Laura Nichol Interview Up!

May 29, 2008

Check out the From the Road page for a new interview with Laura Nichol from Light This City.

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The 5’2″ Tower of Vocal Doom

May 29, 2008

Dear Dude,

I have been observing your nuggets of wisdom, and I am hoping you can help me. I am currently 18 years old, and I am a 5’2″ female death metal vocalist. I have been developing my own style for more than 2 years now, with all my own original lyrics and I have even done a home recording of a cover of ‘Eaten’ by Bloodbath to showcase my sound. Despite this, I have been unsuccessful in obtaining a position as a vocalist, and have even had trouble getting replies from bands searching for vocalists! Although the presence of females within all genres of heavy music/metal has become more noted in recent years, it seems that within a male dominated music scene there still is a stigma attached to female vocalists, especially if they can hold their own against their male counterparts of today!

I am not exactly a feminist, but I am wondering the reasons why I can be overlooked, or even dismissed, before guys want to give me a shot, because at first glance… a petite, 5’2″, female does not exactly epitomize ‘brutality’. Also, I am looking for some other measures to undertake, so I can be noticed, and be considered as a legitimate vocalist???

Thanks,
The 5’2″ Tower of Vocal Doom!

Dear 5’2” Tower of Vocal Doom,

Metal, punk, and hardcore have always been boys clubs. I remember when I went to my first hardcore/punk show there were maybe ten girls out of a crowd of three hundred or so. The same holds for the first few metal shows I went to (in fact there were even less girls around at those shows). Truth be told now a days there are definitely more girls at shows, and more importantly in bands. And this new breed of metal rocking chick isn’t your old coat hanger groupie. Ah no sir, some of the women I have met who are in metal, punk, and hardcore bands now a days know their shit! So why would dudes who are looking to start a sick ass band overlook or dismiss a female singer? And what things can you do as a female vocalist to get noticed, taken seriously, and break your way into the boys club of metal

1. Break Preconceived Notions.
Some dudes may never have seen a girl sing in a metal band and thrash it up! It’s a fucking shame but there have been very few metal bands who have female singers who have really broken out. Sure there have been women who have paved the way like Arch Enemy, Lacuna Coil, Otep, Kittie, Crisis, and even Lita Ford! Metal has had all different types and styles of front women. But for every few bands that have a kick ass front woman there are millions of metal bands out there with menacing dudes screaming as low as they possibly can. Dudes in bands tend to want to emulate the bands they love. I mean I didn’t buy an SG as my first guitar for any other reason then I wanted to be Angus Young. Although that’s a really simple way to look at it you have to remember when you’re out there looking to start or join a band some dudes may never have even considered finding a girl singer.

I haven’t heard your cover of Bloodbath, but I bet since you know who they are it sounds pretty good. Most dudes have preconceived ideas about what they think a girl who sings death metal sounds like. It’s not the typical voice you would expect to hear from a woman, so its natural that dudes would be concerned that your voice wouldn’t sound as strong or as similar to all the bands they love or are influenced by

Women have unique outlooks on life, not to mention they sometimes can have very unique qualities to their voices. Have you ever wondered why some people think its normal for a man to sound the way he does when he sings death metal? If your going for a Chris Barns type low Death Metal voice then sure you expect to see a big ass dude with dreads bellowing it out. But what about the other type of death metal vocal, you know the super high Swedish scream? What about that is exactly manly? I mean its super high screaming, why cant a woman do that? I would argue that good vocals are good vocals and that there are female death metal vocalists out there who can bellow with the best of them and shrill with the sickest of them

2. Hanging with the Dudes
Some guys (and girls) can’t deal with co-ed life in a band. Touring can be hard, it is like living together, running a business, and being an artist with 5 other people all rolled into one. A lot of dudes just aren’t that comfortable being around girls all the time. It seems crazy but let me tell you having a female dynamic around your band is a different thing. It is something that should not be feared, but regardless, is something that can be an issue for some dudes

Sure life on tour is hard and having that female element can change the dynamic of your band but it actually can change that dynamic for the better. I have observed many bands with female members and they function just a good (or bad) as most all male bands. Shit there are examples all over the place outside of metal where female fronted bands function just fine. So why should it hold that it always has to be this way in metal? Fuck, if the idiots in country music can make it work, so can metal

