Running the Godzilla vs. Kong 10K

A quiet spell here at Roads Lesser Traveled last week due to a spike in business at work, a rush to find new digs to live for multiple reasons, first and foremost, the welfare of my son. TJ and I were successful in procuring a rental after one heartbreaking loss after another putting in contracts on houses and being undercut by shady selling agents holding their own silent buyers inside their pockets. We work in the real estate industry together aside from being mutual writers. It chaps both of our asses to rent again, but the market is just that brutal and cutthroat right now. Be prepared to go over $20K or more above an asking price if you’re going all-in, just saying.

Last week, I was also invited to write a guest post for Horror Tree which I just turned in last night. Stay tuned for my upcoming article, “From Scream Queen to Lady Badass: An Evolution of Women in Horror.”

I also made the time to get outside on a crisp Sunday morning and run the Godzilla vs. Kong virtual 10K. Mad love for Kong, always, but anyone who knows my inner and outer geek knows it was a gimme I’d run for The King of the Monsters. #TeamGodzilla all the way! My running time was 1:06:23, meh, but it was a much-needed purging of all the penned-up angst from the past month.

Cheers, my friends…

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Five From the Shelf Friday – 2/17/23

Happy pre-weekend, y’all! The response to last week’s instalment of Five From the Shelf Friday was so upbeat it prompted me to continue on. I know I originally said I would write brief anecdotes about the albums I’ve selected, but, well, this week I’m a bit gabbier. I have a mix of rock, soul, electronic, metal and some horror romp music that’s far better than the dreck it serves. Enjoy, my friends!

Van Halen 5150

If you were around when it happened, you no doubt recall the vicious division inside the Van Halen camp nudging an angry David Lee Roth to go solo, while the band recruited sweat rocker Sammy Hagar to fill Roth’s seemingly irreplaceable shoes. The DLR band went large with Roth hiring the best freelancing guns available in 1986: Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette. Eat ’em and Smile and Skyscraper were as large as they sounded, big-time anthem rock filled with far more flurrying chops and scales than Van Halen. Roth was out to make a point, a George Steinbrenner or Jerry Jones of the rock trade. And yet the home camp delivered two albums without Roth that defined a generation as much as the Roth-led Van Halen albums did. Some diehard Van Halen fans balked at Sammy Hagar’s run with the band on 5150, OU812 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. In fact, so divisive are listeners this period of the band’s history is often referred to as the “Van Hagar” era. So competitive were the stakes between 5150 and Roth’s Eat ’em and Smile in 1986 it was the fans who were rewarded more than robbed. “Yankee Rose” versus “”Dreams,” whew, the stakes couldn’t have been higher back then.

For Van Hagar, I mean Van Halen’s purposes, 5150 became a summertime infatuation, even though it came out in March, and I had it on cassette on release day. So far in theory from its predecessors, 1984 on back, the emphasis on a more commercial sound, staked out with “Jump” and “Panama” an album prior, 5150 was a pop rock juggernaut in its own right. I mowed my parents’ lawn and idled on their yard swing with “Good Enough,” “Best of Both Worlds,” “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Dreams” (perhaps the most uplifting song Eddie VH and company ever dropped) through my Walkman while my knees jackhammered in time to the manic craze of “Get Up.” TJ and I had a glorious revisit to 5150 in the car and we sang nearly the entire hook-laden album together, while she gyrated in her seat like we were at the old Capital Center near Washington, DC. I told her about the time I switched my Spanish teacher’s instructional cassette with 5150 in her player as a prank, Sammy Hagar’s lead-in yowl, “Heellllloooooo baaaaaaaby!” startling the entire class. Good times, Senora Kirschensteiner, you were such a great sport. Those are the things dreams of made of…

deadmau5 while (1<2)

