Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Myres Mix pt.1

Now that I was hanging out with Mike Myre and Mike Chapman quite frequently, I guess it inspired Myre to make me a random mix tape out of nowhere, which I happily accepted from him. The mix tape had a few tracks from my New York top dogs Ludichrist, who had recently released their newest album entitled "Power trip" earlier that year. All the songs were solid, but the one track that really stuck out was called "This Party Sucks" a hardcore rap ditty about, well.... a party that sucked obviously! This song became my new party anthem for the remainder of my high school days.

The next band on the mix tape was "The Mentors" who looked like typical beer bellied, blue collared fathers wearing black KKK hoods. They weren't really hardcore or punk, but more so shock rock. With song titles like "Heterosexuals Have The Right To Rock", "Secretary Hump" and "On The Rag" one couldn't deny these guy s sense of humour, the music was almost secondary. 

Another band on the mix was "Fugazi" who's lineup included none other than Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye. 
Fugazi was worlds apart from Minor Threat. The songs were very melodic, the band actually had two vocalists, and the dynamics they created were undeniable. As much as I loved simple, chaotic, 3 chord punk, I was really coming full circle as far as listening to bands who were writing structured, musical songs again, and I was really digging it.

Mike topped the mix off with some local acts, M.S.I., Sons of Ishmael, & Guilt Parade, who I had caught the tail end of when they opened up for Day-Glo Abortions the previous year. I was overly impressed with the raw talent coming out of my own surrounding. I picked up the Guilt Parade album & the Ludichrist album the next time I visited the city.

There was one more band in particular on that mix tape that really opened my eyes. They were doing something fresh, new, and original. Something that would change the face of the music game forever...

Monday, 26 August 2013

In Limbo

Happy Monday, I just wanted to make a quick post to explain to my readers that I missed Fridays blog post as I got my son early for FanExpo, which threw my schedule off, and it was a bit of hectic weekend to boot. 

I've also been going through some personal issues in my life that I am trying to work out currently, which has  left my brain in a state where I'm not focused enough to write at the moment. 

Although the blog will be in limbo over the next week or two, I will still make a conscious effort to update it when possible. Thanks for your patience and understanding, Heavy Ghetto will continue on...

In the meantime go download yourself some of my music for free:

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Update 08/21/2013

Happy hump day y'all! Looks like I'm finally back with yet more current updates. I didn't end up writing a post for Monday, as I had the chance to spend my two days off with my son, so naturally I opted to spend my time with him since I don't get to see him every day. We spent most of our time watching movies and videos. 

My boy obviously played with lots of toys and video games as well, which gave me the chance to work on his costume for FanExpo, which is in Toronto at the Metro Convention Centre, running from Thursday until Sunday. We will be going tomorrow (Thursday) with hopes of avoiding the weekend madness and having first dibs at all the cool stuff available there to spend my hard earned money on. Hopefully I'll see you there if you happen to live in my area. For more information on the FanExpo be sure to visit:

I know in a post last week I mentioned that the video blog version of Heavy Ghetto would be launching this week. I regret to inform you that such is not the case now, at least for the time being. I couldn't manage my weekend properly to allot myself the time to get some filming started, but never fear, the idea is still on go ahead and I will be bringing this idea to life as promised. You will be the first to know about it, as I will be sharing the videos here first and foremost, stay tuned!

Last but not least, Street Trash, my newest musical collaboration with Cory "Mach Spitz" McCallum is already escalating at a rapid pace. We've got a few songs complete and many more are cooking in the oven. Yesterday morning we had our first collaborative writing session together for the track "Junk Culture" and it went stellar. We've posted some songs online and will continue to do so as we create new ones. Be sure to creep the page constantly, as you never know when something new is going to pop up!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Current Updates 8/16/2013

Happy Friday everyone, the weekend is here once again, which really doesn't mean much in my world as I will be working Saturday and Sunday. Regardless of my woes, I hope each and everyone of you have a great one. I'm taking a break from the story today to touch base on some current events going on with myself and the music scene in general. 

First off, my homie Mach Spitz and I have already started pre production on our "Street Trash" project, and so far it's been extremely fun. I hope you are all ready for a super old school throwback with lots of flavour to savour. I'll be doing the majority of the producing, but I am happy and relieved to announce there will be some guest producers working on the project with us, which makes my life a bit easier while bringing more dynamics to our sound. Both of us are hyped for this project, and we've always worked well together and we feed off of each others creativity, so it should be quite enjoyable and interesting to see what we come out with. I'll have links posted for Street Trash as soon as we've got some sounds available for the public ear.

