Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nice Guys Finish FIRST!

I was inspired to write this entry after meeting Jesse Leach, the formal vocalist for Killswitch Engage and current vocalist for both Times of Grace and The Empire Shall Fall.

Anthony and I went to the Kearny Irish (a fantastic little venue in NJ) to see The Empire Shall Fall a few weekends ago. I wanted to say hello to Jesse but as usual, I was feeling very shy and didn't want to approach him throughout the night (even though he was hanging at the bar being a normal dude). Eventually, I worked up the courage to say hello and tell him how awesome the show was.

And guess what? He was REALLY NICE!

We chatted for a bit, got a photo together, and that was that. All in all it was a very positive experience.

My heart explodes a little more for all things Jesse Leach since our meeting. Not just because of his talent or music, though.

Because he was nice to me.

Unless he's a douche to me at a later date (highly unlikely!), I'll forever associate this happy memory to him and his work.

This even works on me for bands/artists that used to be great but are starting to suck (I'm not naming names because I'm not that mean)! Even though their new stuff blows, I still find myself buying the CDs and seeing the artists perform because the artists were just so damn genuinely nice to me.

Crazy how that works, right?!

The opposite happens when an artist is mean to me. I'll forever have that shitty memory tied to their work. I may not completely stop supporting the artist's work but I definitely lose some passion and end up not going out of my way to support them like I used to.

Kind of like that time I met Richard Patrick from Filter and he was a rude douchester for no good reason, even though I waited outside in the rain to say hello to him for over an hour. Or that other time I ran into a member of local band The Oval Portrait at Taco Bell and he was a dick to me when I said I liked his band's music.

I think I've only purchased 1.5 Richard Patrick-related albums after that awful meeting (the .5 is the Army of Anyone CD, which was $6 and terrible). And I never supported The Oval Portrait after my impromptu meeting.

One band is gone. The other isn't nearly as successful as they used to be.

It would be unfair of me to say these bands folded and/or became irrelevant because members were jerks to me...But I can say this...Maybe if those guys weren't such assholes to me (and other fans, I'm sure), things would be different.

You could argue that I caught these guys on "off" days. That they were in shitty moods and just couldn't help being dicks. But I say fuck that.

If you're serious about being a musician, then it's your JOB. Be a professional and don't let your crappy mood interfere with your livelihood. I can tell you right now that I have had plenty of shitty days at work but I'be been sure to keep my mood in check for the sake of my career. It's tough to do some days but it's certainly well worth it in the end.

And honestly, fans don't really give a shit if you're having an off day or not. Why? Because it is your JOB to make them happy REGARDLESS of whatever bullshit you're going through! They're holding up their end of the bargain by seeing your shows, purchasing your merch/music, and spreading the word about your greatness in hopes of recruiting more fans for you.

So there you go...This is why it's important to be nice as an artist when a fan approaches you. It's your time to create that happy memory and make a fan for life. It's also an opportunity to make your dreams of playing music for a living a reality.

So...What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Albums of 2011 (in Gina's Humble Opinion)

I tend to suck at introductions but in the words of little Kevin McCallister, "I'll give it a whirl."

Hi there. I'm Gina, the photographer for RO3 Audio. And this is my first blog entry here! *confetti*

Since 2011 is now a mere memory, we at RO3 Audio figured it would be a good time to list out some of our favorite albums of the year. I'm up first!

Gina's Top 5 Albums of 2011

Born of Osiris "The Discovery"
I haven't stopped listening to this album since it came out. The whole album flows together beautifully and truly proved to me that these dudes have some chops. I remember seeing BOO for the first time in late 2010 and being extremely underwhelmed. Everything from the set to their stage presence was lacking something to me. Even though they were playing to a packed house at the Best Buy Theater in NYC, their performance felt like something I'd see at an NJ VFW hall on a Saturday afternoon. "The Discovery" paired with an explosive live set at the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival changed ALL of that for me. BOO has definitely found their musical mojo, both live and in the studio. They were also a whole lot of fun to photograph (especially their bassist, who did a lot of splits). I hope the trend continues for them into 2012 and beyond.