3. Sex Appeal
Image sells and un-sells: The world views your band differently when you have a female lead. I mean I haven’t seen Revolver do the ‘hottest MEN in metal issue’. Flip through the latest edition of any guitar, bass, tuba, whatever, magazine and probably the first girl you’ll see is in the back wearing a bikini, selling a guitar strap. Sex sells, image sells, and when you have something like that TO sell, people will want to exploit it. This can make things difficult for a band, to say the least, and it’s quite likely your potential band mates don’t even want to think about dealing with those issues. They would rather go with the dude in the Slayer shirt; it’s the norm, its easy, its simple, and worst of all its been done a million times so you know there is little or no actual risk in it

Now, this might be a reason why dudes would overlook a female singer but let me say this; this issue really doesn’t affect the bands I know who have female singers or members. Sure, it’s not the norm but the bands with girl members use this to their advantage. That doesn’t mean they sex up their female members on purpose, it just means they use it to make their band original. Lets not forget that women buy records too! And if you have the ability to reach both sexes with your music then you have the ability to take metal to a whole new place and that’s really exciting

I suggest you keep searching. You are going to find that band you want to join. Or, this may even blow your mind, you may just find yourself starting your own band! All you need to do is find musicians that want to jam and have just the slightest open minds. Recording that demo is a good step. Put that thing up on your Myspace, launch your own website. You need to get that recording out there. Hopefully your vocals will speak for themselves and if they don’t, well you’re going to have to work on them until they do. Musicians respect other musicians who have worked hard at their craft and show a true love for what they do. If you continue to work on your own music and get your take on metal out there, then you will find that musicians of both sexes are going to take you seriously and see you as the legitimate singer that you are.

The Dude

P.S. For a woman’s perspective on what it’s like to be a metal singer in today’s scene check out Ask the Dude’s interview with Laura Nichol from Light this City.


Mr. Roboto

May 28, 2008

Dear Dude,

I just recorded and my site started to blow up once it was online, because I promote over 10 hours a day. When I don’t promote my site basically doesn’t do as well. I also noticed that there are things like ‘friend adding robots’ which many bands use. I don’t know where to find a good one, it would free some time up for me since I’m a one man band its hard to do it all on my own. Honestly, I know all these big bands cheat! My question is simple how do I safely cheat the way other bands do so I can keep up? I have great marketable stuff and I’m sick of watching tons of shit bands get huge and signed. Times are hard for new bands, especially that play emo, because Myspace no longer lets you add people under the age of 17, which is basically all the people that even like what I play. Do you know any tricks or secrets that could help give me some hope or something? Please get back to me if you have time, cause honestly I don’t have a clue who to ask these questions to. All I know is I have good music that people would like, but other than promoting, I don’t know what else to do. I can’t find a good manager and I don’t know how to attract record labels. I’m really stressed by all of this. Your advice would mean a great deal.

Thanks,

Mr. Roboto

Dear Mr Roboto,

Myspace’s weight in the music world is continually growing, while the anonymity of the Internet still allows for all sorts of cyber-manipulation. Logic than follows that it might be easy to fake, or project, the appearance of popularity in order to attract record labels, booking agents, managers, and of course that all coveted “heat” (or “hype”). Bands will do just about anything to get all of the above and it’s easy to get sucked into the game and compete, or worse feel like you have to “cheat” just to get your music heard.

How do you safely cheat the way other bands do so you can keep up? There is a very simple answer to this question: DON’T! Sure, bands will scam, cheat, lie, and steal to be popular. The music business is full of ugly people, but my suggestion is make a conscious decision to NOT be one of them. When Darkest Hour first started the big deal was SoundScan. It used to be all the rage amongst bands to add numbers to their live SoundScan forms. See, when bands play shows they write in how many records they sell every night and then once a week fax the info to their record label. It was real easy to turn a 2 into a 20, etc. That was the way to cheat in the 90’s. Enter the next generation, the Myspace count cheat.

Have I seen bands get big off of using their Myspace page for promotion? Yes. Is it possible to fake your profile into looking sick as shit and attract the attention of a few managers and record labels? Yeah, sure that’s possible too. But you have to think it all through. First, forget that its just plain stupid to fake anything (especially being a rock star, I think that’s probably the lamest thing you can try to fake) but just think about what might happen if you do convince that record label, manager, or booking agent to work with your band because of fake numbers. How would you like to do a tour that no one shows up to because you don’t have any real fans, or your record comes out and no one actually buys it. The point of Myspace is not to just have gigantic numbers, it is to network your music so people can hear it and your actual fans can keep in touch with the happenings of your band.

