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So. GAZZAN.

The new metal hardcore band featuring the Melnick brother, Blaze Tishko of INTEGRITY and IN COLD BLOOD. Asked me to write a band bio/press release. So here it is! Of course, it is always a work in progress and I would like feedback. But I would really like it if you check out their page and buy their EP. Its really, really good.

Anyway…

“Featuring members from the 3 best “generations” of INTEGRITY – founding members Aaron and Lenny Melnick plus Blaze Tishko, and Rob Orr+ – GAZZAN forge a new path into metal and hardcore!

The collaboration of these four produce some of the best music of their careers – powerful, brutal and melodic. GAZZAN mark the fierce return to music of the Melnick Brothers. Aaron “A Double” and Leon Micha have been creating music together all their lives, but never before have they had this level of mature talent. Their musicianship soars to new heights. While the powerhouse driving solos of Blaze Tishko always promise a face melting experience. Blaze’s technicality and complexity add a depth to the GAZZAN songs. Rounding out the unit, multi-instrumentalist, Rob Orr, meets Leon’s thundering bass with monstrous drum beating to unleash a bestial rhythm section.

The recent addition of AMERICAN WEREWOLVES singer Trevor Moment howling seals the circle to invoke a demon of metal!!

gazzan frank garcia

                         GAZZAN live at Empty Bottle June 17, 2016 Photo: Frank Garcia
This is the first studio work of the band – a four song EP titled EXTINCTION. Recorded at the infamous Mars Compound by engineer Bill Korecky, the longtime collaborator and documentarian of Cleveland hardcore and metal. Mars Studio’s sound is iconic.

EXTINCTION’s four songs expand upon themes long present in all of the songwriting of Melnick/ Tishko. By corrupting traditional hardcore structure, undermining classic metal tropes, and sidestepping the crossover revival, GAZZAN create a sound both familiar with and dissociating from the history of these guy’s former bands. At points, straightforward metal then abruptly careening toward a hardcore riff assault, GAZZAN is exciting for old fans and new.

GAZZAN has shows scheduled for the rest of the summer, most notably playing September 2  2016 at the Grog Shop with MONOLORD, BEASTMAKER, and SWEAT LODGE.

gazzan monolord 9:9:16

CIDER- THE HISTORY OF A VERY UNIMPORTANT BAND

CIDER STARTED BARELY PLAYING ON NEW YEARS DAY 1991 WITH PAUL E. WOG ON GUITAR AND VOCALS AND BOBBY NUTHUMMER ON THE DRUMS.

I WAS BROKE, RECENTLY UNEMPLOYED AND HAD TO MOVE BACK IN WITH MY MOM OR BE HOMELESS. SHE DIDN’T LIKE THAT TOO MUCH. WHILE SHE WAS SLAVING AWAY WORKING 2 JOBS, WE WERE WORKING ON MAKING NOISE IN THE MUSTY, SMELLY BASEMENT. OK, WELL THE REASON IT SMELLED WAS THAT I LIVED DOWN THERE. SHE WAS NEVER HOME AND WE HAD A LOT OF TIME TO MAKE NOISE AND DESTROY EVERYTHING.WE WERE LIKE A BUNCH OF 5 YEAR OLDS. ONLY PROBLEM IS WE WERE IN OUR EARLY TWENTIES.

WE PLAYED SIMPLE, FAST, CATCHY, PISSED OFF SONGS WITH A LOT OF STUPIDITY AND NONSENSE THROWN IN. OUR LYRICS WERE ANGRY, PERSONAL AND SOMETIMES POLITICAL, BUT MOST IMPORTANT WE NEVER LOST OUR SENSE OF HUMOR.WE WENT THROUGH SEVERAL NAME CHANGES INCLUDING GUARANTEED RIOT AND BLOODY WOGS AND SETTLED WITH THE GENERIC NAME OF CIDER.

