Rumblings, Ruminations, and Retrospectives

Musings from the mind of the Beast.

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HOLY FLARKING SNIT!!

And if I wasn’t posting this in a place where my mother could potentially be reading this, you can guarantee the title would be MUCH MUCH more R-rated than that.

“What’s all the hub-bub, bub?” you may ask?

I’m talking about Sunday, bloody Sunday. April 5th, 2009. The Day Nickelback Roared Into Town.

“Ok, you went to a rock concert,” you may be thinking.

No, my dear friend, it goes WAAAAAY beyond all that.

You see, I’ve been a Nickelback fan since 1998. Ever since I first heard “Fly”, “Window Shopper”, and “Little Friend” from 1996’s Curb I was watching out for these guys.

Then, in 2000, The State was released, and when I heard “Breathe” and “Leader Of Men” for the first time, I knew this little band from Hannah, Alberta was really on to something. I remember vividly the very first Nickelback show I went to, at Rocktoberfest at the Winnipeg Convention center in 2000, and Nickelback was opening up for another famous band – whose name I’ve totally forgotten now because they were blown off the stage. I went to the show with my then girlfriend (now wife) and a few friends, and I couldn’t stop talking about this band and how great they were going to be.

Well, in a room of 200 people, Nickelback was on stage, playing their ASSES off like they were playing in front of 20,000 people, and here I am, losing my MIND because these guys were just too awesome. At the beginning of the set, I looked like a fool because I was one of 200 enjoying the HELL out of this show while everyone else was like “Who the hell are these guys?”

But by the time that set ended, Nickelback had blown the headlining band off the stage, and I’d gone home a very, very happy guy. My friends were all telling me how I’d found an awesome band, and Nickelback gained more than a few fans that night.

Fast forward to 2002, and after Silver Side Up was released, I got to see Nickelback in my first arena setting. They came to the Winnipeg Arena, and by the time I heard they were coming, all I could get were upper deck seats, but let me tell you, that didn’t affect anything. On their first arena tour, the band was fired up, and we were right above the stage. I must say, that it doesn’t matter if you’re 50 feet above the stage – that pyro burns just as hot! The band was amazing, and superstars had been born. The crowd was into it, and Nickelback put on one hell of a show.

On to 2004 and The Long Road tour, and the concert experience just kept getting better. Every time I have seen this band, the show just keeps getting better. From 200 people in a room to the nosebleed section, and now they’re back, and I’ve gotten my first ever floor tickets. Miraculously, we ended up right on the guard rail right smack in front of Ryan. OH MY GOD WOW. I’ve never experienced a concert from up close before, and being a Nickelback show, it was a real treat. I managed to snag Aaron Lewis’ set list as Staind had opened for Nickelback, and the night kept getting better as I got a guitar pick from Chad, and part way through the set, the band was just jamming and tossing cups of beer into the crowd. Yup, I got one.

2005 gave us All The Right Reasons and another tour, this time at the brand new MTS Center, but I didn’t think I could survive another night on the floor, so we got regular seats. The show was awesome as usual, but something was missing.

So when the band came back in 2006, still on the ATRR tour… we HAD to have floor tickets. Nothing else would ever compare. We got the floor tickets, and again, miraculously ended up against the guard rail, right between Chad and Ryan.

And then, something amazing happened.

In between songs, Chad started talking about how Daniel could chug a beer faster than anyone he knew, and had even scheduled a drinking contest between Daniel and Hal Anderson, a local rock-radio DJ. Anderson pulled out due to “back problems” so the band needed something to fill the time in – so Chad started pulling people on stage to have a big contest against Daniel. Chad starts walking along the front of the stage, and I’m waving my hand at him. My wife is jumping up and down screaming “Pick him! Pick him!” and Chad hears her. He turns and looks me right in the eye, and sizes me up – I’m a big guy, about six feet and I’ve obviously drank a few in my day by the size of my gut – and Chad screams out “YOU look like a beer drinker! GET UP HERE!”

OH MY GOD. I’m going on stage with Nickelback. I’m about to pass out.

