Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Years Update 12/31/2014

Happy holidays readers! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us once again, which means a lack of posts from yours truly. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and got to enjoy some relaxing fun times with their families, I know I sure did. 

Well, it's been quite a year I must say. Things started off a bit slow and stagnant for me, but I definitely got back in my groove. My latest full length "What's Below Remains Below" was released earlier this month after two years of writing and recording. I'm quite happy with the finished product as it fulfilled the vision I had in mind for it. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, then perhaps you should bump it at whatever New Years Eve function you'll be attending today. You can stream the album for free or purchase the digital download via the link below:

2014 has definitely been kind to me. I've been using social media a bit more to my advantage, which has led to me making some new connections, gaining new blog readers, new twitter followers, and more supporters of my music. I was also fortunate enough to meet the woman of my dreams, and I've gotten to spend more time with my son Gabriel than the previous year. I truly have no complaints and feel very blessed.

It was a pleasure to do some collaborative work with some friends this past year, which in turn spawned the idea for my newest project I'm working on "Tribes of the Moon" which showcases the production talents of various musicians and producers, with myself supplying the lyrical content for each song. As it stands I hope to have this wrapped up by June, but you never know it could end up being earlier...or later. I'm going against the grain this time too, and keeping all of the songs secretly under wrap until it is complete. I think this could very well end up one of my most interesting releases, as working with others tends to bring out the best in me.

I've also started working on another new project, my next full length album entitled "If you want C.H.U.D... You got it" but this time there will be a slight twist on my regular formulas. I'm delving back into the heavy end of things so it will be more of a rap/metal/hardcore hybrid with production from myself as well as a few guest producers. I'll be keeping this a bit hush hush as well, but you can hear the song "Dethrone the Emperor" to get a taste and idea of what's to come:

As you may recall I've also been working with my good friend Mach Spitz over the last 12-24 months on "Street Trash" and it's slowly but surely coming together. We hope to have that release out sometime over the next few months, so be sure to keep your eyes open for that as well. It's been great working with him again, but it's also been tough, as life and schedules have been obstacles for us. We are literally a song or two away from completion. You can almost taste the sweet trash of the streets...

Another new endeavor to look forward to in 2015 will be a six song collaboration EP I'll be doing with my friend Tank Diggs, a man I almost consider a protege of mine. Tank is a multi-talented musician who can sing AND rap, and he is also dabbling into producing now, so it should be quite interesting to see what we come up with. I shall keep you posted...

On top of all that I will still be working on remixes as well as cover songs for "Heavy Ghetto" two other babies of mine that have been slowly simmering on the back burner. These two projects are more so things I do for fun in my spare time, the only catch being my spare time is somewhat limited. You can also be sure my blog and the ongoing story of Heavy Ghetto will continue in the new year.

All in all I feel 2015 is going to be monumental for not only myself but many others. I hope it will be kind to you. On that note, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year's Eve tonight and I shall see you all next year! 

- Kabal

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Death of Grasshopper

When I answered the ringing phone the following day, I was surprised to hear Derek's voice on the other end. He rarely called my place unless it was to tell me he was on his way to pick me up, but on this particular day we weren't going anywhere. D asked if I was home, to which I replied yes, and he said he was going to pop by to talk to me. I was very curious to say the least.

Shortly after, he arrived at my place and I greeted him at the door. His face was full of concern and he seemed very uneasy. The words that came out of his mouth next floored me... "So I think it's time to end Grasshopper" I stared at him with a dumbfounded look on my face for a few seconds and then exclaimed "WHAT??? WHY???"

Derek went onto explain that the band was not going in the direction he wanted it to and that he felt it was time to pull the plug. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why. I explained to him that we had just played our biggest show to date and that our momentum was on a major upswing, yet he didn't seem to agree with any of my statements. All he could do was continue to plead his case and say things weren't going as he had planned. I brought up a lot of valid points as to why we shouldn't quit now but he didn't seem to agree with any of them.

Needless to say I was in shock, I was upset, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. After our discussion concluded Derek asked for some records of his I had borrowed to make mixtapes. I realized then he wasn't just ending the band, he was ending our friendship. It was similar to an ex girlfriend coming to retrieve her belongings after a break up. D had been my best friend for the last few years so I was very upset and devastated by these events. He seemed reluctant during the conversation which had me wondering what his true reasons or motives were behind his actions.

I immediately called Mike C. after Derek left to tell him the news. Mike was just as surprised but he didn't seem too upset about it, after all he was originally supposed to be a temporary hired gun, so I think to him it was just "something to do dude" as he would always say. We both felt like Derek was not fully responsible for this, and we assumed his girlfriend and her mother had a hand in the destruction of our band. It made sense to us, they seems to have some form of control over him and we were both under the impression that they didn't like either one of us.

What was I to do now? Where would I go from here? I still had my rap side project 3 n' Pass on the go, so clearly I could now focus all of my energy and creativity towards that, yet I was still reeling from the news and I couldn't seem to get over the fact he would kill a band at the height of it's glory. It just made absolutely no sense to me. Not to mention he was just chucking our friendship in the garbage too. I was hurting in a bad way.

Everyone else was just as surprised by the news as much as I was. The Demon Barf boys could not believe it. They could see my pain, and being the great friends they are, they invited me to come to Hamilton with them to for their performance at the Corktown Tavern. I graciously accepted their offer as I needed to get out of the house and tie one on.

Just to sweeten the deal, Wrestlemania IX was happening that day, and the bar was actually able to get it on satellite, so we were all stoked. It was taking place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and it was a spectacle to behold to say the least. The Demon Barf boys were all straight edge, so lucky me inherited their free beer that the club gave them for performing. I grabbed a pitcher and a glass and made my way to a table front row centre. It was still early in the day so the guys were setting up the gear and getting ready for soundcheck. 