I think you’re missing the point of Myspace all together, and more importantly I think you’re missing the whole point of playing music. You mentioned you’re a “one man band.” I am sure you have already encountered how hard that is going to be. My suggestion is take those songs and get a band together. You have a flying leap start, by already have songs written. You just need to take your music to the real world, in addition to the virtual one. You have to start spending 10 hours a day playing music, not sitting in front of the computer. If you are going to spend ten hours a day on Myspace promoting your band, then you might as well just have a 10 hour a day office job, instead of trying to be a professional musician. Why do I stress playing shows and jamming with other band members? Because actually playing music for (or with) people is the interaction you should want to have as a musician, not the interaction that comes from the other side of a computer screen.

The Dude


Dimebuck-enier

May 27, 2008

Dear Dude,

Throughout the years you have had an array of guitars, pickups, amps, cabinets, etc… I saw you in 2005 and thought you had some crushing tone. Les Paul customs with “Dimebuckers” in the bridge. I ran out the next week installed it in my guitar and have been rocking it since. The past few months I feel like my tone could be better though, and I was thinking about trying out EMG’s. Should I stick to the “Dimebucker” in the bridge or test out the 81’s?

Thanks,
Dimebuck-enier

Dear Dimebuck-enier,

I have been experimenting with different pick ups ever since I started tinkering with my guitar, which was about 20 minutes after I picked one up for the first time. I think experimenting with your tone is a must for any musician; it is how you will eventually find your own tone & style, after all. So, to answer your question first; yes, absolutely experiment! In fact I would suggest you put in pick up after pick up until you find the tone that’s yours. It’s simple, put those pick ups in and start riffing! Since we all don’t have a million dollars, or free pick ups flying our way, you have to know where to start. Here are a few thoughts on pick ups that I have had good luck with.

In 2004 Darkest Hour performed on the summer’s Ozzfest and around that time I secured my sweet little endorsement with Seymour Duncan. Up to that point I had been playing nothing but Duncan’s for about 5 years, so let me tell you it was a coveted endorsement for me to get. I even got a chance to meet Mr. Seymour Duncan himself. He was amazing, a rock star to rock stars. To this day, if I had to go to Guitar Center and buy picks up, Duncuns are still what I would buy.The specific pick up I would buy would be without a doubt the Seymour Duncan JB. I have recorded at least one guitar with a JB on almost every record I have been a part of. To me it’s the perfect blend of rock and metal, and the mid-range of the pick up just makes my wrist sound the way I like. I cant explain it, but there’s a reason it’s the definitive rock pick up!

Although I have a personal favorite I have experimented with all sorts of pick ups and even experimented with different wiring options. I went the EMG route but it just seemed to flatten out my sound. Don’t get me wrong, we use guitars with EMG’s all the time in Darkest Hour (our other guitarist, Kris, swears by them). They are great pick ups. Shit, you can’t deny that Zakk Wylde sounds fucking amazing, so don’t let me tell you those pick ups can’t sound good. It’s just I haven’t found a pair that speaks to me. (One quick note if you’re switching out pick ups to try out EMG’s it’s going to be a bitch. Your going to have to change all the electronics because of the way they wire so get ready for that. If you don’t know how to do it, pay someone who does. Its worth it, I have burned myself and many a guitar, not to mention spent way too many hours trying to solder a guitar back together. Working on a guitar is not nearly as fun as playing one, let me tell you that.)

A good alternative to the EMG line is actually the Seymour Duncan Blackouts. They came out recently and are built for kind of the same application. I have a pair in a red Les Paul Custom I use sometimes and until I found those pick ups I couldn’t get anything to sound good in that guitar. See, guitars themselves have a sound so not every pick up works perfectly with every guitar. I almost sold that red Les Paul but I kept the faith and one day popped those Black Outs in. Now no guitar sounds like it and it’s smoking hot! I’ll never get rid of it, It’s the guitar I pull out when its time to get the shred out!

The Dimebuckers are sick because they have more gain then JB’s. I also like that they seem to “metalfy” (I know its not a real word but fuck it!) the sound. You know almost flatten it out but not in a bad way. I swear it makes my playing sound a bit more controlled but maybe I’m crazy! I have at least two guitars in my touring rotation that use Dimebuckers. They are perfect for high gain use but have their own sound; it doesn’t have the same pitfalls to me that the EMG’s do so it was always my solution for getting the JB sound with more gain and balls.

