Monday, 29 April 2013

Blog Trifecta

Well I'm happy to say that the one year anniversary of this blog was April 10th, 2013, and the story is still going strong. My allegiance of readers is continuing to grow, which is truly amazing to me and I don't think words can really express how much I truly appreciate it and the feeling it gives me inside.

Although I started out with some form of structure in the beginning, my posts have gotten somewhat sporadic over the last 6 months to say the least, I did however manage to enter 187 blog posts in a one year time period, which works out to about one post every other day. I had hoped to post Monday to Friday on a weekly basis but it just isn't always possible to do so, which I feel is somewhat unfair to the reader, as you are left in the dark as to when the next blog entry will be posted.

After serious consideration I have decided to use last years "summer schedule" as my new, permanent structure. For those of you who may remember, last year I was posting religiously 5 days a week from April to June, then for the summer schedule I only posted Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This will now be the way things are from this point in time and moving forward, so you can expect to see a trifecta of blog entries every week from here on in.

I feel having four days where I don't have to post will be beneficial to both me the writer and you the reader, as it gives me extra time to write during the week, plus I'm gearing up to launch the video version of this blog on YouTube, so the extra free time will hopefully enable me to get that mission off the ground sooner than later.

I thank you for your time, understanding, and your continuous support in following my story thus far, in one year I've managed to cover my life from birth to age 16, and I can assure you things are only going to get more interesting as we move forward with Heavy Ghetto.

See you this Wednesday...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Shut up, be happy

One fact among many that I thoroughly enjoyed about my new group of older friends, was the fact they were open minded enough to enjoy rap music. It seemed that metal heads had no time for rap, but people who were open enough in the mind to transition from metal to hardcore, such as myself, seemed to understand and enjoy the concept, sound, and raw energy of rap.

One of my earliest memories of partying in Dove's basement was one of my first times there. We were playing ice hockey on the Nintendo and listening to Black Sabbath. Noel showed up, and he was notorious for controlling the stereo, no sooner than he arrived he was sitting cross legged in front of the stereo. As soon as whatever Sabbath song that was playing finished, Noel quickly removed it from the stereo and cued up a new selection.

The song opened with the sound of rain & church bells, then the beat and ever familiar Devil's tri-note kicked in. I recognized it right away, it was the song Black Sabbath. I couldn't figure out why Noel turned off Black Sabbath just to play more Black Sabbath. Then out of nowhere a voice kicked in and began to talk. I also immediately recognized the voice, it was Jello Biafra, lead singer of the punk band Dead Kennedys.

The words he spoke were delivered in the vein of some government official making an announcement to the masses of how America was now under marshal law, people had to stay in their homes etc. the song was called "Shut up, be happy" and I found it very powerful. Once it ended I was shocked and surprised when a mellow hip hop beat kicked in. I asked Noel what the hell we were listening to and he informed me it was the new Ice-T album "The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech"

I sat back drinking and smoking taking it all in. We listened to the album from front to back and I was quite impressed with the newest release from the Iceberg. A lot of the songs were hype and upbeat, and once again had that aggressive parallel to hardcore music.

Over the next few weekends parting at Dove's I discovered the guys were listening to even more Ice T records and more rap in general, mainly Beastie Boys, N.W.A., Big Daddy Kane, & Boogie Down Productions just to name a few.

I felt such a sense of relief knowing that these new friends wouldn't ostracize me for being a fan of rap music, something I hid from most people as I was always ridiculed for it, even from my own friends I grew up with, but now in a house that wasn't mine I truly felt at home...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Infamous Cat Shit Party

In my grade 10 English class there was a small group of guys who we referred to as "the skids" they were your typical dirty rock on types who thought they were cooler than anyone, yet they were too stuck in the 80s metal time warp to understand the nuances of hardcore kids such as myself. Word had it these guys had a "band" but no one ever saw nor heard shit from them.

I caught wind that they were having a party at one of their houses on the weekend, and surprisingly E.B.S. was going to be performing. For some reason we didn't make it to the party, I can't remember why but it ended up being one of the only EBS shows I ever missed.