Next up, Greg "GERG" Dawson, who was the guitarist in my former bands Dead Homiez, Wiggaz, & Grift, went on to open and operate his own studio, BWC (Brampton Wrecking Crew) at the turn of the millennium. Over the last decade Greg has worked with a lot of talented bands and he has produced some stellar work with various acts. Mr.Dawson has worked hard continuously to up his game, and he has become one of the most respected producers in the local scene. His name has become synonymous with recording in the GTA, and if your band, or your friends bands are looking to record in a professional environment, Greg is your man. Recently we had some serious storms in the area which flooded numerous people's homes in various towns. Unfortunately Greg's home happened to be one of those places, and I regret to inform you that the floor of his studio was destroyed. Since the musical community has nothing but the utmost respect for Greg, we all banded together to create a fundraiser compilation in hopes of raising enough money for Greg to fix the floor of our beloved BWC studios. There are over 30 tracks on this monster with all types of styles and genres. This is essentially the ultimate party mix tape, and it can be yours for whatever you choose to donate. That's right, you get to pick the price you wish to pay for this killer comp. Check out the link below to preview the comp and get your copy today. You'll be proud to say you helped get BWC back on its feet!

Last but not least, I've decided to move forward with my idea of doing a vlog (video blog) version of Heavy Ghetto, my ongoing story of one man's journey through life via music. I'll be shooting my first segment this weekend and should have a video posted for you in time for Monday's blog. I'm interested to see what new shape things will take on this route. I'm planning on getting a little more in depth with the story which will help you relive my past blog posts in greater detail, while shedding light on certain subjects I've merely mentioned. Until then...

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Real Thing

"Faith No More" was the name of the band, and they literally came from out of nowhere, just like the title of the lead off track on their new album "The Real Thing" suggested.

The first track I ever heard by the band was "Epic" as it had a video that was getting heavy rotation on MuchMusic. The sound was quite different, like a mixture of rap, funk, and metal. The video itself was very eye catching, and it contained a lot of very cool visuals. I was instantly hooked the first time I saw it. The singer also had an undercut similar to mine, but his was much longer and he had lines shaved in the side of his head. I picked the album up (or cd rather) as soon as I could, then retreated to my beat lab to partake in my usual listening rituals.

This album was completely different and unique to anything I had heard in along time. There were funky jams like Epic, but you also had straight forward in your face heaviness. There were melodic songs, mind boggling instrumentals, and even songs that could be considered ballads. The band even did their own rendition of "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath. 

The thing that was really cool about FNM, was that every song was a musical journey in itself, with various ups and downs/peaks and valleys, and you never knew what was around the corner in every track you listened to. I found their music made me very emotional, and my emotions changed as the music changed, which filled my skin with goosebumps the majority of the time. I also found that their songs filled my mind with visuals. Every time I listened to them it was like my own personal music videos were playing in my brain.

Chilli Peppers were cool, but in my mind FNM brought a bit more musical range to the table. As I did my research on the band I was surprised to learn that this wasn't their first album, but actually their third studio album. Their previous singer Chuck Mosley had been booted out of the band, and a new, young, vibrant vocalist by the name of Mike Patton had filled his void. Bands like FNM and the Chillis were breaking me out of my hardcore shell, where I typically preferred vocalists who screamed, growled, and grunted, I was starting to re-appreciate actual melodic singing similar to the rock and metal I grew up on initially.

Mike seemed like a goofy, loveable guy with a damn good voice. Right from the get go I was inspired by him, more so by his appearance. I slowly started transforming from generic hardcore kid to having a bit more flare in my style ala Patton. What I didn't know was that as the years progressed, it would be his vocal abilities that would truly inspired me and shape me as a vocalist, not his image...

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Make It Funky

Just a quick apology for missing yesterday's post, I had an extra day off and decided to take the day off from writing as well. I hope everyone had a gnarly weekend. Now we move on...

In grade eleven I discovered a new and interesting band that opened my musical horizons even more, they were called "Red Hot Chilli Peppers" and they had just released their newest album entitled "Mothers Milk" I guess I should clarify that it was more of a re-discovery. I had seen RHCP perform on some cable access show once, and as wacky as they were, the music didn't do much for me. A couple of years later their bass player, who is known as "Flea" showed up in the video for Young MC's "Bust A Move" yet still I payed them no attention. Now here they were with their 4th studio album and they had finally caught my attention.

