Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Las Vegas, NV-Mitch Harris (Righteous Pigs) House

     First stop on the trek was to spend a few days with our friends in the Righteous Pigs (maybe you've heard of them?) before our first show in Salt Lake City,Utah. Mitch and Stephen have been friends with the Cryptic guys for a few years now and were always super cool, hospitable and a laugh riot to hang with. We all knew the next few days were going to be a great time and fun way to start the tour. Don't know for the life of me why we didn't have a show setup while we were staying in Vegas? Cryptic played in Vegas in the past  with Wehrmacht and Righteous Pigs, but without Bill (due to a strep throat, so Rob sang and played bass) Hey Les do you know why? So I'm driving with about an hour or less to go until we get to Vegas and I'm the first to get pulled over for speeding. FUCK! A really shitty way to start the tour. I felt like a total asshole. The van was in Les's name so he had the unfortunate pleasure of having to deal with the cop. I'm sorry Les. Rob was the only other person to get a ticket during the tour. Pretty sure he got his ticket somewhere in Kansas, for what, I don't remember and I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember either. Pretty sure we both blew off paying our tickets after we got home since our attitude was pretty much....Fuck It, I doubt I'll ever be coming back through here anytime soon. Also back then everything wasn't on this big cross country DMV computer network either.
      Once we rolled up to Mitch's house we started to hit the beer pretty hard, I'm sure there was some weed floating around too. Mitch, Stephen, Caper, Mitch's brother (who I can’t remember his name, but was a really cool guy) and friends were a blast to hangout with. That night, or the next, there was a big party out in the desert somewhere in this huge drainage ditch. Tons of people we didn't know hanging out drinking beers, booze, smoking weed, loud music blasting from cars and boom boxes and everybody having a great time. Car headlights were pretty much our only source of light so if you were already drunk and either behind the cars or off in the distance, it was a little hard to navigate walking around the rocky gravel and down into this drainage ditch. Because of this, Les was the first casualty of the tour. Drunk and probably stoned it's not hard to trip, lose your balance and fall on your arm and use your face as a cushion, basically a full on body plant=not so good for a guitar player. Bloody, bruised and somewhat battered we made it back to Mitch's house all in one piece at who knows what time. Bill wasn't much of a drinker, so maybe he drove us all back?????? Next morning though, wasn't so nice as we were all pretty hungover (luckily at that age, the hangovers don't last as long or hurt as bad as they do now!) After a few goodbye’s and laughs at Les's expense because of the big knot on his forehead and scraped up arms, it was a nice hot sweaty drive to UT. Miserable. Oh yeah, Caper from Righteous Pigs is crazy! I'll just leave it at that and let you dig around to find some of the stories.  I also think Vegas may have been the subconscious meaning behind "Hot Rad Chicks"! One of the on going jokes throughout the whole tour was and still to this day was me and my random sleep talking with no explanation. “No You Get On Top” “SHAMROCK!” WTF?

Some  OLD Cryptic Slaughter flyers from my collection
for your viewing pleasure! Until PART 4

WARGOD: Gene Hoglan's first band. Prior to Dark Angel also 
Michelle Meldrum R.I.P. (ex Phantom Blue & Meldrum)



