Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Change of Plans Brings 'Serios' Fun: My Story

Isn't it amazing how plans can change? Most of the time when they do, it isn't necessarily a good thing. But, every now and then, you will have carefully laid out plans that change at the last minute, and its not only a good thing...Its a completely awesome thing, That's what I will be talking about in this piece.

I am a Native Floridian, and I've seen and been friends with Dead Serios since the early 90's. I've literally seen them over 100 times, and every time been blown away by the great energy and stage show that the band puts on. It is truly a unique experience. We'll get to THIS experience shortly.

In the last piece I wrote, I talked about Melbourne Florida's legendary band, Dead Serios and their 30th anniversary concert at the renowned Maxwell King Center. We had the band on the Will and Thunder Show <ca-ching!> on Jan 20th to talk about the show, and to get everyone pumped up about it. It wasn't hard because the show had the feel of a news conference leading up to the Super Bowl. I also talked about the appearance that I was offered. The band offered me a chance to get up on stage and to introduce them, and plug The Will and Thunder Show <ca-ching!> as well. I was honored and totally pumped about the opportunity to be part of the show.

The enigmatic Dead Lee Serios
on stage at their 30th anniversary show
My family and I packed up, and drove 500 miles just to go see this concert. We arrived Thursday evening, on Jan 22. I showed up at what was the final rehearsal before the show. The band sounded great, and I was even more excited to see and be part of their show. (if that was even possible)  I went over my planned intro for the band with them, and everything was ready to go....Until the next day.

The phone call:

I was sitting in my hotel room. We had just gotten back from a day out with the family, and were getting ready to go out for dinner, when my cell phone rang. It was the enigmatic, one and only Dead Lee Serios on the other end, telling me that the person who had been scheduled to play the part of Oprah during their song, Who's on Oprah cancelled at the last minute. This was a bit where a black man dressed up in a very bad Oprah Winfrey costume and joined the band onstage. Dead Lee asked me if I would play the part. I reminded him of one potential flaw in the plan. I'm a tall white man! That fact did not escape Dead Lee. It was explained to me that the only thing funnier than a black man pretending to be Oprah was a white man pretending to be a black man pretending to be Oprah. Laughing my ass off, I agreed, and of course, I told him that I would do it. I was honored to, but there was a catch. The catch was that I would no longer be introducing the band. Dead Lee told me not to worry because I would still get the show plug.

Oprah LOVES Dead Serios

As I mentioned before, plans do change for the good occasionally. This show was a small version of an arena concert in every way. It was a huge production with a full cast of characters and a full backstage crew. Had I just introduced the band, I would have gone back to my seat and watch the show with the audience. Instead, I got to the venue early, got made up in my hideously ugly dress, with makeup, and a big afro wig. The plan was for my face makeup NOT to look like good black makeup, but to look like a very bad makeup job. And, it was probably the easiest makeup job that the professional makeup artist had ever done. It looked HIDEOUS! When I emerged from the dressing room, I was greeted by laughter, hugs, and high fives...and my huge double damn boobs were being fondled by everyone...And even motor boated.  The visionary, Dead Lee Serios was right again. It was a hit.
Yes, that is me in my Oprah costume

Ok, here we go...Hold your ears folks! Its SHOWTIME!!!

The whole backstage experience was incredible. I've played many shows of my own, even toured briefly as a tour manager, but I never experienced anything like this in the past. Spirits were high, and everyone was having a great time. When crunch time came, and 5 minutes to showtime was announced, the band took their places side stage. There was anAC/DC song that was playing over the PA, signaling that the band was moments away from taking the stage. We were all together side stage, and you could feel the intensity. You could see the lights over the top of the wall side stage. You could hear the crowd getting louder every time guitarist, Steve Pooley hit a chord on his guitar to make sure he was in tune. Finally, the show started, and Dead Serios was welcomed to the stage by a roar of enthusiastic fans who had been waiting 20 years for a show like this.
Joe Delcorvo and Michelle Jones of  Violectric
The band put on the best show that I've ever seen from them, and that is saying a lot. The cast members all did their parts flawlessly. I was the first character to come out. Who's on Oprah was the second song in the set list. Dead Lee introduced me, and I was welcomed to the stage with a loud mixture of applause and laughter. Drummer, Scooter Greenbud had 2 bass heads on his drum set with Oprah's face on them, I went out, and gently kissed my finger, and touched it to the drum head. Then, I addressed the crowd quickly, head banged a little bit, then threw out the two Will and Thunder Show shirts that I had with me into the crowd, then I made my exit. I watched the rest of the show with the other cast members on the side of the stage.
Dead Lee and Scooter Greenbud
We're Not Joking!

