In 1994, Demented Ted, a Chicago based death metal band, released their unheralded, chimerical debut album “Promises Impure” on Pavement Records. Besides a small article in the Chicago Tribune (which lauded the band for “singing about genetic engineering as opposed to, say, decapitation,”) “Promises Impure” went largely unnoticed by just about the entire music listening world. Following a tour with Broken Hope, the members of Demented Ted went their separate ways and on to a life of quiet contemplation. Had it not been for the timely intervention of mutant animals, a Bornean monk, and legendary actor Donald Sutherland, that’s how the story would have ended.
Sutherland was working on the film “Outbreak” in 1994 when a he was handed a copy of the album by co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. Gooding had caught Demented Ted the night before and accidentally purchased their CD at the merch table thinking it was DVD copy of Jaws 3-D. Sutherland, a devout metalhead who partially financed the Entombed album “Wolverine Blues”, immediately got hooked on the record and brought it with him on his vacation to Borneo after the film wrapped up.
When he first arrived in Borneo, Sutherland was immediately attacked and ripped to shreds by a pack of gigantic three-headed moths. His head was put in a local museum for the amusement of the inter-dimensional travelers that often visit the island while attempting to elude the narwhal shaped jellyfish that police time travel in this sector of the galaxy. The rest of his body was taken to different parts of the island to be used in the annual Jane Fonda ritual mock sacrifices that are popular in some of the smaller villages. In the midst corpse pillaging frenzy, Sutherland’s copy of “Promises Impure” was snatched up by a crafty monk named Tippi Hedren (his parents were huge fans of the Hitchcock classics “The Birds” and “Marnie”).
Hedren smuggled the album past the local authorities at great risk to his own safety. After all, death metal and most grindcore were illegal for most of Borneo’s history. Up until recently, the nation, in fact, had very little interest in music in general. Voronezh FM, the country’s one radio station, actually played the Garth Brooks album “Ropin’ The Wind” on repeat interrupted only by local weather broadcasts from 1991 until 2004. When Hedren played the record for his religious order, they were deeply moved, identifying on a spiritual level with the metronomic double bass and relentless riffing. It quickly became a staple of religious life in the village of Banjarmasin.
The arrival of the record coincided with the elimination out of Type 5 Banalpox, a disorder that forces the victim to watch Terrance Malick films repeatedly until falling into a coma. The disease had plagued the nation for hundreds of years and had seemed incurable. Many of the locals connected to the disappearance of the virus with the Demented Ted record.
Slowly but surely through tape trading and the use of music transporting micro-viruses, the people of Borneo grew to love Demented Ted. In Borneo today, it’s rare to meet a schoolchild that doesn’t know the words to “Liquid Remains” by heart. Choirs of old women singing “Psychopathology” on street corners are not an uncommon sight. Demented Ted CDs and tapes are actually used as currency in many of the villages of Northern Borneo.
The people of Borneo have grown impatient. They have waited what has felt like a hundred lifetimes clinging to the hope that a Demented Ted reunion will come to the island. They have written hundreds of thousands of letters to the band and prayed vociferously to any god that they think might listen, but to no avail. Finally, 173 days ago, in a last, desperate act, the people of Borneo have renounced the consumption of food or water. According to the government’s Department of Demented Ted and Human Development, Borneo cannot survive another three months without a concert from the band.
So far, the band has remained silent on the matter, preferring to ignore the suffering that the large, Demented Ted deprived island has had to endure. Several human rights groups have issued public statements imploring them to get back together and at least throw together an EP of Uriah Heap covers in order to satiate the Bornean people’s endless lust for obscure mid-90s, Chicago death metal. However, many experts think a reunion is unlikely and that a solution to this crisis is not coming anytime soon.
About two weeks ago, the house up the street had a moving van in front of it. At first, I didn’t think much of it. After all, I live in Atlanta and people are always moving around in order to avoid the rampaging hordes of flesh-eating reptiles that roam the streets at night. Had I not built a Y2K shelter some years back, I would have probably been devoured myself. My family and I hide there during the evenings, watching old VHS copies of The Young and The Restless until the wee hours of the morning with shotguns in our hands. My 4-year-old is particularly skilled at shooting the beasts when they try to overpower the deadbolt. She’s a great shot for 4. I’m hoping that one day she can lead the humans as we rise up and try to take back control of our cities from the robot overlords. Maybe she won’t. We all grow up thinking we are going to be something special. Sometimes, we just end up working in retail.