My wife, some other fans, and security haul my ass over the guard rail, and I get escorted up to the stage. I meet the entire band, and since Daniel was the one we were drinking against, he came and introduced himself to everyone. Daniel was even kind enough to stop and talk to me for a moment. I asked him how he was doing, and he mentioned how his hand has bugging him from playing on tour so much, and he showed me a blister he was getting on his hand. I asked him about possibly wearing gloves, and he mentioned he thought of that, but then he couldn’t really feel the sticks as well in his hand if he did, so he’d tough it out. He then wished me luck in the drinking contest. Really cool guy.

So the time comes. We’re all given a Corona, and we’re told if we can drink the beer and slam it down on the stage before Daniel does, then the winner gets $1000 cash right there. There’s about 8 of us on stage, and let me tell you folks, there’s NOTHING compared to standing on a rock stage with Nickelback and 11,000 people cheering at you.

Ready, set, GO! I pound my beer, and slam it down on the stage – only a FRACTION of a second after Daniel does. OH SO CLOSE! I shake Daniel’s hand again, and we’re all escorted off the stage. WOW! I got high fives from all over the crowd on the way back to my spot. What a night!

Later on in the show, Chad announces he’s going to a local club to party after the show, and if anyone wants to come see him, we’re welcome to. So we head down to the club after, and sure enough, there’s Chad greeting fans. Once we finally made it to him, he instantly recognizes me, and yells “Hey, it’s the beer drinking guy!” and promptly buys me another beer. He signs my wife’s concert ticket, and good times were had by all!

So now, it’s 2008, and Dark Horse is released. A new tour is on the way.

You might now be wondering what this entire post is about, but I’m getting there, believe me.

It’s all about the experience. My wife and I are wondering… we’ve been at two fantastically amazing Nickelback shows and had such super experiences… how are we going to top this? Even if we buy floor tickets, we’re not guaranteed spots up against the guard rail, and we don’t just want any old seats.

What could we possibly do to make the concert experience any better?

And then the answer comes in an email.

“Join the Nickelback Fan Club and get access to pre-sales and VIP packages.”

Huh? VIP packages? Let me at it!!

Fan Club? Became a member.

So I check things out, and thanks to the corporate folks at my job who decided to give me a big bonus… VIP t-shirt, set of signed guitar picks, VIP laminate, poster, early venue entry…

… and photo opportunity with the band backstage.

Holy h-e-double hockey sticks I’ve hit the freakin’ mother load.

A couple very nervous clicks of the mouse later, and my wife and I are now Nickelback Platinum VIP’s. How are we going to make this experience any better?

Well, for starters, we’re going to be in the VIP pit inside the stage design… and we get to meet the band backstage.

It’s months before the show… then weeks, and then days… when Sunday came along, I could barely sleep the night before. We got up early. I was jumpy all morning and all afternoon leading up to the show. Triple-checked that I had all my paperwork in order – I wasn’t going to screw THIS up! Driving to the MTS Center was surreal – all I could think about was how awesome everything was going to be.

But in the back of my mind, I had this sinking fear that once we got there to pick up our packages, something was going to be wrong and the whole thing was going to be shot.

Thankfully, everything was in order, and we met Tom early on. Was very professional and cool about the whole thing. We got in line and were taken backstage just as opening act Saving Abel took the stage, and we get led down to the bowels of the MTS Center, every step taking us closer to Nickelback.

Through one set of doors we go, and then we had to wait, about 10 minutes. Heart’s beating faster now, sweating a bit. Nervous as hell.Through another set of doors, and we’re stopped right outside Nickelback’s room. There’s a big display set up, and the guys are there… the girls ahead of us go in, and then BAM… it’s our turn!

My wife and I go in, and I give the band a hearty “Hey, guys!”, and they all seem very genuinely happy to give the fans this chance. Each member of the band made sure they took time to not only say “hi”, but to shake hands and introduce themselves and ask how we were doing. My wife gets hugs from all of them. Very cool. Stephanie (the wife) then remarks to Chad and Daniel that they probably don’t remember, but the last time they were here, I was on stage with them – do you remember the “beer drinking guy?”

