And now for something completely different: “A Witch In Time”

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A Witch In Time

It was the summer of 1974 and I was ten years old. My mom had just remarried after a tumultuous and abusive marriage, and I was thrust into an entirely new world. My mom had married into a Mexican family that was rather extensive.

After school had let out for the summer I was told that my new great grandmother, Mary, would be watching me during the days. I was of course nervous and upset about staying with someone I didn’t know. My mom reassured me and told me that it would be fun and that I would get to meet some of my new cousins.

On the way to Mary’s house, which was in the older part of town, we had passed a dark and foreboding run down house with a large gnarled tree in the yard, it gave me an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I didn’t know why. I remember pulling up to the smallish, one level, house and hearing kids playing in the back yard as we got out of the car.

As we walked up to the house I could hear a loud television blaring out some program in Spanish through the screen door. The smell of candles mixed with tortillas filled my nose. My mom knocked on the door and and old, but still seemingly spry, woman opened the door, I remembered seeing her at my mom’s wedding. There was an uncomfortable moment of silence as Mary looked me up and down and then ushered into the house. The women were attempting to communicate which each other as my mom spoke very little Spanish, and Mary spoke very little English. I looked around in wonder at the house. There were candles with pictures of religious figures burning everywhere. There was a small television in the corner of the living room that was blasting out commercials in Spanish. The living room had two stuffed chairs and a small couch for furniture. I was turning around looking at the pictures of Jesus that were hanging on the wall when I heard something growling at me. I looked and saw two small dogs, chihuahuas, looking and growling at me. I would learn that they were named “Chico” and “Chiquita”, and they never did warm up to me.

My mom and Mary finished up their discussion and I saw my mom hand her some money. She came over hugged me and told me she would pick me up late this afternoon and to behave. I was alone in a strange house with a woman I barely new.

Mary looked at me and beckoned me to come with her. She led me to the back door and told me to “Go play in the yard”. I went out back and saw three boys and two girls that seemed to be about my age playing in the yard. I recognized them from the wedding and remembered they were introduced to me as cousins. There was Gloria 11, Maria 9, Roberto 7, Petrolino 8, and Luis “Chango” 10. I went out back and stood against the wall watching them play. They eventually stopped and looked at me.

“I remember you.” Chango said, “Your mom married Uncle Johnny.”

“Yeah, that’s right.” I said looking down and kicking a rock around with my foot.

“Well, welcome to the yard. It’s not too bad here.”

“Thanks a lot.” I smiled.

I got to know my cousins and eventually started to fit in that summer. We spent the days roughhousing and doing typical boy things, the girls would shake their heads at us stupid boys. If we got too noisy Mary would slam the door open and point at us silencing us with a look. She spent the day in the house watching her loud TV or listening to Spanish music on an equally loud radio.

I learned a lot about Mexican culture that summer as Mary was from Mexico as were the kid’s parents. I grew to feel as if I finally fit in somewhere.

Mary used to feed us in assembly line fashion. She used to make us cheese tacos, which were delicious. We were told to line up behind her, she would fry a tortilla, fill it with cheese, roll it up and hand it to the first person in line, you would then move to the back with your burning hot deliciousness in your hand and repeat. This was similar for hot dogs, and other good things to eat. While Mary was top notch at making tasty food she did not understand the sugar ratio of Kool-Aid in one bit. There was always a pitcher of 50% less sugar for us to drink. It was always room temperature and served in one beat up old plastic cup for us to share.

I became really close to Chango and considered him my brother. One afternoon we snuck a knife out of the kitchen and became blood brothers by poking the tips of our fingers and pressed them together. “Los Hermanos Locos” we called ourselves. A few days later I gave Chango a white ball cap with a bright yellow smiley face (you know the one, from the 70’s). He never went anywhere without it.

All in all it had turned out to be a better summer than I thought it would be. And then everything changed.

We were always fascinated by the old abandoned house down the block. We always asked about it and were always shushed. One day there was a thunderstorm that drove us into the house to sit quietly on the floor. Eventually lightning knocked the power out sending the house into silence. We sat in silence for a bit looking at Mary looking at us. We eventually coaxed her into telling us a story. We asked about the house again hoping for something. She closed her eyes and told us a tale right out of a horror movie.

