Radio Daze : 13 – Wrathchild America

Wrathchild America was a thash metal band from the Washington DC music scene that broke out, getting signed to major label Atlantic Records. To promote their sophomore release 3-D, they did a 4 show acoustic tour, because “unplugged” was all the rage at the time. I was able to score an interview with them.

It was a disaster. The interview was myself with Brad Divens (bass, singer) and Terry Carter (guitar). While they were kind, they were obviously annoyed with me – I was young, unprofessional, inexperienced. I didn’t know how to interview, and it showed. They absolutely were good sports and just tolerated me.😂

A pretty cool show tho, since it was something non-standard for them, but they had the chops to play all styles of music and play them well. It was a fun evening.

I saw Wrathchild America a number of other times, since technically they were a local band. As a result, sometimes the shows played were more of a party and gathering of friends than a formal touring concert, which made them extra cool. I’m curious if when Shannon Larkin is up on stage now with Godsmack he ever breaks out Slave to my Dick. It was all good humor. If you really want good humor, check out this early interview with them back when they were more glam (Shannon’s bi-colored hair). Good stuff.

Me, Terry, Brad

Radio Daze : 12 – WHVY

Pure Rock 103.1 WHVY The Underground! Rock and roll, motherfuckers!

In the Greater Washington DC area, big rock radio was DC/101. In Baltimore, 98 Rock. Then over in Annapolis, 103.1 The Underground. They played “pure rock”, which was basically AOR with a more metal tilt (see also 97 Underground). As credit towards my minor in Music Industry, I had to do an internship. I landed one at WHVY for the summer.

It ruled!

The summer of 1992, before my junior year. I recall getting an early listen to Jackyl’s I Stand Alone and the Music Director groaning about another AC/DC clone. The internship didn’t pay, but the perks were cool for 20 year old me.

Washington DC geography: I-495 encircles DC, straddling into VA and MD to enable the metro area to go round and round. WHVY was in Annapolis I lived at 9 o’clock on the circle, Annapolis was at 3 o’clock then east a bunch more. It was cool tho, because the office was located in the historic downtown area, which was really cool except for parking – everyone had to move their car every 2 hours. It was a long drive for me, but I enjoyed it. I rolled the windows down, cranked the tunes up, and flew down the highway.

Mary Kay Lemay ran the marketing department. She was cool, smart, killer sense of humor and attitude. Lot of fun to work with. There was another intern, a girl I only met once because we never worked on the same days (I just remember how tiny she was). The time we met, Mary Kay was needing us both for an on-site. It was a promo for a motorcycle dealership that was opening – the hook was a chance to win a Harley-Davison motorcycle. You listened to the radio, you were the 10th caller or whatever, you earned a chance – a key that might start the Harley. Then we had the big day on-site, each winner got to choose a key, and one person’s started it. I recall at our booth being surprised at how “metaled out” people got for… this? My mind’s eye can still see this one chick: perfectly coiffed mullet, long dangling metallic feather earrings, animal print spandex, blade sunglasses. Mmm Mmm Mmm. ‘murica. But it was fun, and Mary Kay was a great boss.

James was also in marketing. I remember he used to be something like the road manager for the band Heaven’s Edge (I always loved Find Another Way). The General Manager and Program Director were both from KNAC. The PD was Bryan Schock. I remember thinking “he’s old”. They brought a lady down from Canada, Shannon Rock – to form the morning show team, Shock & Rock in The Morning. Get it? Radio. I just remember it being awkward the few times I listened to it (which I normally couldn’t, because their signal didn’t reach where I lived; I think the tower was only 3000 watts). The Music Director was old too, but a cool guy and knew his rock. I think he did the afternoon drive, and he had a golden voice for radio. Karen Aylor did evenings. Late night dude, Matt something… this is when METAL took the airwaves. Mandatory Metallica and all that sort of stuff.