And rather than just brush it off, Chad turns to Daniel, and says “That was you in the drinking contests last time?” Daniel answers yes, and Chad says “It was really close, right? Like bang-bang?” And we’re all YEAH!, and Chad and Daniel are all “Awesome!” We line up for our picture… I’ve got my arm around Chad on my left, my wife on the right… SNAP. Tom says it’s a great pic, so we say goodbye to the band, and wish them a good show. Mike, Ryan, and Dan all said “goodbye”, “nice to meet you”, and Chad said “I hope you really enjoy the show. Thanks for coming.”

These guys are SO cool.

So we each pick up a signed 8×10, and another set of guitar picks, and head out to the Pit. We’re the first ones there, so we’ve literally got the best seat in the house. We’re physically right against Ryan’s side of the stage.

Seether comes on, and they played a great set with all their noteable songs. The guitarist and bassist came over to slap hands a few times, and those guys put on a special show for us. Really good stuff from Seether, although due to the stage set up, the guitarists’ amp was right beside us, and it was hard to hear the vocals at times.

After Seether was done, the security guard comes to advise us of the giant pyro and to be careful about how close we are, and that there will be a giant theatrical countdown to a giant explosion, so be ready.

Well. I’ll be damned.

Even before the countdown starts, the lights aren’t even off yet, and a sonic BOOM goes off near my head and I literally jump four feet off the ground. I’m a big guy, so lemme tell you, that ain’t easy! The lights drop and the crowd loses their minds… we get the giant countdown on the big screen, and when it reaches zero, there’s a thunderous explosion of sound and pyro that just took my breath away, and then we only had a seconds’ rest before we were ASSAULTED by the guitars of “Something In Your Mouth”, and a very-near sold-out crowd (last time was about 11,000, this time almost 14,000 showed up) lost their freaking minds. Unbelievable.

The show rocked all night long, and the band played for 2 hours and 5 minutes! There was fire and pyro EVERYWHERE – when the fire pots lit up, I pretty much had to duck to avoid getting fried. Ryan Peake was so close at points I could reach out and touch his guitar if I wanted to. Chad, Mike, and Ryan all came over by us and stood literally inches away. Nickelback ran through a ton of great music – I was so blown away I don’t remember the entire order of the set, but “Something In Your Mouth”, “Burn It To The Ground”, “Gotta Be Somebody”, “I’d Come For You”, “If Today Was Your Last Day”, and “This Afternoon” all made appearances from the new album – and during “This Afternoon”, and “Rockstar”, the band all went out to the extended walkway and played at the front of the house – where a SECOND drum kit rotated out of the walkway for Daniel to play with them!

Daniel’s drum solo was awesome, and the band also did other tunes like “Figure You Out”, “Photograph”, “Someday”, “Saving Me”, “Far Away”, “If Everyone Cared”, “Because Of You”, “How You Remind Me”, and “Too Bad” were all done awesomely. Timmy came out and did acoustic guitar on a few songs, and Ryan did lead vocals on a “Kings Of Leon” tune I didn’t catch the name of, but was very cool as well. There was also a jam session while the band had crew members fire out t-shirts to the crowd, and they nailed the opening riff of Metallica’s “Sad But True”, and I swear they played it way better than Metallica ever could.

Well, OK… that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was pretty damned sweet.

These guys DELIVER live – Chad was SPOT.ON. with the vocals, and the band was smoking. I tell ya, Mike may not be a press hound and he seems very quiet, but the smile on his face told you for the entire show told you that there’s no place he’d rather be. Near the end of the show, they brought up Seether frontman Shaun Morgan to sing vocals on Filter’s “Hey Man Nice Shot” – VERY cool.

Funny note… while Timmy came out to play a tune… I *think* it was “If Everyone Cared”, and it was his first time out at the front of the ramp, so Chad went out there with him, and while Chad and Ryan stayed up there to play “Someday”, Mike had to come back and work Chad’s distortion pedal for the chorus – Chad had forgotten all about it – but it still came off without a hitch.

Tremendous job all around, from the band, down to the crew, and venue folks.