She said that there was a family that lived there long ago that was very religious. They had a daughter who grew up to become a nun. When the parents became old and sick she returned to take care of them. One night several men who had escaped from prison broke into the house. They apparently tortured the old people to death and “Had their way” with the nun over and over. The police tracked the men to the house and caught them, although too late. The woman became pregnant from the ordeal and stayed at the house out of shame. When it became time for her to have the baby some women from the church began to check up on her periodically. The woman gave birth to a little girl at the house by herself. When the ladies came to check on her they found a horrible sight. The woman had killed the baby and eaten its heart and then hung herself from the tree in the yard. Mary said that the woman still haunted the house looking to grab children.

At this point in the story the power came back on scaring us all as the the TV blared. We shook ourselves out of the horror of the story and went back out into the fresh rain cleaned air. We spoke about the story as just a fairy tale to keep us out of the house, we were wrong.

I didn’t know but Chango was intrigued by the story, almost obsessed with it. He had begun to plan an excursion to the house.

There was two weeks left in our summer vacation when it happened. Mary used to take a nap at 1:00 pm everyday. We were supposed to nap as well, but not that day. Chango managed to stay awake and shook me when everyone else was asleep. He pulled me into the corner of the yard and told me his plan. We were gonna climb over the backyard fence and go check out the house. I was scared but didn’t want to wimp out on him. We climbed the fence and headed towards fate.

The house seemed larger and darker that day as we walked towards it. I was walking behind Chango in silence while he was babbling on about what we might see there. We eventually made it to the house and stood on the sidewalk staring into the darkness of it.

What happened next is burned into my memory like a photograph. Chango grabbed my hand and said “Come on hermano! Let’s check it out!” We stepped off of the sidewalk into the dead yard. I saw something move in the doorway and told Chango to stop. We did and my heart sank as I saw a shadowy figure looking at us. I felt my bladder let go as I screamed to Chango “It’s the lady, run!” And in an instant she covered the distance between the house and the yard, was there and grabbed our arms. The smell of burning leaves filled my nose, acrid and choking. My arm was burning where she had hold of it. I was screaming wildly and yet no was coming. I turned my head and saw the woman whisper something into Chango’s ear. She then turned towards me and whispered in my ear, “I’ll see you in 40 years.” Her face was evil personified and her breath was like the smell of dead things. I was still screaming when I realized Chango and I were alone in the yard again. We looked at each other and raced back to Mary’s house.

We sat in the corner of the yard not believing what had just happened, an not wanting to believe. There were discolored marks on our arms from where she grabbed us and it burned. I asked Chango what she had whispered to him and he said “See you soon.” I told him what she had told me and we held each other and cried for a while. We promised that day to never speak of it again.

We behaved the rest of the summer and eventually school started again. Chango and I went to different schools but still remained close. We would see each other on the weekends sometimes and on family gatherings. I was eventually able to put the events of that day in a corner of my mind. The occasional nightmare would pop up during the night and I got quite good at washing my own sheets.

When spring break rolled around I was excited to learn that Chango and I would be staying the week together at his house as my parents were going away. It was gonna be fun.

The first couple days were fun and we were just stupid kids enjoying life. The third night we went to bed as usual and quickly fell asleep. I awoke sometime later in the dark and knew something was wrong. The smell of burning leaves immediately filled my nose choking me and burning my eyes. I heard a rustling and like a coward I hid under my covers. I heard Chango whimper and I sneaked a look and wished that I had not. She was there standing with Chango’s hand in hers, he was crying. She looked at me and put a finger to her lips and whispered “Shhhhh…” and they were gone.

I sat up in bed in the morning light thinking it another dream until I caught a whiff of burning leaves and Chango was not in his bed. I screamed and screamed until I could scream no more.

The search for Chango went on for several weeks. The only thing missing besides him was the hat I gave him. The pajamas he went to bed in were still in his bed. I told everyone about the house, and the woman but nobody listened. They did search the house I told them about but found it as abandoned as it had been for years. Chango had disappeared and only I knew what had happened. It took several years of therapy before I gained some sense of normality. To this day I have to sleep with a blanket and can let no part of my body hang off of my bed.

