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Entry date: 2-28-2024 – Pollen, You Suck – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

When I was young, I had some pretty serious allergies. I don’t remember too much about it, but I do remember having to go and get painful shots fairly often. This was a boon to my collection of action figures/dolls for boys.

 

During what I know might consider the middle part of my life, I didn’t have a lot of issues with allergies, though. Sure, certain things would make my nose drip a little, but now I get these gnarly sinus headaches and feel like crap half the time if I don’t take allergy pills. Most of those kind of wire me out, too, and I hate that feeling.

 

So, pollen, you suck.

 

*****

 

They finally came and observed The Cocaine Baby today. “They” being an outside mental health agency our school has reached out to for help with him. I can’t wait to hear what they think of the little dude. Seems like maybe Dad is trying to get him some help, but I’m guessing that’s mostly to keep the girlfriend in the picture.

 

Cocaine Baby is all excited about going to some ice-skating thing today. I hate this feeling, but I’m guessing it doesn’t happen. His “Mom,” err, dad’s GF, is supposedly taking him. I can’t imagine taking the Cocaine Baby anywhere in public, but that’s just me.

 

Yesterday I told him, again, that I just want him to be happy and have friends. For the hundredth time I pointed out that being rude to people is not going to get him any love and he just looked at me like, “Fuck you!”

 

Many of my students are giving me the “Fuck you!” look lately. They don’t want to do anything, and they know I can’t really make them. I have been reaching out to parents a lot already this week and it’s not moving the needle. They are trying to break me. It’s a war of wills.

 

Let’s see how testing goes today.

 

*****

 

Bathroom update: Drywall has been taken out. Toilet, too. We are a one toilet house and have two teenagers, two adult kids, and two parents. This is not going to end well.

 

*****

 

When I became aware of Sepultura, it was because of my connection to the band through my friends, Christina and Dana, and their mom, Gloria, who was managing them. I remember meeting Max, Igor, Andreas, and Paulo at Gloria’s home, which was a place where a lot of us congregated from time to time. The guys from Sepultura barely spoke any English, but they didn’t really need to. The smiles on their faces were everything you needed to know.

 

They were happy to be here in Phoenix and happy to be making some great metal.

 

Over the years, Arise, Beneath the Remains, and Morbid Visions have all grown on me, but the first record of theirs I really loved was Chaos AD. It was also the first record I got a thank you in the liner notes for, too, which stoked me out at the time. It was fun to be on the edge watching things take off those guys and my friends.

 

For one thing, Chaos AD is one of those records that broke new ground in the metal genre. I read somewhere that it helped create “Groove Metal” and that’s kind of accurate, but it’s also a bit of a misnomer. What it did was show that music that was heavy as fuck could have a killer groove, too.

 

The riffs early in the album are completely bonkers. “Refuse/Resist” kicks things off and it’s heavy as fuck until about the two-minute mark and then it just destroys everything. I was blown away when I first heard this song thirty years ago and love it just as much now. I can forget about all the band politics and such when I put this one on.

 

“Territory” is another scorcher. Igor Cavalera’s drum intro is a bad mofo. I remember seeing the band at Club Rio, I think, go into this and the place just exploded. I really liked going to those shows back in the day. It was fun being on the list and going backstage and all, but they were just so good live. Max Cavalera is a great front man to this day and when Chaos AD came out, he was really coming into his own.

 

The songs on Chaos AD are packed full of little surprises, great breakdowns, and there is always something new and interesting coming along, but it’s never too much. “Slave New World” is another one that heavy bands have been aping for the last 30 years. Andreas Kisser did some cool, totally subtle little additions to the guitar flavor in this one (especially right before the end of the song), and as usual, Max’s rhythm is spot on.

 

It’s too bad things had to go south for those guys. That’s not my story to tell, obviously, but as a fan and someone who knew them all a little bit, it was bummer that they would not be playing anymore. A song like “Amen,” for example, is a good example of how underrated Sepulture was. It’s interesting, heavy, and probably not one that people talk a lot about when it comes to Chaos AD. I dig the weird vocal stuff going on here in the beginning and with the operatic bridge part, plus any time you take the piss out of the church a little bit, I’m in.

 

For me, both versions of “Kaiowas” are super cool to me. I know it was important for the guys to have a bit of Brazilian flavor on the record, but it’s also such a cool guitar riff. I love the chord progressions they put together. They almost remind me of something Sebadoh would have done on acoustic guitars, although Sebadoh would never had such bitchin’ tribal drums.

 

“Propaganda” shows a lot of the punk influence that Max was getting exposed to in the early 90s. This one really kind of foreshadows the Nailbomb (which I will write about later) stuff. I think “Biotech Is Godzilla” which features some lyrics/influence from Jello Biafra is also pretty telling of what was to come.

 

As the record goes on, I am consistently reminded of how much I enjoyed watching Igor Cavalera play drums. The guy was a machine. My friend, Judd, once took him to Easy Street on a Saturday when I was working alone. I made them some sandwiches and we talked about as much as we could. At the time, Max’s English wasn’t great, and Igor’s was even worse, but he lit up like a Christmas tree when I told him how much I loved his drumming.

 

“Manifest” is a great example of how well Igor and bassist, Paulo Jr., played together. It’s a pretty straightforward headbanger, but the bass and drums steal the show for me, even with a bunch of Andreas Kisser guitar wizardry. Take a listen and hear Igor crush the tribal drums. His tom rolls are magnificent.

 

“Clenched Fist” is another favorite of mine from the second half of Chaos AD. It’s a brutal little punch in the face where Max and Igor take turns stealing the song from each other. I also love the breakdown riff around the 3:15 mark. It’s heavy and serious, just the way I like’em.

 

I’ve always liked how the band chose to end Chaos AD. “Chaos BC” revisits “Refuse/Resist” and then “Kaiowas – Tribal Jam” ends it. It would have been fun to watch them make these remixes in the studio. It must’ve been a blast.

 

Thirty years later and the rock is still there. Good stuff, Sepultura.

 

*****


See you tomorrow.



I have a thing for

green eyes and easy smiles.

Love is grand, innit?

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I agree, that's a great Sepultura album! I also agree that having allergies and pollen completely suck.

いいね!
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We feel the same pain

いいね!
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