If you’re into the Dimebucker you also have to check out the Bill Lawrence 500 ML’s. This is actually the pick up that Dimebag first used. It is sometimes referred to as the original rail pick up, I am not sure if that is true but, I can tell you that it’s a sick motherfucker! It looks just like the Dimebucker and sounds almost exactly the same. If you can find one of these I suggest buying it and checking it out. You wont be disappointed, trust me there is a reason Dimebag swore by these things! Bill Lawrence also has a site where you can read more about pick ups and tone.

Sometimes when I am layering guitars or just riffing in general I like to have the sound of a single coil pick up. It’s very different from a humbucker and when used to layer with other guitars fitted with regular humbuckers it adds a nice overall thickness. Its just different and whenever I need a sound like this I turn to the Seymour Duncan Little ’59. It’s the perfect sounding single coil; It’s got a nice clear low end and nice full tone to it. I would suggest this pick up to any metal head that is looking for a cool sounding single coil. Also, if you want a single coil that sounds like a humbucker don’t fear. Seymour’s got your back too with the Duncan Hot Rails. I have this in a Fender Tele that I use for Darkest Hour sometimes, it holds the super low tunings really well. If you can believe it this little pick up took my cool indie rock sounding Tele and made it a metal riffing beast!

Ok so I know what you’re thinking, this reads like one big commercial for Seymour Duncan. Look, I know, but like I said it just works for me. Why switch brands? They have a ton of cool sounding pick ups and they all wire relatively the same so switching them out is really easy. The main point is there is never one right pick up for everything! It’s more likely that you will like the sound of a few and change from time to time. That’s ok, change is good. I have my staple pick up’s but I also change it up just for fun all the time. So don’t be afraid to experiment, explore, and create with many different sonic pallets, you may just find something new you like and if your really lucky you may just find something original!

The Dude

Cables From Hell

May 23, 2008

Dear Dude,

I have a gear question for you about guitar pedals and pedal boards. I use an SKB powered pedal board, much like the Furman one you mention in another review. The problem is all my different cables that lead from the pedal board back to my head. I have the direct line, amp footswitch, two for the pedals I have in the effects loop, and an extra in case one busts on me while playing. All of the cables are 30 ft long. Currently I have all the cables tied using small Velcro patch cord ties. What do you do to keep all your cables together? Is there some sort of sleeve or snake skin you are using to keep them “as one”? Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Cables from Hell!

Dear Cables from Hell,

It’s funny this question is so specific and it’s something I myself have been struggling with ever since I started running pedals live. When I play I always like to face the audience so it means the cables have to be long (just like you mention, about 30 feet). I have 10 cables that I run (in order to run two heads and two separate stereo effects loops) as well as one power cable I use to power my voodoo labs pedal power. What’s the best way to deal with this problem live? I’ve tried everything from duct tape to Velcro and never had luck. That is until the first day I showed up for our tour with this band called Thrice.

Tepe and Dustin from Thrice turned me onto a thing called Flexo Tubing, or “Snakeskin” which is made by a company called Tech Flex. So what is this mythical alien creation? It’s a long section of plastic tubing sold by the foot in different diameters. I use the 1 1/2 inch size because it fits all of my cables nicely. Basically, you buy about 30 feet of “Snakeskin” to feed all your cables through (I also suggest running back up cables so you can switch fast live but, you already thought of that!), then melt both tips with a lighter so it wont fray, tape the ends, and ta-da all your cables are secure in this nice little snake. Dude, I have taken my “Snakeskin” cable all over the world and it has never let me down. It is the definitive professional solution for this problem.

So where do you get this product? Best place to look is somewhere that sells quality products to touring bands, like Tour Supply. If you’re in a touring band you can find anything you need here. I mean they have everything, cables, sharpies, tape, lanyards, and even “Snakeskin.” It’s not pictured or mentioned on the website so you have to email or call them. Its sold by the foot and here are the regular prices:

1/4″ Diameter @ $0.39 per Foot

1/2″ Diameter @ $0.59 per Foot

3/4″ Diameter @ $0.69 per Foot

1″ Diameter @ $0.89 per Foot

1 1/2″ Diameter @ $1.19 per Foot

There you have it my man, we can all thank the good dudes in Thrice. They found the secret to keeping those pedal cables organized and out of the way. Take it from a man who has found himself looking up at the ceiling of a club wondering why his guitar doesn’t work, trying to figure out why he has cables all tangled up in his feet! You need to get those cables in order!


Concerned Low End Provider

May 22, 2008

Dear Dude,

I play bass in a metal band, and we’re preparing to go record a demo in the next couple of weeks. I’ve been playing in bands and recording for about half my life, so I’m only mildly nervous about the whole situation. Our guitar players are both very talented and consistent players, but they both seem freaked out about going in and recording our first demo.

I suppose my question is this; is it normal for dudes to get so wound up over a recording? If it is a common occurrence, is there anything I can say or do to help? I want these guys to know that they’re going to be fine and that their guitar playing is top notch without seeming like I’m patronizing them.

Thanks,
Concerned Low End Provider

Dear Concerned Low End Provider,

Recording can be the biggest head fuck of all time. Many times when I was younger I would find myself freaking out in the studio over the most mundane little details. I remember one time being so afraid that one of the producer’s cats was going to hit the knobs on my guitar head that I would meticulously cover it every night before we went home. Needless to say it’s pretty easy to lose your cool in the studio. I have seen some pretty big rock stars lose their shit in the studio and it’s not really as funny as you think it would be.

Is it normal for dudes to get so wound up over a recording? Yes, totally. It’s pretty common for at least one dude to be nervous right from the beginning, and we’re not even talking about the dudes who get wound up once you get there. Be not afraid. Many other dudes have fought this battle. Here are some things you might want to try.

1. Suggest your dudes practice: I know, I know, it’s redundant, but it’s true. I have seen so many professional bands make up shit on the fly in the studio it would make your head spin. I mean do you think Born in the USA was written after the drums were tracked? Ah, No Sir! It’s sad, stupid, and fucking lame when you think that there are some bands out there who get thousands of dollars from record companies and show up with half written songs, while other bands work at taco bell all summer just to get into a studio. Anyway, make sure you have all your songs written. Like I said, you would be surprised at the amount of bands I have worked with who hadn’t fully finished every note and lyric before they started recording.

One suggestion you can make is to try practicing with a metronome. Tell them you heard that playing with a metronome a few hours a day can greatly improve your ability to play in the studio by improving speed, tempo, clarity, and rhythm, amongst other things. Ask if they have ever done that. Then mention that you were thinking about doing the same thing, but only on a few songs that you don’t feel that confident with.

This will show them three things:

a. You are thinking about practicing and the upcoming recording process.

b. You found that a solution for your nerves is practice.

c. They might be able to cure their nerves the same way.

2. Take them by the studio to check it all out: Some dudes who haven’t spent a lot of time in or around recording studios think it has to always be this religiously laborious process. You need to be able to mentally envision the home studio inside the professional one. Maybe you can check out a session for a second (you, of course, have to check with the studio to make sure that’s cool before you just roll by). Really, what you’re trying to show them is that the studio can be a pretty normal place. All those knobs, lights, and chords, can be intimidating at first (I still to this day get intimidated by fancy gear sometimes), but they need to remember they are all just instruments. If you look at it that way it’s just like being in a room with access to an endless assortment of instruments. There’s no way any musician wouldn’t think that’s exciting.

3. Record at home: This might be a little complicated to pull off at first, but there now are ways to record anywhere, at any time. Even if it’s recording on a laptop in Garage Band (that’s free for apple users), it just helps to get your brain in the mode of ‘recording’. I suggest a Digidesign MBOX. Every guitar shredder should have one. It’s the best way to document your ideas and get super comfortable with the recording process. It’s really easy to use and was for me the gateway to start producing bands. If I hadn’t bought that first MBOX I wouldn’t be even able to think about recording anything! It will bring both you’re playing and writing up a level, just being able to analyze and document your playing like that is so valuable, especially for a guitar player.

In the end you can try any of these suggestions, but they all require you to do one thing; communicate. Look, you have had the experience before so you can take the lead and help facilitate a really good first recording experience for your dudes, you just need to open that first line of communication.


Student of Rock

May 21, 2008

Dear Dude,

I’m 19 and attending college right now working on getting my bachelor’s degree in engineering. I love Darkest Hour and I see you’ve gotten yourself a college degree so maybe you could give me some advice. How did you handle managing your time between playing music and schoolwork? I know that a lot of guys in bands never went to college and dedicated their time to music but I really want to be able to support myself in case things don’t go my way.

Thanks,
Student of Rock!

Dear Student of Rock,

Playing in a full time band and going to college full time go together about as good oil and water. Both lifestyles seem to work directly against each other. Parents often times pressure you to quit your band because they fear it will interfere with your studies (which they always think are more important) and your band mates pressure you because they are afraid attending college might in some way hold the band down or keep them from opportunities. Is there a way to do both? How do you handle schoolwork, playing music, developing a band, and still keep your sanity? I can help with the fist couple but the sanity part, well that might just be up to you.

When I attended college it was for a total of five consecutive years. Darkest Hour existed the entire time since we had started in high school. We were a signed touring band for the last 2 1/2 years of my college life and let me tell you it was not easy by any stretch of the word. Here are some tips that can help:

  1. Use Your Breaks: The number one thing we did to work around my school schedule was to schedule touring around college breaks. We went on tour anytime I had a 4-day break. We would do weekends up and down the east coast, and on winter and summer breaks we booked longer tours. There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure to tour (and we had to book it ourselves which was hard as shit) so that made it at least easier to sneak shows in between class days without worrying about having to tour and miss class.
  2. Schedule Your Life: Another thing I would do was stack all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was also working as a bike messenger for 4 of those years and was able to only work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This allowed me to work and go to school all during the workweek. Since Friday’s and Saturday’s are the key nights to play when your doing one off shows this worked out nicely. The other thing this allowed me to do was book long weekends. Since I didn’t have to be back to class until the next Tuesday I could leave Thursday night and we could play shows Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That’s a nice four-day block I could do anytime.
  3. Talk to Those Teachers: It’s a common misconception that college teachers are hard asses. Honestly, I got along with almost all my teachers and it was pretty clear that I didn’t fit in. In my graduating social work class there couldn’t even have been more then 10 men total and I was one of five or so in his twenties. Oh, I guess the tattoos and fact that I was always doodling Van Halen and Pantera logos all over the place didn’t help. All my teachers knew my situation and all were pretty understanding, as long as the work I turned in showed that I had put in the appropriate amount of time and thought. Get them on your side, everyone loves a story about someone chasing their dream. Especially teachers.
  4. Learn How to Study: I’m not going to lie I didn’t go to class all the time. I now wish I had paid a bit more attention. But what I did learn fast was how to study. You need to look at how your teachers present information and learn how to pick out what is important and what you will be tested on (hint: they are usually the same thing). Doing all the reading assigned to your course goes hand in hand with learning what to study. All those weekend tours and trips, those drives are the perfect time to get that reading done.
  5. Manage that Time: In this instance college is a perfect way to prepare you for the world after it. If you continue to pursue that career in music you are going to have to learn how to juggle a whole bunch of shit at once. My fifth and final year of college I held down a forty hour a week internship, recorded So Sedated So Secure, went to school full time, and worked on the weekends. It was unforgiving and brutal most time but that’s what college is about. If I were you I wouldn’t get sucked into all the parting. It’s fun but really you will have plenty of time to party back stage. Its best to just focus and get’er done. That way you can get the hell out and start rocking the world.
  6. Don’t be Afraid to Lean on Your Friends: Lets be clear I couldn’t have made it through all those years in school and kept the band alive if my band mates weren’t cool dudes. They were always very supportive, and I owe them for that patience. I also had the very awesome support of my now wife but then girlfriend. Without her there is no way I could have made it mentally. It’s good to have friends that you can talk to especially ones that have graduated college. It can help keep you focused to draw on their experience for needed guidance.

I’ll never forget the summer before my last year of college. We had signed a record deal with MIA records. We had recorded Mark of the Judas (my sophomore year of college) and it was about to be released. I thought for sure I was about to be on tour for months straight. I couldn’t handle the idea of waiting any longer to start my real dream. I was determined that summer that I was going to tell my parents “Fuck it! I only have one year left I’ll just come back to this later, lets rock!” I went to talk to my parents knowing they were going to be pissed, but I didn’t care. Turns out my dad was real weird about it. He didn’t get mad or anything we just had this strange conversation about how I just didn’t understand. He said once I left college I wouldn’t go back, that everything changes and it just would be to hard. We kind of left it unresolved and I left for tour.

On the last day of the tour we played New Jersey and all the MIA staff came out. Yeah, they all came out to tell us that on the day our first record was coming out we were going to be dropped. Turns out the record label we had just signed to went bankrupt. I took that as a sign and decided to finish that final year of school and get my degree.

Looking back on it I can tell you how right my dad was. Dude, I couldn’t hold my shit in college right now. It would be so hard to go back I can’t even explain. In the long run, staying in school while still rocking gave me the ability to grow as both an artist and a person. I believe it was facing all of those challenges that prepared me to live life as a modern musician. It’s funny, but the one thing I always felt was in the way of my musical career (college), ended up being the one thing that prepared me most for life as a professional musician.