I began my music journalism career in 2003 covering electronic and Goth. Back in the day, it was still called “techno” with its numerous subcategories “chill,” “house,” “trip hop,” “breakbeat,” “trance,” “ambient,” “downtempo” and of course, the blanket phrase, “electronica.” Nowadays, it’s simply “EDM.” Whatevs. Joel Thomas Zimmerman, known better behind a console and turntable as deadmau5, has become one of the industry’s most respected (and to some, as reviled as Paul Oakenfold and Moby) electronic artists. A lot of electronic music fans label deadmau5 as progressive house music, which is more applicable to the bookend of his eight studio album (at this time) catalog. Earlier albums like Get Scraped, Vexillology, Random Album Title, For Lack of a Better Name and 4X4=12 show deadmau5 more in humming DJ mode as one of the most skilled remixers out there. Yeah, Zimmerman’s balloonish mouse headgear onstage has been one of his gimmicky draws, even if Marshmello hijacked his shtick and ran to the bank with it. 2016’s W:/2016Album/ was a sort of return to basics for deadmau5, but it’s 2014’s while(1<2) showing the man’s true progressive side.

This is a double album depending less upon deadmau5’s trademark throbbing bass bombs (the whumping opening number “Avaritia” and “Infra Turbo Pigcar Racer” aside) and going for broke with more articulate structuring using downtempo and ambient elements. For certain, deadmau5 was flaunting his love of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails and not just from the blistery remix of NIN’s “Survivalism.” It’s blatant amidst his own numbers, “Creep,” “Acedia,” “Invidia,” the “Coelacanth” interludes and “Errors in My Bread,” the latter seeming like Reznor’s own outtake from the With Teeth album. Many fans express their joy with “Seeya,” featuring the vocals of Colleen D’Agostino, yet my lock-in to procuring the rare Best Buy version of while(1<2) came thanks to my son, who suckered me into watching him play the first Goat Simulator in many sittings. The ragdoll effect video game features an appearance by deadmau5 in animated form jamming to a mindless, droning crowd atop a building roof to the infectious twisted disco fling, “Petting Zoo,” available only on the Best Buy edition. Ba bum bump, ba bum bump, ba bum bump, ba ba…

Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Take Manhattan score – Fred Mollin

Let’s face it; there’s only one reason to discuss Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Take Manhattan and that’s the music. I remember going to see Friday VIII in the theater with a buddy, turning it into a review assignment for the entertainment section of my college newspaper. I used the phrase “Pushing it?” as my by-line, since the eighth installment of the sleazy and gory (degrees varying per movie) horror series might as well have been called “Jason Take a Cruise” instead. To Vancouver, since it was used for most of the city footage doubling as New York. The film is an utter disgrace (though nowhere as asinine as Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X) and yet I have Fred Mollin’s highly effective, synth-clashed score. In fact, I confess to owning the scores for all of the first eight Friday the 13th films. I have no shame in it. I only own the first four and the sixth movies as remembrance pieces of my teen years. Back in the day, the Friday films were party time for 80s teenagers. Such a wonderful era to be alive with your rowdy peers from school hollering at the cannon fodder characters, throwing popcorn at the screen, scaring girls in the crowd, which, in turn, got the whole theater screaming then laughing. The carnival atmosphere for Jason Voorhees’ antics stopped at the fifth film, which carries the notorious misnomer “A New Beginning,” this following the fourth film’s blunt lie of being “The Final Chapter.” But I digress. The preposterous ending of Friday V changed fans’ outlook, even though the sixth film, Jason Lives, was one of the best and funniest in the series. The period of forgiveness was short-lived.

By the time Jason Takes Manhattan came about, that theater was half full and nobody was laughing or chattering. A lot of groaning and complaining, though. Death by guitar bludgeoning? Punching a boxer’s head off with one blow in a seriously dumb duke atop a rooftop? Jesus wept. Only when Jason flashed his gnarled face to a group of smartass punkers in Times Square did anyone show life they were still there watching. Some people complained the lack of Harry Manfredini’s trusty ki ki ki ma ma ma stalking echo within the music did Friday VIII a bigger disservice. Manfredini composed the first six films, though some passages were cannibalized over and over throughout the other films including Part VII: The New Blood, which Fred Mollin contributed to. All said in what was a suicide mission, you have to give Mollin credit for his moxy being affiliated with a such a turd. A shame, since he puts a game effort into his work here.

