Ashen Frost

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Once again, little while since I have blogged here.

 

But this particular entry is all about the band I formed about a year ago, Ashen Frost. Ashen frost, for those who don't know is a black metal band with many influences in thrash, doom and classic heavy metal. I formed it last year with my friend Nik and we thought we would NEVER find any musicians..but when we found our bass player Brian, he found a guitar player, who found us a vocalist, we were all set.

 

After many months of perfecting our seven songs (it will be eight very soon) we have started playying out. Our first show was on april 20th and it went over well. Second show was on may 4th and it went not so good. Our bass player and the sound man got into a pretty nasty argument and we weren't well recieved, Our most recent show, which was n June 14th was a complete success. So much that a local online magazine by the name of E R I Jams gave us a shining review (you can read it here)

 

But things have been going well, in the perocess of getting merchandise made and more songs written. So exciting to have this band going the rate it has been. Below are a few links from the first show. Ill make more updates soon for those who take the time to read my blog haha

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmS_MjwXvmw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kffijOgj97w

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pkejVf7hKU

 

UP THE IRONS!

And so the job hunt begins....

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Been a pretty busy month in regards to getting my life together. Decided that my relationship with university is a very....peculiar one...so until I know for sure if it's something I want to fully pursue I'm trying to pursue entering the work force to see if that's the right option for me. Though I am 24 years old now, I still haven't found exactly what I want out of yes. Yes i love to write, play music, design, etc...but I don't know what Id like to pursue ads a career...maybe I can find something where I don't need a BA or an MBA...who knows but I'm willing to find out.

 

I have blogged in the past about working with the OVR (Office of vocation rehabiliation) and have a counselor I regularly meet with to discuss this. She signed me up for the POWRR program, which, essentially is a program designed specifically for those with disabilities to get entry level (or higher) position at any UPMC facility (for those of you who dont know, UPMC is a worldwide healthcare system, who specialize in hospitals, health insurance and so on). All I had to do with partake in three seminars and i became "POWRR certified" which meant that when I apply for a job at UPMC, they will look at my application to see i have that certification and it willl help my chances.

 

The seminars weren't bad...they just made me uncomfortable. A lot of people signed up for this program and ALL of them have had job experience..whereas I haven't. I never had a job due to a lot of reasons..one of the biggest being I wasn't sure what I could handle or what I wanted to do. So many of the people there had elaborate degrees and tons of work experience and there I was...with absolutely nothing. But as long as I can get a job, which will eventually build into a prospective career than it'll all be worth it. As of yesterday I got my certification..so the job hunt begins.

 

I worked with my counselor on filling out a resume now I just need references and to fill out the extensive job application and I'm golden...really hoping I find something I can handle/that I enjoy doing. But right now it's uncertain what will happen...I just have to keep trying. I won't lie, this is all a bit overwhelming but a lot of things in life are. I just have to give it my absolute best and hope for as much.

I'll more than likely start working part time but I'd rather ease into it than dive head first 100%. A little worried if I do work part time though for a few reasons..getting there (The hospital is within walking distance but if it's really treacherous outside it might be difficult...especially if I work a shift that ends later) and I might have to work weekends...and my weekends are usually booked due to my band and my girlfriend (only see her about once a week now) but it's something Im sure I can look out.

 

Things are changing...it's scary but it's a good change, I think.

 

UP THE IRONS!

Decided to grow a soul patch

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Anybody who has talked to me in the past knows my relationship with facial hair..and it was rarely good. If I went without shaving for three days or so I'd feel grungy and whatever else. When I did "Move over mrs markham" a few years ago I was required to grow a moustache for my part....and I couldn't wait to shave it off because, frankly, I looked like a motorcycle cop. In the past, off and on, I attempted to grow sideburns (One of the few froms of facial hair I was always able to tolerate) but I never really stuck with it.

Ever since the dawn of the new year, I found something within myself to convince me to attempt growing a soulpatch. It could be the metal influence (about 95% of the metal world seems to have some form of facial hair...the men anyways) or maybe the Zappa influence (his soul patch was legendary) but I decided to grow on. About a month in so far and it's looking good....quite dark. I had to shape it up a few times to keep it straight..but I'm actually glad to be sticking to it for once. It definitely gives me a completely different appearance..with my glasses and my assorted hats I look like a liberal arts student.

Also growing the sideburns again too..which are way darker than anything else..almost at mutton chop status. The girlfriend digs the facial hair and so does anyone that has known me before and sees the immediate change. I've definitely come a long way these past few years when it comes to changes..might as well change the look too.