When I first arrived for the internship, the gal working the front desk was Betsy Sepesy. She was cute, and we both had instant attraction. I had arrived early so we got to chat a bit while I waited. We hung out a bunch. I remember her apologizing (feeling embarrassed) about the paper towels in her shoes – that the soles of her feet get really sweaty. Girl, that’s fine and all, but it wasn’t even an issue for me until you mentioned it and now I can’t not think about it. 😂 While Betsy was cool to hang with, I came to realize that she wasn’t the kind of girl I was looking for. She too got enamored with the music industry, packed up her things, moved to NYC, I think moved in with Steve Prue or something. I don’t really remember, but that was the last I heard from her. I remember she borrowed my core music industry textbook and I didn’t get it back. I loved that book!

In the early 1990’s, rock was changing but still cool. I got to see some bands at Hammerjacks like White Trash; Life, Sex, & Death; Lucy Brown. I got to listen to a lot of good music. I got to learn about radio. There was good rock and roll.

Winter 2023 Programming – Turning left

First Program of 2023

Going into 2023, my main goal is getting lean. This fat must be shed, for a number of reasons. That’s primarily a diet thing. Right now I want to talk about the gym side of things.

Changing gyms

For the past 2 years I have gone to the local Snap Fitness. It’s not bad, really. The one here has some age, both in equipment/facilities as well as target market / demographic. It’s got a power rack with a Texas Squat Bar, a half rack with a shit bar (my boys were always a sight, bringing my original EliteFTS Power Bar in every day), a Smith Machine, some benches, dumbbells up to 120, Cybex machines (which I’ve really come to appreciate), cardio, other “fitness” stuff. Really, it’s not a bad place. Owner/operator didn’t care if I used chalk (just clean up). I could “drop” my deadlifts (i.e. respectful clanging is ok). Good people there (other old people like me, a few young people). All in all, Snap was alright. I wish the racks were bolted down (the half-rack further out so that pole wasn’t an issue – which is why the weight storage pegs are all broken off), I wish the bar didn’t suck and there wasn’t 1 of them. I mean, it was kept generally clean. Generally functional. Did recently upgrade/replace a bunch of bench and machine pads. Not perfect, but nothing is and it was generally good. No complaints. Satisfied customer.

It’s more about a life change. Oldest is moving across town. We need to centralize, so gym switch.

As well, 2 years ago I was still on the “strong” path. I wanted to reclaim some glory and bench/squat/deadlift 3/4/5 wheels again. However too many injuries and realizing that I can get there again, I just need to take a much different – and longer – path to get there. Which is, ok at this point. Look at someone like Mike O’Hearn – say what you will, dude’s got longevity and looks better now than most (if not all) of his critics. Dude fucking inclines 405 for reps… So, just take it slower, mind the process. It will come.

And with that, I also find myself more drawn to bodybuilding at this point. I will get to a sufficient level of strength, if I just build the way I want to build. It’s so funny that I always felt a draw to things in like the 5-8 rep range – it just always felt so optimal to me. And it’s great to see how that’s actually bearing out now in research, and I see it too in my hypertrophy response. But I think only now am I willing to put in what it takes to really understand and pull out a 5-8 to failure – and I still think I have a ways to go to really blast through that mental (pain) barrier.

So I naturally want to lean more towards machines right now. So this other gym, TruFit (they seem to be an up-and-coming Texas-based chain)… they’ve got lots of Hammer Strength shit. Boy, HS’s ideal of knurling is so silky-smooth… 🙄 I mean, it’s knurling, it feels really nice, but I still feel like it’s going to slip out of my hand. But they are nice overall. The machines are pretty good, with me opting for the plate-loaded over the selectorized when possible. Hammer Strength’s plates are THICK due to the rubber coating, and it seems like many of the plate-loaded weight shafts (heh) are short (heh), so maybe 4 plates if you’re lucky on the load. I’ll see how things bear out, but so far I’m digging the machine offerings.

Turning left

I already knew I had to change things up (go read to see where this is coming from).

In light of all this new equipment, I opted to reapproach things. I have new toys, so why not!

If we look at Day 1, I wanted more delt focus, maintain upper pecs, something triceps, more delts, then a general back. I used their Iso-Lateral Shoulder Press, IL Incline Press, Rolling DB Extensions, Cable Y Raises, IL Row. The Iso-Lateral stuff is pretty nice. Presses don’t converge, but it’s ok. Row is a little different because now my humerus is about 45º, which is alright.

