The Peavey VTM 120 is [looks around to see who is listening] a great fucking amp. Don’t tell your friends, because you can still get ’em relatively cheap. It’s essentially a JCM 800 clone with a set of DIP switches “to avoid any Imperial entanglements.” Sebastian Phillips, my bandmate in Exhumed, swears so much by his that he has one for each coast. He even got our other guitfiddler, Matt Harvey, to get one as a back-up for his 5150 (or 6505… I can’t keep track).
Of course, even a good amp has a bad day. This trooper made it through a marathon six-week tour, but upped and quit on us the very last day. It just stopped turning on. Luckily, Matt had that back-up, so Sebastian didn’t lose his groove. I took the amp after we unpacked our shit and did my doktor thing.
Since the gang was all flying back together from South America, Matt thought it would be a good idea to do a few more shows in the U.S. before Exhumed had to all head our separate ways. We didn’t have a new album, but we DID have a new hot sauce! So… let’s promote that!
From Hella Hot Hot Sauce, the same gang that brought the Ghoul hot sauce to life, comes Exhumed’s Forged In Fire Hot Sauce! It’s the gastronomical equivalent of our music, in that it’ll also make you shoot fire out your ass!
Roughly halfway through our tour, we flew over the Panama Canal and headed for the first time into South America. Only Mike had been here before, doing tech work for Exodus. For the rest of us, this was new ground. Half-way through my life, new ground is rare. We landed in Medellin, Colombia, and had one of the most beautiful drives through verdant mountains into one of the coolest looking cities I’ve ever seen.
And the drive was pretty much all I saw. We got to the club and prepared for our fucking four hour long sound check or whatever. Baz was especially uncomfortable, having been knocked down by the ‘rrhea earlier that day. Mike would follow. All of Beyond Creation was already suffering days before. Oddly, Matt, whose bowels are regularly known to be home of the devil, is the only one who came out of this Latin American tour unscathed by the demon bung water.
Last month, I headed out with Exhumed for a tour of Latin America. I’ve already played Mexico a bunch, but this would be the first tour for me, and Exhumed, to head even further South… right down to where the toilet water spins the other direction (lies… it doesn’t). We had just finished recording a new album, literally hours before we got on a plane at LAX to our first stop in Monterrey.
This was the first time I had a dude with a sign waiting to pick me (and the boys) up. It was momentous. It would get tiresome. So… many… flights. We also had some tigers show up to take photos of us. How did they know what flight we were on? Even the promoters couldn’t explain. This would become a frequent occurrence throughout Latin America.
Last year, Exhumed was invited to play the 2018 edition of the annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise. I hadn’t played with Exhumed in almost a full year’s time while their former bass player, Matt Slime, filled-in for me. He’s logged in more time playing with Exhumed than I have since “replacing” him. I actually did offer Exhumed to take Slime in my stead, because a nice cruise seemed like it would be a good reward for hard work. Well, they insisted I go and I got to enjoy my second 70000 Tons.
I played the boat two years ago with my fellow hooded cannibals. It was a wild ride. We’re obviously not the main kind of draw that the cruise has, it being mostly populated with power metal bands from Europe. They do get a few good death and thrash bands to even things out a bit for the attendees who like something more than just songs about ale and vikings on long boats.
It’s like some kind of weird dream… I’m apparently back in Exhumed. Only, it’s not in the same room, and like, there’s a snake rolling a donut. I mean, it’s actually been almost two years since I accepted the invitation to rejoin, but we’ve had just a handful of shows since. Matt has had a record ready to record before I even joined, though. This last March, when I asked Matt when we would get down to practice new stuff, he informed me, actually, we were going ahead and recording . It had to be done before May. Oh, fuck. Okay, the dream became a nightmare.
So, okay… get your shit together, Sewage, this is fucking happening. Matt and Mike were heading to Florida to get guitars and drums tracked. To keep things easy (and cheap) I was going to take care of my own vocal and bass tracking back in Oakland. This not only had the benefit of saving costs, but also of sparing anyone the time of editing all the shitty playing that was to be forthcoming on a bunch of songs I’d never actually played with a band. It was lucky that I had collected the gear, had the studio with my other Oakland-based band, and had been through some of this before. Here’s how I did it.
I guess I hadn’t totally blown it guest bass-playing for five days with Exhumed, because Matt Harvey shot me an email asking if I’d like to play with them at some little fest in Mexico. I said, sure, because I’m a dummy and didn’t even think about how busy I’d be around then, moving, working, playing shows, and prepping for tour. Me am smart. So of course, I put off the newer Exhumed songs I needed to learn to play a full set. As I meandered threw them in the days before, I finally saw the little fest we were playing wasn’t so little. Judas Priest headlining? Holy fuck…
To be honest, I’d avoided hearing too much of later Exhumed records because I’m a bitter little bitch. Now I had to learn vocals and bass licks I had just the barest familiarity with. I was surprised at how complicated Exhumed riffs had gotten. I ditched any notion of trying to learn this shit finger-strumming in the short time I had and went straight to the pick. I was also surprised how much I liked it way more than the material immediately following my original firing. Exhumed 2.0 is one bad-assed death metal band.
After a long-assed drive from Oakland’s punk-sister-city of Portland, I was back home. Hell, I spend such an inordinate amount of time at the Oakland Metro Operahouse, I even got married there. Tonight, I would rock the stage yet again, but this time with the first band I was ever in worthy of noting. It felt like I would be showing the biggest group of friends ever an old photo album.
I showed up early, because I have a nervous fit if I’m not in a club I’m playing before doors open. I had absolutely no cause to be there, but to walk around not actually loading shit. If I’d wanted this set to be 100% old-school, the proper thing to do would’ve been showing up five minutes before playing and realizing I had a broken string.