Their sound was interesting to say the least, they had elements of heavy rock, bursts of punk, soothing sounds, and hints of rap, all mixed together with the cosmic slop of old school funk. I'm not sure exactly how I rediscovered them, or who brought them to my attention, or why they appealed to me so much now, but the fact of the matter was they were my new favourite.

The band quickly started making headlines and they were also getting a lot of air time, both on the radio and video shows. Before you knew it funk was the new flavour of the month and everybody was jumping on the bandwagon. Bands who typically had no qualities of funk in their sound all of the sudden had "funk songs" trying to cash in on the new pop culture cash cow. Even power ballad wimpy bands like Extreme were coming out with funk songs. Top 10 bands were now trying to incorporate funk in their sound, and it seemed like every bass player was now "slapping" an old funk technique popularized by none other than Flea himself. 

As quickly as I had discovered this new funky sound, I was starting to regret it since everyone and their mother was trying to "make it funky". Then an unknown band came from "out of nowhere" and these guys seemed like they could hang on the same level as RHCP and go toe to toe, blow for blow, and give them a run for their money. A heavyweight showdown of funky sound was about to go down...

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Cipher

The school year was coming to an end and I couldn't have been happier. When we weren't playing soccer, we were partaking in our new past time....rapping! I'm not sure if it was the music or the marijuana, but my friends were becoming open minded to rap music now, in particular the boys from E.B.S. 

Now on lunch hour, you could find me at the front of the school smoking down by the sidewalk with Mike Myre and Danny Henry. Danny was an interesting cat. "Disco Dan" was black, yet he claimed to be Scottish, and he was always dressed in Ranger gear. Some people may of though he was a poseur or wannabe, but the fact that he was a black guy that knew every lyric to the Beastie Boys album "Paul's Boutique" made him aces in my book.

We would literally sit in front of the school and rap the entire album acapella. I would do Adrock's lines, Danny would do Mike D's lines, and Myre would do MCA's lines. It was actually quite impressive the way we would back each other up and trade off lines, and if someone got stuck on a line the other guys were there to save the day. Our chemistry was great and we played off of each other so well, like we were an actual cohesive rap unit.

Shortly after Mike Chapman was recruited as the bass player for E.B.S., he started hanging out with us on lunch during our rap sessions. I guess he got tired of being a spectator, so he asked me one day if I'd make him a dub of Paul's Boutique, to which I obliged. 
Before long Mike knew all the lyrics, which worked out well as Danny had either dropped out or was expelled, I can't quite remember now.

Regardless we now had Mike C doing the parts of Mike D, and we were three white boys spending our free time reciting the rhymes of three other white boys. I didn't know it then, but this would be the pre cursor to our very first rap band...

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Uncle George

Another one of my musical influences in life I've totally neglected to mention over the course of this story, is my father's brother, George. 

My uncle George had a very uncanny resemblance to none other than Jesus Christ, back in the late 70's and early 80's. George was a free-wheeling bachelor type who seemed to enjoy the finer things in life, such as women, great music, and the occasional "party favours". George lived with my grandparents, although he never seemed to be there very often. Every summer I'd go and spend a week at my grand folks and I wouldn't even see him. As much as I loved my uncle, I appreciated the fact that he wasn't there, since he had a tv and VCR in his room, which enabled me to watch something other than the news or the Greek Orthodox programming my grandparents watched.

In the early 80's there was a "Just Drums" store that opened on Yonge street close to my grandparents place, and my Uncle, the music lover, decided to buy a drum set. He also built a soundproof room in the basement of the house right beside where my "Bobba" (grandma) did her laundry. Needless to say, my summer visits now consisted of me slamming away on the skins. George had a huge rack on the wall he built to house his endless collection of cassette tapes. There was also a stereo in the room as well as headphones, so you could play along to music if you so desired. 

One day I went down to play some drums and I decided I'd throw a tape on to play along with. As I scanned through the tapes, none of the band names rang any bells. My uncle was a huge fan of some guy named "Frank Zappa" who I knew absolutely nothing about. Judging by his looks I just assumed he was another Jim Croce. George had tons of Zappa material, but I was looking for something I actually knew. As I scanned through what seemed like hundreds of tapes, there was a band name that caught my eye... Angelic Upstairs. I had never heard them, but I was positive I had seen their vinyl in the punk bins of my local record store. I decided I'd throw that on to jam along with.

