Monday, April 30, 2012

I Wish I Didn’t Have Blues From the Red Sun

If you’re a fan of sludgymetalstonerrock pioneers, Kyuss, you have undoubtedly heard about the recent drama surrounding Kyuss Lives! led by original front man John Garcia and Brant Bjork.  You can read up on the short, tumultuous history of this new version of Kyuss elsewhere.  What saddens me about the situation is that the legacy of this seminal band is now being tainted.  The record they released in 1992 has had a profound impact on me as a songwriter and author.  I originally wrote this piece for the Born Again Nihilist and thought the time was right to share it again in hopes that the fans of heavy music can go back and listen to these great recordings that still resonate today.




“Blues for the Red Sun” changed me forever.  I remember standing in the Jazz aisle of Camelot Music before we opened when the first riff of “Thumb” oozed from the speakers.  In 1992 I was old enough to know what I was tired of hearing (grunge and hair metal) but young enough to keep my mind open about soulful, heavy music.  Although the record was steeped in Sabbath and punk angst (Reeder said he thought Kyuss was more punk than metal), it was unique.  Josh was funky and yet heavy, not an easy combination to pull off.  But it was more than Josh’s riffs, Nick’s unholy bass tone, Brant’s fine chops, and John’s wailing.  I could feel the desert wind on my face all the way from western Pennsylvania.  Listening through headphones put me right in front of the boys and their infamous generator parties.

No question that the allure of Kyuss was that they were NOT mainstream and would never get radio airplay or MTV rotation (with a few exceptions like KNAC and Headbangers Ball).  I wanted a band that belonged to me and not the skinny, whiny, bitches that swooned over Axl Rose.  I loved Guns N’ Roses, but so did everyone else.  In December of 1992, when I stood inside the “crowd” of 20 people that showed up at City Limits in Penn Hills to see Kyuss open for Danzig, I knew these were my people.  They got it too.  For the record, most of those 20 people left after Kyuss finished, choosing not to hang with the meatheads there to mosh in front of Glen.

I can cite that moment as the inspiration for everything I’ve done as an artist since.  I don’t want to be Kyuss or sound like them.  I want my music to connect with people like “Blues for the Red Sun” did with me.  I can’t listen to one track or even several tracks off that record.  I have to listen to the whole damn thing, from “Thumb” to the four second closer of “Yeah” even if I have to sit in the car for 20 minutes after pulling into the driveway to do it.  That’s what music should do to you.  When fans come up to me after a show and tell me that they dig Threefold Law, and that they wish we could play for two more hours, I know I’m on the right track because that’s how I feel about Kyuss.

I’m still awestruck by the fact that it only sold around 40,000 units given the Kyuss legacy.  Then again, I never cared about Billboard or retail sales when it came to my music.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Author Profile – SB Knight


I have known Mr. Knight for years and I can say that he is constantly working hard at his craft.  Whether it’s the thousands that visit the New Author blog or the dark legions of fans he’s garnered with his newest, Born of Blood, Mr. Knight delivers.  I invited him to stop by on his latest blog tour and he suggested we talk about the Born of Blood book trailer.  Along with Curtis Luck (also in Threefold Law), I accepted Knight’s challenge to come up with dark, tasty riffs for his trailer.  Curtis and I had a blast.  We used a down-tuned SG along with some wicked effects to create the atmospheric sounds you hear in this trailer.  Based on the comments Knight is getting, I think we hit the mark.  Take a moment to read the post and click on the link to SB Knight’s newest release on MuseItUp Publishing, Born of Blood.

The following was written by SB Knight.

The task of making a book trailer is tedious, time consuming, frustrating, and a great deal of fun. What does it take to construct a trailer that grabs the attention of viewers, conveys a message in a short period of time and entertains the possible readers? I thought about all these aspects while making the official book trailer for my debut novel, Born of Blood and narrowed it down to three things: emotion, visual, and mental stimulation.

The plan was to convey the overall plot of the story in a way that played out like a movie. In a movie you see the story unfold, you hear what the characters are saying and you feel what is happening or going to happen with the music. For this trailer I decided to show some of the characters and important objects with images because as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Want an example? What screams innocence more than the picture of a baby? Okay, maybe a picture of a puppy or kitten but a baby is in the story so it fits better. Instead of listening to the characters talk as in a movie, your mind is stimulated through the use of text and sentences that shares the story but not give it away. The images and the text combine to present Born of Blood in an attractive, informative, and entertaining way.



