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Old 07-07-2017, 10:37 PM
Midnight_Danger's Avatar
Midnight_Danger Midnight_Danger is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: In the past, circa 1985, vicariously through my record collection
Posts: 4
Favorite Axe: Charvel Predator
Favorite Strings: 0.10-0.50
My Photos: (0)
Default Hailing and Killing

What's going on everybody? As you can obviously tell, I'm new around these parts. I stumbled across this forum after doing some "internet window shopping" so to speak, and figured what the hell? Thus, here I am...

Now here's the part where I divulge my entire life story, as I'm pretty sure someone's gonna be asking me about all this at some point down the line so I might as well get it all out (do people still do this on the Internet?). I'll keep it as brief as I can, and keep it mainly focused on music and guitars- cuz that's ultimately why we're here, right? Anyways, how I became a somewhat less crappy axe-slinger started when I was 8 years old when I unwrapped an Esteban acoustic guitar one Christmas morning after my parents decided it was a good idea considering I was getting more into something like music as opposed to anime and the plethora of PC games I was playing at the time (I still love the shit out of the first Unreal game, racked up a massive bill playing Battletech Online, and endured the creative abortion known as the Thief reboot due to being a fan of the first game). I started out trying to learn some of the Dave Matthews stuff my brother was learning himself while simultaneously learning some of the AIC/Soundgarden (Rest in peace Chris Cornell)/Pantera (Rest in peace, brother Dime)/Machine Head songs I heard on MTV (back when they actually played friggin music) and trying- i.e. failing miserably- to write some original tunes. I even won a talent show in 4th grade playing an original song titled "Full Moon". Yeah, the school either had incredibly low standards or were taking pity on me. Maybe it was both...

Fast forward to the point in time when puberty had its way with me like a lot lizard at the truck stop down the street where I resided, and I was eyebrows-deep in classic hard rock and heavy metal classics. The bands that fueled my yearning for an electric guitar were AC/DC (because Angus Young is just so damn cool), Pantera (basic bitch answer #1), Van Halen (basic bitch answer #2), Michael Schenker-era U.F.O. (and that's basic bitch answer #3!), and a little band you might have heard of called SAVATAGE!!! I was 13 years old when "Sirens", "Hall of the Mountain King", and "Streets: The Rock Opera" threw me on the floor and made such passionate love to me that wanted to marry those records as well as Criss Oliva's superb fretboard mastery not 2 seconds after all was said and done. Of course my father relented, and guitar playing (and rock/metal music overall) became how we spent our weekends after my parents split up. My first guitar was a red Epiphone SG that came out of a starter box (my dad had the black one) and all I wanted to do was learn each and every one of Criss Oliva's riffs and solos note for friggin note (an endeavor I am currently dead-set on resuming, but more on that later). Yeah, it was a "starter" guitar with a crappy amp, but at that time I didn't care! I took every opportunity to crank everything up to 11 (obligatory Spinal Tap reference, huzzah!) and rock out to my blackened heart's content. Fueling my musical desires were bands like Vicious Rumors, Manilla Road (Mark Shelton is so underrated it physically hurts), Omen (Rest in peace J.D. Kimball), Anthem (where I derived my username from, only to later realize the lyric is "Midnight Stranger" but mine sounds cooler IMHO), and so many others. My dad and I were taking lessons from a guy who's musical influences stemmed mainly from blues and blues-rock. While you may think that something like this may dissuade my youthful yearning for shred superstardom, you would be so terribly wrong. For me, I was fascinated! I was already familiar and loved the work done by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan (need I mention Angus Young some more?) but after being introduced to Eric Johnson, Gary Moore, and the oft-overlooked Lonnie Mack, I jumped right into my proverbial homework (not the boring school-related crap) night after night to cop as many blues-based licks (while trying to craft my own) and throw them into a blender along with typical heavy metal shred licks and see what I could come up with. If only I had a 4-track or something...

Around the bridge between sophomore and junior year of high school, my starter rig was upgraded into something professional-ish. My amp became a Marshall JCM 2203 40-watt combo, and my axe went from my SG (which suffered the consequences of not knowing donkey dung about strap locks) to what else? A parts guitar!!! Wait, what? Yep, I threw all caution to the wind and tried my hand at assembling my own (I blame the after-effects of the illicit substances I had consumed not even a year prior- and I'm not even talking jazz cabbage). I picked up a body and neck at a yard sale one summer and thought to myself "why buy an off-the-shelf guitar when I can just make my own?" The body was an unfinished S-type body set up for an H-S-S configuration and Floyd Rose trem, and the neck was of equally unfinished maple and had a reverse pointy headstock that resembled something you'd find on a Dinky/Soloist or a Predator (probably just an aftermarket neck from Warmouth). Of course my Criss Oliva worship mandated that I flip the bird at the middle pickup and just turn it into an H-S souped-up 80's shred weapon of auditory annihilation (I love alliteration, can't you tell?). All the work was done myself (aren't you proud?), and to this day I've placed myself on my own personal suicide watch for giving it up. The paint scheme was a "blood camo" finish I had dreamed up, using a bright shade of red ("arterial blood") with splotches of crimson ("vein blood") done in a pattern like the classic military BDU. The Floyd was an original that was thankfully able to be recessed (saved up my monies for that). The coup-de-grace would be a Seymour Duncan JB paired with a Hot Rails single-coil. This thing sounded like a friggin Xenomorph in heat! Bringing that in during practice with my band Archaeopteryx at the time made everyone turn their heads and bow at its unbridled fury. That was, of course, if I wasn't being the hired-gun bassist in various other bands as well (thankfully I would never make it into Glenn Fricker's "Hall of Rule #2ers" because I actually gave two craps about changing strings, learning proper technique, and actually REHEARSING the goddamn songs). I can only recall ever playing two gigs with Archaeopteryx- and they were both "Battle of the Bands" competitions in junior and senior year. My how things went full-circle...

You still awake? Fret not (pun), because we're at the end now. I sold all of my gear about 5 years ago (including my aforementioned badass "Youngblood" parts guitar) after being hit with some serious financial dire straits as well as feeling that there was no place for me in this crazy world of guitar dominance populated by many others- popular and obscure- that were ECHELONS better than I was. For those 5 years I wallowed in my own squalor and regret, living my life like a schnook (oh how I love "Goodfellas"). For the past 3 months, the music bug bit me as hard- if not harder- than when my ears were first graced by the majesty of Savatage. It was then I realized that I don't care about being popular or any of that. I loved music and playing guitar because it was fun and allowed me a form of artistic expression that gave me comfort in my hellish adolescence. I wanted that sense of fun back, and goddammit I will die before refusing myself the chance to have it again! No more regrets, and no more excuses. I'm doing it for real this time, and purely for my own satisfaction...

Anyway, that's my story. I hope I didn't bore you too much and kept it somewhat interesting. For now, I take my leave.

HAIL AND KILL!!!

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