Day 2 I’m probably going to try the V-Squat.

Day 3 there’s more interesting back machines around there, and I’ll keep seeing what there is. I know there’s some nifty lat-pulldown types. I want a good row, a good pulldown, something rear delt, something biceps, chest press.

Day 4 I’m not sure. The good morning in the V-squat is all the rage right now, but I think I want good old RDL’s. Then probably lying leg curls. Not sure what else… there is a standing calf raise machine, so I’ll probably use that.

It’s fun to have new toys. 🙂

First Impressions

Gym was open when I got there, which is a good sign (esp. day after Christmas). Not many people (maybe no more than a dozen at any time while I was there, tho probably 2-3 dozen did cycle through).

Bathroom… generally clean. Needed soap at one set of sinks, lots of water splash on the mirrors and around sinks. When I left, I stopped into the locker room on my way out. I saw a reflection… of 2 ovals, close together, on one of the benches. I noted to not put my bag there.

There is cleaning stuff but not necessarily together. Like there’s a trash can and a cleaning bottle in the middle of the floor, but only a paper towel dispenser way on the other side on the wall. Interesting how they locate the cleaning supplies.

Took the time to look around, check out all the machines, see and start to learn what’s available. Decided to go with plate-loaded over the selectorized since I think it will fit me better – I tried some ergos and overall the plate-loaded will work better for me. There’s a nice selection of stuff.

Opted to do this shoulder press. I worked up for sets of 8 until I felt it was “there”, then did 2 (work) sets of 5-8. I didn’t think much of it. I then moved to the incline press, same work-up to 2×5-8. I will note I felt myself pushing (contracting) harder than ever before. It was… wild. And my right pec is reminding me that it’s not without prior injury, so I gotta be mindful.

After I finished those, my delts were on fire. I never felt that before. It was a crazy ache! We’ll see how it feels in the next few days.

Rolling DB extensions were ok. I have to find the groove on this equipment (e.g. “place my butt here so when I lay down my head will be here”). Plus my delts were so fried that my body was like “No, I am not going to stabilize these dumbbells, I don’t care what you say”. 😂 I may need to find another movement that doesn’t involve that stability aspect.

Good Y-Raises. They don’t have a “free motion” machine, but they have a setup that has 2 stacks at 90º close together which is good enough.

And the Iso-Lateral rows. Of the various hand positions, the top handle with pronation was the one that worked best for me (i.e. comfortable range of motion, no weird stresses, optimal width). I didn’t feel it there at the gym, but this afternoon here at home I’m feeling the work.

All in all, this is a good move. Equipment more towards what I’m now pursuing. This is novel and fun.

Being strict on my diet coupled with this work should pan out well.


I will spend the next 2-3 weeks sussing out the program: honing in on the exercises/machines, weights to get that 1-3×5-8, etc. Do more with less.

I will take this as long as I can take it, which ought to be be 3-4 months at least.

I should have a good feel for this gym by then too.

Radio Daze : 11 – In Debt

“Hi. We’re In Debt. Hope you’re not!”

The Q101 hot young afternoon drive-time DJ was Dennis Hughes. Dennis and I got to know each other. He told me he was the drummer in a local rock-and-roll band, In Debt. He invited me to come over and jam with them.

I took my Washburn KC-40 and Peavy Bandit 112 over to a house. I think Dennis was renting it at the time, then Ray (singer) & Dione (wife) did. Set up in the basement, and tried to jam some covers. The band was ok. The founding guitarist, Scott, was a DJ over at Q101’s sister station, a country format. As a guitarist, Scott was a little loose; he wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. I was more rock-metal, tighter. I think Dennis wanted to go a bit more that direction. Enter Sandman was about the hardest we did, with much of the covers being good 70s/80s rock stuff. Scott got pushed out and I became the guitarist.

The original bass player, I forget his name, but he was one of those noodley types. Stu Hamm, 70’s funk walking, he was good. He left because he didn’t like the direction (man). Another dude joined, he was alright. Biggest thing I remember is he borrowed my Randy Rhodes guitar books and I never got them back (the band dissolved shortly after). 