I KNOW, A LOT OF BANDS NOW HAVE NAMES WITH CIDER IN IT, BUT WE WERE THE FIRST THAT I KNOW OF. IT CAME FROM BOBBY’S LOVE OF THE HARD CIDER AND MAKING IT IN HIS GHETTO ASS BATHTUB. I KNOW IT’S A PRETTY STUPID NAME, BUT AFTER SEVERAL NAME CHANGES, WE STUCK WITH IT.

FOR A WHILE IT WAS JUST THE TWO OF US WITH NO VOCALS. NO ONE REALLY WANTED TO PLAY THAT STYLE OF MUSIC WITH US BACK THEN. THEN I STARTED TO SING BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER TO JUST HAVE TWO OF US IN THE BAND. WE ACTUALLY PLAYED OUT AS A 2-PIECE A FEW TIMES. BACK THEN HARDLY ANYONE WAS PLAYING OLD SCHOOL 80’S HARDCORE AND THEY REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR IT.

ME AND BOBBY WERE TWO CASUALTIES OF THE OLD CLEVO SCENE THAT HAD SHRIVELED UP AND DIED OUT. WE WERE SICK OF ALL THE DUMB GENERIC STRAIGHT EDGE, EMO, AND SHITTY METAL BANDS THAT INFILTRATED A ONCE GREAT SCENE. WE STARTED PLAYING MUSIC THAT WE WANTED TO STILL HEAR. WE LONGED FOR THE DAYS OF BANDS LIKE ANTIDOTE, CRUDE SS, CCM, THE GUNS AND SOCIAL UNREST. WE TRIED A COUPLE NERDY BASS PLAYERS AND DECIDED TO JUST STICK WITH THE TWO OF US.

THEN WE CONVINCED A2, WHO WAS IN 3 OTHER BANDS, TO PLAY BASS. NOW THE NOISY TRIO WAS COMPLETE. HE PLAYED LIKE WE LIKED, HEAVY AND DISTORTED.

WE THEN STARTED PLAYING SHOWS AND BASEMENT PARTIES WHICH RESULTED IN US NOT BEING ALLOWED TO PLAY ANYWHERE. AT FIRST, THERE WOULD BE LIKE A 15 PERSON TURNOUT. BUT THEN THINGS STARTED TO GROW AND TURN UGLY.

THERE WAS THE FAMOUS KENT RIOT OF ’93 WHICH FEATURED FIRE TRUCKS, POLICE CARS, AND AMBULANCES. NOT TO MENTION COPS GETTING ROCKS THROWN AT THEM. UNDERAGE SEX, A FEW FIST FIGHTS, A FEW ARRESTS, LOTS OF BROKEN GLASS, AND A REAL NICE FIRE TO END IT ALL. IT WOULD TAKE ME HOURS TO TELL YOU THE WHOLE STORY. NEEDLESS TO SAY THE COPS WERE LOOKING FOR ME FOR A FEW WEEKS FOR PROMOTING THE WHOLE DEAL.

WE WEREN’T SOME CRUSTY KISS-ASS BAND AND HAD NO DESIRE TO MAKE FRIENDS BECAUSE EVERYONE WAS SO STUPID BACK THEN. I WANTED TO SHOW MY HATE TO THE WORLD. THERE SEEMED TO BE A SUDDEN REBIRTH OF A SCENE AT THE TIME AND IT WAS FUN, VIOLENT, DRUNK, AND SELF DESTRUCTIVE. AT THE SAME TIME AS WE STARTED CAUSING HAVOC,  GOOD BANDS WERE SPRINGING UP LIKE WINDPIPE AND GAG REFLEX.

FROM MEMBERS OF CIDER, SPRANG UP ALL THESE OTHER BANDS LIKE THE INMATES, BRAINWASHED YOUTH, DARVOCETS, AND RUINERS. LATER ON CAME THE GREAT H-100’S.

