Written by Michael Del Pizzo (Sunflower Dead)
“People Suck! Guns n Roses? Metallica? Death Metal… Hell, I Can Do That!”
Hello there again rock n roll world! This is the second installment of “My Rock and Roll Journey.” In Chapter 1, I let you know about my Twisted Sister Moment (along with some inappropriate relationships). If you missed that story, go back and check it out.
In this chapter, I’ll be discussing how I started my journey of actually being in a band…
As with anything I do, it’s different, antisocial and the worst possible way to go about things. Yeah, if there is a right way to do things, I will pick the “almost” right way, and screw myself up while constantly having to redirect the ship. Oh Boy!!!
After I had that fateful Twisted Sister phase at such a young age, I can remember music pretty much dying for me until I was about 12. Really though, what does one know about music from the ages of 6 – 12 anyway? Transformers, climbing trees and watching Rocky movies were all the rage back then (at least for me).
I was taking piano lessons (which was a catastrophe). I would never learn the notes on the page. Instead, I would just sit there and memorize the teacher’s hands and play the song back the way she played it. Smart little kid, huh? Or maybe, once again, I was not doing things the right way. You decide!
The important (or messed up) thing about those formative years is that I did learn one important lesson that would lead me back to a desire for rock stardom. This lesson was very simple…I really, truly, honestly, 100%, just don’t like people, AT ALL!
Sitting in a corner by myself and staring at a cricket is more desirable to me than be surrounded by people and their bullshit. To learn this at such a young age is kind of preposterous, but hey, what rock star has a normal way of thinking? Definitely not this guy…and it has never changed. Well, I like some people (like you readers), but don’t get comfortable, I can switch on a dime!
Having decided that I don’t like people before becoming a teenager, I thought…“man, those teenage years are gonna be tough. You’re gonna need an outlet.” Lo and behold, like a gift from God, my outlet got primed on my 12th birthday (I think).
I remember having a party. My friend came over and handed me a wrapped cassette. (For those that don’t know what a cassette is, GOOGLE IT!). Remember, I am not really into music much at this point, so this was an odd gift.
I took off the wrapping paper and looked at the cassette cover. It was a cross with five skulls on it…Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction. I looked at my friend and asked…
“What is this?”
He said…“Oh, it’s this new band. I like them a lot.”
I was like…“Umm, ok, glad you got me a gift that YOU liked!”
I’ll tell you what though, I played that cassette and, I swear, I listened to it for the next two years straight. I was consumed by it. I thought it was the best album I had ever heard. Even though I had not heard that many albums at that point, I was on point, because (front-to-back) it is one of the greatest albums ever! This alone didn’t give me the urge to be in a band, but if put me on the path.
That path would open up a little more a year later when I was talking about GnR on the school bus, and a kid who was a few years younger than me goes…“You need to listen to Metallica.” I remember being reluctant at first. Who knows why? Maybe I felt like I would be betraying GnR. Stupid, right?
One day, I gave in at the school lunch table and popped Metallica’s And Justice For All into my Sony Walkman. About 10 minutes later, I remember all the girls at the girl’s lunch table looking at me and laughing. (Yes, the boy’s and girl’s lunch tables were separated…Catholic School, I tell you). I thought (like I do with all people)…“what is their problem?”
Then I realized that I was sitting alone at my table, blaring Metallica in my headphones and unknowingly banging my head while engrossed in this sound. I am pretty sure I gave the girls the finger, and was like, “whatever, whores” (haha).
I know that it was so mean; it was more fuel to the fire of me not liking people. Anyways, from that point on, Metallica was GOD! The thing is, the guys in Metallica and GnR were so good. I couldn’t do that, so the thought of being in a band still hadn’t crossed my mind. Well, it had, but I didn’t feel I had any skill.
For the next year, I immersed myself in every metal band I could get my hands on. You name it…Megadeth, Overkill, Nuclear Assualt, etc., etc. But, I could not do what these guys were doing. I didn’t play an instrument, and I couldn’t sing, but I was happy being a fan of the music. Then, BOOM, it happened! The moment that decidedly put me on the path to say…“I wanna start a band.”
The same friend who bought me the GnR cassette, bought a new record called Scream Bloody Gore by the band Death. I mean, what is more heavy metal and antisocial than calling your band Death? We popped it in, and I was blown away by what I heard. This guy wasn’t singing, he was screaming (or growling as we called it back then). I could understand him perfectly, and the songs were very catchy for being so heavy. What was crazier is that I just knew I could make that sound with my voice, and I was right!
The first thing I could do with my voice was scream like the singer in Death, exactly like him (with ease). I thought to myself…“hmm, maybe I should start a band.” One problem though. I only knew one guy (my friend) who liked this kind of music. Everyone else was all Vanilla Iced out and wanted to go dance. PUKE!
For a short moment, I put being in a band aside. Remember how in Chapter 1 I said that each time I listened to a band, all I saw was myself performing the songs? Well, imagine what my mind was doing now, after a few years of engrossing myself in heavy metal and realizing that I can scream like those death metal guys.
Yep, it wouldn’t be too long before being in a band would actually start for me. First though, I needed to find someone who played guitar. It just so happened that two of my friends (one that I still play with to this day) had both started taking guitar lessons. Oh snap, here we go!
In Chapter 3 of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” I join my first band. You’ll see how far down the bottom is when you first start. If there is a mistake to be made, I made it (as you will find out)…
Stay Weird my friends,
Michael – SFD
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