Monday, 18 October 2021

Altered Native

 1997 was shaping up to be a monumental year. I was creating art, making music, reuniting with friends, & working my “dream job” at HMV records. In my spare time when I was alone you could find me playing WCW vs. The World on playstation, as that was the newest and hottest wrestling video game to come out at the time.  Wu-Tang Clan had also released their second full length album that year entitled “Wu-Tang Forever” and that was pretty much the soundtrack of 1997 for me. 

Shayne and his family had moved up to Orangeville so I took a trip up there with a friend one day to visit them and catch up. Turns out Shayne was making plans to open a small head shop in the town of Orangeville, and he already had the wheels in motion. It was very cool and exciting to see my friend going out on a limb and taking a leap of faith on what could possibly be a major career for him.

Before I knew it Shayne already had a location and had already started painting the place, acquiring stock, and getting things set up. I spent a day there with him and his mother Amber, and we painted some incense burners that he would be selling. 

Being a stranger in a strange town Shayne did not want to gamble on locals he didn’t know and couldn’t trust to work for him, so I offered to work weekends for him devoid of pay to help him out and give him a bit of a break. Being the stand up guy that he is, he offered to pay me in product as he felt bad about me working for free, and that agreement was absolutely fine with me. 

The shop officially opened in October of 1997, and although I was still working weekdays at HMV in Toronto, my weekends would now be spent in Orangeville. Thankfully my girlfriend Jenny was gracious enough to drive me there and pick me up each weekend, but that soon came to an end as we decided to mutually part ways, as our lives were going in separate directions and we weren’t getting to spend much time together anymore. 

Shayne ended up naming the shop “The Altered Native” which was a nod to our circle of friends, as we always used to pronounce the word “alternative” in two parts, Alter-native. It was merely a simple and funny play on the word that amused us, but he was now taking it to the next level. I helped out and designed a logo for him, which he put on business card sized stickers with the shop’s information, and proceeded to commence “operation guerrilla marketing tactics” which consisted of sticking these things everywhere and anywhere, with fast food drive-throughs  being the main target as they saw so much traffic on a daily basis.  

The shop was small and quaint, and he started off mainly selling incense, burners, smoking accessories, and t-shirts. We had a lot of friends in bands at the time too, so Shayne was gracious enough to let them sell their CDs on consignment there as well. Over time he started to branch out and acquire new products from different companies, thus the store was slowly growing into something bigger and better every passing day. 

Eventually he convinced his cousin Jason to join the crew. Jason lived in Kitchener and had recently started tattooing, so he also took a leap of blind faith, sold most of belongings, and moved to Orangeville. It was a very exciting time and I was more than happy to start getting tattoos from Jason. 

As the months passed by the shop was really starting to pick up momentum. Shayne planted the seed in me that it would only be a matter of time before he would need me there to work full time, and I was totally game for that…

The original location at 85 Broadway as it stands today.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Post Secondary Education

 It felt like it wasn't very long after the "one night only Wiggaz show" when my telephone rang one day and I was surprised to hear Gerg on the other end. Despite my former grudge I was holding it was a pleasant conversation and I can remember being happy to hear from him. Our circle of friends was somewhat divided the last year, and deep down I wanted nothing more than for all of us to be one big happy family again. 

Greg and I caught up on the phone for awhile then he brought up a new musical project he was working on with former Wiggaz drummer Frank, and a fellow named Carlo who was the bass player for the band Fraktured. The trio dubbed themselves "GRIFT" (after the movie "The Grifters") & cooked up a batch of fresh songs that they were looking for various people to sing on. I told him I was definitely interested, and not long after I was in possession of a cassette recording of a few of the songs he thought I might like to work with.

I can still vividly remember listening through the handful of songs a few times and decided on two of which I thought I could do something with. I put the word in to Gerg and it was decided. I can also vividly remember having a puff, then excitingly sitting down on the couch in my apartment on a nice sunny day with pen and paper ready to write some lyrics.

I honestly can't remember the window of time from when I finished writing until I was in a car with Greg on my way back to Rumblefish studios, our old Wiggaz rehearsal space. The owner Dave Caravaggio had since built a recording studio in what was once his oversized office and it was legit! Although I had been playing in bands on and off for 10 years at this point, today was actually my second time ever in a professional facility, the first being the Grasshopper demo 4-5 years prior.

From what I recall we were in and out of there like the wind, myself killing everything in one takes for the most part, and there was an overall buzz of excitement in the air amongst all parties involved. It was nice seeing Dave again, hanging out with Greg again, and re-uniting with Frank who I hadn't seen in some time. I'm pretty sure Carlo was there as well although we weren't close friends by any means at that point in life. 