WE RECORDED A SEVEN INCH AT THE OLD MARS ON DETROIT IN ’93. KORECKY SAID IT WAS THE NOISIEST THING HE EVER RECORDED AND HE HATED IT. THAT WAS A COMPLIMENT OF COURSE. WE RECORDED IT ALL LIVE INCLUDING VOCALS WITH NO EXTRA TRACKS.

ciderpsspot kent 1994

Paul Wog and Bobby 1994, Kent Ohio

WEDGE AND CHRIS RUIN DID SOME GREAT WHINY BACKUP VOCALS ON IT THAT MADE IT SOUND SO WONDERFUL. WE WANTED TO SOUND LIVE AND SPONTANEOUS. NO CLEANED UP BULLSHIT LIKE SO MANY OTHERS DO. JUST KEEP THE TAPE ROLLING NO MATTER WHAT.

WE WERE REAL HAPPY WITH THIS RECORDING SURPRISINGLY. WE PUT IT OUT OURSELVES ON NON-COMMERCIAL RECORDS.

I GUESS NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE PUT IT OUT. ONLY THROUGH MAILORDER OR FRIENDS AND ONLY 300 WERE MADE. GOOD LUCK FINDING THIS PIECE OF SHIT.

THEN I MOVED AWAY TO THE DESERT FOR 3 YEARS  BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE OF AN OVERDOSE OR END UP IN JAIL IF I STAYED IN CLEVELAND. NOTHING GOT DONE FOR AWHILE. OF COURSE WHEN I DID MOVE AWAY I DID GET ARRESTED A FEW TIMES AND ABUSE SUBSTANCES, EVEN MORE OUT OF BOREDOM.

IN 1996 WE ATTEMPTED TO RECORD WITH THESE NERDS IN WEDGE’S BASEMENT. IT SUCKED AND WE SUCKED. SOME OF THE SONGS WERE SALVAGEABLE, BUT THE POWER WAS LACKING. MAYBE WE’LL RELEASE SOME OF THE GOOD SONGS ON IT ONE DAY.

ANYWAYS WE CONTINUED TO PLAY SOME SHOWS ALWAYS ENDING IN A VERY VIOLENT, DESTRUCTIVE WAY LIKE BERNIE’S BAGELS IN COLUMBUS WITH SLAK AND THE MCSHITZ. TABLES, BAR STOOLS WERE BEING THROWN  AT US WHILE WE WERE PLAYING. OF COURSE MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO DID THIS WERE OUR FRIENDS. THE SHOW ENDED WITH BOBBY THROWING HIS DRUM SET OFF STAGE AT THE CROWD.

I GUESS THAT WAS HIS WAY OF SAYING OUR SET IS OVER. THEN SOMEONE, NO NAMES MENTIONED,PULLED THE FIRE ALARM AND ENDED THE WHOLE SHOW. THIS IS JUST ONE OF MANY SHOWS THAT RESULTED IN US HAVING A BAD NAME WITH THE CLUBS, ESPECIALLY MY NAME. WE NEVER PLAYED OUT TOO OFTEN BECAUSE WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE BANDS THAT PLAYED TOO MUCH AND GOT BORING. ALSO IT WAS VERY HARD TO CONVINCE SOMEONE TO LET US PLAY.

EVERY TIME WE PLAYED, WE WANTED IT TO BE FRESH OR ROTTEN DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. AROUND THIS TIME OTHER GREAT HARDCORE BANDS LIKE 9 SHOCKS TERROR, PUNCTURE WOUND AND GSMF WERE THERE TO CAUSE MORE HAVOC AND MAKE THE SCENE GOT EVEN MORE OUT OF CONTROL.

OUR SECOND ATTEMPT AT RECORDING A SECOND RECORD WAS DONE IN OUR TINY ONE ROOM PRACTICE SPACE IN OCTOBER 1998 BY THIS DUMMY WHO DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO RECORD TOO WELL. IT WAS AN 8 TRACK RECORDING AND IT WAS NEVER MIXED BECAUSE WE COULDN’T FIND THE GUY AGAIN AND WE WERE LAZY AND DRUNK BACK THEN. WHAT ELSE IS NEW. WE SCRAPPED THAT RECORDING TOO.