The show went perfectly, and everyone from fans who had just seen them for the first time (there were a few) to life long fans to band members to cast and production crew were all smiles. At the end, during the finale,  Dead Lee individually introduced each cast member, and the production crew on stage. He said that we were all part of the Dead Serios family, and everyone on stage thundered the final words after the cue from Dead Lee. He started off "WE'RE NOT JOKING!!!" and everyone onstage, in the audience, and probably in the main hall for the other performance booked at the King Center that night all yelled in unison "WE'RE DEAD SERIOS!!!
The whole crew up on stage during the finale. Most epic night I've had in years. Maybe decades.

So, you see? Sometimes plans change for the better. I started off planning on doing a simple introduction and returning to my seat which would have been very cool. But instead, I got to be part of the most triumphant moment of the legendary Dead Serios's storied existence. And, the rest of the country knew about this as well. I drove 500 miles from North Carolina. Several people came from Ohio, and Tennessee. Another cast member, Jesse Long flew in from Boulder Colorado to participate. It was a night that I will never forget, and a night that everyone else in attendance will never forget...People who weren't there will never forget it either. As words of this incredible concert spreads, people who didn't go are flagellating themselves for missing it, and begging Dead Serios to do another production like this. And, they will get a chance...

Jesse Long as Buster

Steve Pooley

Dead Serios are:
Dead Lee Serios on vocals, Steve Pooley on guitar, Joe Delcorvo on bass, and Scooter Greenbud on drums.
Happy birthday, Sheckey!
The band's long time manager since 1987, Sheckey Finklestein was also there to celebrate his 95th birthday. He was accompanied by his fiancee, Goldie played by Gina DeSimone.

Juicy Lucy!
Cast of the show were: 
Will Telltale (Bill Selby aka ME) as Oprah, on Who's on Oprah
Ty Oglesby, guest on Skid Marks in my Shorts
Michelle Jones, of Violectric Electric Violin on Dysfunctional Family
Jesse Long as Buster on Buster's Got A Booger
Ms Brenda, singer of Space Coast Rock Band, Medusa, Guest vocals on No More Pipe for Potato Head
Nick Hildyard of Classic Albums Live, guest vocals on I Wanna Force Feed William Cruse
Leia Dunn as Juicy Lucy on Pizza Face
Stewart Coleman, classic member of Dead Serios, guest guitarist on Harbor City

Production and stage crew were:
Production Manager: Yvette LoPrete
Makeup Artist: Vera Sandes
Head of Security: Kirk Sandes
Stage Manager: Damion Johnson
Stage Techs: Gary Thompson and Juliana Johnson
Stage Assistant: Drew Sandes
Nick Hildyard and Dead Lee

The rest of the set list was: Lawn Care Studs, Designated Driver, Real Friends, Psycho Dyke, She Wants It All, Butterbean Queen, and Blister in the Sun.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Three 'SERIOS' Decades

In 1985, Dead Lee Serios had a vision. It was a vision of an incredibly unique and dominant rock band. A blend of punk and metal, mixed with comedy. It was a vision that would establish Dead Serios as the premiere act in Central Florida. It became a reality, and they touched so many lives that the band's loyal fan base demanded more and more.

And the band delivered time and time again, and CONTINUES TO DELIVER after 30 years.

Dead Lee and a sacrificial
Dead Serios rose to prominence and achieved hero status in the late 80's to the mid 90's. They captivated audiences with funny and powerful songs, combined with a commanding stage show, led by Dead Lee Serios himself. It was not uncommon to see Mr Potato Head blasting pyrotechnics from his pipe, or Dead Lee leading a mosh pit with a Fisher Price lawnmower, then smashing it Pete Townsend style. You never knew what the band had in store for you, but you did know that you were going to get a show that you would never forget. Every time.

Bassist, Joe Delcorvo
It was also not uncommon to see the band sharing the stage with national bands such as GWAR, Saigon Kick, Hootie and the Blowfish, Marilyn Manson, Nuclear Assault, Faith No More, and many more. The band was loved so much that occasionally, the national act would actually get booed off the stage in favor of what they thought was just a local band eager to open for them. They left Central Florida humbled, and in a pretty bad mood. The band owned Central Florida, and it didn't take long before they gained national attention. Sadly, grunge happened, and Dead Serios went on hiatus. But, that would not last for long.