Eventually I grew up, married, had kids and moved on from what happened. I became a photographer and was working on a book of photos of abandoned buildings. It had been 39 years since the events from my childhood.

I set out one morning to shoot several houses in the rural area where I moved to. It was a fairly uneventful day of shooting with nothing out of the ordinary. I was settling in to the tedious task of editing the photos when my wife came into my study to talk about my upcoming 50th birthday party. We talked a bit about it and then I returned to my work. I was several photos in when I saw it. In the doorway of one of the houses was a shadowy image of a boy in his underwear wearing a hat with a smiley face on it. I rubbed my eyes and looked again, it was faint but there. I looked through the other photos and nothing. It was only in the one. My heart raced in my chest and I heard the words “I’ll see you in 40 years.” echoed in my mind. I thought I caught the faint trace of burning leaves in my study.

I went to bed and had a fitful night. I had plans to travel to a nearby town the next day to shoot a series of abandoned houses for the project. Again, it was an uneventful shoot and I came home tired from my previous lack of sleep. I went to bed early leaving the editing for the next day.

I woke up made my wife breakfast and lunch and kissed her goodbye as she left for work. I was many hours in editing when again there was an anomaly in the doorway of one of the houses. She was in the doorway holding the hand of Chango staring at me with a finger to her lips. I must have passed out because I woke hours later lying on the floor of my study. I got up put on a happy face and made dinner. I kept what I saw in my photos to myself not wanting to involve my family.

The evening before my birthday:

My wife was spending the night at our daughters to babysit our granddaughter. I was gonna spend the night alone working. It was the wee hours of my birthday when I drug my tired ass to bed. I don’t know how long I slept before something woke me. Like all of those years before the choking smell of burning leaves filled my nose. I knew I had wet myself and my heart was knocking in my chest when I heard something moving in the room. I saw a shadowy figure move from the corner and heard a faint voice, “Los Hermanos Locos.” It was Chango only the happy boy I remembered looked haggard and tortured and was crying. I moved to get out of bed and go to him when something behind me grabbed my arm and I knew. “It’s been 40 years.” a voice whispered in my ear as my bedroom faded around me.

 

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Pop Evil, a great show, a great friend, and an interview with Matt DiRito

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Pop Evil rolled into Albuquerque, NM this Monday and kicked some serious ass. It had been a bit since I had last seen them so it was an event I was looking forward to. It was even better because this go around I was going to get to shoot their set AND get to interview bassist Matt DiRito. When I found out about scoring the interview I remembered my very good friend guitarist Mike Araiza (Of The Earth, Frank Hannon Band, the Jeff Sandoval and Mike Araiza Project) telling me about getting to hang with them the last time they were in NM. I called him up and asked him to co-host the interview with me.

We met Matt at the tour bus and it was good to see Matt and Mike great each other like old friends. It was then down into the basement of the iconic Sunshine Theater to have our candid conversation with Matt. After some “mood lighting” adjustments we got around to our raw, unedited, casual conversation with Matt which you can check out right here:

     Very cool, very relaxed, friends and musicians talking amongst themselves. After a few more minutes of friendly talk we snapped a few pics and walked Matt back out to the tour bus and said our “see you laters”.

Matt DiRito and the Hellion

Matt DiRito and the Hellion

Matt DiRito and Mike Araiza

Matt DiRito and Mike Araiza

After the interview Mike and I went for a quick bite and some stimulating conversation. A brief walk back to the venue and the Rock N’ Roll merriment was on. We enjoyed sets from Glamour Of The Kill, Avatar, and Escape The Fate. The evening, however, was owned by Pop Evil. From the minute they took the stage to the minute they walked off of it it was a 100 miles per hour adrenaline rush. A blistering set of songs from a set designed to give the fans a maximum Pop Evil experience filled our ears. Here is the setlist:

“Flawed”
“Hero”
“100 in a 55”
“Behind Closed Doors”
“Divide”
“Monster You Made”
“Boss’s Daughter”
“Last Man Standing”
“Goodbye My Friend”
“Sick Sense”
“Torn To Pieces”
“Deal With The Devil”
“Trenches”

Leigh Kakaty

Leigh Kakaty

Matt DiRito

Matt DiRito

Chachi Riot

Chachi Riot

Dave Grahs

Dave Grahs

Nick Fuelling

Nick Fuelling

Pop Evil is a band on the move, in all of the right ways. They present an image, a sound that pays homage to their influences and yet remains original, they deliver a live show worthy of seeing. If Pop Evil roll into a venue near you make sure you go and see them.  Thanks guys!