    The months leading up to the tour which started at the end of June were spent finalizing more shows, proofing album artwork, mixing & mastering, etc, so the album could come out in August while the band was on the road. The tour was booked completely D.I.Y., the band didn’t have a booking agent. Everything back then was done by phone, snail mail and the occasional fax. Les booked a majority of the tour and the Texas dates were taken care of by Cryptic Slaughter's new label mates from Corpus Christi,TX band Angkor Wat. At the time Angkor Wat just got signed to Death Records and were a relatively unknown band outside of Texas. Later on some A.W. members would go on to play in Skrew, Nine Inch Nails, Pail, The Sabbath Assembly and Ministry to name a few. If you can find their two albums “When Obscenity Becomes The Norm....” (The more thrashy of the two) and “Corpus Christi” (the transition into Skrew and a more industrial sound) you will not be disappointed.  
     The tour involved the initial cities/states Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Memphis, Detroit and then up into Canada and back through the East Coast and so on..... At this point everything was setup and we were ready to go. A week or two prior to leaving we had a little hitting the road party with some friends, Hirax singer Katon DePena (who was a big component to C.S. getting signed) and visiting from Toronto Canada, underground metal aficionado Dave Busch. All I remember is a ton of laughs and even more beer! The following days after the party the band rented a cargo van and a small u-haul trailer for the tour. Bill’s dad, Ray who was managing the band at the time, unhooked the odometer so the band could save money because the band was getting charged by the mile on the van. But by unhooking the odometer, we forfeited the speedometer and we would end up leaking oil in the process, which we didn't know at the time but would add a level of frustration to the tour. On a side note, the day before we left we thought it would be a good idea to test out the van and drive it to Magic Mountain (Amusement Park), completely hungover. Obviously we weren't thinking too straight, hahaha but from what I remember, we had a blast! The next day we all shook off any hangover we may have had and met at Scott's parents house (the band practiced in their garage, which was directly behind the Santa Monica airport) in the morning to pack the trailer and do our best to comfortize the back of the van with sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. After everyone got situated, we were off. Excitement was running high, to say the least. Shit!.....who wouldn't be excited!? You’re hitting the road across the country and Canada with your best friends (that your still friends with 20+ yrs later), watching a bunch of killer shows, meeting some new amazing people, no parents, school etc. An adventure, to say the least! Keep in mind that I was 17, Rob,Scott and Bill were 18 & Les was 20. Let the insanity begin.

Cryptic Slaughter pre Rob Nicholson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Overlooked and Under Appreciated "Stream Of Consciousness" and the end of Cryptic Slaughter 1988

     It was May 29th 1988, I was 17 at the time and had one more year of High School in Santa Monica,CA. The night before I roadied for my good friends in Cryptic Slaughter, they had a show at the Balboa Theater with Dr. Know, (last show Dr Know did with Kyle Toucher after the great Wreckage In Flesh album) Insted and Resistant Militia. This was the last show for Cryptic Slaughter in LA before heading out on their summer tour, starting in June, to promote the upcoming new album “Stream Of Consciousness”. The album was recorded earlier in the year during Rob, Bill and Scott’s last year of High School. The aforementioned show also ended up being the very last L.A. Cryptic Slaughter show forever!, unbeknownst to the band and everyone else at the time! A precursor of things to come? Leading up to the May 28th show were weeks and weeks of studio time, tracking, recording and mixing. I remember Bill coming to school the day after a late night of recording his vocals and his voice being hoarse and raw. You can hear the intensity in his singing on the record, he put every ounce of angst into it and it shows. The overall recording process for “Stream Of Consciousness” was somewhat of a new experience for the band on a certain level since it was the first time the band used someone else other than Metal Blade Records in house producer Bill Metoyer for one of their full length albums. With this decision, came a more organic, live, raw sound than their previous two records. I guess it’s fair to say that the production/sound quality of "Stream" had more in common with “Convicted” & the "Life In Grave" demo than compared to the cleaner slick sound of “Money Talks”. Production aside, the songs on the other hand were a natural progression from "Money Talks", yet they still retained the same crossover Cryptic Slaughter hardcore thrash speed-core groove, but were taken to another complex level. “Stream”, I believe would have surpassed “Money Talks” if it was given a more....let’s say “powerful and clean” production that captured their intense live shows and if the band didn't break up. Any of the songs on “Stream” that were played live always stood up to anything played from “Convicted” or “Money”! Just check out the live tracks on the "Money Talks" re-issue by Relapse Records in 2003, Circus Of Fools, Just Went Black, Aggravated. Overall, the band wasn't really happy with the final outcome of the record (production wise), which is a bummer, because it’s really a great record, if you can look past some of the mistakes and the sound quality. Over the years I have really come to enjoy this record more and more. The small imperfections give it a unique quality all it's own. To me "Stream Of Consciousness" has gotten better with time, (or over the years I have become more open minded? or both) it also shows why Cryptic Slaughter are still highly respected in this genre of music. More and more new bands cite C.S. as an influence and the media continues to write about them. While I was writing this I listened to probably the only copy in existence of the test pressing for the vinyl version of “Stream” that Rob gave to me after he first listen to it. On the center label of the test pressing record, where it says “comments:” Rob wrote "IT SUCKS" and handed it over to me. “Stream Of Consciousness” wouldn’t come out until August of 1988, after the band returned home from tour and broke up! STAY TUNED FOR PART 2. The Beginning of the end. Righteous Pigs in Vegas, Shamrock! and Beer