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.

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