Love this shot

At one point we had a keyboard player, Karen, and she could do a good Wilson sister on Alone. She was divorced, 2 small kids – I remember the youngest, cute little button, had a crush on Dennis. It was adorable. 

Ray. Singer. I loved Ray, his wife Dione (and her girls Jackie & Jamie), his brother Mike. Good people. Salt of the earth. That blizzard? I managed to escape my apartment and get to the house, now that Ray & Dione were renting it, along with their girls. Dione made a HUGE pot of soup, which she just kept out on the back porch – it was below freezing, so why not! We’d open the back door, ladle soup into our bowl, close the back door, microwave, eat, stay warm! Because we were trapped, we binged. They had the complete North & South on VHS (the first 2 seasons, this was just before 3rd season came out). I had never seen it, so I watched the entire thing. Blizzard. What else you gonna do? Jackie and I dated for a bit. After I first moved to Texas, when I originally moved to Bryan, one day I came back home to a note on my door. It was from Ray. He was driving a truck (Dione was with) passing through town. He stopped by to try to see me. To this day it pains me that I missed him, but that he thought of me is a precious memory. I love you and miss you Ray, Dione, Mike.

Dennis. He’s all about that rock and roll life. He dressed like what a 90’s cute hip boy would do. He was a bad boy drummer. And yes, our egos clashed. Don’t get me wrong – I had guitarist disease too, and Dennis is a good dude. We both just had egos. In some ways it was good, in others not so good. But aren’t those the sorts of tense relationships that make a band? 😂 Dennis was a good drummer. He had big dreams. He put a lot of work into the band. I’m grateful he invited me over, and I’m thankful for all the time we shared together. I’m glad we were able to reconnect. Love you, Dennis.

One thing that helped was being a JMU student, I had access to computer labs. Ray drew a picture of a coin, embossed with a dude showing his empty pockets and a “I’m broke!” look on his face… it was funny, cute, cool. I used the computer lab to scan it in and do some work in Photoshop with it. I touched up a band photoshoot pic and assembled the final promo version of it (e.g. added captions, band name, our names, contact info, etc.)

Nice face!

We played a lot of local shows. There was a battle of the bands at JMU. We played. We came in 3rd place, because we were a good band, but we weren’t a college “prog rock” band. It was rigged, but whatever – we don’t need the approval of no critics because we’re about THE ROCK! 🤘 My parents came out to a couple gigs; that was fun (and where these pictures came from). Dad helped support things, buying us equipment. I remember one show opening for another local band. They did a good Nugent Dog Eat Dog, guitarist did Cliffs of Dover since that was hot at the time. And Karen brought a MILF friend over who tried to fuck me. I went back to her place, but when her son came home and I saw he was about my age, I noped out of there. 

A local dude did live sound, and was willing to haul his gear over to our place to record us. I remember when we unloaded his trailer there was a box of Killians Red that we also brought in and consumed freely. He set up his board upstairs, ran the cables down the stairwell, mic’d up, and away we went. Best thing I remember was when we recorded Heart’s Alone I ripped off the best solo of my life at that point. The notes just flowed out of my fingers like never before, keeping the heart of the original solo, remembering the song structure and melody, but also throwing in a bit of my own flair. It was… peak. At that time I had never experienced something so effortless in expression flowing from me. It was great.

Miss Mystery was this sort of haunting power ballad. It was a favorite of our originals. A song from the Scott days was the title song: In Debt. Yup. The band In Debt with a song called In Debt (might as well pull a Bad Company and name the album that too). It wasn’t a bad song. Not the sort of song I would write, a little too poppy/corny, but it’s fun. There was this harmonized a cappella opening that went something like:

Money! Money! Money! (talkin’ ’bout)

Money! Money! Money! (that’s what I want)

Money! Money! Money! (can I get some for me)

then the guitar kicks in. It was a jangley riff. Bouncy. Corny. Fun.

I’ve jammed with other people in my lifetime. But this was as close as I got to rock stardom, which is to say, not close at all. But it was fun.

Welp… time to change it up

Enough signs and emerging pattern to say that caloric deficit is taking its toll. It’s time to carb back up a bit, then start again. Small steps downward.