I was feeling great about how things went and I couldn't wait to hear the final product. I was extra excited to learn that Gerg and the boys were putting this out on CD which was mind blowing to me at the time as it would be my first musical endeavor that was to be captured on compact disc. Recording was said and done then it was back to regular life. 

Eventually our lease was up and myself, Jay & Julie decided to part our separate ways despite still being great friends. I can't remember if I ended up back at my parent's house again or not for a brief window of time, but I did eventually end up living with Jenny and her family. Her oldest sister had gotten married and flew the coop, so her folks decided to sell their house and get an apartment on Lisa street, which was literally a 1 or 2 minute walk from Silver Maple where I had just moved out of.

I wasn't working with Jay at Beak Industries in Woodbridge anymore by this point, but I was still working at HMV in the Eaton's Centre, so it was nice still living across the street from the Bramalea City Centre where I caught my bus to Toronto for work.

At some point during this year my dream came true and our circle of friends were once again re-united and in full force. All my former room mates from "The Slayer House" were back in the picture, and it was great hanging out with Mike C. again as well as rekindling my friendship with Shayne, whom I considered my best friend. Him and Jay were talking, and after time we were all "one big happy family" yet again! 

I also did eventually end up back in my Mom & Dad's basement and my mom was now dropping me off to get my Go bus to Toronto in the mornings. When I moved into the Lisa apartment with Jenny and her family, her parents allowed my faithful cat Fritz to come along for the ride even though they weren't thrilled about the idea. When I moved back home they asked me if they could keep Fritz as they had grown so fond of him, I instantly said "YES" as it was the least I could do considering how hospitable they had been to me over the last 2 years.

After some anticipation, the day finally came and I had the Grift CD in my possession. As per usual I instantly headed to the stereo, threw on the headphones & listened through from front to back as I followed along with the lyrics. It was really cool hearing some familiar old voices again including Pat from Fence, Jim from Fraktured, Scott from Viciousphere, Fudd from Dirge, Kenny from Perfectly Normal, and my old BBJ brother Mike Myers. It was also very interesting to hear what had been done with the songs Gerg gave me on the tape way back when.

I can remember being so proud to show my parents I was on a real CD, as they somewhat frowned upon my musical ventures. I think it was out of spite to a degree like "HA! LOOK WHAT I DID! I MADE IT!" but the reality of the fact was I wasn't anywhere even close to making a living off of a musical career. 

In the Grasshopper days I had delusions of becoming a rock star, but at this point of my life I didn't think like that anymore. I just loved making music, being creative, and hopefully giving something to people that they could get something positive out of. My whole philosophy at this point was that even if I can change one person's life that is all the payment I needed.

I was extremely satisfied with how my two songs with Grift turned out and it was a trip to see a photo of myself in a CD. That could of been the end of the chapter and I would have been more than happy, but unbeknownst to myself this was just the beginning of a much bigger chapter...

GRIFT - Post Secondary Education

Monday, 22 February 2021

Dumpster Fire


Well once again I've failed in my promise to bring this blog back to life with some form of legs again.

I attempted to continue the story once again in early 2020 with the free time I'd been granted due to covid, yet I only managed to post twice the entire year. I remember being very excited and motivated at the time as well to get back at it with consistency, but it ended up being a very un-motivating and somewhat depressing year for myself and many others I'm sure. 

It was nice to see tons of other people however reveling in all the free time and having creative explosions in bountiful abundance. For what some might call one of the worst years ever I feel like many people created what they would consider their "best works" to date, and that always kept a light of hope in me to get out of my creative slump.

I did still create some art through drawing, I did still write some lyrics here and there, and I did still create music which has yet to be released, I just let myself down a bit in how little I did of all 3 of those and the above mentioned creative writing slump. 

The most positive and inspiring aspect I personally received from 2020 was all the time I got to spend with my son, and watching him grow in his own musical adventures through his guitar playing (something I could never do) it's just been a drag that him and I can't get out and do the things we enjoy outside of home, but I still cherish every second I have with him regardless of where we are or what we do.

So I guess you could consider this another empty promise to get the story going again? I certainly hope so, but one that finally plays out. 2 months have already passed by in 2021 and I've been struggling to break the chain of 2020 but I'm happy to report I have made some chinks in it. Pushing through with motivation, inspiration, & positive changes moving forward from here. 

If you are reading this, I hope you and yours are well, and I hope the last 12 months haven't been hard on your families and loved ones. 