On Monday all the EBS guys were referring to the weekends gig as "the cat shit party" when I inquired why they had dubbed it such I was informed about how the dudes house was full of cats, there were litter boxes and turds everywhere, and apparently the entire house smelled of catshit. Hilarious I thought to myself.

Later that day in English class, I overheard the kid who lived in the "catshit house" bad mouthing EBS and their performance from the weekend. The guy referred to them as "Epileptic Butt Fuckers" and I was fucking furious! When I told the EBS guys about it they just kind of laughed it off. I guess that kind of thing didn't bother them...or so I thought.

The next weekend while out drinking and roaming the streets, the EBS boys ran into "the skids" Mike Myre, who was extremely intoxicated, started calling out the catshit kid about his comments. Before the shook kid could say a word Myre was pummelling him into the ground repeatedly yelling "Epileptic Butt Fuckers huh?!?" For the finish, he picked the dudes bike up and dumped it on top of his battered carcass lying in the street.

The guy never even showed up to school the following week, I think he was embarrassed and wanted to hide his wounds until they healed. EBS were very peaceful, nice guys, and generally straight edge, but if you threw some booze in the mix it was quite apparent that even the nicest of people could get medieval on somebody, and I was loving it!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Demon Barf

It seemed like every time my crew and I went to see an Epileptic Brain Surgeons show, there was always this other crew there marking out for them, the same guys I mentioned from the "Skatezone" post, but just who were they?

They were a colourful group to say the least, one of them was a black guy but he was always sporting Anthrax shirts, another of the guys looked like a little white rasta metal head, one of them was a bigger, stockier fellow with a sweet feathered mullet, then there was a tall, slim guy with a bowl cut who reminded me of Tony Hawk, and lastly there was a guy who looked more goth or industrial, he wore all black mostly and had glasses.

I don't know what it was about these dudes but I didn't like them one bit, mind you I'm a bit quick to pull the trigger on judging people I don't know. To be quite honest I didn't even have a reason not to like these guys, but in my mind there was some form of unspoken competition in regards to who the biggest EBS fans were. I clearly felt my crew were the ultimate EBS fans, yet these guys probably felt the same way about themselves. This meant war!

The lines in the sand were quickly disappearing as the crossover movement flourished, and I was happy and proud to see punks, thrashers, & skin heads co-existing in the scene together. So why did I loathe these guys so much? The scene was clearly one of unity, yet I felt these guys should have been excluded from it for some unknown reason. Looking back on this I think I was somewhat jealous & greedy, I didn't want to share my favourite local band with strangers I considered outsiders.

One day at the Bramalea City Centre I was hanging out with Pooh & Waller in the food court when we were approached by "those guys" They shot the shit with the EBS duo for a bit, and then they were on their way. As soon as they were out of earshot I immediately asked Pooh & Waller "Who in the fuck are those clowns? I see them at every godamn show!" Pooh went on to tell me they were some guys from their high school, Chinguacousy. They were in the same grade as me. Where I was lucky enough to have Myre & McCuish in my high school, they were lucky enough to have the other half of EBS at their school.

Pooh went onto tell me all their names. The black guy was Kevin, the white rasta was Gregg, the stocky mullet man was Paul, the Tony lookalike was named Mike, and the goth looking guys name was Matt. Pooh also went on to tell me that they had their own band as well, they were called Demon Barf.

I thought to myself "Great, not only do we have to contend with these guys as EBS super fans, but now we are going to have to contend with them as the next Brampton band to emerge from the scene"

Little did i know at the time, these guys would go on to be good friends of mine in the years to come, but in the heat of the moment I only had one thought on my mind....this was war!

Friday, 19 April 2013


Greetings readers, just taking a quick moment to apologize for the severe lack of blog posts this week. I seemed to have picked up some sort of flu bug and I've been somewhat bed ridden. I haven't had the energy nor the brain function to write anymore this week. Heavy Ghetto will return on Monday, in the meantime feel free to check out some of my latest music I've been working on. I'd also like to wish all you smokers out there a safe and happy 4/20 weekend! Blaze em' up!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Skate Zone

Midway into spring we caught wind of a show that was taking place featuring Epileptic Brain Surgeons along with a few other local Toronto bands, which seemed like a regular weekend happening in those days, but the setting for this show was much more different than the usual basement bash. This particular show was taking place at an indoor skate park, something I had yet to witness at this point in my life. The perk was called "Skatezone" and from what I recall it was somewhere in the Mississauga/Etobicoke area. That was quite a jaunt from our stomping grounds in Bramalea. I didn't know how I would get there, but I knew I would one way or another.