Times of Grace "The Hymn of a Broken Man"
Jesse Leach is back! This album has just the right mix of heavy and light, making it nice to listen to on a Sunday morning without looks like a giant wuss. It's also another one of those albums that flows so well from start to finish. Definitely not an album I like picking and choosing songs off of. When I listen to this, it's start to finish or nothing. Times of Grace is another band that blew me away at the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Jesse seemed right at home on stage while Adam D. kept his usual on-stage antics to a bare minimum. They were another band that was fun for me to photograph. Definitely not as insane as BOO was at times, but still interesting. My hope for 2012 is that they play some more live shows but with an rumored new KsE album in the works and Jesse's other band The Empire Shall Fall, we can't be so sure.

Bury Your Dead "Mosh 'N' Roll"
This is one of those albums I'm sort of ashamed to love so much (probably because it's total meathead mosh music) but I can't resist including it in my top 5. I remember the first time I heard this album. I was having an awful day at work due to my now ex-supervisor's supreme acts of douchebaggery. I saw that this album was streaming on AOL for free that day and decided to give it a spin. "I dressed myself for my own funeral tonight. C'mon!" screamed Mat Bruso on the opening track "Slaughterhouse 5," and I was fucking HOOKED! The album doesn't let up from start to finish AND includes a more moshtastical version of the greatest mosh song of all time, "Mosh 'N' Roll." Sadly, the first (and maybe last) show they played with Bruso back on vocal duties after a 4 year hiatus was at (surprise surprise!) the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. They put on a hell of a show and were a lot of fun to photograph. I'm not usually afraid of the talent I photograph but something about these guys made me uneasy. I loved it!

Texas in July "One Reality"
I fell deeply and madly in love with this band around Christmas of 2011 (so maybe 2 weeks ago?). While I was warming up my car, one of their songs came on WSOU (Seton Hall University's metal radio station) and it had a very Misery Signals vibe to it. Throaty vocals with gorgeous guitar arrangements gliding throughout the song. I can't remember the name of the song I heard that day but it did hit me hard enough to go listen to their 2 full-lengths (with "One Reality" being the newest one), which is something I don't do very often to be quite honest. Their sound is like August Burns Red meets Misery Signals while they were recording "Controller" (which is one of my favorite albums) so I was instantly in love. They're touring with (another surprise surprise) August Burns Red and will be in the NJ area next week. I may try to harass their management for a photo pass but don't want to come off as the scary fan I truly am.

Mastodon "The Hunter"
I wasn't too sure about this album at first to be honest. I remember hearing "Curl of the Burl" on WSOU in late 2011 without knowing it was Mastodon. The song didn't blow me away and I got really sad when I learned it was a Mastodon song. Eventually, the song grew on me (along with the other single played on WSOU "Black Tongue"). I listen to this album a lot at work, especially when I need to focus on big projects, and it keeps me entertained. I like that "The Hunter" isn't a concept album like "Crack the Skye" was and the songs are fairly short. This album may have been higher on my top 5 if I was able to see them perform tracks from it on their recent tour with Dillinger Escape Plan. Unfortunately, Anthony's car broke down right outside the venue so we had to be towed home to NJ immediately AND miss the show. Womp womp. Good thing those tickets were free!

Honorable Mentions

The Human Abstract "Digital Veil"
The album itself isn't incredible to me HOWEVER the most awesome song of 2011 IS on this album. That song is the title track "Digital Veil." You have NO idea how many days a week I hum the, "Pull me to the gallows!" to myself. The song is just plain infectious! Too bad they broke up a few days ago...

Between the Buried and Me "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues"
I personally don't count this as an album since it's just 3 tracks but the total length of this album DOES clock in slightly over 30 minutes which sort of makes it an album, right? It's your standard fare from BTBAM on this one which isn't a bad thing at all. I just don't think these guys will ever blow me away again. Again, not a bad thing since they're consistently GREAT but yeah...Damn I'm jaded!

2011 Albums I STILL Have Not Listened To That Probably SHOULD Be In My Top 5
Darkest Hour "The Human Romance"
Suicide Silence "The Black Crown"

2 bands I sweat like no tomorrow released albums in 2011 and I still haven't listened to them?! What the fuck is wrong with me?! I ask myself that every day. But I do resolve to listen to them soon AND update this little blurb soon with what I think!

So now, dear readers, let me know your thoughts. Do you agree/disagree with my choices? What do you suggest I check out in 2012?