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s Pop Evil!

the Hellion

 

 

 

RANT INSIDE!!!! PROPER SHOW ETIQUETTE!!!

375273_10150521102730972_923334663_n     I’ve spoken upon this subject before and an event that occurred last night has fired me up again. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE ROCK N’ ROLL COMMUNITY?!?!?!

Let me set the stage: Last night I was fortunate to have been granted coverage of the Saint Vitus show here in NM. The venue does not have a photo pit so you have to shoot from the crowd. I usually shoot and move and work with the crowd to shoot the event. Well last night there was this cat to my immediate left who was flailing about like a man possessed knocking into people and making a general nuisance of himself. Now, I don’t mind someone getting totally lost in the music at all but one should realize there is a world outside of their five foot space. This guy continued bumping, elbowing, and knocking into people with complete disregard and then it got worse. Dave Chandler, the guitarist for Saint Vitus, posed in front of my camera for some choice shots and this idiot next to me shoves into me and starts throwing his hands in front of my camera thus ruining any chance of a good shot. I politely said “Hey man, I’m working here” his response was “FUCK YOU” he then continued to thwart every shot by reaching and flipping the bird in front of my lens. An altercation was imminent when my security bros came and confronted his guy who fronted on them as well. The girl he was with was begging him to chill but he was having none of it. They grabbed this guy gave him and his girl the boot. The crowd cheered his ejection as they were tired of him as well, we all enjoyed the rest of the show and I was able to get back to shooting a kick ass show.

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We all know show attendance is down across the board and completely sucks. I heard several people make comments after that guy was thrown out. “And that I why I don’t go to shows much anymore.” “Who needs to go out and see shit like this?” “Fuck it, people suck. I knew I should have stayed home.”

What happened to the world? The Rock N’ Roll community used to be about being cool and having a good time, not about fighting and being an idiot. Sure there were hose occasions  but they weren’t that common. Come on people if we want to revive the music scene we need to look within ourselves and our own actions.

be the community, be the music, BE COOL!

the Hellion

what do YOU want?

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There’s been a lot on my mind as of late. I see people  complaining about so much but not finding solutions. They complain when others achieve success, “they sold out”, they’re kissing so-and-so’s ass”, “they have money”, on and on.

In 2013 I was part of a local music interview/live performance show. I was part of the team that created and wrote said show. I even was the host for many interviews. It rapidly expanded out of control with too many hands in the pot. We made many attempts at nailing down interviews and coverage of bigger name artists with little or no success. Ultimately I left the show behind and started the Hellion Rocks.

I began my new adventure by reaching out to the band contacts that I did have and began doing written interviews. This led me to purchasing a DSLR camera to shoot shows and do video interviews my self. The site was growing as readers across the globe were taking notice. I began to study photography techniques and revisited the works of some of my favorite Rock photographers like Bob Gruen, Robert John, and Chad Lee. I learned the editing process and kept on learning. Eventually I began shooting festivals and big name artists. I also began to interview big name artists on video and phone as well.  Now I receive major label releases for review before they hit the stores, and am invited to cover shows and receive press releases from many big name publicists and the acts they represent. Several of my interviews have been featured on Blabbermouth.net as well.

The Hellion Rocks site is now viewed in over 140 countries with a weekly reach of 3500. Am I satisfied? HELL NO!!! I want more and more and more. I want to be able to do this for a career and continue to bring music to the eyes, ears, and minds of the world!!!. I am not satisfied with being that guy from Albuquerque, NM with a website that takes pictures and interviews bands. I want the name the Hellion Rocks and the music and bands I report about to be synonymous with Rock N’ Roll!

I also have become involved over the past couple of years with Charlie Owens and Randy Norris of Bleach Bangs Radio. These two individuals have the same mindset as I about their internet radio station. The offer a no-holds-barred approach of interviewing bands and bringing their music to the masses. They offer bands a chance to offer their uncensored opinions on life, music, and the industry. I am proud to be a part of their team.