For some reason Jerry didn't drive as he usually would have, I'm not sure if he was out of gas or if his car was in the shop, but regardless we needed to find a way there. Our parents were kind enough to help us out, My dad drove us all there and Ryan's dad picked us all up at the end of the night. Or vice verse  I can't quite remember.

From the moment we stepped in the place it was magical. The smell of sweat and stale cigarettes filled the air. Kids on skateboards were wheeling around everywhere. All you could hear were murmurs of various overlapping conversations and the sound of skateboards clacking and grinding away.
Up top of the biggest half pipe I saw the boys from EBS setting up their gear. We went and hung out with them until it was time for the show to start.

I honestly don't remember much about the opening acts, but I do remember that by the time the Surgeons started playing the place was ballistic. There was a full blown circle pit in the middle of the half pipe and I was right in the middle of the action. The boys and I started running up the side of the ramp and purposely sliding back down, crashing into the pit like a bowling ball into pins, knocking people down in every direction, it was absolute chaos. This was by far the best mosh pit I had ever been apart of to date.

One thing I noticed at the show was a group of guys around my age. I knew they were from Brampton as I had seen them around the scene, I knew they were EBS fans because I saw them at all the shows. But just who in the hell were these guys???

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

King of Kensington

Hey everyone, just taking a bit of a break from the story once again, I apologize as always, it's just in telling this story I find myself needing small breaks here and there to keep the fire burning, as it is on these small breaks that I comb my brain for informative memories, most of which are very inspirational to me and necessary to continue the story in chronological order as best I can.

During this thought process I had an idea to do a vlog (video blog) version of Heavy Ghetto, my reasoning is quite simple, most people are visual and perhaps somewhat lazy when it comes to reading, so it's much easier to watch a movie than it is for one to read a book. Don't get me wrong, I love to read and write, if I do decide to go the video route you can still expect this blog to continue. The video version would simply be a re-telling of the story I've shared thus far, but I think it would be a little more in depth and personal. If I decide to go this route you will be the first one to know about it as this would be the first place I would share it with everyone.

Speaking of inspirational ideas, since I started writing this blog and sharing my memories with the world, I find myself missing and longing for some of the simple material items I once possessed as a boy, as a teen, and as a young man. In my eternal quest for nostalgia and with the power of eBay, I've been able to curb that compulsion without breaking my bank account. One thing I seem to miss more and more each day is my old leather jacket, something that could never be replaced or easily duplicated, nor can I simply "buy it now" on eBay. Even if I could, how impersonal would it be to own something that someone else poured their heart and personality into? I'd have to go back to step one and start the process all over, which I decided to do.

Yesterday I went downtown Toronto shopping by myself to spend some of my hard earned bonus I received from my place of employment. In my journeys I ventured up to Kensington Market to check out some vintage clothing stores in hopes of finding a leather jacket. After scouring the majority of stores there, I finally found a place that had tons of old "racers" (leather motorcycle jackets) but I just about shit 10 bricks when I discovered they all ranged from $300-$600 in price! I couldn't fathom nor comprehend how a used clothing store was charging so much for an old jacket that they clearly had an abundance of.

Deflated, I decided to give up and leave Kensington to continue my shopping. I crossed the street and passed the last few shops, then something caught my eye. A rolling rack out front of a store had a handful of racers hanging from it. I checked the prices and they ranged from $50-$90, a far cry from the last store I was in. I noticed one jacket in particular that looked much older and worn than the others. I looked at the tag and my eyes widened and my smile decided to come out and play, it said "As is $25" I snatched it, went in the store, tried it on, and purchased it! I also had a pleasant chat with the store owner in regards to the "other" store, and retail in general.