Separated from the film itself, Mollin’s cataclysmic keys were representative of the direction horror soundtracks were heading in the late 80’s, though the tip of the hat goes to John Harrison earlier in the decade with his synth scores behind Creepshow, Day of the Dead and Tales From the Darkside. Even Manfredini himself expanded his horizons by blending synths and electronic into his often-peppy score for Jason Lives. Fred Mollin, who would go on to score Friday the 13th: The Series for television, did a terrific job in a wasted effort, so much his opening rock number, “The Darkest Side of the Night” became an unexpected fan jam only to horror geeks. Partnering up with multi-instrumentalist Stan Meissner, the song is included on the expanded Friday the 13th Part VIII soundtrack, which also includes the terrific rocker “Broken Dream” and “J.J.’s Blues,” numbers created for the female axe shredder in the film, played and pantomimed by Saffron Henderson. I am a total whore for “The Darkest Side of the Night,” which resurfaced again under the band name, Metropolis, go figure. Still, the pumping number remains one of my favorite power rock cuts of the entire decade. Just show some respect and try to survive…on the darkest night…

VoivodKilling Technology

1987, one of my all-time favorite years. I was 17, a junior in high school, working 25 sometimes 30 hours a week in a grocery store outside of school. I had a girlfriend, one I thought I would one day marry, until she went away to college the following year. A lot of excellent memories of 1987. Headbangers Ball ruled midnight Saturdays. U2’s The Joshua Tree, Whitesnake’s seventh self-titled album, Manowar’s Fighting the World, GBH’s No Need to Panic, Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show and Voivod’s Killing Technology.

Voivod is, perhaps, a new name to you, but for the metal music society, this Quebecois progressive thrash band are nothing less than icons. Far more advanced than their speed metal contemporaries, decades ago and even now, Voivod is one of the dearest bands to my heart. I always say they’re in my DNA. I kept a calm reserve when I interviewed lead vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger for Pit magazine, and I’m thrilled to pieces I maintain friendly open dialogue with former bassist, Jean-Yves “Blacky” Theriault, one of the fiercest and most articulate players to pick up the instrument. His low-keyed fuzz tones are all his own and referred to in the industry as a “blower bass” sound. The man could keep up, note-for-note, with Voivod’s late guitarist, Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, a shred legend in his own right.

Over the years, Voivod crafted ingenuine prog metal masterworks like Dimension Hatross, Nothingface, Angel Rat and later after Piggy’s death, The Wake and Target Earth. This is a band that once housed former Metallica’s Jason Newsted, for the record. Before all that, there was Killing Technology, the band’s third offering. On Voivod’s prior two albums, War and Pain and Rrroooaaarrr, speed and punk crunch were key, while Killing Technology dusted nearly all thrash and death metal acts of the late Eighties. This while fusing unfathomable melody amidst the breakneck velocity of “Overreaction,” “Tornado,” “Too Scared to Scream,” “This is Not an Exercise” and the outrageously fast title track. I was blown out of the water when I first heard Killing Technology, my first introduction to Voivod. It was an instant love affair which prompted me to declare Voivod in the same college newspaper I mentioned earlier as “the band of the future” during the Nothingface cycle. Their former label, Mechanic Records, were so thankful for my write-up they mailed me a full press kit with glossy photos, stickers, posters and my very first CD copy of Nothingface. This, before I actually owned a CD player. When I pulled Killing Technology down for a listen this week, I let myself loose like I did at age 17. Age 52, it hurts more to headbang, but well worth it, in this case.