I doubt they’ll ever read this, but Tom, great work handling all of us star-struck fans backstage, and to Nickelback, THANK YOU for an unforgettable night of rock and roll.

Truly amazing. There are no other words for it.

So what do we do NEXT time Nickelback rolls through town?!?

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You’ve GOTTA See This.

Today, I made quite possibly the greatest find in the history of the Internet. And, it came courtesy of the Ellen show! Imagine that.

But, I just had to share!

Everyone love those goofy Ukranians.

And we all know that the Ukranians love their polkas.

How can you not love a Ukranian polka? Especially when it’s done to the tune of Katy Perry’s "Hot N Cold".

PURE. GOLD.

Anyway, have a look-see.

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And That’s Why It’s Good To Be…

*raises an eyebrow*

…Me.

No, this post isn’t about how fabulous and awesome I am – I’ll save that for a later date.

This post is a quick note about celebrated author, marketing tycoon, and businessman extraordinaire. Did I also mention he’s the front man for rock icons KISS?

20060801ho_simmons_450

That’s right. Good ol’ Gene Simmons.

I was never really much of a KISS fan. Aside from my days as a youngster, where I really liked the song Crazy Nights, and sang with it repeatedly at high volumes during bath times. Too much information, I know. But it’s true. It’s damn true.

So, any time I heard the name Gene Simmons, I just put two and two together, and arriving at six, all I did was think “Oh, Gene Simmons. He’s in KISS. They suck. Therefore, he sucks.”

Brilliant, I know.

However, recently, my wife and I have been watching Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels on television, and while at first, I was like “Oh, Gene Simmons,” I’ve really come to enjoy the show, and perhaps more importantly, change my opinion of Gene Simmons.

The man has an ungodly work ethic. He’ll stop at nothing to get the next business deal done or to make the next million dollars. He writes books. He’s helping his kids. And he puts up with Shannon Tweed. My word, the man’s a freaking machine.

He can still sing, too. I never thought he was horrible, but just not great, but at close to 60, the guy still sounds really good.

And the big thing is, behind that whole macho, rock star exterior, Gene Simmons is really just a guy that loves his family, wants them to have the best, and works hard to make sure they do well in school and be prepared for life. He’s a good dad.

He’s really a cool guy.

The whole family’s funny. Slightly dysfunctional, but hilarious. I really get a kick out of this show, and I’m happy that I’ve had the chance to have my opinion of Gene Simmons changed. I’ve gained a new respect for the man.

Good on ya, Gene. Well done.

See? A leopard CAN change his spots.

Until next time.

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The Thump Is Dead. Long Live The Thump.

Just a quick note to let everyone know there’s been a shake up in the land of Cadence Thump. If anyone’s read the Official Cadence Thump Blog, Dave says that I left the band because of a need to “pursue my job”.

I’m not going to get into too much mudslinging, but this is the root of the problem of why I left the band. But, I told you, dear reader, that in this blog I would be utterly honest and would pull no punches.

The REAL problem was communication, or lack thereof.

Dave preaches the need for communication, but is, in fact, horrible at it. Combine that with a constant case of paranoia, and the result is a person who constantly feels the need to question everyone’s committment to the band, but does it in a way that he sneaks around behind everyone’s back, and refuses to ask the tough questions face to face.

And when he’s confronted about it, well, without getting into all the grizzly details of what was discussed (I’ll give Dave that much respect), let me just say that Dave spins like a top. He’d make a fantastic politician.

I left the Cadence Thump because of this lack of coummunication, and overload of drama. NOT because of time committments or “pursuing my job”. I HAVE a job, thank you, I don’t need to pursue one, and if having to miss practice once in a blue moon because of forced overtime is a sin, then I’m guilty. But apparently this presented too much of a problem, and I’d rather get out now while I can instead of stuff like this festering for the next however many years. Bryon left the band because he couldn’t stand being the middleman for people that didn’t want to communicate directly. He made a wise choice and put friends before a band that may or may not accomplish anything.

The thing is, Dave’s a nice guy. He’s a good person, and we have a lot in common. We’re both sci-fi geeks. I’d like to remain friends with him, but I’m sorry, I just can’t work with him.