Drummer, Scooter Greenbud
The band would do an occasional reunion gig. That was enough to keep their long time fans clamoring for more, as well as to welcome new fans into the fold. But, in 2006, they played what was presumably the last show. In 2013, a local record label approached the band to produce a Dead Serios tribute album, which was recorded, but the band hadn't really considered reuniting....until bassist, Joe Delcorvo appeared on The Will and Thunder Show. <caching!>  We started talking about a reunion show with him, and that lit a spark in Joe. He then approached the other band members, and a reunion was planned. Next thing they knew, a promoter for the 80's in the Park festival contacted the band, asking them to open the whole thing. The band approved, and it was a huge success.

Guitarist, Steve Pooley
Now, on January 24, 2015, Dead Serios is playing a 30th Anniversary show at Melbourne FL's King Center. (Buy Tickets) Its a small and intimate setting that will showcase what will be the best stage show that the band has put on to date. It will feature props, and guest appearances, including one from yours truly. Yep. I get to introduce the band. I'm honored and very excited for the opportunity to be part of this historic show.

But, before the show, Dead Serios will be joining us January 20th on The Will and Thunder Show. They will be discussing everything from the history of the band to this upcoming concert. Band members, Dead Lee Serios, Steve Pooley, and Joe Delcorvo will be our guests. Thunder and I will also be talking about our own personal most memorable Dead Serios moments. So, check it out!

Dead Serios is a band that only comes around once in a lifetime. They have touched so many lives, and have entertained many more. Although there have been many different members in the lineup, every lineup delivered the same great experience. I count myself lucky to have been able to see them so many times, and to know the guys personally. Living in North Carolina currently, (I plan on moving back home soon) I hear people talk about local bands. And, while some are good, I pity the people here because they never got a chance to witness one of the greatest bands to ever kick ass on a stage. I'm not joking. They're Dead Serios!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Album Review: BanDemoniC, Fires of Redemption

Greece does it again!

Another incredible power metal band. Whatever is in the water supply there needs to be added to the water in the US because there seems to be no shortage of great music coming from the region. And, the fans make it possible, otherwise Steel Gallery Records wouldn't be signing great bands like Wardrum, and the band who I've just spent the past hour listening to, BanDemoniC. (Rocking out, cranked up to 11 is more like it.)

Hailing from Ioannina City, Greece, BanDemoniC has been perfecting their craft in 2009. They began writing songs and performing in 2010, and has played shows with heavy hitters like original Iron Maiden singer, Paul DiAnno, Grim Reaper, along with countless regional metal masters. And, it won't be long before they add even more big names to their list. In 2014, they were signed to Steel Gallery, and their album, Fires of Redemption was released.

Right off the bat, it should be noted that Fires of Redemption was mastered by Jacob Hansen, who is the (master)mind behind the iconic sounds of bands like Volbeat, Epica, Pretty Maids, Doro, Primal Fear, etc. The album cover was done by Dimitar Nikolov, a true metal artist. In other words, the album sounds and looks great. I'm sure I'll be jamming to it for years to come.

BanDemoniC's Fires of Redemption is a hard and heavy band whose music is an all out assault on the senses. They have a style all their own, yet you can tell who influenced them. Nothing but talent. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Metal Church and old school Megadeth come to mind. Their album is full of twin guitar attack/ harmony solos, complimented by an extremely powerful rhythm section. And, you have to stand in awe of the vocal performances on the album,

On vocals, George Manthos has a consistently powerful mid range, but also has the ability to reach the stratosphere with his incredible piercing high range. He has a very pure sounding voice, but don't let that description deceive you. Its pure, but it will still knock you over. Not to mention the skill in the lyrics. Great lyrics throughout the album.

The guitar team of Eric Karamanis and CA Chairopoulos is top notch. It easily belongs in the same conversation with Iced Earth and even Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I love the twin axe attack, and this album delivers it perfectly.

The rhythm section of bassist, Panagiotis Bletsos of and drummer, Adrian Kyprianos are rock solid, and tight. The unit has the precision of a 'bullet' fired from a master sniper. (It doesn't miss.Ever.)

All the songs on the album are perfect to the point that each one grabs you by the throat and won't let go. Each song is its own individual journey into metal bliss. Track 3, Disingenuous is anything but. It and all the songs are completely honest power metal. Hard, heavy guitar assault. But, they show versatility too. Track 9, Guardians of Time has a slow and deep groove, with some incredible acoustic guitar and vocal performances. Similar to the feel of Beyond the Realms of Death by Judas Priest, yet completely unique in its own right.

If you are a fan of heavy power/progressive/speed/thrash metal, then BanDemoniC is for you. Their album, Fires of Redemption has and delivers it all. I haven't been this blown away by an album since I heard Wardrum. Maybe I should move to Greece and start my own band there!

Find them on Twitter, @BanDemonic and on Reverbnation and on Facebook

And, for Heaven's Sake, Steel Gallery...SEND ME MORE METAL!!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

WTF Is This Crap??? (Modern Pop)

You may have noticed that this is a heavy metal themed blog, so you may be wondering why I would concern myself with modern pop music. Well, its simple. Its because at my job, the GM thinks that modern pop music entices people to buy cars, so he blasts it throughout the entire dealership. There is no escaping it. And, since I am there 50-60 hours a week, these songs get stuck in my head. Various songs are the last thing I hear in my head when I fall asleep, and the first thing that pops in when I wake up in the morning. Its TORTURE! If they played this crap at Gitmo instead of Skinny Puppy, the terrorists would start singing like canaries, and we'd be able to exterminate all of them in a matter of days. But, this post isn't just me talking about how it modern pop sucks. I'll explain WHY as well.

Yes, I've (against my will) become an expert on the subject. But before we get into it modern pop, I want to go 25-30 years into the past. Why? Just be patient. It will all be clear in a few minutes.

Madonna and Maiden Mentioned
in the same PARAGRAPH???
I've gone on the record about how the majority of metal that has come out in the past 15 years can't hold a candle to the greats of the 80's such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and even bands like Skid Row and Stryper. Its the truth, and the same holds true for pop. The hits of 80's pop stars like like Michael Jackson, and Madonna are still very much relevant today. Think a bit. You can more than likely name 5 songs from Jackson and Madonna. You may not have liked them, but you do remember the songs because they have substance, and were well written by someone who actually cared what they were going to release. Even the one hit wonders of the 80's are still very much relevant. Tainted Love? Whip It? I could name 20 more in 25 seconds if I tried. Do you really think that any of today's garbage pop music will still be relevant 30 years from now? Hell...Even 10 years from now? Didn't think so..Except on a satellite radio channel that 100 people worldwide listen to. I think that the only people who listen to today's garbage are the people subjected to it in their jobs and when they go to stores.

This is why modern pop acts don't use
real drummers.
The reason for this is because you have a group of 10 producers writing the majority of the songs out there. Therefore, they all sound the same. You can't even differentiate who is who. Its all just the same monotonous beat throughout the entire song with no change up at all. Its just 'bump-clap-bump-clap-bump-clap-bump-clap' through the whole damn thing. And sometimes, there's not even a bass beat. I've heard several that are just hand claps all the way through. No change up in the music either. Pop has become almost as bad as rap when it comes to music. Its the same one progression lick over and over again.
Tell me what to like, Mr Record Producer!
There is an explanation for why these producers have taken over the "mainstream" music and made it the modern day equivalent to cookie cutter boy bands. Recycling. It won't matter 5 years from now if nobody remembers today's crap because it will be used all over again with a fresh new face that sounds exactly like the previous singer, yet packaged as the next big thing. And, its evident in the young adults today. Ask any of them what kind of music they like, and they will all tell you "Oh pretty much everything." But you ask them if they like anything old good, and they are clueless. They can tell you the songs and "artists" who are popular currently in pop, rap, R&B, and even country because it all gets played on the same radio stations together. Its ridiculous.

Radio DJs don't even try to hide the fact that its unoriginal garbage anymore. One day, a particular song came on, and the DJ was giddy with excitement, saying "[Lame Singer A] had a chance to sing this song, but she passed on it, so that was lucky for [Lame Singer B] who got a hit out of it.

I am not telling you all this because I'm biased as a metalhead. There are good pop, country, etc artists who still write their own music, and REAL songs. They just aren't what the record labels want. Those people are on YouTube, and playing in your local clubs. Seek them out, and support them. If everyone does that, and stops buying into this garbage polluting the airwaves now, then maybe there will be some good music on the airwaves once again. Until then, keep your chin up and the volume up to 11. In the 80's, 'Video Killed the Radio Star.' Maybe now, we can throw out the cookie cutter and get back to real music.