In the mind of Nate

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Either you got it or You Don't

Hello once again,

Yea Yea,its been awhile since the last post. Anyone keeping count of how many times I've opened with that? In all seriousness things got a little busy with working on the new album and sending promotional material along with our first album out to stores in several different parts of the Country(soon to be nationwide). I felt that with today being Record Store Day I had to make a post and thank all of the stores that are now carrying our music. And we have just started taking pre orders for the new album on Pledge Music along with some other specials deals for our fans. Also, I wantedmy last article on Dean to be a focal point to both my regular readers as well as new visitors. It was a truly groundbreaking entry for both me as a writer and for the Artist. I had taken lots of time acquiring the right information about his projects as well as his new project, and asked him all of the questions I felt that people would like to know the answers to and of course spending plenty of time to asking him about his goals for building a public image in order to present him and his music accurately. So in a nutshell, this was a big step for me as far as being instrumental in an artists public relations.

While I am taking care of all these things, I am just focusing on the end results and not the tasks that some may find to be tedious or too time consuming. From sharing on social media,building a new profile on Pledge Music to researching the places I'd like to send packages to,ordering print materials,mailings and following up with each retailer or contacts. Not to mention retooling the process as issues arise or ideas to make things run smoother get thought of, while getting a second opinion from trusted colleagues and fans. I don't think by any means that what I'm doing is at all Super Human or groundbreaking nor do I think I deserve some special award for it (growing up when someone was pining for praise we would ask them : Do you want a medal or a monument?) I'm just realizing that not everyone is willing to do this. And of course with sending out packages I've had plenty of help from friends and fans which a I greatly appreciate. I just recall a time when former bandmates would complain that I was asking for a small amount of help or actually complaining that I was doing this all together. I couldn't wrap my head around why,except for lack of faith in what I was doing(or their own abilities),ignorance and those that started the project with me,not having the integrity (or spine) to tell these folks whats up and take a hike if you don't like it. Actually, they wanted to fire me if that makes any sense. Well, I realized in this and any of Bullshit situation that: I'm not a Shrink,I'm not a social worker and I don't need these people that will eventually bring me down if I don't protect what Ive worked for. Notice I said "former bandmates" and I will leave it at that.

The quams I got from these Lethargic folks was because the things I was doing were just foreign to them. Much like their attitude was foreign to me. I just have been fortunate enough to have good teachers growing up that not only showed us the right way to perform and understand music. But also educated us on the business side, which we all know is every changing. Like any goal, it won't come overnight and you have to keep working on it. Be willing to make sacrifices, be willing to do at least one thing every day to get closer to your immediate goals. I say Immediate because, for myself I can't get satisfaction from one accomplishment. I'm always thinking "what next?". Look at how many albums a successful artist does or how many shows or movies a famous actor stars in. And doing something everyday doesn't have to be something groundbreaking.It could be making a phone call,sending an email,writing a riff. After all, like Ray Lewis said : “Greatness Is a Lot of Small Things Done Well”

So what I'm saying is I don't see this stuff as "work" It's quite enjoyable. I'm just doing what I need to do on a daily basis,knowing I'm making progress. And I am meeting and speaking to lots of new and interesting people all around the Country. For me, I couldn't ask for anything more besides seeing all the results I desire become a reality.

Thanks again for reading, I am looking forward to seeing what this Summer brings and the completion of the new album. Like I mentioned at the start of this post, we are dong pre orders of the new album. The Page we set up is allowing us to give people who pre order all updates on the album's progress and some bonuses like a signed copy of the first album, a grab bag of all promo stuff and merchandise, having us come to perform at your house and more. I am also offering help to other artists by appointment. But we have an will take suggestions from people on other bonuses. And part of the money will go to Charity. Hope to get another Entry out to you Soon. Be well and check out some of the deals you can get today on Record Store Day


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Life Lessons from the Miner

A mutual friend had told me that Dean was about to start promoting his new solo project, along with their debut album "Life Lessons" and his new company: "Plan 916" where with the help of Owner Matt Kustom he has developed his own signature guitar pickups. This prompted me to listen to his new album and get some insight into how he formed this new project and his history as a musician

