|Steve Shalaty Immolation/Vader Tour Blog - Day 8, 9, 10|
|Monday, 11 October 2010 15:40|
Steve Shalaty Immolation/Vader Tour Blog - Day 8, 9, 10
Day 8 - Detroit Michigan: Tonight we play the legendary Blondies. The venue is full of posters from every act you can think of going back to the early thrash and death metal days and beyond. The staff here is great and the catering is first rate. Fried chicken! Unfortunately the location of the club looks straight out of an apocalypse movie and its hard to imagine anyone showing up.
After load-in and sound check Paul and I set up for practice in the green room. Alex comes in and we discuss sticks and single stroke techniques. He explains how he has gone away from the traditional style with the pointing finger as the main grip and pivot and now uses the second finger which brings the remaining fingers into play and takes the wrist motion out. Paul is trying to work it out and I suggest thinking about how Derek Roddy slides his pointing finger up along side the stick when he plays. This seems to help and Paul almost instantly gets it. He continues to dribble away and I ask Alex about his peculiar blasting techniques. He uses all the styles of blast in Lecherous Nocturne. All open handed. However, he will sometimes lead with his right hand on the snare and follow with single or alternating feet accompanied by the left hand on a cymbal. He explains that he is actually a lefty and that it feels natural for him to play this way. I intend to include some video to help illustrate this technique so stay tuned.
The crowd is small tonight but all the bands give it their all. There are so many tours going around right now and all the clubs claim to be experiencing less turnout lately. I hope things improve as we head west. I received 2 new cymbals from Sabian yesterday. An Apx 18" china to replace a cracked Zildjian zxt on my left and a 15" AAXtreme to replace a 14" zxt on the right. They both sound great! I am still waiting on a replacement for my 22" HH thin chinese that is cracked and sounding weaker every night. I just recently signed an endorsement deal with Sabian and am glad to chuck my old zildjians for some new cymbals. Thanks Sabian!
Day 9 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Tonight we play in the Eagle Ballroom building where the Milwaukee deathfest used to be held. We will be sharing the venue with some supergay mainstream act that will be playing the main room while we play the Rave Stage next door.
I have been informed that the show tonight will be simulcast via a live feed stream online. I'm feeling slightly under the weather today so the news is slightly alarming. Add to that the fact that there is only Taco Bell and Macdonalds available for dining and things look a little worse. Not exactly high energy food. The show must go on, however and we load in and soundcheck as per usual. I try to conserve energy and relax the majority of the day. The mix of Twilight fans and Death metal freaks is pretty amusing and I've heard some plans of a cougar hunt after the show. Haha.
Immolation has a meet and greet for this evening( also news to me) so we assemble in the green room to have beers, sign autographs and bs with some fans from Michigan. Afterward I slink over to Macdizzle and gorge on filth. I'm feeling pretty crappy at this point. Paul and I had Taco Bell for breakfast, yikes.
I go in to prep the kit for Vader and Paul is nowhere to be found. Neither is his snare and cymbals so I'm dead in the water. He shows up at the last second to take the reins but can't find his equipment either. Dave, Alex and Ken help him find his stuff and we throw it on the kit. Time for Vader to kill it and for me to warm up. I make my way through the mindless Twilight douchebags to the green room and have a brief but intense warm up. When I take the stage I feel relaxed and focused but my body feels clumsy and tired. My bandmates seem to be in the same funk and I hear wrong notes and fumbles throughout the first half of the set. I manage to stumble at least once per song which makes me angry as hell. Redoubling my efforts to relax and focus doesn't seem to help and although the crowd is cheering and moshing I just can't shake that sour feeling. Its a rough set to say the least. I even screw up during the encore. Uggh. I want to puke as I tear down the kit. After carrying the first load of equipment to the trailer I stop in the bus to grab a water. I check my phone while there and see a message from Ian of Sickdrummer Magazine wishing me luck and reminding me that he and many other drummers will be watching. Including, he says, Craig Smilowski. Craig is the original Immolation drummer and, as you can imagine, a great influence on me.
I wonder for a second if receiving this message before the performance would have helped. Maybe elevated my playing. It doesn't matter now. All I can think about is laying my head in front of the bus' tire and waiting for it to pull out. Or the cool relief of a gun barrel against my hot temple. I send an apology to Ian for my poor performance and he quickly assures me that it sounded good and wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. My tourmates must be able to see the empty look of despair on my face and all echo Ian's sentiments. I can't say enough about the supportive nature and caliber of the drummers on this tour and my bandmates. Thanks to all for the kind words. My sincere apologies to those watching the show and also a promise of redemption.
Day 10 - St. Paul, Minnesota: It's a gorgeous day. We load in and set up for sound check. Paul and I go over the kit and tune the toms up. Sound check goes smooth so I set up a little practice area in the filthy and suffocating basement. I plan on stepping up my daily practice routine after last night's lemon. After playing for about 45 minutes I head to the bus for a snack. I catch a little of the opening band, The Crinn, as they convulse their way through some progressive math core jams. They are excellent musicians and the song arrangements are pure lunacy. I also catch the entire Pathology set. This is James' hometown show from what I can tell and he fires up the crowd and gets the pit going. This is the best set I've seen from Pathology on this tour and I congratulate them afterward while tearing down. Dave's drum kit. Up goes Alex's fortress of a drum kit and as soon as they start I am transfixed by Alex's playing. I am not the only one as I am soon joined by Paul and a few others at the side of the stage.
My mind is blown. I shake hands wit Alex after the set and help switch kits for Abigail Williams. After Ken is ready to go I head downstairs for more practice. I am mainly working on single foot blasts with a triplet feel switching from right to left foot and left hand single strokes. When Vader goes on I have to give up my pedals. Alex has left his bass drums unpacked
and set up in the next room for me to warm up on. It's unbelievably generous of him and Dave as well who has loaned me his new wide board Axis pedals. These are the most comfortable Axis pedals I've ever played and I proceed to play along with Paul through the entire Vader set.
I feel much better tonight and my playing is more controlled than last night. My feet get a little tired toward the end of the set, but I attribute it to my intense warm-up. Tomorrow is a day off so a little abuse won't hurt.
The west coast is coming and my sights are set on the San Francisco show. Thanks again to my friends Alex and Dave for the hook-up. You guys are great.