Apparently Victor and Dave will continue to work together, and that’s great. Victor’s a great guy and a fantastic singer from what I gathered in the short time I worked with him. I’d love to work with him again sometime in the future. Word is they have a new drummer.

I’d like to sincerely wish Good Luck to Cadence Thump in whatever they choose to do in the future.

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What’s shaking the house?


So, things have been getting pretty cool over in Cadence Thump land, as I said in my last post. Dave and I recorded a ton of guitar tracks so that I can sit down and write some bass lines.

Well, I wanted to be able to write some cool bass lines, and therefore I figured an easy way might be to have more notes available to play with.

Who am I kidding? I’ve wanted a six-string bass since I was 16 years old. And finally, on Friday, after 15 long years, I got my wish.

Feast your eyes on THIS!

Drop-D tuning be damned!

The Ibanez SR506.

What a machine! It’s a little lighter than my Peavey Fury IV, but I gotta tell you, the extra width on the neck is crazy. I have smaller hands to begin with – my fingers are short – I can’t touch my brain when I pick my nose some some people can – so it’s almost like learning to play bass all over again.

Looks like there’ll be some long nights ahead re-playing scales and such to get used to having that extra string in the way, and to reach across that neck.

However, I love it, and I wouldn’t trade that rumbling, earth-shaking low B and C now that I’ve got it for anything.

Well, maybe a Snickers.

Just kidding.

Now all I need is a bigger amp. :)

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Thumpin’ Right Along…

What a week it’s been for Cadence Thump (bloggy) this past week.

I know Dave was a little frustrated that we weren’t moving along as fast as he’d liked. Dave is uber-passionate about this band, and wants it to succeed so much, he can actually taste it. He really can. Last week, we really only had one song in the can, but this week it’s like someone hit a switch, and the group just suddenly had all this chemistry, it was just crazy.

At the end of a long jam session, Nemmy just started playing Shinedown’s Simple Man out of the blue, and the rest of the band just kicked in, and it was like someone had waved a magic wand, and it was awesome. We’d NEVER attempted to play the song together before, but it came out perfect, and Victor showed us the pipes of a god in that song. He was just GOLD.

Gold to the point where Nemmy dropped a F-Bomb in front of my fiancee’s dad. It was great.

So now, we pretty much have 2 originals ready – just have to get me going on backup vox – as well as covers of Clapton’s “Cocaine”, Bon Jovi’s “Dead Or Alive”, the aforementioned Shinedown’s “Simple Man”, and The Scorpions’ “Big City Lights”.

I’m happy to provide a lot of input as well – from timing cues for Patrick on drums, to suggesting alternate arrangements, I’m just having a ball.

Things are looking up for Cadence Thump, and soon enough, we’re going to be thumpin’ in a club near you.

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What Goes “Thump” In The Night?

Winnipeg’s newest rock and roll quintet, that’s what.

After being screwed around in the last band I was in a couple years ago, I finally got the itch to play again, and it just so happened that a friend of a friend was looking to put a project together.

So, my aforementioned friend Nemmy (whose real name will never be used online in this blog, but can be found over at MySpace here) introduced me to his friend Dave (clicky).

We met, hit it off, and thought we might be able to accomplish something together.

Wait a minute, that sounds a lot like a first date. But it wasn’t. You get the picture.

With Dave screaming his licks on guitar, Nemmy scorching the keys (and also joining in on guitar), and me on bass, the picture was almost complete. Enter Patrick to pound on the skins, and Victor to belt out the vocals, and Cadence Thump (clicky) was born.

Dave has written a ton of material, I have some kicking around from the old days, as does Nem. We’ve pretty much gotten down one song of Dave’s, and we’re working on another already. I’m having a blast so far, and I think this project of Dave’s can really be kicked into high gear. We’ve got a good bunch of guys, and some real good music on tap so far.

If all goes well, look for us to hit the clubs hopefully in the fall, and launch an official web site and album around the same time.

I’m really looking forward to it.

Thump, thump, thump….