Brandishing a persona that appears to be a hybrid of Johnny Depp and Stone Cold Steve Austin who happens to know how to shred on guitar,Dean has been performing live since 2002 with his first band,which was formed in the previous year: Eyeless,and then with Deathstick,Verfallen and Salvage. He then went onto tour with more notable acts like: The Independents,Black Cat Attack and Darrow Chemical Company and currently is a member of Darkness Descends and Children of October,and surprisingly a Hip Hip act known as the Draf and Retro Glam. However, "Life Lessons" steers away from his other projects in that are mainly in the Horror punk and Metal Genres

"The album is a story of my hard life lessons I've had to learn these past few years, everything from love to death and happiness to in-depth sadness a pure emotional journey. I thought that watching your loved ones die was scarier and more identifiable then werewolves and vampires"

Earlier in life,Dean became inspired after hearing a variety of music from Beethoven to Nine Inch Nails and in particular guitar players including : Eddie Van Halen,Dimebag Darrell,Daisy Berkowitz(of Marilyn Manson),Jimi Hendrix,BucketHead and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Dean tells us how he took his leap into the world of becoming a musician: "On the eve of my 13th birthday I was bestowed an item that changed my life forever, a 1997 Ibanez RX40, blue with a white pick guard HSS(Humbucker,Single Coil,Single Coil) with a blond headstock and rosewood fret board and I later added some stickers and customized it with the help of Plan 916 with some custom built HSH(Humbucker,Single Coil,Humbucker) pickups. I love that thing.... its my favorite guitar still and I play it on stage to this day".

Since then Dean has added 8 more six strings guitars,2 of which are acoustic as well as 4 seven string guitars, and 2 eight strings guitars. All of which were made by Ibanez with Plan 916 pickups.

Growing up as a Child of two avid music lovers, Dean was fortunate enough to have met many Rock Legends including Ace Frehley of Kiss,at one of the first concerts his Mother took him too. As well as Peter Wolf and the Members of Fog Hat and Bad Company.

This was only a mere taste of what Dean would experience later on as a live musician. The fore mentioned bands he played with over the years have shared the stage with many well known artists like : Fear Factory, Static X, ICP, After the Burial, Periphery, Atilla, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Gotham Road, 40 Below Summer, The Independents, Possessed, Cheech and Chong, George Clinton and the P funk all stars, The Ghetto Boys, and many more.

All of these experiences, both musically and personally lead up to Dean creating his new album: "Life Lessons" that I recently listened to and which had several things that made this album stand out. In particular the song and the character that Dean himself created to represent this new solo project: "the Miner". As he goes to explain in more detail here:

"The Miner is the Mascot of my solo project. Its Symbolic to me of my transformation away from certain evils in my life to focus on the positive. it was inspired by a small pewter figurine that I was staring at when i was writing my first song during a small split between me and Darkness Descends. I had an image in mind and I explained it to artist Jeff Stevens From Jackson Tennessee, he owns Tattoo Station, where I get my ink. The image was also worked on by James Rowe and Laura Desantes-Olsson."

The song itself keeps consistent with Dean's Hypnotic vocal tones. This song however, also is reminiscent of the drab psychedelic sounds of the 1960's in particular the Beatles "She's so heavy"

A few other tracks of note that I want to mention (without giving away too much so that listeners can appreciate the album's quality as a whole and find their own favorites) include a pleasant surprise carefully placed in the middle of the album the instrumental "Lean in,Lean toward,Lean with" like the title suggests, this wordless poem tell a story of it own, it allows each listener to imagine their own unique story as they hear the fluid guitar pattern changes from bold strumming similar Latin folk rhythms to arpeggiated chords.Another song that I really enjoyed was: "Everything Fades" loaded with direct lyrics that anyone that has suffered heartbreak can relate to, also offers an upbeat tempo and an out of the box power metal guitar lick

In the future Dean hopes to continue to collaborate with fellow music lovers, but for now will focus on working with Plan 916 that just created his own signature set of Miner guitar pickups,new music from Children of October and Darkness Descends and especially his new album "Life lessons" now available for download that will be released on cd later this month and his own line of merchandise including skateboards. After all, there is always the future full of surprises that all are just waiting to see unfold.

For more information on his new album "Life Lessons" and Merchandise please visit:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One Man's trip to NAMM

Mike Repel with Heidi Sheperd from the band the Butcher Babies

For most musicians, especially us "gear heads" this past weekend is like a second Christmas. This past weekend the NAMM show was held at the Anaheim convention center in Anaheim, California. All music instrument manufacturers showcase their new gear including products that feature the latest technology (such as recording software).From new guitars to synths,drums,saxophones and much more. Along with new product demonstrations you can also see live performances and appearances by many of the industrie's top artists. Most of us (myself included) have to patiently wait for the new products to hit stores, and hope to catch a few highlights of pics and videos online.

