1996 was off to a terrible start to say the least. Wiggaz had broken up, our circle of friends was divided, and Jay Poole had passed away a mere 5 or 6 days after my 23rd birthday. I couldn't seem to get myself together, as all I was doing was drinking myself into oblivion. I always felt the need to get out and do something to clear my mind, unfortunately that "something" generally led to bars, strip joints, and excessive amounts of alcohol. On top of that I had found myself in a few fights since Jay's passing and that certainly wasn't helping release the pain I had deep inside.
I was still hanging out with Scott & Pino quite frequently as I couldn't just sit at home. Unfortunately I was drinking a lot in their company as well, but they were great friends and I needed that during these hard times. Just when it seemed like my dark path of depression was leading me deeper and deeper into a void of negativity, there was still one positive in my life to bring me back to the light....music. I hadn't finished my song I started writing the day I found out about Jay, so it was now time to put pen back to paper.
Another very important ingredient to getting myself grounded again was my bandmate Pauly. Paul had recently upgraded from drum machine to an AKI sampler. Not only could we now sample beats, but we could essentially sample any sound from anything we wanted. This was going to elevate Black Belt Jones to the next level. Pauly started coming over religiously every Monday, and we would watch the newest WWF wrestling program "RAW IS WAR". After Raw we would head into my bedroom and work on music. This literally became my saving grace and it was the one thing I looked forward to most each week.
I had kind of stopped watching wrestling around the time I graduated in 1991, I was still a casual viewer, but this new RAW show was ushering in what would come to be known as "the attitude era". It was actually unpredictable for once, had cliffhanger endings, and you really never knew what was going to happen each week. It was great to see a resurgence with unlimited potential.
It was also amazing putting my head together with Paul's each week and seeing what we could come up with. Once we composed what would be the "Jay Poole song" I was stoked to finally lay these lyrics down and pay tribute to my fallen brother. It was by far the most emotional moment in the history of my involvement with music. I literally had to fight back the tears throughout the whole recording, and you can literally hear the misery and heartbreak in my voice. On a positive note though, it really gave me the closure I needed and steered me towards the light.
Pauly and I stared banging ideas out like mad and it wasn't long before we had quite a few new songs put together. Our next step in the plan was to work on recording a new release and to continue playing live gigs so we could showcase our new sounds and our new songs. Despite the fact he was still in the band with us, I really hadn't seen much of Mike C. since we had moved out of the Slayer house. I truly hoped the collaborations Paul and I were creating would garnish his approval, and I had faith that they would. After all we were coming up with some killer stuff, and Mike was definitely one of the easiest going, most laid back guys I had ever met.
I'm not sure if Pauly realizes how important he was to me in these times, but I truly saw him as a savior. He's forever held a place in my heart, and to this present day I would still drop everything in a flash to answer his call or help him with anything. He was a true homie, a true brother, and a true best friend, and I shall cherish that until the end of time.
Changes were occurring and they were all for the betterment of my life. I had cut my drinking down drastically, now limiting myself to only partaking on weekends. Musically the creative juices were flowing at an all time high. I was also making time to get out more and catch up with many of the friends I hadn't seen since moving home. I had seen the light, and followed it until I emerged from the dark tunnel of depression.
Things were looking up...