It's an annual pilgrimage.
Each summer, one of the most awesome photographers I know - Rick Malkin, and I head out to capture pictures and video of Meinl Cymbal artists on the US summer festival circuit. So far we've hit the Summer Slaughter tour (which I've already reported on in another blog).
We just recently returned from the VANS Warped Tour and the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Ozzfest is next week.
VANS is probably the longest running annual festival in the US. It's a collection of Alternative Press Magazine style bands mixed with some crossover groups, mainly from the metal community. The Mayhem Festival is new to the US summer festival scene, but it has quickly become the US metal festival to be on.
VANS found us taking pics of:
Marc "Meggers" Eggers of the street punk band The Casualties. Socially conscious and blissfully in love with the music they make, Meggers and The Casualties are today's answer to the classic London/NYC punk rock of the late 70's/early 80's. These guys love what they do and they take no prisoners live.
Alex Lopez of Suicide Silence. Alex is a powerhouse on the drums. A raging combination of Dave Grohl-style pounding and modern deathcore blastbeat mania. Alex truly grooves and his love for four on the floor rock and roll really shines through in Suicide Silence's potent blend of modern extreme metal.
Gavin Parsons - touring drummer of Whitechapel. Meinl Cymbal artist Kevin Lane is Whitechapel's drummer, but due to a sports related injury, Kevin has been on the sidelines healing while Gavin has been filling in. Whitechapel's management called up and asked if Gavin could get a set of the world's best cymbals for his work with the band, and of course we said "yes." Family is family. Gavin did a great job. Intense studious concentration with great technique. Rick thought that Gavin reminded him of Billy Cobham. A real compliment for sure!
Here's where it gets funny...
Chris Pollock and Versa Emerge weren't able to play that day because VE's guitar player had a terrible flu with a fever and all of the accompanying rotten symptoms. Still, Chris wanted to get some photos and was a real sport about it as Rick snapped some great shots of him hanging with his kit. Nice guy.
Rain. Lots of it. This kept Ryan Leger and Every Time I Die and Andrew Wetzel and Attack Attack! from playing.
Ryan Leger of Every Time I Die. We were able to get some pics of Ryan on stage after parking lot stages were called off. Great, great dude. Totally hospitable, and every drummer on the tour was telling me how awesome they think "Legs" is as a drummer and as an all around guy. Cool tats on his knuckles too.
Andrew Wetzel and Attack Attack! were also rained out. Couldn't get any pics of Andrew either...These guys are one of the biggest draws of the tour right now. A hot band with a rabid following. I was really bummed I didn't get to catch their set. So were a lot of people. Oh well...next time.
Mayhem found us taking pics of:
Jeff Fabb of In This Moment. One of the nicest guys I can think of and one of the best rock feels around. Jeff Fabb got my vote for "coolest looking dude on the Mayhem tour." No disrespect to the other guys, but Jeff's look screamed rock star 24/7. Made it real easy for Rick to take great pics of him. Jeff combines all of the best elements of todays' modern metal drumming and does it with the vibe and style of Tommy Lee from the Shout At the Devil days.
Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall. The real deal pro and totally dedicated to his craft. Jason's entire day revolves around the time he gets to spend on stage, and it shows when he plays. Not many drummers are as athletic as Jason is behind the kit, and not many drummers have paid as much attention to detail to their parts in the songs as Jason has.
Art Cruz of Winds of Plague. Sick, sick drummer and great magician. Art is one of the happiest guys around and his band Winds of Plague got one of the best receptions at Mayhem, as they are truly melting people's minds with their intense brand of deathcore. Art's drumming is a study in putting the feel into blastbeat drumming.
Chris Adler of Lamb of God. Gets better every time I see him. Chris is always hitting harder, but with more technique every time I see LOG play. Playing on the main stage with more radio friendly metal bands, LOG had their work cut out for them in terms of winning over an audience, but they did it. Chris and LOG had them in the palm of their hands.
Check out some of Rick's great work that I've posted. Video is coming soon.
- Chris Brewer