I was able to pick the brain of a friend that attended this years show. Mike Repel, Lead Singer/Guitarist for the band "Riotous Indignation" and author of : The Music Industry Self Help Guide which is a very good read (a must for anyone crazy enough to consider a career as a musician) Which is now available at Sam Ash Music Stores and on their website. In keeping with my alternate title for this entry: the blog post that wrote itself, I'll let him take from here and (for those of you that don't know) he will tell you what the NAMM acronym stands for.

"After 5 years with no rain, it seemed to all come down the one weekend that I decided to go to California. I could of stayed in Chicago for that bullshit.

However, even though the weather was not optimal, the rain itself was a small inconvenience compared to the awesome weekend I had. As many of you know, and also as many of you don’t know, NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants) is an invitation only event. For those that are able to attend, the place is an absolute madhouse, and it can pretty much be described as walking into a mile long Sam Ash Music Store or Guitar Center. This is the official trade show for new music gear and music products. There is so much to take in at this event that even if you spend the entire 4 days there, there is a good possibility that you won’t see everything on the floor. I estimate that I walked about 8 miles a day in the convention center, and it seems that this may be average based on a conversation I had with someone who was wearing a pedometer that registered 22,000 steps for his day. There is literally that much to see.

Among some of the newest and innovative toys available, I have seen some things that are absolutely needed in today’s industry. We currently live in a time where impoverished criminals are desperate and emboldened and are targeting touring musicians’ vans and trailers. We all know someone, or some band personally that has been affected by this, and if it has happened to you directly, then you know the soul crushing and gut wrenching feeling of loss that the theft of your musical equipment creates. An item to keep a look out for is by a company from; a company that embeds GPS tracking chips deep into musical instruments in places where they cannot be removed without destroying the instrument. I had an opportunity to speak with Rob Meives who launched this product which has a battery that lasts 25 years and a GPS tracking ability that can locate your instrument or gear within 10 feet of its signal, anywhere in the world. You can find information on Gear Secure by searching for the Hashtag #TheEndToLostOrStolen.

Mike with Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest
the band Fractured playing at the Schecter indie party at the Juke joint

Without getting into all of the gear that was available, mostly because I am tired, and I am waiting for my connecting flight back to Chicago, there is a myriad of celebrities, friends and acquaintances at these events that make this annual trip worthwhile. As a musician, there is no other place that I could think of where you have such a large gathering of like-minded people who are all active in their careers. There is something about being around a bunch of people all weekend who are on the same wavelength as you that absolutely recharges your batteries.

Mike with Mairead Nesbitt of Celtic Women

The whole place is a massive meet and greet and with scheduled live entertainment on and off the convention center property, there is something for everyone to do. Schecter Guitars had two events that I attended which were an absolute great time. They had a packed house on Friday Jan 20th at their independent artists party at The Juke Joint in Anaheim. The bands at this event were all Schecter sponsored artists and absolutely kicked ass, one notable act that absolutely slayed the place was a group called Fracture (find them online under Fracture818). As good of a time as this was, it could not describe the blowout party Schecter had the following night at the Grove Theater of Anaheim. Co-Sponsored by ColdCock Whiskey, this event was packed to the gills with artists and attendees from all over the globe. Kyng, Kings X and Zack Wyldes “Zakk Sabbath” played inside while a DJ spun metal all night in the courtyard which had gas burning heating towers and bars serving ColdCock whiskey evenly distributed to ensure the crowds warmth.

Mike and Miss Elizadeth from Los Anarachy Radio hanging out with Metal Sanaz

Other than the fact that this place was filled with cool people, and some of the most amazing looking women that were occupying southern California this weekend, one notable thing to mention was the thick cloud that hung over the courtyard. This cloud was not a weather related event, but rather a man made by product of California’s relaxed laws on the possession and consumption of recreational Marijuana. This relaxed atmosphere allowed everyone to have a good time, pretty much on their terms. I had a great time and recommend that anyone with the wherewithal to do so makes sure that they attend this event if they get the opportunity to do so."

For more information on what you could have seen this year at NAMM please visit
And be sure to check out Mike Repel's Band Riotous Indignation here:

Also,Get a FREE excerpt from Mike's book here: