If you read Chris Cornell’s obituary today, you’ll learn he was the frontman for Soundgarden and Audioslave; you’ll learn he had a unique voice.
He was so much more than that.
Obviously, he was a person with family and friends who cared about him, knew him intimately, and will never forget him. But he also was one of the last remaining legends of a rock and roll era that has already lost so much or seen its heroes falter and fade.
My wife bought us tickets to see him solo a couple years back at this music hall near our home that typically hosts classical and traditional musical acts. What struck me about him was not his performance. It was his attitude and presence. Alone on a stage in front of hundreds, in a place that was maybe out of his element, he didn’t just command the room, he owned the whole damn building, because we did.
I’m a metal head. I’m a metal head, and Nick Menza died yesterday. I’m a metal head, and Nick Menza died yesterday of a sudden heart attack. It’s funny how something happening to someone you’ve never met can hurt you on so many levels, especially when their life has had such a profound effect on yours.
Who was Nick Menza? A legendary drummer with the misfortune of forever being overshadowed. Even in his death, people will remember 2016 as the year Bowie and Prince died. But not me. Not metal heads. We’ll remember Nick.
Nick played drums in Megadeth during their most influential and arguably most creative era. He joined the band for their album called “Rust in Peace,” which metal heads often cite as one of the greatest metal albums of all time. He left the band after “Cryptic Writings,” which metal heads aren’t so fond of, but I’d fight for it.
Sometimes, people come here and say, “oh, you do reviews. Well, I wrote a novel, and I have a blog. Why don’t we swap reviews?” It’s true that reviews are the life blood of any indie writer (have you reviewed Carrier yet?), but I write reviews here because, in addition to being an author, I’m also a reader. And sometimes, a good story gets me so hot that I have to tell people about it. I’m human. It’s only natural.
I watched a History Channel documentary series on the World Wars this weekend, so that basically makes me a history buff. It’s interesting to me, however, that I decided to sit down and watch the entire thing during the weekend preceding Veterans Day. It offered me a bit of an epiphany I’d like to share.
Most people know about the trench warfare and mustard gas of World War I, and most people know about Hitler and the terrible, terrible Holocaust. But these conflicts were the most deadly in human history, and the circumstances surrounding them were very complex.
When we talk about the World Wars, we don’t often mention Stalin or Mussolini. We talk about the Japanese Empire, but usually in the context of Pearl Harbor or the bombs that ended the war. We don’t often talk about the Treaty of Versailles and how it sowed such resentment in the German people that Hitler was able to capitalize on it. We don’t talk about how the Great Depression made everything worse or how FDR’s New Deal saved the U.S. economy but weakened its military and how Britain did essentially the same.
We don’t talk about the precariousness of the edge that the world was on.
I’m a guy who lives on the little things. I have a brief conversation with someone, and it sparks an idea. From there, it marinates in my brain until it becomes a thought. Most times, when someone gives me even a minute of their time to have a discussion, it’s an interaction that divides and multiplies until it’s something much bigger than it actually was, for better or for worse.
By this, I mean to say, if you’ve played even a small part in my life, you mean more to me than you know. (Unless you were a jerk.)
I would be remiss if I failed to post here on the day that I evolved from normal human into radiating beacon of literary authority and genius, but seeing as how all that happened today was my first novel hit Amazon, I wasn’t sure if anything needed to be said.
The spirit of jest and humility aside, I’m very excited a piece of my work that I legitimately poured my love into is finally out there and ready for you to read. Be gentle. Don’t stare. Don’t say things like, “I just want to talk,” when it’s clear you want more. Be honest with her, and she will take control. It’s what she does. Just open your mind and let her slip inside. The sharp pains are her hooks. She’s going to be in there a while. Continue reading
In my time here, I’ve seen tragedy. I’ve felt sorrow. I’ve had days where I thought, “this is the worst day of my life,” and then I’ve had days that actually were the worst of my life.
The point is I’ve seen my fair share of darkness. I’ve known my share of hurt and loss. But how does that measure up to anyone else? It really doesn’t matter. It’s all relative. My tragedies are my own; they are part of my identity. That is all. They do not limit me. They empower me.
One of the things that bugs me most about people is when someone claims, “you don’t know what I’ve been through.” The statement is obvious at best, but the worst part about it is the person who makes this claim is isolating him or herself. Where there’s an opportunity to make an emotional connection with someone who steps out to empathize, the person who makes this claim is severing it before it has a chance to grow. Man, that’s tragic.