this…sorry mom. You never knew I was such a rebellious kid, huh? Due to this situation, I never had the chance to see any of these bands live. Although I’m still pissed at my sister to this day for sneaking out to see Type O Negative and Queensryche when we were in high school and telling me after the fact. I could have at least taken them and been a┬áchaperon, dammit!

There are plenty of years since then that I had opportunities to go see these bands live, but the ability to follow through hasn’t happened, for time or financial reasons or whatever. Yeah, I saw Testament at a small club here in town, and that was fuckin’ awesome, but seeing them in an arena was MUCH different. When the American Carnage Tour was announced with Slayer, Megadeth and Testament coming to the arena here, I thought this might be my chance to finally see the legends live. My friend Travis contacted me in March asking if I was going, and due to my job issues, I just told him that I was hoping to have a good job to be able to buy a ticket from someone around the time of the show if they were unable to make it. Little did I know that he had already bought a bunch of tickets, including one for me. I talked about this in Metta is Metal, about how metalheads stick together. Travis demonstrated the brotherhood of metal by buying me a ticket to this show so I could experience them live for my first time. Here’s a pic of us after the show. He has a metal face on, yet I have a really goofy smile because I was so stoked to have just experienced SLAYER!

I won’t go into a full-on review of the show, because this has already turned into a long post. But I wanted to share a little bit:

I walked in while Testament was playing and it was so awesome to see Alex Skolnick up on stage with them again. Last time I saw Testament, it was during his hiatus from the band doing his jazz thing. They played my favorite song “Into The Pit” and I went nuts.

Up next was Megadeth. I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, but I’ve liked them, and there are a bunch of songs I like, so it’s all good. That lead guitar player is no Marty Friedman, but it was awesome to see David Ellefson back in the band on bass.

When Slayer got onstage, I was really excited. I hadn’t looked online for any setlists of what they’ve been playing on the tour but I was hoping to hear my favorite songs, and I was not disappointed. Toward the end of the set I got to hear “South of Heaven,” “Raining Blood,” and they closed out the evening with “Angel of Death.”

And finally, here is a video of “Angel of Death.” Please excuse the slight shakiness, I was headbanging and singing along. And the sound sucks because it was taken with my phone.

I am very thankful to my friend for giving me this opportunity in which he demonstrated heavy metta! \m/

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With the holidays coming up, I have been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving. We all know the history behind it, of course, but do we really know what “Thanksgiving” means? Over the years, holidays have become so convoluted, polluted, and commercialized. The stores start selling decorations and themed food for the following holiday before the present holiday is even over just to get a jump on the sales, and it has turned into a means to industrialize what is supposed to be a time to spend with friends, family, and significant others. To business, then end justifies the means.

But when it comes right down to it, what is the true definition of “holiday spirit?” Rarely does a family just get together to celebrate thankfulness, really appreciating what we have, which is the true reason we should be celebrating “Thanksgiving.” Instead we think about what we don’t have. It has turned into a stressful occasion: Getting up at 3am to put the turkey in the oven and worrying that it won’t come out right, fighting with the family over stupid, petty disagreements, getting to the stores by 4am for Black Friday to be the first to get the newest hot toy of the season that your kid just has to have, etc.

On a personal note, the holidays this year are especially hard for me to endure. For the last seven years, I have been fortunate to enjoy spending the holidays with not only my family, but also my wife’s family. There are certain traditions devoid of the commercialization of the holidays and it’s just the family spending time together, being happy, no stress. With the separation of my wife and I, that will not be happening, and honestly, I’m trying my damnedest to stay positive and really examine thankfulness and what it means. But it’s tough. It hurts that I won’t be able to be with a significant other, sharing love together for the rest of the family, like I’ve been able to do for the last seven years. There is a huge void in my heart, and I have felt very alone, and the holidays make that loneliness so much more apparent. I feel at times I don’t have anything to be thankful for, due to losing my wife and my job at almost the same time.

I have to keep in mind that I do have a lot to be thankful for:

1. I have my family. They aren’t going anywhere, and I have their support 100% in these trying times in my life. Without them, I would be homeless at the end of this year, and no, I’m not being dramatic. That is a cold, hard FACT.

2. I have my son. He loves me unconditionally, and brings so much joy into my life. He has been following in my footsteps by playing guitar non-stop and is wanting me to teach him new things every day. There is a sense of pride there, that makes me feel wanted.

3. I’m alive. I woke up this morning. My health isn’t the greatest, and have a lot of medical problems, but I am thankful for today because I woke up once again.

4. My wife. Even though we are separated, on our way to a divorce, we are still great friends. We talk every day, and rarely fight. I am thankful for that, because I see so many nasty divorces, and I don’t want to go through that. So yes, I am still thankful for my wife, even though this is a very sad time in my life to endure.

On this journey, I have learned that there are changes I needed to make to attain the happiness I deserve. Being thankful, even in the midst of hardships, suffering and potential emotional breakdowns, is one key to attaining that happiness that has eluded me for so long. So this Thanksgiving, even though I am going to miss my mother-in-law’s legendary stuffing, and will be unable to spend the holiday with someone I’m in love with, I will still appreciate being with my son, my mom and step-dad and my sister and brother-in-law and his family, because now they’re all I’ve got, and I’m thankful for all of them.

We need to take the focus off of what we DON’T have, and keep our thoughts focused on being thankful for what we DO have. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?