On that note I'd like to share a posting of mine from Facebook dated January 1,2021:

To the ones we’ve lost in 2020...
Thank you all for the inspiration,
motivation and memories...
Neil Peart (Rush)
Juan ‘Pampero Firpo’ Kachmanian (Pro Wrestler)
Jesús “La Parka” Escoboza (Pro Wrestler)
Kazuo “Kendo Nagasaki” Sakurada (Pro Wrestler)
Wayde “Rocky Johnson” Bowles (Pro Wrestler)
Ruben “Hercules Ayala” Cruz (Pro Wrestler)
Sean Reinert (Death, Cynic)
Christoper “Justice Pain” Wilson (Pro Wrestler)
Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity)
Thomas “Tommy Mac” MacDonald (friend)
Josh Pappe (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles)
Max Von Sydow (Actor)
Jason Rainey (Sacred Reich)
Jeff Grosso (Pro Skateboarder)
Howard Finkel (Ring Announcer)
Lester “Supreme” Perfors (Pro Wrestler)
Steve “Thee Slayer Hippy” Hanford (Poison Idea)
Kenneth Osmond (Actor)
Fred Willard (Actor)
Shad Gaspard (Pro Wrestler)
Hana Kimura (Pro Wrestler)
Kendall “Chi Pig” Chinn (SNFU)
John Saxon (Actor)
Gabriel Theodoropolus (Grandfather)
Annie Theodoropolus (Grandmother)
William Dent (Uncle)
James “Kamala” Harris (Pro Wrestler)
Malik Basit (The Roots)
Joseph “Animal” Laurinatis (Pro Wrestler)
Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen)
Tracy Smothers (Pro Wrestler)
David Prowse (Actor)
Gangsta Ridd (Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.)
Richard Corben (Artist)
Tiny Lister Jr.(Actor)
Jeremy Bulloch (Actor)
John “Ecstasy” Fletcher (Whodini)
Jon “Brodie Lee” Huber (Pro Wrestler)
Daniel “Zev Love X/MF Doom” Dumile (Rapper/Producer)
I know there were numerous other losses in 2020 such as Sean Connery, Kenny Rogers, Pat Patterson and many more, but these are the ones that affected me personally, so please don’t take offense in any names I have omitted. Here’s hoping for much less loss and heart break in 2021!

Friday, 22 May 2020

One Night Only?

Although I was loving my new job at HMV it was really my only connection to music at the time as I wasn't playing in any bands, however that would all change with one phone call.

I was relaxing on the couch in our appartment on the 19th floor of Silver Maple Towers one day when the telephone rang, and obviously I answered it. I was surprised to hear Gerg's voice on the other end of the line, as we hadn't spoke since the demise of Wiggaz. I was still somewhat bitter over the whole situation and was harboring feelings of resentment towards Greg.

He was very humble as he apologized for the way things had transpired but I was not sure if I was ready to forgive him. We caught up with each other over some small talk and eventually Gerg got to the purpose of his phone call.

Rob, the former bass player of Wiggaz had moved to Vancouver awhile back and he was coming down east to visit. Greg expressed interest in playing a Wiggaz reunion show at our old stomping grounds of The Ivy Bridge where we first cut our teeth. I mulled it over in my head as he proposed the idea and in a matter of minutes I made my decision.

I agreed to play the gig but my heart was telling me I was making this decision for Rob and not for Greg. I don't think I was ready to forgive him at the time, but I liked the idea of our band getting back together even if it was for one night only.

The buzz of this show circulated quickly and the year was flying by rapidly which I had no problem with. Before I knew it the magical day of August 9th 1997 had arrived and it was time for the gig.

I had thrown out my old suit I wore religiously in Wiggaz so I had to figure out something to wear, but thankfully I still had my trusted Satan mask. My girlfriend Jenny took me to her parents house to rummage through their Halloween costumes and I happily stumbled upon a priest robe. I thought to myself "this is perfect" and snatched it up along with a cross on a rope that I somehow managed to invert.

I also planned on wearing a bloodied white shirt underneath which signified I was still wearing the shirt I had on when I was "assassinated" at the final Wiggaz show prior to this. Furthermore I made the concious decision that I would finally unmask myself for the first time ever.

I arrived at the Ivy Bridge early that day and there was already a small crew of friends hanging out. I was surprised to learn that we were performing on the main floor, as we had always played in the basement. I was even more surprised to see my old pal and EBS frontman Steve Waller was down from BC and in attendance. This really made my day and it was awesome catching up with him.