Eddy_tushyface has been put to rest..for now. When the time comes to shave it off (if that day ever does come) it'll be difficult....stuff hurts.

Until next time,

UP THE IRONS!

Consumed In Blackness

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Hello once again, dear blog....

As ominous as the title of this blog entry seems, it was the most effective way to describe where I have been in life...well...where I have been in life MUSICALLY. My music taste has always evolved over the years, some of the genres I loved yesterday I still love today...others, left behind in the dust of my embarrassing indulgence (was a huge fan of motley crue once upon a time). I'm always evolving when it comes to my taste in metal, which is of course my favorite form of music and the essential type of music I like to create.

When I was fourteen I had an obsession with power metal, when I was eighteen it evolved into death metal...a couple of years ago it was doom but now it has changed for the darker. I still love all of those metal subgenres I listed (among many, many others) but my main focus for the past.......eight months I believe? Has been.....

BM.jpg

BLACK METAL!!!!

Yes black metal, one of the most controversiala nd extreme of metal sub-genres. Everything from Dark Funeral, to Bathory, to Gorgoroth, to Watain, to Immortal and beyond have been bumping in my earbuds these past months. I'm honestly not sure what sparked my sudden interest in black metal..there was a time where I thought it was repetitive and silly...dressing up in corpse paint and screaming about satan while constantly tremolo picking. But as I got older I began to really appreciate it as an art form. What really draws me to black metal is the atmosphere...that it can draw the listener into a realm of bleakness and fantasy. Some black metal bands have a satanic agenda, others focus on nature, some focus on vikings or paganism, the concepts behind it definitely vary.

Not only has black metal become my main focus musically, it has become my favorite sub-genre of metal. I admire some of the musicianship because it's simple..yet it's not. It sounds like nothing else....taking influence from punk and heavy metal and creating a foreboding atmosphere...sometimes a cacophony of mutilated guitar chords. It takes a lot to be heavy in lback metal..and I admire the bands that use E and Eb (LOOOOVE Eb) standard to create heavy, memorable riffs. Plus I identify with some depressive black metal bands' lyrics...not that I;m a mopey emo kid who wants to kill himself but I have been battling with depression for decades...sometimes it can just suck the life out of you.

However, I would like to make one thing clear. A lot of listeners/musicians of black metal find a left hand path form of spiritual practice..occultists and satanists of the like. I am not a satanist by any means. I have indeed looked into occultism and the writings of Anton LeVay and it just isn't for me. I have no problem with legitimate satanists or occultists...people that truly believe those philosophies and understand them...but they aren't for me. I don't know where I belong spiritually..so I prefer to stay an agnostic, accepting the possibility in something being beyond this world.

BUT, I digress. I have been an obsessed black metal fanboy and have been loving it. So much so that I write a lot of it with my band, Ashen Frost. Once we get more songs recorded I shall post them here...so far only one has been uploaded but 5 have been written..so we're making good progress. Forgot how fun/relieving it is to be in a band.

Until next time everyone,

UP THE IRONS!

Wow.....once again, LONG TIME since I've written a blog here.

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Amazing to look at how much time flies by since my last blog...and to think I've been on this site for almost NINE YEARS....wow.

Since my last entry a lot has changed of course. Made new friends, lost others. Got involved with a new band (which is still growing strong, even got a lot of material recorded), and so many other things. Really want to make blogging a regular habit haha..but I do and then I always get sidetracked and just gotget about it.

Going to definitely play the catch up game though. Hope you're all doing well. Expect more entires from me in the future.

UP THE IRONS!

One Thing I Learned About Craigslist...

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Is that finding musicians for jazz fusion is WAY easier than finding musicians for progressive black metal :P

I've been playing with Vinterfell (progressive black metal band I started with my drummer friend Nik) for a couple of months now and it has been going well..we haven't been able to get together in a little while due to lack of funds for gas, conflicting schedules, etc but we still manage to keep things going. So far it is just myself, Nik and our vocalist Stan (who wants me to try and teach him bass, which I can but it'll take a lot of hard work on his part). We've been looking for another guitarist and possible bassist (in case stan changes his mind) for quite some time now. I posted the ad on craigslist for a guitarist and only one person responded..this personw orked with Nik in the past and had a falling out..so THAT wasn't going to work. I also tried looking around for bass players and nothing. Nik might have a lead on a rhythm guitarist but who knows what'll happen with that.

Earlier in the week I made an ad about wanting to form a jazz fusion group locally. Along with guitar I also play bass and keyboard quite extensively and I'd like a non metal project so sink my teeth into (basically tickle my musical fancy at all angles) and in not even 24 hours two people respond to my ad...have to call one of them, waiting for a reply from the other. Once I'm done with all of these plays (which will be in july) I will be able to give all of my time to both of these bands (depending they both work out of course) and my girlfriend.

But yeah, jazz fusion musicians are easy to find..WHO KNEW???

UP THE IRONS!

Mr. Eddy, Can You Teach Me How To Make Beautiful Music?

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Why yes, yes I believe that I can....


The blog title is in reference to most recent events..events that require me teaching my guitar skills to aspiring young musicians. Anybody who follows me on facebook is well aware that my profession (until of course I get my degree) is listed as "Private Guitar Teacher". Why you might ask? Simple, because I want to be a guitar teacher and I am always willing to teach those eager to learn. Business hasn't exactly been booming...actually, there hasn't been business much at all. Even so, I would go about my daily business hoping to find someone of interest.


Then when I met up with my father last week, I brought over my 8 string Schecter. My dad has been a musician for a good portion of his life (on the side of course, his actual job is being a postal worker) and every tme I've gottent he chance to see him he has asked me to bring my guitar or to tune his (he still plays guitar on occasion but his main instrument these days is the tenor sax). And I am always happy to do this because I love being able to have my family around as I crank out some crazy chords/riffs/whatever.


My dad remarried about 12 years ago. His current wife (who I cannot stand because she cannot stand me..but that is a different story altogether) has 2 sons, one of which is aspiring to be a guitarist...but not just any guitarist..a METAL *gasp* guitarist! Metal music, being the main genre I play is something I know a lot about guitarwise..so I plugged in my 8 string and both of them watched in awe as I ran through aeolian and bebop scales with lightning speed and went through some original riffs (both clean and distorted) I have been working on. my dad asked if I could show him some good practice exercises and I did (Grieg's "In the hall of the mountain king" for example, is something I alwyas use to warm up) and both of them were just impressed.


After talking with my dad awhile about gabor szabo, tony williams and jazz fusion in general (another genre I love to listen to/play) he asked me if I'd be willing to teach Shamar (the son in question) some guitar techniques and I told him once my schedule clears up (rehearsals coming to an end, etc) I would gladly do so. He also informed me that my uncle David's son Elijah is looking for a teacher. So if I hear from my uncle (who I haven't heard from in quite some time) that will be ANOTHER student to learn from me.


Whether I make money or not isn't important (though it would be nice if I did because I am always strapped for cash) because I just love teaching people about music. I have had friends claim to be serious about it but then they bailed when I showed them how serious I take my playing and just how difficult it is. Shamar has a lot of bad habits (but I cut him a break since he is only 14) but I think once I sit down and show himw hat I know he will evolve into a serious guitarist.


My dreams of being a music educator may be shot but hey, if I can still spread my love for playing and music in general to SOMEONE...I'm happy :)


UP THE IRONS!

Sleepness Nights Spawn Beautiful Creations

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This past evening was both good and bad....

Bad for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest being my severe lack of sleep. I have always had a difficult time staying asleep (getting to sleep is the easy part since I'm tired quite often lol) but last night was exceptionally bad. Got in another petty argument with my girlfriend over things that now seem insignificant. Plus yesterday was a bad day on multiple levels..kept to myself through most of it to just spend some time reflecting. Made some art which always helps pass the time and of course, listened to music to help me deal with my stressers in everyday life. I think all of my stress and the falling out with my ladyfriend caused my lack of sleep.

I've been awake roughly since 2:00 AM. As hard as I tried I just could not sleep. Once my mind was awake it was racing as if it were a criminal on the run. Tried watching television..nothing noteworthy on. Wnted to read but was not in the mood to have my eyes throbbing from the pain of the fluorescent lightbulb so early. Wanted to perhaps eat but that is just asking for horrible indigestion since it was so early. Wanted to just sit and think but that's usually bad.

So I did something that (for my atleast) doesnt require eating, light or using anything other than my hear and touch....I picked up the guitar and just started playing.

When something goes wrong in my life, I have very peculiar ways of dealing with it...as most people do since sooner or later we all experience sadness in one form or another and have our own ways of dealing with it...and it's always been music for me. As I'm playing glorious notes in E flat tuning, I reflect back on a lot of my influences in music and how so many of them wrote songs/albums in distress. Billy Corgan for example, wrote the bulk of siamese dream when he had a nervous breakdown and adore when his mother passed away. Beck wrote sea change when losing a girlfriend he had for years..jason martin of starflyer 59 wrote the gold album while, much like billy, experiencing a nervous breakdown. The cure, The Smiths, depeche mode, shoot even metal bands I adore, wrote brilliant albums while under a deep spell of depression.

It dawned on me that I should do the same.

Though my life isn't ALL bad right now (trust me I'm not that mopey lol) there are things that stress me out to no end and that stress melts into sadness. And when I am sad I am able to write beautiful music/poetry and so on..a much healthier alternative than letting it fester into something unbearable. Between the hours of 3 to 7 I would say I wrote about 4 songs...none of them named, no lyrics finalized. The music wasn't forced, it all kind of happened naturally...i just held the guitar, closed my eyes and created really depressing music...very 90's alternative inspired. Would it ever be performed, I don't know. Would I ever try recoding it, I'd like to. It'll be my own personal siamese dream, intense and ebautiful and ultimately sad...something I can be proud of.

My music is my art and if I choose to keep pursuing this concept/whatever the heck you want to call it, it'll be something I can look back on and smile.

Beautiful things can definitely come from sadness.

UP THE IRONS!

The Smashing Pumpkins New Album.....

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Anybody that knows me, knows how much I LOVE the smashing pumpkins. Everything they did from their late 80's post-punk period to their early-mid 90's heavy alternative/shoegaze inspired greatness, even their late 90's/early 00's electronica period (with the exception of machina II of course) I enjoyed a bit. Then the band split up and though it was upsetting, I felt it was better that they go out with a good streak of albums then fade away with a barrage of bad ones. Then they reform and come back with "Zeitgeist" which though eventually grew me on me I felt like it was lacking the magic of the old material. The Smashing Pumpkins progressed with every album and I loved the direction they were going in before the split up (Yes, I'm one of the few people who loved adore and machina...in fact, adore is my favorite pumpkins album. Siamese dream of course being the close second) but I dunno...on Zeitgeist they felt like a different band to me..which would make sense since frontman/guitarist Billy Corgan is the only original left.

I saw on blabbermouth and their facebook page that the cover art and track listing for the new album "Oceania" was revealed...I actually love the album cover....in case you havent seen it

220px-The_Smashing_Pumpkins_-_Oceania_co

I also saw on the same blabbermouth article that there were live recordings of songs from the album..some of them I thought werent so bad but others..I just couldn't get into. The Smashing Pumpkins have definitely evolved from their old days but are going in a direction I can't quite describe. I'm hoping I'll be wrong and that the album will be great. I want to love their new stuff as much as the old. It might be the case like with their "Teargarden by Kaleidiscope" collection of songs..some were great and others were just....no.

I think what I miss more about the smashing pumpkins was the gothic/depressing feel of the albums..billy corgan in my opinion was a great lyricist and when he wrote darker/depressing lyrics it appealed to me...but some of the lyrics for the TBK songs were a bit upbeat and happy...which isnt bad but it just didnt fit the pumpkins mold. Regardless of if this album is bad or not i'll continue to support them. I grew up witht he smashing pumpkins, learned a lot of guitar techniques from the smashing pumpkins, identified with lyrics of the smashing pumpkins, etc. Besides even if this is bad..there will always be the amazing reissues of the old albums to support..and live shows.

Here's to hoping it'll be good (fun fact, I loved the mellower songs fromt he oceania samples..that'll probably be what saves it for me)

UP THE IRONS!

Catching Up With Cousin_Eddy Part 4: Music: A tragic success story

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And we move on...once again :P

Been an interesting adventure in music land since I last made frequent blogs...mainly in terms of bands I've been playing in and the drama that came with it...not so much the aspect of listening to music (though I have been listening to a lot of new bands since then).

I talked only briefly about the band vault 101 that I was in (yes that is a fallout reference). Will, formerly of requeim for oblivion and myself had the idea to form it and he knew a drummer who happened to know another guitarist. So it all came together and in no time we had a band..we were writing a bunch of material and for awhile it went well...I mean the other guitarist richard would slack a little when it came to learning material he didn't write and he'd take pretty lengthy smoke breaks but other than that it was pretty good. But when november came and went we were practicing less and less and I waasnt sure why. Then novembers turns into december and december turns into the new year...STILL nothing. Will acts really weird about the whole thing when I ask him what's going on..the band was apparently done and I was the last to hear about it.

