Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reflections and Convergence

Yeah, I took a break from the #CS100. It'll resume shortly, I promise. I also promise that this time, I have a pretty damn good reason for taking a break from writing for a minute.

I lost my father recently. At about 3:31pm on March 20th, 2014, to be exact. There's a lot to be told there regarding him and a lot of that will be told slowly but surely. Suffice to say, this month has absolutely sucked because Dad and I were real close. Truth be told, this whole writing thing? He's pretty much responsible for. Because I never would have been this much into music as I am if it weren't for him. Not only that, but the way he used to recite poems and paint inspired me somewhat to express myself as well.

Oddly enough, what has me thinking about this now is listening to the content regarding the 20th anniversary of Pantera's Far Beyond Driven on Sirius satellite radio's Liquid Metal channel. Because it dawns on me that I started writing about music, wrestling, comics (most recently), pop culture, or just throwing my own creative miasma out there...whatever it may be, I started about 20 years ago as well. I know this because Vinnie Paul of Pantera was my very first interview. That happened almost 20 years ago, before they played the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach on July 2nd, 1994.

The interview was over the phone several days before the show. Vinnie Paul was a great guy to talk to and I even got their side of the story regarding some controversy with MTV at the time. (In short: MTV tried to claim they were racist with the lyric "building a blood in water scent" in the song "Using My Third Arm". The song had nothing to do with African Americans and everything to do with hating crooked cops. The heavy metal version of NWA's "Fuck Tha Police.") At that July 2nd show, my photographer Brad was forced to leave his camera in the car because of an incident lead singer Phil Anselmo had with security in Buffalo, New York a few days earlier.

What would seem a disappointment turned out to be a landmark, as Brad and I both met Vinnie Paul and his brother, Dimebag Darrell, in person before the show started. We were led into the arena from the back, Brad was rescued from a rather violent mosh pit, and we went on to enjoy one hell of a show.

That's the truncated version of how this entire writing thing ever got started. It's strange now as I realize that Far Beyond Driven means more to me than just being a brilliant heavy metal album. It also marks where I got my start.

And for all of that, I can thank Dad. Because I can see now, looking back on his influence, that he is where all of this started. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life was to make the decision to let him go and take him off life support. But it's exactly what he would have wanted. I know this because he'd told me that himself. The least I could do during his final moments was honor his wish.

Thank you, Dad. For your wise and steady hand and the influence that you've left on me and many others. There's much more to be said about you, and trust me it will be said. Thanks also to Vinnie, Dime, Phil, and Rex. Not only did the four of you create some visceral music, but you are where this all started in the first place nearly 20 years ago.

And who knows? Much to the chagrin of many people out there, there'll possibly be another 20 years to come.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Yeah, I know. Been another long stretch of nothin'. For what it's worth, I have a couple story ideas I may want to put down on (digital) paper. I may be a little more active here again soon. But, then, I've been having too much fun on Panels On Pages. You remember me talking about that, right?

I need to start listing those pieces here, too. Maybe later. But, if it helps, having too much fun on Panels On Pages is kinda why I'm here right now.

Kit, Here's The Scoop on #CS100. You heard me talk about on it on Twitter all day yesterday. It came from a love of reading. And writing. And wanting to explore the "micro-blogging" properties of Twitter. #CS100 will accomplish all of the above.

This past weekend, ComiXology offered up 100 (!) titles from their "Submit" initiative for only $10 (!!). Of course I jumped on that. Not just because it worked out to a dime per title, but because it was all independent creators, which is where my tastes lie more nowadays.

I should probably back up a bit and explain what's going on for the uninitiated. Comixology is a digital comics platform where you can buy and read comics without all the messy paper. Comnixology Submit is their independent arm, launched a year ago at SXSW (where things like that apparently happen now). Instead of going for Marvel or DC (who it pains me to say is really tanking right now, at least in terms of quality), I've been leaning more towards smaller, independent books. Because more often than not, that's where the quality is at*. So, when they offered up 100 (!) titles from their "Submit" initiative for only $10 (!!), of course I jumped on that. Wow, deja vu.

I'm gonna have a blast reading each one of them. Yes, each one of them. And you get to come along for the ride and share in my madness, because each of the 100 titles will be reviewed on Twitter in no particular order. There'll also be a tie-in on the aforementioned Panels On Pages in a couple weeks. Now, this isn't the only thing I do on Twitter, so you'll know if it's a review by seeing the #CS100 (as in, Comixology Submit, 100 books) hashtag.

This is gonna be too much fun. Hope you come along for the ride.

* - Case in point: World War Mob by my pal, Vito Delsante. Imagine a croup of capos having to take out a hit. In the middle of the biggest war in our planet's history. This is good stuff, 2 issues in. And it's only about $2 an issue! Looking forward to more. I promise it won't disappoint if you give it a try.