THERE WAS A FEW SONGS THAT CAME OUT DECENT, BUT IN MY OPINION IT DIDN’T TRULY REPRESENT OUR SOUND. HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY WE WILL RE-RECORD SOME OF THESE SONGS. MOST OF THEM ARE ACTUALLY WRITTEN BEFORE THE SEVEN INCH SONGS, BUT WERE RECORDED LATER ON. IF THAT MAKES SENSE.

WELL, AFTER A FEW ATTEMPTS AT FAILED RECORDINGS AND ABOUT 10 YEARS OF NOT RELEASING A RECORD, WE FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO RECORD PROPERLY. WE NEVER WANTED TO RELEASE SOMETHING JUST TO RELEASE IT. IN 2004, WE WENT TO SMOKE N’ MIRRORS STUDIOS IN BROOKLYN, NY AND RECORDED SOMETHING WE WERE VERY SATISFIED WITH.

COMBINING AARON’S IDEAS IN PRODUCING SOMETHING POWERFUL – LIVE AND RAW – AND BOBBY’S CREATIVE IDEAS TO MAKE THE DRUMS SOUND HEAVY AND MY RETARDED IDEAS, WE FINALLY HAD SOMETHING WE WERE PROUD OF.  IT WAS RECORDED ALMOST ENTIRELY LIVE INCLUDING VOCALS IN UNDER 4 HOURS AND IT FEELS THAT WAY.

FUCK THAT 75 TRACK OVERPRODUCED, CLEANED UP BULLSHIT. SO FINALLY THE RECORD IS COMING  OUT THIS YEAR ON PAINKILLER RECORDS OUT OF BOSTON. WE STILL HAVE ABOUT 10 TO 12 UNRECORDED SONGS. OH WELL.

WELL, IT’S BEEN 13 YEARS NOW.  WE STILL PLAY ONCE IN A WHILE AND WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING, BUT WE’VE HAD A LOT OF FUN WITH NOTHING. ANYWAYS, ENOUGH OF MY BABBLING, ENJOY THE HATE.

PAUL E. WOG, OCTOBER 2004

From a journal entry dated November 14, 1999:

Inmates Speak In Tongues

Speak In Tongues Flyer

“Last night I revisited a punk rock graveyard and discovered among the blossoming stonework a curious new tribe of urban primitives. Primitives?

Well, that is slightly hyperbolic.

they are a particularly brutally volatile tribe of boymen who gleefully engage in terrible rituals of self-annihilation. Their celebrated rites merit immediate scientific study due, in part, to their rate of attrition and fury of their existence. They are not long for this earth, but their scorched existence will leave scars that demand explanation.

The Inmates.

A punk rock art project whose musical pedigree underscores the brutish sloppiness of their songs. Songs that parodied the snotty aggressiveness of British-based Class War hymns combined with the immigrant, suburban-hillbilly aesthetic of whiskey-enhanced pseudo-machismo.

The band’s purpose is rooted in the creation of controlled chaos, the choreography of a small space riot. To fill the sky filled with airborne containers, mock ‘rasslin’ matches, and dislocated aggressiveness.

The normal dance floor pit transformed into a floppy arena of beer-doused boys who hugged and mauled each other with dark homosexual abandon. There existed no discernible posturing or competition for real hierarchical domination, rather the bloodied noses resulted from accidental fists that clipped unlucky faces.

The crowd stationed on the outskirts of this tossing body mound of a fallen bodies was occasionally breached. The static human wall forced into a backward sway highlighted by sparks of exploded cigarette cherries and smiling groans. Otherwise, the crowd was left in peace to dodge the beer cans that smashed into the walls.

To my right, there is a brown-bagged Jagermiester-soaked girl in  a straw cowboy hat flirting through her alcohol gulp. Sat crosslegged on the stage, ignored for the most part, except for a sporadic kick or half-thrown punch directed at her by mistake. Any sexual bravado regressed to the non-gential awkwardness of the grade school playground, where hair pulling, foot chases, and punching the girl displayed that you liked her.

For the rest of evening she bounced around as a temporary distraction from the other more essential destructive interactions. A she g0t blurrier in her overall drunken state, she threw her beer on boys, and loudly crackled each time something hit her. I lost track of her as she stumbled into the pit with a tv set hoisted over her head.

Everyone in the proximity of the TV set waged war upon it. Feet kicked, ashtrays flew, the thing was picked up and slammed down in wrestling moves, punched and slid across the room. The kid who was unfortunate enough to have the broken TV smash into him, he will have  bruises but fail to recall exactly how he got them.

The Band paused to catch its breath but the crowd had developed a fevered intoxication. A boy in the middle of the crowd cuddled a box of wine, lovingly like it were a child. His slow movement ripped and tore at the box’s edge in inebriated attempt to release the liquid, he smiled from deep oblivion. When he someone handed him a hunting knife, he beamed out over the crowd and waved the blade above the pogo-ing heads around him, then stabbed the knife into the cardboard.

Once freed, the silver bag of wine was his fundamental occupation for the remainder of the evening. He jealously guarded it against the broken lip herpes sores of thirsty punks, yet tossed it across the room with drunken abandon to absolute strangers.

To mention nothing about the fury and blistering power of the Inmates’ music would be to ignore the organizing excuse for this gathering. The band played with a simple-minded purpose, powerful laughter. Behind each snarl and each shove, the band was giddy. They tore into each song with a blistering abandon, egged on by the action of the crowd. Their loud snotty songs the perfect catalyst for the chaos that filled the club.

 

Last Friday, November 13th, marked another first show. Over the last twenty or so years, I have witnessed a lot of my friends’ first shows. After crawling into a corner of a damp practice space, after wasting hours listening to purposeful fiddling, after contributing to the fantastic bullshit conversations, I find myself standing to the side of the stage as the band, I witnessed slowly form, thunder across the stage.

Of course, thunder is a bit of a stretch. Usually, the sound is terrible for opening acts. And it is even more awful for some unknown bunch of knuckleheads who think they are the next Cro-Mags. The high school toughs, with more people in their entourage than actual songs in their setlist. Sound guys hate these kids, the ones with all the arrogance and posture and choreographed mythology, but can’t seem to keep the lead guitar in tune.

Friday the 13th, 2015 marked the first public performance of DEAD SHALL RISE.  The new metal band with Aaron and Lenny Melnick, Blaze Tishko, and Rob Orr.  You can check out some of their songs HERE.

I could go on a crack rant – laying into Blaze for doing more guitar changes than Taylor Swift changes concert outfits or the near parody between song bantering or the screaming Tickle Me Elmo vocals. But that is not useful, really. And is only interesting to a small group of dorks.

What I will do is say that I am really impressed with DEAD SHALL RISE. They were tight, the room sound was good, and they write really great riffs. And they should, these guys are titans. Monsters of Hardcore. But as Aaron said between songs, “We’re METAL now!”

And not a moment too soon…

I have one good story from our trip across the county.

After driving 260 miles through Nevada, along the loneliest road in America, Interstate 50, we got to a small town called ELY, NEVADA. We went there so we could visit the Lehman Caves, which were awesome! But after we did the caves, we took the dogs to a small park. As we were leaving, I pulled our car out behind another car stopped at a stop sign. Suddenly, the driver in front of us threw her car into reverse and slammed into out front end.

Just as we were recovering from the shock, a police officer pulled in behind me. She gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. Luckily she had seen the whole thing.

Ely Meth Head #1

Ely Meth Head #1

Why luckily? Because the driver of the other car was straight out of central casting for Meth Head #1. She was probably 30, but her face was all sunken in since she had no teeth, her skin was grayish purple with pink splotches of calamine lotion covering up the scabs on her face – probably where she had tried to pick out the meth bugs!

Of course, when she got out of her car, she was super apologetic, but was super squirrely. She was convinced that she did not see us because of the road’s slope or the sun or the fact that her front bumper was caught in the dip. Take your pick. All of these excuses came out of her super fast with darting hands.