After I left Kensington I headed down to Queen street so I could search for some patches for my new old leather jacket. Most of the stuff I saw was newer bands but I did manage to find a few gems. I've got tons of old buttons that I've collected since grade 8 as well, so I'm off to a good start so far. I'll be sure to check back in and share some photos once my jacket is complete. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the continuation of Heavy Ghetto...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Our first gig

We still didn't have a demo for our band, but we definitely needed one. We had done a few crude recordings during jam sessions with a boom box, but the quality was horrendous and I would of felt terrible charging people money for it. We decided collectively as a band, that once the school year was complete, we would get down to business and record a proper demo, since we would all have a lot more free time.

However with the warm weather in the air, the social scene was starting to liven up and there were house parties popping up left, right & centre. One in particular we attended, was a party that a punker from Jerry's high school invited us too. When we got there it was a fairly smaller crowd, maybe 40-50 people, and we didn't know any of the people except for the guy who invited us. I had seen a lot of the people there around the scene however, but I just didn't personally know any of them.

As we sat around being anti social, drinking & smoking, we over heard the owner of the house say "I should of got some bands to play" No sooner than those fateful words escaped his mouth, I jumped up and proclaimed "We're a band! We'll play your party!" The next thing I knew we were all in Jerry's car heading to our rehearsal place (Ryan's House) to grab our instruments and load them in the "S.E." (our nickname for Jerry's K-car, it was a Special Edition)
We bolted back to the party in lightning time, and I felt like we were so important piling into the house with all of our gear. I think this was the first moment in my life that I actually felt somewhat like a quote unquote Rockstar.

Even though the night was still young, we set everything up and began to play. The crowd wasn't huge by any means, nor very attentive, but we couldn't of given two shits, we were just happy to be performing to an audience for our first time. By the time we were a few songs in, we had lost half the crowd but half of them remained, focused intently on us doing our thing. When we played "Spandex Enormity" I serenaded the biggest girl at the party, who I watched earlier in the night chug a Mickey of rum in one giant swig. I don't think she realized I was taking a jab at her. When I got to the line "You fucking fat bitch" the jig was up, and she quickly exited the basement.

A few songs later I watched her return to the basement, but she tripped on the top step and fell right to the concrete basement floor face first. We didn't even flinch or stop playing. As I belted out lyrics, I watched some concerned people scrape her off the floor, her forehead was swelled to the size of a grapefruit, they carted her off yet the show went on.

Eventually we ran out of songs to play but one die hard fan demanded more, so we busted out a few half assed cover songs we had been working on, most of which weren't even full songs. The rest of the people cleared out, but that one die hard remained, focused intently on us.

When everything was said and done the die hard gave us mad props. The way I saw it, even if we truly only touched one person at that party, we now had one more fan than we had before, and that alone in my eyes made everything worthwhile...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Silkscreen Seduction

As spring was transitioning into summer, we had been quite productive with our band. We now had a new name, new songs, new business cards, a new logo, new stickers, AND a new mascot!

Not long after designing the "mascot" artwork, I was approached by an overly excited Jerry, rhythm guitarist for my band. Jer was eager to tell me about how his mom could make us some band shirts via the silkscreen process, which she had access to at her work. All we needed was a black and white image, which we already had! I got the artwork to Jerry as fast as I could and left it in his hands, then I waited patiently.

It wasn't long, perhaps a week or two, before we got our shirts. They were beautiful in our eyes and we were all happy to now have shirts, which we wore religiously with pride. The only thing was, Jerry's mom made enough shirts for the band members, so unfortunately we didn't had any to sell. Regardless of that we didn't really care, we were just stoked we had our own shirts!

Jerry was going to Newfoundland for a vacation once the school year was finished, and he vowed to get a picture of his almost 100 year old grandfather, who we lovingly referred to as "Pops" wearing our band's t-shirt. We thought this would make for a great demo cover.

Months later when the mission was complete and the film was developed, the picture ended up being a bit blurry and you couldn't really make out the image on the shirt. We decided the quality was too poor for a demo cover, mind you we didn't even have a demo.....yet!