So what is my point of the post? Why am I writing this today? STOP COMPLAINING AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

Are you satisfied with being the best band in your hometown? Are you satisfied with covering the same shows over and over? How far are you willing to go? Make a name for yourself, take that leap of faith. Remember, Motley Crue is a local LA band,  Slipknot is a local Des Moines band, KISS is a local New York band. They had the faith and perseverance to break out. Sure it means sacrifice and struggle but it is worth it to achieve your goals. If you are happy just playing local gigs and just covering local bands. more power to you, just don’t complain  about lackluster attendance or site views.

Am I making a living with the Hellion Rocks, no. I have been paid for a photo shoot and my photos have been used by a touring band and that’s a start. I will not complain about that, instead I will continue to forge ahead and make a name for myself and eventually I WILL get that paying gig.

Now, who’s with me?

It’s loud, it;s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

the Hellion

 

An interview with Feel Never Real vocalist Tim Jones

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Feel Never Real hit my ears recently, and they hit them hard. Shauna at Pavement Entertainment made me aware of them and I’m glad that she did. I had a chance to have a conversation with vocalist Tim Jones and it was a fun one. Here it is in all of it’s unedited glory:

     Their new record Rock Rebel Gold is out now on Pavement Entertainment get it online today!

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     Be sure and hit them up online at:

http://www.feelneverreal.net

https://www.facebook.com/feelneverreal

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s FEEL NEVER REAL!

     -the Hellion

 

BLOODY HAMMERS Debut New Video on Loudwire‏

BLOODY HAMMERS Debut New Video on Loudwire

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Under Satan’s Sun Available June 10th in North America

On Napalm Records/Spinning Goblin

BLOODY HAMMERS will release their new album Under Satan’s SunJune 10th in North America(May 30th G/A/S, FIN & Benelux, June 2nd UK & Rest of Europe, June 4th ESP/SWE/NOR).  The album will be released via Napalm Records/Spinning Goblin. The album will be available a regular CD, limited edition vinyl gatefold and digitally.  It can be pre-ordered on AmazonHERE.  A teaser for the album can be viewed HERE.

As the release of Under Satan’s Sun draws nearer, BLOODY HAMMERShave released a new video for the song “Death Does Us Part”.  The video is being premiered exclusively by Loudwire and can be viewed HERE.

BLOODY HAMMERS video for their song “Welcome to the Horror Show” can be viewed HERE.

The lyric video for the song “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” can be seenHERE.

 

BLOODY HAMMERS are a heavy rock band from Transylvania County, NC. Although commonly viewed as a gothic rock, Bloody Hammers have equally incorporated elements of doom metal, stoner metal and psychedelic rock.

 

“Too much of the genre today is cookie-cutter junk – vacuous because it follows whatever the latest semi-trend might be. Or, worst of all, there’s some amazing riffage but complete shit for vocals; like, hasn’t anyone learned a thing from Megadeth about this misstep?

 

That’s precisely why it’s so arresting when something like BLOODY HAMMERS comes along. With a moniker taken from a song by psych-rock legend Roky Erickson, the music is doom without being dumb and retro without being repetitive. The Charlotte-based outfit come out swinging like Oh Dae-su in the original Oldboy, with longtime Goth staple Anders Manga leading Sabbath-esque overtones that too many try but few are able to actually pull off – especially with this sort of aplomb.”

 

– Michael Christopher/Vanyaland.com

Track Listing:

1. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

2. Spearfinger

3. Death Does Us Part

4. The Moon Eyed People

5. Second Coming***

6. Welcome To The Horror Show

7. Under Satan´s Sun

8. Dead Man´s Shadow On The Wall

9. The Last Alarm

10. The Necromancer

For More Info Visit:

http://www.napalmrecords.com

http://www.bloodyhammers.com

https://www.facebook.com/BloodyHammers

Stacey Blades gives us an update on Let It Rawk and the new single “American Rebels”

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It’s definitely cool when Stacey Blades gives me a call. We had a chance to talk about the impending release of the new Let It Rawk single “American Rebels” which drops on May 6th. I have had the chance to preview the track and it is a KILLER piece of work! Check out the conversation right here:

    

     Thanks Stacey!

     let it be loud, let it be dirty, LET IT RAWK!

     the Hellion