Hammer of the Gods

Mike Dean: Corrosion of Conformity

Ballpark time frame 84-85, Corrosion of Conformity were playing in Virginia Beach somewhere, I think in the Aragona section. Anyway I was a big fan of their first album Eye For An Eye, a pretty unapologetic slab of hardcore. I remember talking to Woody Weatherman(guitar) and Reed Mullin (drums/vocals) outside before the show, I really wanted to talk to Mike Dean, the bassist/vocalist, but they told me he had the flu and was sleeping in the van until they had to go on. I had seen COC once before as a 4 piece, and thought they were pretty good, but they were now a trio. And the singer/bass player was sick, man this might be lame. Couldn't been further from the truth! When they finally took the stage they opened with a wall of feedback and hiss before plodding through the instrumental, "Animosity". This almost dirge-like song was atypical of the"race for the finish line" hardcore, which was so common at this time. But what really stood out even more than their sound was Mike Dean, a sort of mix of a hobo and a character from Tolkien's middle-earth. He was short in stature and had mess of red matted locks on his head playing a bass that was almost as big as he was.

Did I say playing bass, it was more like he was wrestling the damn thing. Stomping around and at times raising his bass only to slam it back down against his body, most of the time his head was bowed, but occasionally he would raise it to reveal his rolled back eyes that were hidden behind his twisted mane. He truly looked like a man possessed. And all of this was in the first instrumental song! When he finally hit the mic, and I mean that literally. He smashed his face right into it and began to growl out his vocals within a tangled mess of sweat, saliva and mucous. I remember thinking "this dude is trying to exorcise, the sickness from his body". But aside from the splattering of bodily fluids Dean was secreting, this guy was ripping and shredding it on bass, all while handling the majority of the vocal chores. It was a mix of punk rock ferocity and thrash metal chops.


Dee Dee Ramone: Original Punk Thunder

Born Douglas Glenn Colvin on September 18, 1951 in Fort Lee, VA, although throughout most of the civilized world (and the uncivilized underworld) he is remembered as Dee Dee Ramone, bassist, chief songwriter, and founding member of the legendary punk rock forefathers, The Ramones. Dee Dee wrote the the book on punk rock bass, the low slung guitar, wide legged stance, leaping splits and that street smart attitude. Everybody copped it, but no one did it quite like Dee Dee.

Dee Dee was a troubled soul, he struggled with drug addiction most of his life and lost the battle on June 5, 2002. But like a true legend, he continues to inspire young bassist to count it off, and rock out. Hey! Ho! Let's Go!


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Fender Precision Bass: The Birth of Thunder

In the the early 1950's Fender introduced the world's first electric bass guitar to garner widespread acceptance and use. An instrument that became revolutionary in the sound of popular music ever since. The "guitar bass and drums" line up that would define pop music had found it's heart and from then on, the bass guitar provided the foundation, the "thunder" of which most modern music was built upon.

When Leo Fender invented the instrument he called a Precision Bass, he had modest goals. In a interview with music journalist Tom Wheeler, he stated that “We needed to free the bass player from the big doghouse, the acoustic bass. That thing was usually confined to the back of the band, and the bass player couldn’t get up to the mic to sing. And … guitar players would have an advantage if they could have an instrument with frets that would make doubling on bass easier for them.” Who could have foreseen the impact that Precision Bass  would have on pop music. With a more  focused and harder edge sound than the double bass, the electric bass guitar would prove to be essential in the evolution of rock and roll


John "Th Ox" Entwistle: Thunderfingers

"I guess I'd liked to be remembered as a someone who helped changed the face of bass guitar and probably being the only bass guitarist who hasn't been copyable." That exactly what Mr. Entwistle did, as the founding bass guitarist, a title he preferred over bass player, for The Who. Pete Townshend once said, when he picked up the bass, "he realized he could change the fucking instrument!" The genesis of this transformation can be traced to the Who's "My Generation", which featured one of rock's first bass solo. With a trebley, growling piano like tone, his bass just exploded out of the mix into the forefront of the band's sound.

John Entwitsle made the bass, a cool instrument to play. Whilst there was usually a maelstrom of rock n' roll happening on stage with The Who, stage left stood Entwistle nearly motionless, except for his hands and fingers. It was almost as if his thunderous bass, along with Kieth Moon's manic drumming, choreographed the chaos during the halcyon days of the band. It was during this time he developed and refined his unique playing style.


Electrical Guitar Company

Electrical Guitar Company manufactures all-aluminum and aluminum neck electric guitars and basses. Owned and operated by machinist/luthier Kevin Burkett, they design and build custom instruments and limited run production models.

Players of note, with Signature models include: King Buzzo / The Melvins, Brent Hinds / Mastodon, Tom Peterson / Cheap Trick and Daune Denison / the Jesus Lizard.


David William Sims: The Jesus Lizard

Somewhere in 1989, Matthew Odietus (RIP) comes over to my place with the latest issue of Maximum RockNRoll. He's all excited about an article on a band called, The Jesus Lizard. At first I thought, oh, they are trying to be shocking by putting "Jesus" in their name, but Matt explains to me what a Jesus Lizard is, they are these crazy little reptiles that walk across water, neato. He's reading me the article, and showing my the photos, one in particular, depicting the vocalist holding his testicles clenched in fist, with the microphone in his other hand held down at his groin. We found that one rather amusing. After a bit more of the article, I realize the bass player is David Wm. Sims, from Rapeman (Steve Albini's band after Big Black) and Scratch Acid prior to that. Anyway, turns out this band was playing the King's Head Inn soon, so we decide then, that we have to check it out.

I picked up their first EP "Pure" prior to seeing them live. Initially, I thought it was just "Ok". Because they used a drum machine and it was produced by Albini, it was hard not to write them off as Big Black wannabes. That all changed after seeing this rock and roll juggernaut perform live at KHI on a Tuesday night to an audience of maybe seven to nine individuals. In attendance, if memory serves me well, Matthew and myself, Micheal Dayve, Stan Boyette, Rich Schellenberger, Steve Loschi, Brian Pafumi some chick named Nancy and the dude she was with. Plus, doing sound, Bob Gurske (RIP) and working the bar and door,George and Shirley. By this time, the band had employed the powerhouse, living metronome Mac McNielly on drums. With the addition of a live drummer, this allowed David Wm. Sims crunchy, mid-range bass tone to really come alive. In addition to his bass tone standing out, his physical appearance at the time was rather stunning. He had long wavy hair dyed some reddish hue of Manic Panic with steelish-blue eyes that peered out between locks of his mane.



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