I’ve been building up some strength and size on various movements. I’ve picked up a bunch from the past 5 macrocycles: 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps to failure 3 minutes between (working) sets is… choice (h/t Paul Carter). I’ve got some movements better suited for my build, like I respond well to 20º incline bench – nice clavicular pec growth. Leg press ain’t just a side dish. Dedicated calf work is important, and put the ego in the backseat (the neverending reminder). Stabilization is… a thing (again, Paul Carter); that Cybex chest-supported row machine is sweet. I set some nice PRs, including inclining 265×3@8 – I’ve never inclined 265 let alone 3 easy reps.

And so the strength goes down. It’s ok. I play tricks: pick new movements where I have no idea where and how I’m strong with it. So change it up and keep on.

Here’s what I’m looking at now:

  • General
    • Mon/Wed/Fri – it’s a 4 session cycle done 3 times per week, so it’s a 9-10 day microcycle.
    • 1-3 sets of 5-8 reps aiming for true failure. 3 minutes rest between (work) sets. (Carter)
    • Start light, progress slowly. (Wendler)
    • You need less than you think you need.
    • Push the shit hard, and build up to it over the weeks. Again, start light, progress slowly.
    • Accumulate volume over the week/microcycle; since it’s 9-10 day microcycle, “working a muscle” once per microcycle isn’t enough.
    • Keep recovery in mind – I’m 50… TRT helps, but I’m still 50.
    • Do stuff out of the gym to stretch, keep mobile and limber.
    • Treadmill cool down, 20-30 minutes.
  • Day 1: Push
    • Flavor: more of a delt-focused approach. Maintain pecs. Grow tris because arms.
    • Seated smith machine overhead press
    • Incline dumbbell press (maybe… wrist sensitive; something for pecs, bias upper)
    • Rolling DB extensions (some sort of triceps work)
    • Cable Y raise (something for middle delts)
    • Those Cybex machine rows
  • Day 2: Legs, quads
    • Flavor: keep growing quads.
    • Cybex Plate Loaded Squat Press
      • Reset the weight a bit and work back up.
    • Leg extensions
      • here too.
    • Hip adduction
    • Seated calf raises (350 method… dunno… I just seem to get more out of these with those; it’s variety if nothing else).
    • Cable upright row (a little more delt, and a little biceps)
  • Day 3: Pull
    • Flavor: Keep growing the back – get really honed into activation
    • Barbell row (lighter, really work the muscle instead of muscling it…)
    • Neutral grip pulldowns (with those angle-90 grips or something where I can have neutral grip and some free movement)
    • Cable rear-delt “raises” (not sure how I’ll execute this yet…,)
    • Preacher curls
    • Cybex chest press (selectorized)
  • Day 4: Legs, posterior
    • Flavor: leg press 2x/micro was too much; swap in RDL instead. Unilateral work in lunges, which is also good for me.
    • RDLs
    • Seated leg curl
    • Lunges (I don’t want to do these, they are the right thing for me to do… so I will do them, probably half-assed, but I will do them). LOL
    • Calf raises on leg press (these are 3×5-8, stretch and squeeze; it’s not much weight)
    • Pushdowns (actually leaning over the bar and pushing down like a dip, not the hinge at the elbows pinned to your side version of pushdowns).

So basically I keep doing what I’ve been doing. What has built the muscle is what will “maintain” the muscle, because really “to maintain” means to keep (re)building the muscle. You are actively fighting against muscular atrophy. So the best weapon is that which will maximize growth. And the above is panning out pretty interestingly well to support stuff.

What will be interesting will be to see how, even in deficit, I might grow. I want to focus some on my delts/shoulders – I need some width due to my narrow skeletal structure.

Radio Daze : 10 – Scorpions

Tori & I with Scorpions 1991 Captial Centre Landover, MD

1991. Scorpions on tour with Great White and openers Trixter. Scorpions was touring behind their Crazy World album, with their hit Winds of Change. Working at WXJM and having good relations with the reps at both Mercury (Scorpions) and Mechanic (Trixter), I was able to get on meet & greet lists for both bands.

