>So How Have YOU Been Spending Your Time?

>Yesterday afternoon Julia and I hiked the M again, since it was nice out and winter is supposed to roll back in again this weekend. Afterwards we were driving down Broadway, and were at the light on the corner of Ryman (I think it’s Ryman), right in front of Scooterville. A woman was getting on her scooter, backing it up, etc. Turns out it was the PIAGGIO MP3, an awesome-looking ride with two front tires and one back — probably the coolest scooter I’ve seen yet.

So we are admiring it, and Julia is excitedly pointing out all the awesome features (she gets like that), ooo’ing and ahh’ing. Finally she says, “And look at that seat! It looks so comfy! Nice and wide and comfortable, like riding a quarterback!”

I looked at her blankly. “Riding a what?”

“A quarterback.”

I stared, eyebrow raised; her smile lingered, hesitated, then she suddenly looked alarmed. “I mean a quarterhorse! It would be like riding a quarterhorse!” Then she died laughing.

Hmmm, I’m not convinced. This is a woman who knows her horses. She was a champion jumping horse rider and trainer in her youth. A slip? Perhaps. I’m more inclined to believe she is beginning to reach her inner Griz fan, only it is manifesting in a more . . . special . . . place than some others may first feel that tickle. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

The Sword vs. Slough Feg

I have two reviews in this week’s Independent. The Sword’s Gods of the Earth and Slough Feg’s Hardworlder. The two bands are touring together, and they are playing Missoula next week. We (“we” being the Boy, the Griz Fan and I) are all excited about this show. It is an interesting combination, given the place both bands hold in the circles I frequent.

A vast majority of bands I enjoy most people have never heard of. I am not a big fan of mainstream music, especially modern mainstream music. 99% of what is great is underground, written and performed by artists that will never be heard of and will never be able to make a living doing what they do. I’m not just talking metal — it works that way in rock, country, pop, you name it. That sucks, but it is what it is. Slough Feg is one of those artists. They are huge among my peers in the underground metal/doom/hard rock genres, and deservedly so. In my opinion they are one of the best bands going right now, if not the very best. Every release is a step in a different direction while maintaining the thread that defines them, phenomenally performed, and solid front to back. They are just amazing, and I do not use that adjective lightly. That, and the fact they have never expanded beyond the underground, means they have tons of street cred. Plus they really aren’t good looking at all. My friend Chris Barnes, who runs Hellride Music, stated it perfectly in a review last year:

Slough Feg are really a remarkable band. They’ve taken the foundation forged by the first two Iron Maiden albums and built their own castle on it, constructed with pieces of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol and Mike Scalzi’s seemingly bottomless reservoir for creative verse and twin guitar harmony. This all slapped together with a bit of weird. And song titles that often have a distant relationship at best with the actual lyrical content of the song. Friggin’ genius. In this current, sorry state of Heavy Metal and cookie cutter bands, Slough Feg rise above. I can tell within the span of one bar if it’s a Slough Feg song or not. Once Scalzi’s hyper-distinctive voice kicks in, all bets are off and SF, love ‘em or hate ‘em, cannot be compared to any band on earth in whole (in part? Maybe).

How is it obviously crap bands like Cradle of Flith, Dimmu Borgir, Tursirus or whatever they’re called, play to audiences of thousands, while SF played to 35 people tops that LA night? That’s the rub and I can’t figure it out. The only thing I can think of, is that the band look like guys who might be laying carpet for a living. Maybe that’s it, who knows? Maybe corpse paint would actually come in handy here.

Contrast that with The Sword. Generally the underground folks hate them with a passion usually reserved for big mainstream bands like Nickelback. Because they are young and don’t look like crusty old metal burnouts, and have had some real success in a short time, these folks can’t bitch enough about them. They are “indie fags” or “posers” or whatever name you can imagine. “They are only doing it to cash in” is another one, which amuses me to no end since there really isn’t anyone making a lot of money playing this kind of music these days (unless you are someone like Iron Maiden; click here if you want to see what real metal success looks like; their singer is actually one of the pilots of the friggin’ thing). The Sword are accused of just ripping off riffs, being unoriginal, hacks, blah blah blah. What is funny about it is that most of the folks doing the most griping are in bands as well, and they play in bands that have ripped off acts like Black Sabbath and Sleep to such an extent they should be beaten senseless with black pots and kettles! Christ, I’d be the first to say my own heavy band isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, though I like to think our riff thievery is a little less obvious.

Regardless, when I saw the tour announced I literally giggled with glee. Not that I would get to take Sid to a show featuring two of his favorite bands, but that so many people would be in such states of froth-mouthed indignation. I love it. It is going to be a great show. Slough Feg will dominate.

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