Diana Ross + The SupremesThe Ultimate Collection

My early childhood years were filled with psychedelic rock and soul. Motown was always playing in the apartment my mom and dad began our lives in. Even though they would divorce after eight years, I still hear the echoes of Janis Joplin caterwauling over the acid screech of Big Brother and Holding Company on the Cheap Thrills album, while my dad and mom shared a lot of soul and R&B albums which mostly went to my dad, then came to me later. We’re talking Al Green, The Four Tops, The Temptations and of course, Diane Ross + The Supremes. Unfortunately, the records were in such disrepair I had to scrap them. However, for one of the finest Christmases I’ve ever had in 1996, my mother stuffed a box filled with classic soul and funk CDs to reinstall them to my library. All of the aforementioned, plus Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, The Spinners, Isaac Hayes, Earth, Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Parliament, Kool and the Gang, Maxine Nightingale, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, just a big box o’ soul. Keep in mind, my momma, whiter than white but hoisting a fistful of hippie inside, never missed an episode of Soul Train back in the day. I can still see her grinding that booty all around our living room on Saturday afternoons. Funny enough, the country stylings of Hee Haw followed Soul Train on our local UHF station and she watched that as well. It taught me early on to give a chance to music from all walks of life.

Later in life, I visited the Stax Records Museum in Memphis and rounded out my soul collection, coming home with Sam and Dave, Booker T & The MGs, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, The Bar-Kays, The Dramatics and a few others. I kept comparing Stax to Motown in my head since it’s an inevitable topic, given the two classic soul labels were vying to rule the American airwaves. In terms of mainstream crossover acceptance, Motown won out easily, culling a diverse audience of races, while Stax had more “it” factor, more punch, more fang, more funk. Stax has a delicious dirty tone I love far more than Motown, and yet, what came out of Motown was soooooo grand, so layered, so rich. Three core guitars, including that shrill, singular note strike floating in the back of most Motown jams. The heated beats, the tapered textures of horns, strings, xylophone, organs, piano and bass…and then…Diana Ross and her Supremes.

My dad had the Supremes A’Go-Go and I Hear a Symphony albums and I used to stare at the cover of the former album with Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and the supremest of The Supremes, Diana Ross, twisting and jiving inside separate windows. I loved their colorful mod clothes, I loved their beautiful skin and ‘dos. It never once registered to me back then they were black, and I was white. I was smitten by them. When I heard them sing, I was entranced. As a 52-year-old man going on 53, I still am. This collection my mom selected for me is reminder of what a hot-selling powerhouse The Supremes were. While the biggest tunes they did are front-loaded, it’s simply awesome to hear how many hits continue to roll on this compilation. It’s damned hard to resist the lovesick dreaminess of “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Reflections,” “Back In My Arms Again” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” There is very little filler on this 25-song comp, making it mandatory if you want the Supremes in your life. What resonates harder the older you get is the estrogen-fueled retaliation torching a toxic relationship with the snarling “You Keep Me Hanging On.” Or the fierce defiance of “Love Child,” as much as the hopeful ode to love eternal at the end of the collection, “Someday We’ll Be Together.” Oh yes we will. Yes we will.

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Defining Peace On a Personal Level

I spotted this theme running at a few blogs last week, especially at Paula Light’s Light Motif II in answer to the original post at Maggie’s Tranquil Thursday #2. The idea is to answer four questions delving into the concept of peace as it relates to yourself. I felt compelled to play along.

How do you define peace on a personal level?

Having the confidence in yourself to know yourself, i.e.  your strengths, your limitations, control over your emotions, the wherewithal to reject unconstructiveness, dismissal of negative vibrations, the capacity to push away selfish thoughts and people projecting their hate game toward you.  It’s about knowing who you are, what you want from your life and setting boundaries on what’s acceptable to come into your life, then rejecting all that impedes your life’s progression.  Knowing we are all fallible and on occasion culpable, we are left with a life’s journey always in need of refinement and navigation. 