The fellow coming in and out of the moving van seemed nice enough. He had longish hair and a mustache that made him look something like either Ron Kovic or a relief pitcher for the Brewers in the mid-70s. I greeted him with my usual Sufi chant and politely asked if he minded if I took a lock of his hair in order to fuse his DNA with a water buffalo. He looked a bit shocked, so I put my shirt back on. That way he would not have to stare at the eyes that had begun to grow out of my stomach.
Suddenly, a feeling of recognition overwhelmed me. I knew this fellow. He was in the band Mastodon. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. I immediately asked him to autograph my copy of .38 Special’s “Wild-Eyed Boys of The South”. I had been carrying this copy of the album with me for months asking celebrities to sign it. So far, I had gotten Rick Wakeman, the former Yes keyboard player who currently works at the Publix deli counter in Decatur, and Jerry Mumphrey, the former Yankees outfielder who lives inside of my right kidney, to put their names on it. Had this Mastodon guy signed it, it would have completed my collection and allowed me to pass into the cosmic netherworld of alien dwarves. But he refused.
He broke my heart. As a fan, all I ask is for a little acknowledgement. After all, I’ve spent hours of my life listening to that album with the whale on the cover of it. Is a signature too much to ask for?
It’s like the time I broke into Cal Ripken’s home and demanded that he sing all of the lyrics to “Covered With Sores” by Cannibal Corpse at gunpoint. I wasn’t asking a lot. My request certainly didn’t warrant the two and a half years I served in the Allenwood Federal Correctional Facility. Or the removal of all of my teeth at the hands of some hired goon named Vito. But the Ripkens can be brutal when you cross them. I learned that the hard way.
So here I am. It’s 2:30 in the afternoon. I am covered in honey and ox blood from head to toe. Waiting. Hoping. I’ve been in the guy from Mastodon’s living room for 3 hours now playing Black Ops 2 on his Xbox. I wonder if he’s at the supermarket. Or collecting and trading pig exoskeletons with his church group. Or meditating at an ashram in Utah. Or at the park reading his dog-eared copy of V.C .Andrews’ masterpiece “Flowers in the Attic”. He has to come home at some point. Doesn’t he?
After more than 40 years of playing and performing with his injury, Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has finally reattached his finger tips, plus 2 more digits.
Iommi, who lost the tips of 3 of his fingers in 1974 after trying to recreate a stunt from the film “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” has learned to play guitar by protecting his mangled fingers with a delicate combination of Silly Putty, raisins, and twist-ties. The mixture, which Iommi mashed onto the tips of his fingers before performing, is said to be the source of Black Sabbath’s iconic sound for the past 4 decades. However, when frontman, Ozzy Osbourne became violently ill after accidently ingesting too much of the mixture, the band deemed it too hazardous of a tradition to continue.
With all Silly Putty-based mixes out of the picture, Iommi was left no choice but to undergo surgery to reattach the missing fingertips.
Last week’s fingertip surgery was deemed a success, but Iommi decided to go under the knife again 2 days later. After a series of escalating dares by his band mates, Iommi underwent additional surgeries to attach two extra fingers on his playing hand.
The campaigns, a Facebook page called “If This Page Gets 10,000 Likes My Friend Will Attach 2 More Fingers On His Hand” and the viral Twitter hashtag “#ThumbsForTony” proved to be wildly successful, gaining more than 20,000 ‘likes’ and 38,000 ‘RTs’ respectively. Two fast-acting fans jumped at the chance to donate a finger to the cause and the fingers were exchanged and attached in a matter of hours.
“I’m not happy he did it,” said a spokesperson at the Black Sabbath camp who wished not to be named, “but then again, you don’t just turn down a triple-dog-dare from Ozzy Osbourne.”
The surgeon, Dr. Tony Welling, whom Iommi selected based solely on their mutual first name, had no previous experience in amputation or reattachment surgery. And the donors, a 5-year-old spider monkey named Coco, and late Chicago mayor, Richard J. Daley, will both receive lifetime backstage passes as well as the secret recipe for Iommi’s raisin-putty-fingertip mix.
(The fellow who wrote this article, Andrew Sebastian Bach, is a complete lunatic. He blogs regularly at chicagorants.com where he regularly explores important issues facing the Windy City like face-eating llamas and why everyone hates the White Sox)
In a move designed to discourage the unauthorized distribution of their albums as well as to bleed money from their audience, German based record label Century Media have brought suit against a Little Rock, Arkansas man for illegal singing Iced Earth songs in the shower. The man, identified as David Chaste, a mechanic and father of four young children, began singing the chorus from the Iced Earth song “Wolf” while taking a shower after work on August 5th, 2012. Chaste, who did not own the album the song was on, was overheard by his wife and, therefore, was distributing property that did not belong to him.
According to Cy Ganiff, the lawyer for the company, this sort of distribution of stolen property makes Chaste liable for nearly one million dollars in damages against the company. However, Century Media has offered to make the lawsuit go away if Chaste simply agrees to pay thousands of dollars in legal costs or name his next child Napalm Death.
According to Century Media spokesman James Heister, the record industry loses millions of dollars a year on people using their products without permission. “Think about how many people sing songs by Century Media bands on a regular basis. That is revenue the label is entitled to. After all, it is our property and they haven’t paid to use it,” said Heister, while kicking a puppy and burning a baby with a lit cigarette.
Last month, Century Media brought suit against Myrtle Washington, a 92-year-old woman who was overheard humming “The Star Spangled Banner” on line at a Kroger in New Port Richey, Florida. “The Star Spangled Banner” was, of course, first used on the Iced Earth album “The Glorious Burden”. The case was dismissed as by a local magistrate because it was considered frivolous, but that hasn’t stopped the label from looking for other creative new streams of revenue. Novel new methods of fundraising, like kidnapping and ransoming the children of those involved in illegal file sharing, are being strongly considered.
In spite of the unpopularity of the suit among many fans, some have rallied in support of the label’s right to use the American legal system as a giant extortion machine. Ralph Sycophant, a lifelong metalhead, self proclaimed rebel and founder of the internet protest group called Property Over People, believes that Century Media should continue with the lawsuit. “Companies have the right to do anything they want in order to make a profit. This is America. It’s in the Constitution,” said Sycophant.
The war over Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 100 metal albums of all time just got more heated. On Thursday morning, metalhead activist Steve Dalkowski lit himself on fire in his living room in Asbury Park, New Jersey in an attempt to show his anger at the recent Top 100 list. The fire consumed two-thirds of his house and his entire collection of Pig Destroyer live DVDs. According to a note left by Dalkowski, he could “no longer live in a world where Borknagar’s 2012 release Urd is not given its proper respect by metal fans and the media as a whole.”
Dalkowski’s note, which railed against several notable omissions from the list, was scrawled on the back of a gatefold vinyl copy of “Anthems to The Welkin At Dusk”. It included a scathing critique of the list, which he noted “failed to include anything by Darkthrone, Mayhem or any of the early Gorgoroth records.” Further, he added that “the doom genre got totally and completely ignored. What sort of Top 100 list would leave out anything by St. Vitus?” He finished the note by excoriating the writers at Rolling Stone for “not even knowing which Death album James Murphy was on.”
Rolling Stone’s list has been criticized by many metalheads for including bands that are not traditionally considered heavy metal. Number 23 on the list, for example, was Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde”. The Shins “Oh, Inverted World” and Kanye West’s “Late Registration” were also considered worthy of being in the Top 100 causing great consternation among those who follow metal. Still, Dalkowski’s reaction is considered extreme.
Dalkowski’s self-immolation is the latest in a string of metal related self-disfigurements. Two months ago, Nevada metalhead Jim Loudermilk doused himself in sulfuric acid to protest Cryptopsy’s failure to use fretless bass on their recent self-titled album. Last week, metal fan James Riley drowned himself in a giant vat of mustard in order to voice his displeasure that Bolt Thrower is not being allowed to play two sets at this year’s Maryland Death Fest.
Dalkowski is currently in critical condition at Mount Sinai hospital with burns over 90 percent of his body. Doctors expect a full recovery but believe he might never again be able to grow hair on his tongue.