The police officer came over to assess the extent of the accident. The police officer asked us to move our cars and when Meth Head #1 tried to get back into her car, the driver’s side door handle fell off.

While she was trying to get back into her car, she managed to make a call to her dealer to let him or her know that she:

A.) had the money

B.) was on her way

C.) even tho she got into an accident.

Of course, things got better when Meth Head #1 argued with the police officer about her expired proof of insurance. Frustrated Noelle took the dogs and walked away, while I dealt with this hot mess.

As the police officer wrote up the accident, Meth Head #1 tried to talk to me about how hard it was to have a car in this town and how she was going to be late for her appointment. All I could think about was how she managed to keep her leather moccasins on her feet with all her nervous hopping around.

Luckily, again, there was no real damage to our car. There was a tense moment when Noelle was convinced the hood latch was broken and we would have to stay in ELY to get it fixed. The police officer laughed at us. “If you need your car fixed, we gotcha ’til next Christmas, at least.” I guess there is only one mechanic in ELY and that mechanic is either really busy or took his time.

I am not real sure what happened to the Meth Head, since she was still talking to the police officer when we pulled away to go back to the hotel. Part of me hopes, the police let her go about her day getting high and recounting her tale of woe. But part of me, hopes that police jammed her up, so maybe she will get some help.

But then, again, if I lived in ELY Nevada, three hours in any direction from everything, I would probably do a lot of meth, too.

To Constitute a Short Cut Through Shubbery

821297366406

She encouraged me with a story, damn her,

about the boy she dragged home

like a soggy mouse swatted until dead.

Then she smiled the smile of frost

ripped from sighing breath

clinging to the windshield.

My mind dawdled behind, stomping

worms escaping drowning in the

ground they called home.

A direct and impossible question,

followed by a quick curl of her lip,

damn her her sobriety.

For a drunken hour would have

sufficed to answer all her

inquires, succinctly.

As I dropped a trail of bread crumbs

back toward the direction from which we came.

“Why do they call it experimenting with drugs?It’s just experimenting with ill health.”

– Paul Morrissey, Film Director

Haight and Steiner

Haight and Steiner

Waiting for my car to be tuned up, I got to thinking about the meaning of the “tuneup.”  The most common slang term, I suppose, is a timely and necessary beating, usually at the hands of the authorities.  A type of correction that reestablishes a proscribed ordering of power.  Especially, when one of their criminal co-workers needs to be reminded the rules of the game.

In other circles, the “tuneup” has sexual connotations, cleaning of the undercarriage and other associated chassis areas.

Either way, all the different meanings have the same underlying meaning – to set things proper, check the fluids (drain and replenish), and generally keep the machine running.

Back when I was drinking, I thought of the bar as a tune up shop.  Well, not really.

The bar was more of a scabrous chapel where the whiskey was sacrament of self-destruction.  I prayed the prayer of annihilation every night. “To EVIL,” was the only toast I would hoist and the out-of-towners were happy to oblige, while the locals moved away from my circular loop messiness.

But it was a tune up shop where I got my sickness refueled and calibrated.  Drinking offered daily escape into the drama of the drunkenness.  By that I mean, that the root cause – the addiction, itself – was displaced by the morning hangover, the black-out guilt, and the slow crest of nausea that bubbled through the day.  The problems of last night’s drunk over-coded the symptoms of the real problem.

And that real problem?  Its the real substance of addiction –  the idea that one can endlessly bargain, negotiate, and otherwise exempt oneself from the sad duty and tiresome work of actual reality.

The “other space of the addict” wants the intention of thoughts and words, spoken and promised, to be enough.  All the plans elaborately outlined on bar napkins or in furiously spinning enthusiasms are sidelined by the lack of actuality. All undermined and ruined by the encompassing apathy and foul stench of masturbatory self-medications.

The real plight of the addict?  A profound glee brought on by slipping into the altered state of totally expected pain, disappointment, and guilty delay.

The sickness allows us to pretend to have survived something, and in so surviving are, ourselves, dramatic and exceptional.

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