I took my friend Tori. We were in high school band together (I played french horn and was drum major senior year; she was a drummer/percussionist). She liked metal too. She moved to NoVA from the LA scene, so she was all into hair metal (e.g. Warrant). So this all worked nicely.

The show was great. Missed most of Great White’s set due to the meet & greet with Trixter, but it was cool to meet Trixter. Did catch the end of Great White’s set from the floor in front of the arena stage, which was cool. I have this burned in memory of looking WAY up at Jack Russell (I was on the floor, he was on the stage’s side riser), as he walked, planted his feet, then swung his head and body 180º, long-arms pointing out to the audience with a wry smile. Very much frontman. Good stuff.

Tori’s hair was awesome.

Scorpions of course were incredible. Tori was a big fan of Scorpions, so she had a great and I’m sure memorable time. What I remember most? “The Zoo” live is awesome. Also watching Herman Rarebell hitting on Tori, trying to get her back to the hotel (she didn’t, and she was like… dude, you’re old enough to be my dad!). It was pretty funny.

Fun times.

I’m down…

…to about 250-ish pounds. The other day the scale said 248, but that was just water/carbs.

Catching you up

I track my bodyweight via RepCount into Apple Health,; before that in spreadsheets. I’ve also written about it here under the weight-management category. tl;dr 2015 I got my leanest to date at 199 from my highest ever at 265. After that I got more into powerlifting, Vitamin T. Got strong, and big… especially big. My bodyweight has fluctuated up and down since then, tho certainly the overall trend has been increasing. This time tho, there’s far more muscle. I’ve been sitting in the 250’s for maybe 18 months now. I ballooned up to 261 from Thanksgiving bloat.

I’m tired of it

It’s fun to be big. No lie.

It’s also tiring. #IYKYK

Oh, I still want to be big – don’t get me wrong! But I don’t need to lug around fat as the amount I have does me no good (you only need so much to function). What I’ve got gets in the way more than helps. Put it this way: lean abs and big pecs help with AIWB, and I ain’t helpin’ myself.

It’s been my eternal struggle. Food is my crutch, my comfort, my drug.

That must stop. Not just change, but stop.

I’ll state right out front: death comes for us all, and until that day I will occasionally enjoy a fine meal and good whiskey. I will also not stop eating Mrs. Hsoi’s cooking, especially when she makes me large-pearl tapioca pudding (just like my Grandma Eleanor used to). I just want to ensure that until that day comes I can live well – which for me right now means leaning out.

And never going back.


Being sick was perhaps the blessing in disguise. It killed a bunch of my appetite. It’s been pretty easy to bypass the sweet snack-y things (props to Alan Thrall). That alone I know is a help – and I told myself

Or… it could be the Animal Cuts. Yes I know, but let the little bro in my live a little. LOL. I actually wonder if the appetite suppressant properties may be contributing. The tin is almost empty, so I’ll cycle off for a bit and see what happens. Over all these years I’ve always experimented on my body to see how things act, react, respond, etc. I keep data. The experiments are interesting and educational. But I know like any supplement, if you don’t put in the work, you still ain’t gonna get results. Frankly? Even if it’s placebo, if it’s only just helping me somehow be accountable (e.g. like why some people have a personal trainer) because that paying out $$$ makes you not want to waste it. 🤷‍♂️

Still, my appetite is down. I can look in the mirror and see I am VERY flat. My wedding ring comes off more easily. So while I got down from the post-Thanksgiving bloat of 261 pretty quick, it was back into the 254-257 range. So that I’m now bouncing around 248-251 is… good. I believe this is mostly water and glycogen loss, maybe a pound of tissue if I’m lucky? Which I know contributes to the dizzies at the gym. Still, that’s needed to deplete to drive the body to alternate energy sources (fat). Working to keep my protein intake high (at least 200g/day on the “lazy measure”, which means I’m probably getting 225-250g from all sources).