There is the correlation of peace and nirvana, as in a perfect state of being without problems, hurdles and drama.  This is, unfortunately, a pipe dream.  Even the best of us and those with the purest of intentions in how we project ourselves into the situations and relationships we seek can and will face the gauntlet life brings.  It’s inevitable.  True peace comes from rising above the cynical and embracing a path leading to the divine, taking comfort in the knowledge we are not alone, even when depression and despair hits us.  Peace is knowing you are on the side of the light and knowing the divine is reaching out to you, in real-time or in an astral state, cheering you on to summon enough character to see the error of pessimism and self-ruin. 

What does finding peace mean to you?

When you have reached a state of confidence in yourself and have found your value set to avoid succumbing to all that life presents for processing and in many cases, forces your hand to react, it answers that pesky voice in your head.  If you’re like me, the chatty internal voice can badger at any time, any place.  I often want it to shut up, especially at 3:00 a.m. when my entire laundry list of life drops down in a sequence like a movie’s final credits.  Peace is when I can tell myself things are resolved or will be resolved, and I feel my pantheon float into my head, easing my burdens by letting me know I am doing my best and making choices they approve of.  If I am doing wrong, they also let me know, and you know what?  There’s peace in that, as well.  Well-intended guidance, however it comes, is so valuable to one’s personal evolution.

Peace is also successfully swerving from the mundane, the aggravating and the insipid.  The biggest joy in life aside from an intoxicating romance with the right person is getting to discover what a beautiful world exists out there and having the common sense to detect and appreciate it. Moreover, having a common courtesy not to destroy it for others. 

What environment (the ocean, the mountains, the desert, etc.) brings you peace?

TJ and I are so happy on a trail.  We love to hike, to bask in nature with as much quietude as we can seize for ourselves without getting so far from civilization as to cause ourselves discomfort.  We commune with the Lord and Lady in the woods, we relish when we’re given response by the elements of air, earth, wind and water.  Fire, only when contained for scrying purposes or candle and incense lighting.  I like to travel, period, so I find such peace journeying by car to a far destination to see for the first time and to meet people in other towns.  It’s a pleasure to see how others live and to compare either their isolation or their hectic habitue.  I’ve always said I could easily live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for all the oceanic removal from the world, yet I also feel a charge of electricity whenever I’m in Manhattan which makes me want to be a part of the intense action daily.  Of course, hurricanes are the deterrent to the former, an outrageous cost of living the same to the latter. 

I can say a trip out west for my 50th birthday to Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Grand Tetons, the Badlands of South Dakota, along with Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and Crazy Horse Monument was unforgettable.  Devil’s Tower was a lifelong obsession I’d wanted to see since I was a child and seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the theater back in 1978.  If there’s anything that lived up to its hype for me, it’s Devil’s Tower.  Peaceful doesn’t begin to cover it.  Devil’s Tower is holy to many people from different walks of life.  For me, it is likewise sacred and I expect I will return again before I die.

Is there a person whose presence puts you at ease and gives you a feeling of peace?

On the physical and intimate level, peace is having the right person nurture your heart, mind and body, providing a foundation of love, support, respect, trust, dialogue, motivation, partnership, sexual release, spirituality, laughter, goal attainment and future growth. Laughter and communication is one of the top priorities to a relationship. It’s so much sweeter when you like the person you profess to love. I am blessed to have found my best friend who fulfills all these things.  In this part of my life, TJ my future bride brings me incomparable joy and peace.

Aside from her, my parents have long provided me a foundation of strength, wisdom, courage and inspiration.  Going to visit them routinely over the years gives me a lift when everything in life comes crashing down or even puts me on an adrenaline high.  My parents’ house is what I spent my teens in until I got married to my first wife.  I love their house and have mostly wonderful memories since 1983 when they bought it.  Coming over to their house always feels like it’s still my home, even with the home I share with TJ.  My folks purposefully create a safe zone ambience for our visits, purposefully pushing for peace and calm with which to recharge.