Monday, 8 April 2013


Greetings to my readers, I hope you all had a great weekend. I am posting today to bring everyone up to speed once again on current events involving myself. I would like to apologize first and foremost for the lack of blog entries over the last two weeks. Between Easter, my two jobs, parenting, and my music, I haven't had much free time. I did manage to make it to the Bad Religion concert last Sunday. I hadn't seen BR since 1992 or so, yet they still ripped shit up properly over 20 years later. Kudos to the old guys! It was great running into a few old friends there as well whom I hadn't seen in ages.

I have been focusing on working on new music over the past two weeks however, so I don't feel so bad neglecting my blog since I've been productive creating new songs. My best friend Jerry was over the other week and he brought up a song I had long forgotten about that we used to listen to back in 1987. The song was called "Freeda" by MC Mitchski "the rapping comedian" and M.B. "the human radio" In the days when Two Live Crew was the only source for "sex rhymes", Mitchski & M.B. delivered them just as comical and just as dirty. After scouring the Internet for a good hour we were able to locate the song, rip it to mp3, then we laughed and reminisced as we listened to it. Much to my surprise Jerry, who doesn't really listen to much rap, actually remembered more of the lyrics than I did! I was quite impressed.

After he left for the night I felt very inspired so I decided to re-make this classic underground track. After a few hours of hard work I had completed my cover song and decided to add it to my latest effort "What's below remains below" You can listen to the song by clicking the link below, I hope you dig it! Heavy Ghetto will return tomorrow, picking up once again where my story left off...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Mascot Mania

So we now had stickers made up for our band, and we were utilizing them via gorilla marketing, sticking them to anything and everything that we passed in our journeys. This seemed like the cheapest and most practical way to get our name out there without having to pay for proper advertising. However we still had one problem at hand, no mascot.

Shortly after the sticker fiasco, I was hanging out with Sanjai in our friendly neighbourhood comic shop. Sanj and I had a tendency to check out all the new, unknown, independent underground comics with the hopes of discovering some slept on gem. It was in this section of comics that our mascot was finally discovered.

Sanjai held up some comic and blurted out "This guys definitely got a social disorder!" I looked up to see him holding some no name rag of a comic, on the cover, a gnarly looking mutation of a man climbing his way through a hole in the wall that was no doubt made by him. As soon as the characters eyes locked with mine I said "Yup! That's the guy were looking for!" I happened to have no money on me at the time so I decided I would have to acquire this comic via the five finger discount, which I did swiftly and stealthily without being detected by the comic shop owners.

After school I headed home hastily and went right to my 2nd bedroom, the room I did all of my creative activities in. I broke out a blank, white piece of foolscap paper and began drawing the image from the comic book cover in freehand, just in black ink. Once I had the drawing completed I couldn't of been happier with the final result. From there I carefully drew in our band logo above the picture, and I was done!
I was also totally stoked with the final product. The next day I brought it to school to show the guys, as well as make some photocopies of it in the school library.

We never did come up with a name for our new mascot, he was simply known as "The Social Disorder Guy" but the fact of the matter was, we finally had a mascot...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Gorilla Marketing

It seemed like all the awesome crossover bands had some form of mascot, and I figured we'd better get one too. Anthrax had the Not Man, D.R.I. had the skanking stick figure, The Accused had Martha Splatterhead, The Misfits had the Crimson Ghost....I mean I could just go on and on here. Before I even got to figure something out, Jerry came up to me excitedly, informing me that he could get stickers printed for us but we would need a design a.s.a.p!

When I got home that night I scoured the pages of my new found favourite comic "Neat Stuff" released by Fantagraphic Publishing. I had become a huge fan of this new wave of art that was introduced to me by my great friend Jay Poole. I ended up finding a picture of one character known as "Girly-Girl", she was chasing her buddy "Chucky Boy" with some form of weapon. I decided to borrow this image and alter it, the end result being a skin head punk chasing after a polo clad preppie with a nailed bat.

By the time I finally had the drawing complete I was ready for bed when I realized I hadn't even put the band name on the design. Pressed for time and longing for sleep, I busted out some transferable letters, you simply lined the desired letter up on your design, scratched over it with a pen and voila! Instant font.

I can't remember if Jerry printed the stickers at school or if his mom did it at her work, never the less we now had stickers, just like our idols EBS and Mold did. The time had come to deface anything and everything eirh the hopes of getting our band name out there. However we still didn't have a mascot...