It’ll manage out. There’s some fine-tuning to do and I’m doing it. I know the scale is but one metric, and I know how I leverage that metric. To see 250 consistently for the past few days is actually good. We needed convenience supper last night, ordered pizza, I ate a couple more slices than I should have however I’m not feeling guilty because my body needed it. I’m coming off a really hard some months at the day job and last night started 2-weeks PTO… so I unwound a bit and don’t feel one lick of guilty about it. Woke up 250 this morning, a little fuller looking. Pretty cool. I’ll return to normal today, both in food consumption and glycogen levels. It’ll be fine in the long haul.

So… it’s a small step, but it’s a meaningful step. Slow progress is still progress.

Radio Daze : 9 – Kage

I honestly don’t remember how I came across Kage. Kage was a local band, based in NoVA of the greater Washington DC music scene. I saw them at The Bayou a number of times. They were unsigned, but pretty strong on the local scene. In 1993 Kage won the WAMA (Washington Area Music Association) award for Best Metal Artist/Group. Frontman, singer, guitarist, songwriter Jeff Brasfield won Best Metal Vocalist 1993 & 1994.

When I first met them the band was Jeff (lead singer, guitarist, songwriter), Alex Thorne (drums), David Groves (guitar), Mike Groves (bass). Eventually the Groves brothers left and Gary Jordan (bass) and Jeff Mortimer (guitar) stepped in. State of Mind was good for what it was. Shadow of Faith was a more developed album, tho I admit not liking it as much as State. What I really liked was a cassette EP they did where they debuted recordings of: The Chosen, Back Against the Wall, Fight to be Free, Stained Glass, and the cover of The Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk to Fuck. They included that EP on the tail end of Shadow, and that remains my favorite of their discography.

There were silly things, like the records were released on Egak Records (Egak… Kage spelled backwards… get it?). Or the live show favorite, “You Bitch” – always great for audience participation. 

I saw them a lot live. It was really cool to follow and support them in this way because I got to see songs evolve. I think I first heard the EP songs live. I got to see the stage schtick they did. They knew how to put on a good show. Jeff having this crazy-long hair and whipping it around made for quite a visual (the bridge parts around the solo in Talkin Trash)! They also were still kids and just having fun! It wasn’t a stuffy show at all – very fun atmosphere.

One night at The Bayou, Morty’s girlfriend (I guess that’s what she was?) couldn’t get in because age vs. bar. They were asking me if I could drive her home. I was willing to do so, but in the end something else got worked out and I didn’t have to (and got to see the show).

I got to know Jeff a bit. One precious memory I have is a call I received from his mom, Nancy. You have to know that Nancy wasn’t just Jeff’s mom, but she also managed the band. Nancy Ford, because Nancy Brasfield – “your mom manages the band?!!” – isn’t cool, as she explained it to me. 😄. She was a warm, loving, and supportive person. She called me one day and invited me over to the house for Jeff’s birthday. I was surprised to have been invited, and I went and had a marvelous time. I’ll always cherish how much love Nancy gave.

When my metal show on WXJM was doing well in late night, I had… alas, I don’t remember exactly what I called it, but it was pitting two songs against each other and callers voted on the better one. One night Jeff and Alex came down and guested on the whole show. And over time, Kage’s Darkness Descends was so successful at winning week after week I had to retire it.

I wish the band was able to make it bigger. I recall being at some small Washington-area music convention thing. Cheryl Valentine, who was the Mercury radio rep, was there so I went to the thing so I could say hello. I got Jeff with her and recall watching Jeff talk with her and Cheryl politely taking a State of Mind CD. But despite not making it bigger, I’d like to think they made it well. I had a great time, and I do believe they did too.

Thank you Jeff.

Radio Daze : 8 – Type O Negative

My high school friend Bryan came back home after a summer away. He had a cassette tape with all sorts of new metal tunes on it. There was this one with some lyric like: “Lick me she begged, she pulled down my head… I LOVE TO EAT PUSSY! A taste so fine like sweet April wine, I won’t trade for any money”. 

Well! Wasn’t THAT something for teenager me to hear!

We had no idea who it was – no Shazam in those days, kids. We at first thought it was Sodom, but I checked one of their albums out and it was no where near the same style let along song. Eventually I found out it was the band Carnivore, the pre-Type O Negative band for Peter Steele.