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Happy Lovebirds Day!

A happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovebirds out there and especially to mine, TJ, who prefers scoundrels to nice men. Love you to every end of the galaxy, from your scruffy-looking nerf herder. I’d fight hell through asteroid fields and carbonite freeze with a bounty on my head, just to get to you.

Five From the Shelf Friday – 2/10/23

Music is one of the most important commodities we have in human life. It’s always been a major part of mine, from childhood to graying middle-aged man. I spent 16 years as a music journalist and dabbled in drumming and percussion, though I tanked on the latter efforts. In my time in the scene, I covered metal, punk, Goth and electronic music on the road, interviewing musicians, reviewing new album and video releases and snapping live concert photos. What many people never realized is how eclectic and diverse my music tastes are. I was always proud to connect alternative rock to metal or country to punk, funk music in hip hop and EDM (formerly known as techno) in a review whenever I heard it. I’m so across the board with my passion for music, I’m my own best friend when having a listening session, since I hop genres faster than you can say “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” without the synth manipulation.

I’m going to try you all out with a little weekly exercise and see if it resonates. I’m calling it “Five From the Shelf Friday,” where I grab five albums at random from my collection and briefly chat about them. Many will be recordings you’re familiar with, some likely not. Some will be dust-offs of albums I haven’t listened to in forever. My library is vast, though sadly purged down from when I used to hoard my freebie hard copy CDs, vinyl, DVDs and Blu Rays from the record labels and I had a literal labyrinth of shelves to store all of that media. My fiancée, TJ, would never have agreed to marry me if all of it came, lol….

Regardless, I have maintained a library in the thousands, so let’s have a go here and let me know, readers, if you’d like to see this run as a continuous segment of “Roads Lesser Traveled.”

The B-52’s – self-titled

No doubt every wedding, company social event and New Year’s party you’ve ever attended, you’ve been subjected to “Love Shack” by The B-52’s. For me, that song’s grown cringeworthy, along with “Roam” from the band’s later year, commercially successful Cosmic Thing. A far, more palatable stretch to the common ear than what The B-52’s began with on their 1979 self-titled debut. Considered a new wave pioneer, I always agreed with that assessment, but I liken the early B-52’s to The Cramps and Southern Culture On the Skids in kindred spirit. Mostly in the way each band cooks up a chili con carnage ambience behind their core of twang. Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson’s run amok screeches, wails, giggles, ooh-wahs and audile lunacy are tough to digest if you just want to stay neo-groovy in a humdrum love shack that’s lost much of its luster from overplay. “Rock Lobster” is one of the most kickass bits of surf-inspired nuttiness anyone’s ever attempted. As a kid, I actually thought The Munsters had recorded a song when I’d heard “Rock Lobster” the first time. True story. You can’t go wrong with The B-52s oddball but piledriving hike on the Peter Gunn theme with “Planet Claire.” Only Devo one-upped them in that regard.

D’AngeloBrown Sugar

Modern hip hop has lost much of its hipness and its soul, though I do try to dig for diamonds in the new world rap order. My son turned me on to Childish Gambino, 80purppp and the late XXXTentacion. I turned him onto The Jackson Five when he was a child, and I’ve dropped jazz, funk, soul and early hip hop on him over the years. He’s finding his own way in music, and he loves to try me out constantly until one of his jams stick between us. He is finally starting to explore 90s hip hop, which had me steering straight for one of the lost children of classic hip hop, D’Angelo. This dude was a cornrowed, shredded sex symbol back in the day who dropped only a couple albums, but damn, what gems Brown Sugar and Voodoo were. Inspired by Prince (my all-time favorite musician), D’Angelo had a pure knack for blending funk, jazz and hip hop. Strong beats, sometimes with actual drum kits, funky waves and bass that never blew out your subwoofers like today’s rap does. D’Angelo was smoother than silk and deserves a revisit by the hip hop community. Jonz in my bonz, baby…