This wasn't the type of punk I was familiar with, in fact it didn't really seem punk at all, but I was just happy to be on the drums! Every summer break I was always excited about going to my grandparents. Looking back, I feel bad, as I was more excited to play drums for a week as opposed to visiting my family, although I still spent time with them and went out on the odd excursion with them. 

Although my Uncle had completely different musical taste from me at the time, he was still a huge musical influence in my life and also the inspiration behind me learning to play drums. I also feel he was instrumental in me becoming a musician, had it not been for him, I may never have played in any bands or spread any joy through music. There is no gratitude great enough that I could give him for that other than my love and appreciation. Thank you Uncle George, like so many others in my life, I would have been nothing without you...

Monday, 5 August 2013

Street Trash

Back when I was 14 or so, there was a splatter flick I learned of in the pages of  Fangoria Magazine, an independent, low budget film that screamed cult classic. The name of the film was "Street Trash" 

Judging by the still photos in Fangoria, this movie looked like it was chock full of gore, mainly in bright day-glo colours. The gore looked more like paint as opposed to blood and guts. Never the less something about this flick really appealed to me, I had to get my hands on it!

After scouring every video store within the four corners of my home town, it was safe to say I wasn't going to find this film anywhere. I gave up on my quest, and as the years passed by Street Trash became nothing more but a faded memory in the dark corners of my mind.

20 years passed by and I found myself joining millions in the craze of downloading movies from the Internet. After running out of things to download, I started searching the pages of my old Fangoria Magazines looking for rare and obscure films I could download. I stumbled upon Street Trash once again! Much to my amazement I was able to find it online and download it! I was so stoked to finally watch the movie for my first time. The plot was pretty basic, a liquor store owner finds a very old case of booze known as "Tenafly Viper" which he sells to the winos and hobos for a buck a bottle. Little does he know, anyone who drinks the stuff will melt into a colourful pile of ooze. 

The flick had became a cult classic by this time and it was easy to see why. I absolutely loved the film and have probably watched it a dozen times or more in the last 6 years. Recently the flick was re-released on DVD and blue-ray as a two disc set, which also boasts a two hour documentary about the making of the film entitled "Meltdown Memoirs" I immediately ordered it online and have been thoroughly enjoying it since.

So you may be asking yourself "What in the hell does this have to do with music?" Good question. I am starting a new project with my good friend and former roommate Cory McCallum, who some of you may know as Guy Bowler, Pant City, PZA Cutta, Mach Spitz, or simply the singer from Five Knuckle Chuckle. Cory and I are collaborating on a super fresh old school throwback two man duo in the vein of the classics such as Schoolly D, UTFO, Audio Two, etc. 

The name of the project will be.....


Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Soccer Hooligans

As I was trying to turn my life around and disassociate myself from the trouble makers, somewhat of a blessing entered my life. Two new friends, Mike "Stinky" Stewart and Danny Henry, both of whom transferred to North Park from Aquinas. They started hanging around with Myre, McCuish and Chapman from E.B.S., so naturally I met them right from the get go and we all hit it off. 

So how did we stay out of trouble exactly? Soccer! I wasn't a fan of soccer by any means, my father signed me up once when I was five, and I was so disinterested in it that I spent most my time on the field pulling my socks up and picking dandelions. Now however I was actually enjoying it. Everyday after school we would head over to one of the local parks and get a game going. Some of the guys were Scottish, and were either fans of the "Rangers" or the "Celtic" so it was easy to establish teams. Myre and I were both Greek so usually we would play goal. I loved playing goalie, it was the position I played in hockey, and now on the fields I was a force to be reckoned with. 

The games were tons of fun. Nobody was overly competitive, we were all there to have a good time. The fact that we generally partook in some Mary Jane before game time probably had something to do with the lack of competitiveness within us and the over abundance of fun and laughs we were having.

After a few weeks of games it seemed like the teams were getting bigger, and they were, as friends of ours were catching on to our extra curricular activities. We now had full blown games going and it was more fun than ever. Some games, it seemed like my team would keep the ball and the pressure on the other end of the field, leaving me to bask and bake in the sun. I'd lie in the grass, within the crease of my net, and stare up at the beautiful blue sky and fluffy clouds, thinking to myself "this is the life"... And wondering what life had in store for me next...