After a few hours of schmoozing and drinking the place was packed and it was time to rock. I stealthily slipped away into the bathroom or kitchen (I can't quite remember) and transformed myself back into "Satin" once again.

I heard the boys instruments as they warmed up and that was my cue. As I entered the room I got a huge pop from the crowd and it was time to fuck shit up. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people packed in like sardines and they went absolutely bonkers for us. Quite possibly one of the greatest receptions we had ever received during our time together as a band.

The rest of the night is really all a blur to me but I still remember that it was an incredibly magical evening. It was like we had never missed a beat.

Later on down the road a friend of ours Bob Kareer, who worked at musicplex with Greg, had given us a copy of the show he shot with his camcorder. It was amazing to relive the memories and see how crazy the audience went. Thankfully I was able to get a copy of it recently and I added it to my YouTube channel for all to enjoy via the links provided.

It seemed like the perfect reunion and farewell of the Wiggaz all rolled into one, but was it really our last performance?

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Welcome to 1997

Welcome back to Heavy Ghetto and welcome to 1997. With the wake of the current pandemic I figured what better time than now to give life to my monster again.

I pondered starting this post off with a recap of 1996, but upon further investigation of my previous posts (which I hadn't read in ages) I discovered one of the last chapters of the story I left off on was entitled "1996: Year In Review" so naturally there is no need for a recap. 

If you feel the desire to bring yourself up to speed since it's been awhile, feel free to read that entry before continuing on with this one. Now let us move forward.

As I stated in one of my last update posts, I am now striving to post on somewhat of a more frequent basis, but these entries with have more substance than those prior in hope's of getting back up to speed and giving this blog some legs again. It may only be one post a month or so but it's better than nothing I suppose...NOW let’s move forward...

Despite 1996 being somewhat of a dismal year, 1997 had started off with a bang. I had finally landed what I considered my "dream job" working in a record store. Seeing as how important music is to me I assumed it couldnt get any better than this.

My good friend and former band mate Paully had actually tipped me off that his girlfriend Jen could possibly hook me up with a job at HMV records.

I had applied to HMV in the Bramalea City Centre annually since it had opened almost a decade prior, yet heartbreakingly I never received a call back. Now I had an interview lined up at the HMV store inside The Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto.
It was a bit of a jaunt but I was excited none the less. I was still living with Jay and Julie in an appartment across from the Bramalea City Centre, so I eagerly headed to its infamous bus stop and hopped on the Go bus to Yorkdale.

From Yorkdale it was a quick commute on the subway, which I eventually exited at the Queen street stop that attached to Eaton Centre. I was excited and nervous for my interview.

I headed into HMV and met Jim the store manager. Jim took me into his office in the back of the store and proceeded to "interview" me. I use the term loosely as the "interview" was mere minutes if that, with Jim proclaiming "Jen says you want to work here. The job is yours if you want it" Obviously I accepted the gracious offer and before I knew it I was already on my way back home to Brampton.

I couldn't believe how easy the whole process was! As I stated earlier I had applied at HMV numerous times in the past and never received so much as a call back, but now my eyes were finally opened to the way things worked in this company.
Prior experience and work history made absolutely no difference, it really came down to who you know, something that would stick with me as I grew as a man in the years to come. I had learned a valuable life lesson and more importantly I had finally landed my "dream job".

Before I knew it I was officially working for HMV. My first day consisted of learning how to operate the cash register, redeeming gift certificates, and being instructed as to exactly what music we were permitted to play. Unfortunately we could only play CDs that were in the "top 10" chart, which meant mostly pop drivel.

We were however allowed to play any CD that was on the sale rack, and thankfully there was some decent stuff on sale at the time including the newest Faith No More album "King for a day fool for a lifetime", Primus' "Sailing the seas of cheese" and the first release of a new band called "Porno for Pyros". Needless to say I always had these 3 in the rotation on shuffle in our 5 disc CD player.

We also had a VCR under the registers that broadcasted on all the televisions simultaneously in the store. Although there was no volume it was nice to be able to watch movies in my downtime.

Located behind our registers as well was another multi disc CD player that controlled the listening stations, where people could put headphones on and preview music before deciding if they wanted to purchase it or not.

I quickly learned from a fellow co-worker named Lennox, that it was fun to fuck with people who were loitering at the listening stations or watching TV for extended periods of time by shutting the power off on them. It was hilariously amusing to see them stand there in confusion trying to figure out what had happened. 

I caught on to the job very quickly and my boss Jim considered me one of his fastest and most efficient cashiers. It got to the point where I could tell a customer their total before I'd even punched it into the till. Most CDs were generally the same few price points, all of which I had memorized after tax.