With the text in place and the images set, the trailer is still missing a key element. It needs something to pull it all together and deliver the desired feel of the story. To achieve the emotion of dread and feel of fear the proper music must be used. You can download music for free or get permission to use the music of an artist but I wanted to do something a little different for this trailer. I wanted unique music, something never before heard. To do that, I reached out to a good friend of mine, J. Thorn, and his band. Thankfully they agreed to compose some music for me. They delivered two pieces of which I used both. The combination of the two was magic! You can feel the tension of fear and dread build as you move from one frame to the next. Here is just one comment received for the trailer:

“Oh WOOOWWWW!! Your trailer is ... well ... it's scary! The music is seriously creepy (yep, that's a chill traveling down my spine)! Very nicely done! The trailer gives the reader a glimpse into the storyline without, in my opinion, telling too much.”

This is what everyone wants when they build a trailer – their story felt through music, seen through images, and read through shared words.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Appetite for Induction


I live in Cleveland and as you can imagine, Axl Rose has been the talk of the town this past weekend.  His snub of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has again made us look like the whiny little bitch of the Rust Belt.  LeBron dumped us, the Browns suck, and now this.

Please let me remind you that the Sex Pistols, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Roger Waters, and several others also snubbed the induction ceremony.  I realize that some of these musicians had more “legitimate” reasons than Axl to decline the invitation, but that doesn’t really matter.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and MUSEUM is awesome.  The MUSEUM sits on the shores of Lake Erie enshrouded within a majestic glass pyramid and contains the most kick-ass rock artifacts in the world.  The MUSEUM houses innumerable guitars, stage outfits, photographs, and personal items that will raise the hair on the back of your neck.  I have spent countless hours in the galleries and discover something new every time I go back.  The MUSEUM brings huge tourist money to Cleveland and is a source of pride in a city that has to work hard to find it.

The Rock and Roll HALL OF FAME is a vapid, shallow, pointless organization of 500 rock “critics” that enshrine people based on FAME.  It is not The Rock and Roll Hall of SALES or The Rock and Roll Hall of MUSICIANSHIP.  It is The Rock and Roll Hall of FAME.  I don’t care about fame.  Music is an art form and people that create it don’t care about rewards, inductions, or rankings.  Its why there isn’t a French Impressionist Painters Hall of Fame in Paris but there is a French Impressionist Museum.

Axl doesn’t owe you shit.  He gave us all Appetite for Destruction, one of the most killer recordings of all time.  That timeless, authentic recording sounds as brilliant today as it did 25 years ago which is coincidentally the last (and only) significant recording Guns N Roses released.  But I digress.  Axl has always been a stubborn, eccentric, and opinionated person.  It’s why we love hating him.  Cleveland:  Quit taking it as a personal insult that Axl Rose thinks The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a joke.  It is.  He’s right and you know it.

Next up:  Eddie Vedder.

Monday, April 9, 2012

13 Free Books on Friday the 13th

Just a quick blurb to let you know that the Indie Book Collective is at it again. Head on over to http://freepartay.com this Friday, April the 13th to get 13 books for free. Nice way to turn your luck around and keep Tax Day from getting you down.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Q & A on The Seventh Seal

My favorite show
The plot is confusing and jumps from one scene to the next. What are you doing?
This novel was published long before “The Walking Dead” came to television. Coincidentally, I’m a huge fan of the show. I love the fact that the writers drop you into the story (in media res) without any explanation or backstory. You get an occasional flashback or a hint at the past, but you have to accept the fact that you’re in a world forever-changed by an “unlikely” event. You feel what the characters feel; confusion, fear, uncertainty.

Why did you write it?
I lost both of my maternal grandparents in the span of four weeks. They attended the same church for 80 years. My grandparents gave their entire life to this parish and there could not have been more than three people outside of my family that attended the funerals. The diocese closed the church a few months later as the old steel town just couldn’t cough up enough Catholics to keep it going. That dying church made me wonder what a post-apocalyptic story might be like if The End didn’t come from a virus, zombies, or the ancient Mayans.

You must really hate Catholics.
Not a question, but I don’t. I was raised Catholic, served as an altar boy, and my parents are still devout. Other members of my family still practice. I do not. The Seventh Seal is FICTION and I have tagged it as urban FANTASY. You should know that going in and I have added a warning to the product page about the way I’ve portrayed organized religion in this book. A Cult of Personality that spreads fear through religion or nationalism to take control of the military and use that force to exterminate millions is NOT fantasy. I honestly don’t think the Catholics are up to anything devious, but thirty years ago I would not have believed widespread accusations of child molestation by Catholic priests either.

I have heard a groundswell of support for a sequel to The Seventh Seal. Therefore, I plan on starting the follow up to that book in June and should have it on your Kindle by November. In fact, I’d love to hear where you think I should take the story. Send your ideas and if I use them in the sequel I’ll list your name in the acknowledgements. And I won’t even ask you to say an Our Father!

If you read The Seventh Seal and enjoyed the story, please head over to Amazon and leave me a review. Thank you.

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