As I poured my first drink, I noticed there was a flyer on the table advertising upcoming shows, and low and behold it stated that none other than Grasshopper would be performing here next week. I thought to myself "is this some type of mistake or a sick joke?" I figured it was a gig we had lined up previously that would now not happen, but I usually knew about all of our shows in advance and I didn't remember anything about playing in Hamilton. I needed answers.

I approached the club promoter and asked him if this was some sort of mistake. He informed me that it was not and they had just booked the gig a week or two ago. I told him we were no longer a band yet he confirmed that he had personally spoken to Derek to set the show up. One thing was for sure, I had some serious investigating to do.

Once I was back in Brampton after the gig, I started networking with my friends from other bands to see if I could get some answers. Eventually my curiosity and questions led me to an answer. Derek had NOT ended the band. He had been secretly jamming with another rhythm section behind our backs while we were still an active band. Mike had been replaced by the bass player from Mudfish, and I had been replaced by the drummer from Goat Dance. Two bands that we considered to be brothers to us, and two guys I considered friends that I had respect for... and they'd stabbed us right in the back while smiling in our faces the whole time.

I was absolutely furious. Derek had blatantly lied to us, betrayed us, and destroyed our bonds. I felt like it was the lowest thing he could have done. Clearly he didn't have the balls to tell us what was really going on, so he chose the chump way out and fabricated some bullshit story.

I literally wanted to beat him to a bloody pulp. All I knew was that it would be in his best interest to steer clear of myself, as I really had no idea what I might do if I saw him. I also refused to acknowledge the fact that his new band was Grasshopper, as they were not. When two thirds of a three piece band are replaced, it is no longer that same band. Would you still consider Rush to be Rush or Primus to be Primus if their frontmen replaced the rhythm section? I think not...

A few things were for certain, I would make Derek's life hell at any given chance, I would run the name of him and his band through the mud, and I was not going to give up my passion and love for making music...

Monday, 1 December 2014

Sonic Spring

The spring of 1993 was in full bloom. Flowers were budding, the leaves were back on the trees, and Grasshopper were gearing up for our biggest show to date. We had been invited to play The Edge 102.1 (CFNY) Sonic Spring Explosion at the Concert Hall AKA the Masonic Temple. This festival was a pretty big deal, as it was heavily advertised in the papers and on the radio. Granted we had been in local papers before and our music was getting heavy rotation on the college radio stations, but this was our first time being mentioned by major newspaper publications and radio stations. We would be performing with Acid Test, Teknicolor Raincoats, and The Morganfields. These were somewhat "bigger" bands that were getting commercial exposure. This was a serious opportunity for us which was very exciting, but to me it wasn't as exciting as the fact that I'd get to perform on the stage of my all time personal favourite venue. It was also put together very professionally, we even received legit backstage passes for the first time in our "career"

We got to the gig fairly early that day, met up with the required contacts, and we even did a sound check for a change, something we were not accustomed to doing unless you pretty much forced us. I guess being a "noise band" we assumed sound-checks would make us too polished sounding come performance time. On this particular day though I was very happy we did sound check. While I was setting up my gear something caught my eye...a pair of drumsticks sitting on the floor. I was always trying to build my stick collection, so naturally I went and snatched them up. I was surprised to see that they were custom sticks engraved and inked with the signature of a drummer and the logo of his band...Sacred Reich. As it turned out the almighty Reich had played the Concert Hall the previous night, and their drummer left behind a memento for me. I decided I would definitely use his sticks for the gig that night.

We still had a few hours to kill before the festivities for the evening commenced, so we tracked down one of the promoters to inquire where we could go to "smoke" He told us we could go down to the basement and do as we please. I was totally shocked to see just how large the basement of the Temple actually was. There were all sorts of hallways and rooms, even a banquet style hall lurked beneath the street. It had a nice wooden floor and I just so happened to have my skateboard with me, so I commenced thrashing about while Derek and Mike continued exploring the basement. 

I had only been skating for a few minutes when the guys called out "Kev! Come here you gotta see this!" I hopped off my board and ran in the direction of their voices, which led me to another smaller room that somewhat resembled a diner, minus an actual counter and kitchen. There were a bunch of "booths", tables with nice plush couch type seating. I realized in the blink of an eye that this was were MuchMusic had interviewed the Beastie Boys exactly one year prior. I was in total awe. We sat down at that very table and preceded to have a session. We were all stoked at the fact that we were sitting where the boys had once sat, cooking B.T.s off the exact table that MCA skateboarded off of during that interview. There was definitely magic in the air.

Eventually it was our time to shine, so we hit the stage and belted out what I considered to be one of our greatest sets to date. I couldn't believe I was playing the Concert Hall, and it was packed with people just like most of the shows I had attended here. This was definitely our biggest shining moment and it was a dream come true to be rocking a stage that had been graced by so many different musical legends. Pretty much every show that ever mattered to me had taken place here and this was another one to add to the list, only this time I wasn't in the audience as a spectator.

After our set we headed out to mingle in the audience however, and we were overwhelmed by the amount of people waiting by the backstage door to greet us as we exited. I couldn't believe I was actually singing autographs for people... it was a total trip. I was also getting eyes from a few pretty ladies so I decided to try and score, but that didn't pan out so well as I had two starstruck fanboys following me around asking questions about the band for the remainder of the night.

Eventually the show ended, we packed up our gear, and headed home. I was so blown away by everything that had unfolded that night as I lay in my bed totally wired. This was indeed our biggest show to date, and the big break we had worked so hard for. I imagined things would just get huge for us now as we were at the pinnacle of our journey. The last thing I expected was the disturbing phone call that came the following day...