One of the most exciting aspects of the job for me personally was learning the fact that we as employees were entitled to make purchases at store cost, meaning whatever the store paid for a CD was the same price we would pay should we choose to make a purchase. 

Needless to say my eyes gleamed at this opportunity as I love music more than anything, but my plans were stymied when I learned there wasn't much mark up on alot of CDs. Most new releases were $11.99 cost price and would generally sell for 14.99 retail price. Older CDs ranged anywhere between 14.94 to well past the $20 mark.

I was a bit defeated to learn I would not really save THAT much money buying CDs at cost price. It was still very cool to be able to go into the computer system and see cost price on any item in the store, which led to my next discovery.

I had always been a fan of films and collecting them, although most VHS tapes at the time were $20 and up, so I opted to dub tapes quite often as I've mentioned previously in the story. One day at work I decided to peruse the movie section and was surprised to find the Troma film "Redneck Zombies" I eagerly ran to the computer with it and was blown away to see how low the cost price was in comparison to the marked up ticket price. I stashed it aside to buy after my shift had ended.

Naturally I started checking costs of other films, the most expensive cost price I came across was 11.99 for the movie Scarface which was actually 2 tapes. It was regularly priced around $30-$35 so once again I stashed it to buy after work.
Over the next few months my VHS collection had grown vastly and rapidly at little cost to myself, and it was a good feeling to actually own legit copies as opposed to dubs. We seemed to get Troma films in quite often and I always snatched them up as well as countless other goodies.

I ended up befriending our floor walker who's job was to pretend he was shopping while attempting to catch shoplifters. We hit it off quite well, and being the master thief that I was in a past life, I was consistently assisting him with busting people. The only clause was I had to be 100% sure someone had stolen or else would be in hot water for any false arrests. Needless to say our losses went down in numbers dramatically.

Another scam people used to try and pull was finding a receipt that wasn't theirs and attempt to "return" said CDs on receipt that they never actually purchased. Alot of times they would try the scam first at our superstore on 333 Yonge st. After being denied they would try it again at our store. Little did they know the employees at the superstore would call our store and pre-warn us, so it was always a satisfying feeling having the jump on them and denying any returns to which they would become very heated.

All in all I was loving my new job and I looked forward to hopefully learning about more fringe benefits in the weeks and months to come...

Wednesday, 26 June 2019


The time has come once again for me to release a plethora of cornball alterna rap songs that I've been working on for the past 2 years that is affectionately known as "NORTH OF HELL" and as always I've put my heart and soul into the project despite it taking so long.

I'd like to thank everyone that was involved with this one way or another, most noteably:
Dubble D, Daddio, DJ Moves, Tank Diggs, Mach Spitz, & Alex P. Keaton. I pondered if this would be the final Kabal release but alas I'm already committed to future collaborative engagements so who knows where those will lead me.

The past year of my life has been something else to say the least, but I will get into that in the near future as I am planning on re-booting the blog from where I left off on a weekly basis which would include lengthier posts. I've neglected this project on and off for the past few years now,so once again we shall see if it gets legs. In the meantime feel free to listen to an hour of music from yours truly (& friends) always free to stream or $5.00 digital download which comes with extra goodies.

Cheers! Love you all!

Listen to "NORTH OF HELL"

Saturday, 6 October 2018

UPDATE 06-10-2018

Greetings! Just a quick update as once again I've fallen off the blog wagon....or is it fell on? Regardless I've been striving to post on a bit more regular basis and I did make slight progress with that resolution but not as much as I'd of liked.... Now with summer being over and my seed back in school I'll be attempting to get some legs under this story again. 

In the meantime i wanted to quickly announce that I've been given the opportunity to open up for Everlast from House of Pain/Rhyme Syndicate fame and needless to say I'm pretty stoked. At this point in my life I merely create music as an expressive means as it is in my blood, it's not like I'm trying to land a deal or anything of that sort, but it's quite an honour to get to perform on a show of this level. I generally only perform once or twice a year and this year it's definitely going to be a memorable one!

I'm really looking forward to this and I'd like to thank my pal Noel & Inertia Entertainment for making this possible. I'd also like to thank my boys Mach Spitz and DJ Kevindicator for backing me up on this performance. I hope to see some familiar faces there and have a killer time! I was also a HUGE House of Pain mark back in the day, having seen both of their first two performances in Toronto, and Ev absolutely influenced me in the early 90's so this is going to be quite amazing for me, once again coming full circle to perform with one of my influences!

Post show stories and whatnot to follow for sure! Cheers!