Tapes and shirts are now available here
Tapes will also be gettable in the next week or so from
USA: Anthems of the Undesirable
Finland: Kaos Kontrol
probably Scream and Writhe in Canada and Bis Aufs Messer in Germany
Irish folks, get them from us or Into The Void (Dublin) and Art For Blind (Cork) in the next few days.
In 2013 I had the pleasure of releasing an LP and a split 7” from one of my favorite current bands. By now, pretty much anyone reading this should know who Godstopper is, and Mike Simpson is the talented weirdo responsible for that project. As another weirdo and Godstopper supporter Numero Uno, I was of course curious as to what Mike had to say about the past year:
I did a “Top 5” last year, and I’ll give the same caveat I did for that list- I’m definitely not an accomplished album listener. I’ll be the 1000th person to tell you the new Gorguts was good (although to be honest, my attention span for death metal is like, 2 or 3 songs), The Body’s EP was wicked, and releases from Toronto bands like Ayahuasca, Hammerhands were great too. To be honest, my most played record in 2013 was Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid m.A.A.d City”, which I started listening to at the end of 2012. To editorialize for a moment, I feel like that album has a breadth of experience that I feel metal albums lack, by and large, and which heavy music artists could learn a lot from, to better the flow of their own albums. But I digress; as I said earlier, I’m no expert. Oftentimes I get more excited about buying T-shirts than buying albums.
So, to that end, let me talk about stuff I feel more qualified to talk about- good times I was a part of in 2013. In chronological order:
*Birthday in San Jose (with Column of Heaven):* Touring with Iron Lung was quite an interesting and cool experience for me. Not just because I got to see the west coast for pretty much the first time, dive into the Pacific Ocean (it was really really cold, if you were wondering), see MASTER play “Pay to Die” in front of 10 people at a totally wack metal show in Portland, and witness the majesty of the Vivid office building upon our entrance to LA. For me, the most intriguing thing was observing the iron-clad self control possessed by frontman Jensen Ward. When their records didn’t show up on time, when the van got packed wrong, when his dog ate my Clif Bar because I left it out, nothing seemed to faze him. But hanging at this particular post-show party in San Jose took the cake for me as evidence of his composure. It was my birthday, as of midnight; I smoked the most potent west coast weed of my life with members of Dead Pressure, who played an amazing 5 minute long set opening for us, and sold their shirts for the staggeringly reasonable price of $8. Within moments I was being reintroduced to the owner of the house we were in, because I said I hadn’t met him, since my now-ruined memory forgot his name and the fact that we’d just had a 45-minute conversation. Later on, Eric told me I was going on about what my favourite letter of the alphabet was. My partner in crime when in comes to raging, David Kristiansen, was probably equally incoherent; I’d say the whole party was, really. Meanwhile, there was straight edge Jensen, good-natured throughout it all, seeming to have a good sense of humor while all these wasted people talked about practically nothing, patiently waiting til his lit-up tour mates were ready to pile in the van, eat burritos and then pass out on a guest room floor.
*(The aftermath. Waiting for burritos. Pre-passing out.*)
*Ice Cream in Norfolk:* The Godstopper show in Harrisonburg was canceled, so we had a day off in Norfolk. Our good friend and gracious host (as well as releaser of both our album, *What Matters*, and our more recent split with the excellent Tendril,) Ryan Stoner, got us set up to explore downtown Norfolk. Got weirded out at a multilevel gun shop, Miranda got a sheep tattoo, and then Phil, Tobin and I went over to Doumar’s, home of Abe Doumar, the creator of the world’s first waffle cone.
*(I thought this was Abe when I snapped the photo, turns out this is his
brother George. But they worked closely together.)*
The excitement of receiving the ice cream we ordered was dashed after Tobin
suddenly ran out of the restaurant, gagging. A faecal smell started to
permeate the air. Tobin returned inside, somewhat revived, revealing he had
seen a homeless guy, standing nearby us inside the restaurant, the man’s
pants apparently falling to his ankles and Tobin, who happened to be
looking in that direction, was made aware of a deposit of excrement firmly
entrenched in the man’s nether regions, all while the man was singing the
chorus to Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (he was kicked out shortly after).
We let the remainder of our milkshakes be and exited the establishment. I’m
hoping next time will be better. (Editor note: I’ve gone to Doumar’s for thirty years and have never seen anything of this nature. Get a cherry limeade, also, fuck Cookout.)
As an aside, we played the night before with Moutheater, another band based out of Norfolk, who are in the middle of recording a new album- be sure to cop it once it’s out, as well as their back catalog.
*Oxbow/Godstopper/White Ribs/Thighs @ The Garrison: * Probably my favourite opening slot with Godstopper to date (until we open for Behemoth, at which point all of my dreams will be realized). The other bands were great;
original concepts, cool ideas, and different directions than what I’m used
to. I’m still not super close with anybody in Thighs or White
Ribs, but if you dudes read this and want to do a show, let me know cause we’d love to!
Anyway, OXBOW- I believe it was either their second, or possibly their first time in Toronto? Either way, the band was great: tight performances, and the instrumentalists still possessed a humble mentality, in the sense that they seemed to still be very eager to learn new things- a “wide-eyed” quality I think all musicians who have something to say must possess. And then there’s Eugene, who I almost feel like I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said about him: yes, he stripped down to his underwear, yes, he yelled at the top of his lungs, yes, he put on a great show. I am consciously trying to avoid ”fighter” cliches in the description of his performance, but yeah, they did occur to me. At the end of the show, he asked us for a Godstopper shirt, to replace his sweated out performance clothes. I most definitely obliged, and got the very cool Kasia (Meow’s Imaginarium) to take a photo of us.
*(PS that Iron Lung shirt is definitely my go-to cool show shirt, til death do us part.)*
*Blood Ceremony birthday:* Funny story, I’ve known Blood Ceremony’s Alia
O’Brien for over ten years, going back to when we were both in the Hart
House Jazz Ensemble at U of T (I played bass). As fate should have it,
years after falling out of touch, I re-met her through Lucas Gadke, BC’s
bass player, and a very good friend of mine (we play together in a
sports/comedy/rock opera called Vince Lombarrdi). Anyway, I was invited to
celebrate Alia’s birthday at Thirsty and Miserable, the place where your
love of classy beer and heavy music intersect in beautiful ways. To my
surprise, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Rise Above Records/Napalm Death fame,
was there. He had recently visited LA, and figured he might as well stop by
Toronto. “It *is* just around the corner”, I said to him, after Sean, BC’s
guitarist, had introduced us. “Yeah”, Lee uttered, in a sarcastic tone. Lee
got my joke! This was a big success for me and inside, I was losing my
shit. I wanted to tell him “Utopian Blaster” was the first song I ever
learned on bass. And how frightened and confused I was the first time I
heard From Enslavement to Obliteration. But nah, I just left it at that.
Four sentences exchanged; that’s fine.
Later on that night, in keeping with the fact that I never remember how my
nights end at Thirsty and Miserable, I ended up at the apartment of a
friend who I know from karaoke’s couch, draped in towels for blankets.
*My first time street rapping:* I finally made good on my resolution to go
out and rap on the street. I’ve done it a couple times; the second time was
more successful audience and money-wise, but the first time, done in a
not-so-well trafficked area of my neighbourhood, produced stuff like this
old dude “breaking” while I did Nas’s “Halftime”.
(filmographer: Justin Oakey/Burial Offerings)
*Photo editing by Matthew Davenport
Everyone who is complaining about an energy drink company writing an article on grindcore, yet vehemently defended free shows/7” e.p.s from a car company needs to get the fuck out. The two are not unrelated. You allowed corporate sponsorship into our scene and have no right to complain about how stupid it makes things.
Fuck all the corporate apologists forever
You get the scene you deserve.
Every time somebody calls you an elitist for decrying shit like this, know that you’re doing something right.
The world we’ve attempted build for ourselves through punk, hardcore, and DIY culture need to be a self-sustaining world.