Journalism For Dummies Starring Karma The Bitch

HelloBack in 2003 Strapping Young Lad toured Europe supporting Fear Factory, and being the diehard SYL fan it was a no-brainer I’d take in at least one show and do some press while I was there. The fact that frontman Devin Townsend and I had been crossing paths and doing interviews since 1995 – including a memorable evening at a pseudo-posh Hawaiian restaurant in 1998 ordering up overpriced food and drink that the label paid for – made it a necessary visit, if only to say hello.

A late afternoon interview was scheduled but Devin chose to get some very necessary sleep before the gig, leaving guitarist Jed Simon, drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Byron Stroud to play hurry-up-and-wait with me. We traded the latest tour, album and industry info until word finally came down that Dev would be available after the band’s set instead. Thus, after double-checking all the necessary guest list arrangements, I made my exit so as not to wear out my welcome.

On the way out through the back door of the venue I encountered a fellow journalist – an assumption (foolishly) made based on the camera bag over his shoulder – and his well endowed eye candy. An inexperienced fellow judging by the way he was waiting around for someone to magically appear and say “Come on in, Dood!” as opposed to simply going in and looking for the tour manager. Not my problem, I decided, but as I walked past – offering a courteous nod to him and his woman’s attributes – he flagged me down.

“Excuse me? Do you know if Al is around?”
Continue reading Journalism For Dummies Starring Karma The Bitch

TENET – When It Reigns…

tenet2By Carl Begai

When it comes to music guitarist Jed Simon doesn’t do things quietly. From his early days with Armoros and Caustic Thought to a crushing decade in Strapping Young Lad and his continued work with Zimmers Hole, Simon’s life has been about being louder than everyone else. The mission continues in 2009 with the birth of Tenet, a solo project bubbling beneath the surface for the past 13 years that mutated into a band of familiar faces with an agenda based on grab-you-by-the-face brutality. Teaming up with ex-Forbidden guitarist Glen Alvelais, re-uniting once again with Zimmers Hole / ex-SYL mates Gene Hoglan (drums) and Byron Stroud (bass), Simon has unleashed a full scale old school thrash album entitled Sovereign that recalls the days when aggression wasn’t disposable paint-by-numbers kid stuff. It is the real deal, based on roots and feel rather than example. Tenet is not the answer to whatever gaping hole that may have been left in Simon’s life with the demise of Strapping Young Lad. It’s his next logical step as a musician who lives his metal rather than merely playing it.
Continue reading TENET – When It Reigns…

TENET – Sovereign (Century Media – 2009)

tenetHaving spent well over a decade as a member of Strapping Young Lad’s indestructible line-up, the fans are justified in expecting guitarist Jed Simon’s first solo outing to be a continuation of the SYL legacy. And that would be a big fat “nope.” Sure, there are moments on Sovereign that recall Simon’s days of sonic devastation circa the City record (‘Take A Long Line’, ‘Hail Hail’), particularly with drummer Gene Hoglan behind the kit and Byron Stroud ripping up the bass, but this is flat-out mean rather than trademark SYL aggressive. Tenet is about old school so-raw-it’s-bleeding thrash, and minus the big Devin Townsend production values the band has still turned in an unexpectedly brutal debut. A mere nine songs, Sovereign is a frantic beating within the realms of Death Angel’s heaviest Bay Area thrash punk moments and old, old, old Metallica; all shred and no brakes save for the half-speed rest during ‘Going Down’. Continue reading TENET – Sovereign (Century Media – 2009)