I admit, I like Carnivore. Yes, it’s all the horrible things you say it is… it’s a cartoon, a reflection of the time. It’s art, like it or don’t. I mean come on! They’re dressing up like some sort of Mad Max post-nuclear apocalyptic cavemen! They look like jackasses! It’s goofy! Do you really think this is serious? 

Well… the music is (kinda). You start to get the feel for where Peter was going. Listen to him croon on “Male Supremacy“. It’s Conan. It’s Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the stuff goth girls swoon for. Proto-Type-O.

Mark “Psycho” Abramson at Roadrunner was my radio rep and he knew I dug Carnivore. He got me this early copy of a demo from a band called Repulsion, which was going to be Peter’s next thing. The name was already taken, so they switched to Type O Negative, and the rest is history. It was cool to get the early peek into that project. 

I also remember being at a Pantera / Wrathchild America show at The Bayou. During the show, Phil Anselmo called out a dude in the crowd he saw with a Carnivore shirt. Backstage after the show, I spoke with Phil about it and he brought up the Repulsion stuff, which we then talked about for a bit.

Never got to see Type O live nor met Peter. Was always fascinated by his early distain and later embrace of Catholicism (I’m sure in part because of Nettie).

Radio Daze : 7.5 – Red Decibel Records, Part 2 The Coup de Grace

Red Decibel Records (Discogs) was the project of Jake Wisely. I really loved this label and their output. Their radio rep, Brent Ashley, was really cool and we developed a solid relationship. He sent me not just normal album releases, but special run 7″ and 10″ records, posters, various cool stuff. Note that a lot of their stuff was Minneapolis music scene.

Album cover poster

Their band I really got into? The Coup de Grace.

The Coup started as a traditional metal band (“Daylight Dawning“, “Barbed Wire“), but later albums took a “lighter” turn (still good rock, but not as metal). Jimmy Mecherle – also known as Jimmy Coup – was singer, guitarist, songwriter. In later years Jimmy would play with Andrew W.K. as well as do a lot of Thin Lizzy related things. I dug The Coup a LOT. That debut album still is awesome to me. “Daylight Dawning” is classic, and of course I learned to play that on my guitar.

Steve Prue, Mark Abramson; Roadrunner Records

One college summer I went to NYC to see The Coup play. Just me, traveling by myself from DC to NYC to see The Coup play. I used the time to visit some of my industry peeps: Mark “Psycho” Abramson & Steve Prue (both at Roadrunner); my reps from Mechanic, Big Chief, others. I had never been to NYC before, and I was young and stupid. Some the reps needed to go somewhere, so I piled into the backseat while one of them stopped off to pick up a big bag of weed. He later told me to just go to this reggae music store, raise your finger in a “1”, and well… I walked out with a dimebag of my own.

?, Kurt, Jimmy, Steve, Brent. The red tie-dye shirt was a #IYKYK thing. I had one and wore it often.

Later that evening I met up with Brent at a club where The Coup were playing. Watched the show. Met the guys. Hooked ’em up. Everyone was hip to rolling back to Rita’s place (Brett and Rita were trying to get together…). We all get back to her place, Jimmy rolls, we pass the dutchie. Had a nice evening. Steve (guitarist) was sitting next to me and all night would look at me and say “thanks for the bake, man” 🙂 They were very kind people. Good dudes. I also remember not meeting the drummer until the next morning –  he was sleeping in the van with their gear. That was the moment I learned that was a thing bands (have to) do. We shared some coffee and talk in the kitchen that morning. Then I headed out.

Before we went to Rita’s tho, Jimmy was hungry and he wanted to grab a bite to eat. I don’t recall the exact time, but it was wee hours… 1 AM? 2 AM? He invited me along. I was surprised? “You can get food at this hour?” “Dude, this is New York City… of course you can!”. And off we went in search of, as Jimmy put it, the BOLDEST sandwiches. We found a bodega, got some BOLD-ass sandwiches, sat on milk crates in the sidewalk, ate and talked with Jimmy of The Coup de Grace.

I was rockin’ and rollin’ and having a grand time. What an experience! That here at age 50 I can still recall it so well… yeah, it’s a core memory.

Steve, you’re welcome, man. ❤️