Not only that but it turns out that the three of them all found another guitar player and the band was now called thundergun express. When I took this pretty personally, which I did because well...they all continued to play together and dropped me without telling me, Will claimed I was putting too much into it and it was a "situational" kind of thing..what this meant or still means I don't know but I took it as a polite way of him telling me i got screwed over. Will claimed his alleigance was with me and if I formed another band he'd drop them for mine..but he's a liar. He still posts on his facebook page about how awesome that band is and all the shows they are getting. He didn't care that I was left in the dust.

BUT IT GETS BETTER

When I jammed with vault 101 I had a crate speaker and a flying V there. The guitar was supposed to be fixed by richard but that never happened and the speaker was there just so I didn't have to keep hauling it. When the band ended I kept asking Will when I could pick up my stuff...he would give me constant excuses. He wasn't at home so I could get it or it was a bad time, one excuse after another. After about 3 weeks worth of excuses (PLENTY of patience on my part) my mother drove me down to their house (Will was living with the drummer at this point) at about...8 in the morning and demanded my stuff back. I was nice and gave him warning that I was on my way down and his repsonse "How can you get your stuff when I'm not there?" I found that to be a very murky response..and I told him outright that I didn't like being dodged and I wanted my stuff back. He responded, saying I was being delusional and he didn't know what I was talking about, all that good stuff.

I police knocked the door and the drummer answered and lead me to the basement where my stuff was supposed to be...it wasn't there. He claims he knew nothing about it but I think he did...so I went home and basically waited. I sent will text after text asking where my stuff was and I got no response..which meant my stuff was with him...I didn't get a response until about 4:00 in the afternoon of him telling me that he sold my equipment for drug money...what drugs he was into I don't know but that's the story I got...needless to say, I was nothing short of furious.

Most people in my case would've called the police right away, others would've went after him. Me, I waited until I calmed down..I took the rational path and looking back I glad I did. The next morning (yeah, I let him sit in silence and that got to him big time) I told him that he had 2 and a half weeks to either get my equipment back or give me the money I paid for both items ($600 total). Two and a half weeks came and went, he did nothing to mend it. He made up constant excuses about being broke or whatever, not realizing that I saw what he'd post on facebook...so needless to say I was angry and I threatened to take him to court which I was going to do. But he made sure I'd get paid back...first he claimed he'd pay me back with his tax return but, as usual, that didn't pan out. So how is he going about doing this? Paying me 40 a week until I get paid back in full...which is a slow process but atleast I'm getting the money for it.

He sold the equipment at the music store where I bought it..they checked the serial numbers and sure enough I was on file for buying it. One of the guys working there knew him and was simply astounded that he'd do that to someone...but will has never really been that good of a friend to me and this just proved it. He doesnt grasp the seriousness of the situation he created..he doesnt understand why it is that Im so mad because he apologized...it'll take more than apology to make things right. He is still in the process of paying me back..and has made 4 excuses as to why he couldnt so far..actually it might be up to 5 since he gave me one this week too..and I'm tired of playing into it. I don't really want to take him to court but I feel like he is leaving me no other choice if he refuses to pay me the rest of the money he owes me back.

Worse thing is, when I get mad when he has an excuse he acts like I have no right to be. "Oh well I paid you this and this much, I wont back at now, I hope you know you can trust me, I paid yout his and this much". I look a lot into his words when he says things like that because it's murky to me....no idea if I'll be his friend after he pays me back..still very hurt by all of this. But the past is the past...

Ended up going on craigslist to look for other bands to join up with...responded to two ads. The first was for a progressive/djent project with this really cool dude Mike. It was going good for awhile, we recorded a bit and were having fun...and then we found a guitarist and a bassist. The bassist was cool but the other guitarist and I clashed musically to the point I wasn't enjoying it..so I respectfully declined being a part of the band but I wished them all the best.

The other ad was for a progressive black metal band, which I am still a part of. The drummer Nik is another awesome guy and the vocalist Stan is even better. They both think I'm a fantastic musician and I think the same of them..only have a few songs written so far but they are epic, very enslaved-esque. The name of the band is Winterfell (yup, game of throens reference) and we're hoping to be able to play shows by the end of the year. Still looking for a rhythm guitarist though (teaching Stan bass during the week so he can play and sing). Nik knew somebody from the RFO days who still hates me but hey....it was bound to happen, what's done is done. I'm just happy that I'm in a band with people I can hang out with and at the same time make great music with.

It's been quite the musical journey these past few months lol

UP THE IRONS!