Hall & OatesUltimate Daryl Hall + John Oates

Rock and soul brothers to the nth power, Hall & Oates were dynamic superstars of their time from the 1970s to late 80s, dropping one megahit after another. Anyone who loves these guys but only want a greatest hits package has had to settle for Best of compilations that were always missing a key hit or two. Not this one. Everything’s on this double album, which unfortunately means it gets stuffed with mediocre filler fluff (wincing at you, “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “Possession Obsession”) and cover tunes you may find yourself skipping over. As a child, I daydreamed to “Sara Smile,” “She’s Gone” and “Rich Girl” when they were on both AM and FM radio. I still feel that magic without the static, listening to them in this format. “Private Eyes” became a 45 platter that stayed in my stylus rotation forever. The beat, man, it’s all about the beat. Even today, I can’t help but back up “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” a few times in a sitting, it’s still that seductive. Same for “Say It Isn’t So” and the blissfully corny “Kiss is On My List.” Daryl Hall, you magnificent bastard, you might have the silkiest chops a white guy ever possessed, and the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve appreciated John Oates’ gnarly backslides.

SepulturaChaos A.D.

I’ve interviewed Max Cavalera a few times and he is one the kindest people I’ve ever met. I’ve also interviewed his brother, Iggor as well as Andreas Kisser and Derrick Green from Sepultura, one of the most important metal bands ever assembled. Sadly, the Cavaleras have long since departed, while Sepultura continues to make innovative metal music. I’ve also had the pleasure of hanging on the tour bus for a long spell with Max’s wife, Gloria Cavalera, one of the most brilliant business minds out there. Chaos A.D. was a flip to the script for Sepultura when it came out in 1993. Sepultura being one of the fastest thrash bands around when they started, Chaos A.D. bravely slowed things down with a few thrashers in the mix, instead focusing on grooves, slams, riffs and fusing into the bombastic mix tribal percussion. This inspirational clubbing march motif ushering the game-changing Roots album thereafter. For all the changes, I maintain Chaos A.D. is Sepultura’s heaviest album and it’s inarguably one of the crown jewels of the genre. It remains a scathing indictment against political corruption, social injustice and its combat against racism still haunts true 30 years later. I play Chaos A.D. a hell of a lot and I still get fired up by the title track and “Territory.” Ah, hell, I lose my shit with the entire album. Iggor’s pounding rhythms and blasting tom-snare rolls are incomparable.

Junkie XL Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack

I’ll make this short and sweet. I am a junkie (pun intended) for film scores and soundtracks. They fuel my writing. Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has a major place in my heart with his scores for Godzilla vs. Kong and Mad Max: Fury Road. The latter film being praised by critics as one of the greatest action films of all-time, I agree a hundred percent. Junkie XL’s score is one of the major elements why Fury Road is a modern masterpiece. The collapsing drums and ripping guitars of “Blood Bag” sends me into pure ecstasy. If I had a workout playlist, it would start with this.

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Please Forgive The Vulgarity, But Some Things Are Worth Sharing…

Apologies to anyone I may offend with this post, however, the intent behind the message is so valuable I’ve shared it with many including my social media feeds and even my son, who has been working his way through a personal struggle. Now and then it’s okay for him to see his dad stoop a little lowbrow in the interest of lifting his spirits. I believe it’s had a hand in boosting his attitude and demeanor around here. It’s gotten that serious, and I cheer for his slow recovery.

I have also flashed this meme before my eyes and drilled it into my head repeatedly going through my own trials which have likewise dragged me down. It rekindles my drive and will to fight against all obstacles and negative dimensions to my life. The rest sorts itself out accordingly.

Remember who the eff you are, my friends, and go get it…

–Ray Van Horn, Jr.