Excerpt for Memoir by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

1.



The Initial idea for writing this was simply a question someone asked me in November of 2015 at Thanksgiving.The question was"what kind of muic do you like"? Well,the common answer usually given from people of all ages is"whatever is on the radio"or"I listen to what my kids are playing".Sometimes in rare instances someone will be like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off when that question is presented to them,finally giving them the opportunity to share there life knowledge about something they hold dearly.Well,I could just think back in my mind and mouth off a timeline of different bands,styles,genre's,and leave it at that.I however have in someway,shape,or form been influenced in all aspects of my life even to this very day relating to music.

After deciding to go forth and answer the question, I realized that it would be far more complicated and would be a lengthy answer to say the least.I am of course writing all of this from memory so in order to get to the point some stories may take some time.I do tend to mindlessly ramble trying to include every memorable detail to complete the story.

I have never studied the proper way to write a book and are not familiar with all of the mechanics.I am sure the reader can tell just up to this point!Anyway,I will not be able to specifically name every name that may be included due to obvious reasons.Most that were in the past still are,some deceased,some have dissapeared and the majority I do not want to be in contact with anyway.

Well,here is my answer.







2.

Being born in September of 1978,I was growing up when all of the cool stuff was just coming out in the 80's.A lot of the stuff that is still popular today was just being innovated and I got to see it all.I witnessed the VHS rental stores,a slew of iconic 80's cartoon's and movies,Nintendo coming out as well as arcades and those cool all in one 2 storie malls that are almost obsolete.It was a good time and even at that young age I knew it was something special.I can not really write much about my extremely early years with music but one monumental thing that stands out was in 1985.

Depending on what month I was either 7 or 8 years old and I remeber everything after that.I do have very fond earlier memories from the time I was 1 or 2 but I will save that for another book!

Back to The Future.I remember my mom and dad renting that movie and letting me watch it with them.The end section of the movie where Marty is playing Johnny B. Good is burnt into my memory to this day.(Years and years down the road I eventually learned that Paul Hanson was the guitarist)I do not know how are why but no other happening in my life had such an impact on me the way that did.I knew I wanted to play guitar and that I wanted to be a famous guitarist one day.Only if I knew what I eventually lived through.

I knew from that point my life had changed and I looked at my life in a whole new light.I was 8 years old and already had a purpose in life that was very clear.Growing up at that exact time in history was definately to my advantage,radio stations would play what became known as glam metal and looking back it was a trend to say the least.I would see older kids wearing band shirts and patches,buttons on their blue jean jackets.I did not know the term "heavy metal"quite yet but I knew what was being played, I liked.Researching music from 85-87 one would find what was getting major exposure at the time and radio and video play as well.I remember hearing Poison,Whitesnake,Ratt,Bon Jovi(Unfortunately)Ac/DC,as well as other pop rock oriented music.

Thanks Gus.After having one life changing experience with Back to The Future I did not think I would experience another.I went with my parents and brother and sister to visit relatives whom we visit regularly back in those days.He had a jam box with a tape deck that had been melted from the sun.I said"man what happened to that?"he told me someone had used it on a roof job and left it on the roof.Even though it was melted on one side it still worked and he asked me if I had heard this new band Guns N Roses.I told him no,but lets here it!I remember the tape being to cued to Nighttrain and after hearing just a few notes I was speachless.I had heard the aformentioned bands on the radio but this was yet another crucial life experience.I stayed in his room the remainder of the visit listening to that cassette tape and still listen to that album untill this day.A little later he said "hey do you play guitar or anything?I have one I forgot to show you"No,I replied but I want to.He pulled out a red guitar that was a v shape and had a slinky like wound up cable and a small amp.That was the first time I had ever saw someone play a guitar right in front of me and I loved it.I had to have one of my own.

3.

I was poor growing up,that is the bottom fucking line.My mom and dad did the best they possibly could but we were all in it together and were very poor.I had no idea how I would ever get a guitar and I was heart broken already.I thought it was over before it had even began at that early age(I later come to buy everything I ever dreamt of probably collecting $65-70 thousand dollars worth of gear throughout the years)Even though it seemed doomed from the beginning,I was still enjoying listening and fantsizing about playing so it was still a good feeling.

Remember Columbia House music club?Get 10 cassettes for a penny.I saw an ad in some magazine and all of the stuff I had heard on the radio was on the list.I asked my mom but after her reading the fine print and realizing additional albums would have to be bought she wouldnt do it.She told me she couldnt committ to having another bill and I understood.Who could I get to order them for me considering almost everyone I knew was poor like we were.I found someone,my uncle agreed to send it off in his name but I could only pick 2 and he would get 8 since he would be the one paying for it.I couldnt argue and had to make up my mind on what 2 I really wanted.After hours of looking at what was available I decided on the Appetite For Detruction(I still have that same cassette in my vault) that I had heard at my cousins house and decided to take a chance on this cool album cover.Anthrax-State of Euphoria.Probably around 8-12 weeks later I had my very own tape collection getting started.

4.

1987 led me to a chance meeting with someone who would influence me greatly and whom may have even altered the course of my life in a good way.I remember the teachers talking about this kid whom had gotten a giant piece of wood stuck in his chest and had to go home.In my mind I was expecting him to have had a vampire stake through his heart they way the teachers were talking.I thought he would be out of school permanently due to the unfortunate accident but low and behold there he was bcak at school the next day!Me being naturally shy at that age,I would barely speak to anyone I didnt already know much less approach someone.My curiosity got the better of me though and I walked up and said"hey I heard you had a giant stick go through your chest.To my surprise he said"no,I got a splinter from sliding down the wooden rail on the jungle jim and it was about an 1/2" long.Well then I told him,my name is Josh and we are in the same class,what kind of music do you like?

He started telling me about how he was the youngest of 6 kids and one or maybe two of his brothers in particular had turned him on to things like;Ted Nugent,Alice Cooper,Metallica,MegadethOzzy Osbourne,as well as what was the early beginnings of was to become thrash metal.At that point I had heard a lot of the "glam"metal and hard rock but did not know yet about the heavier music.After telling him I really liked Poison,Def Leppard,Motley Crue,Guns N Roses he laughed and said that type of music was for girls only.I said fuck you and that started a on again, off again friendship for almost 30 years.

5.

In those days and at that age the concept of friendship and keeping in touch isnt really something that was second nature.You would meet people at school then lose touch and quit talking over the summer.I dont really remember all that much of that particular summer but in 1988 on my first day of school guess who was in my class?I had matured a bit and had done my homework about educating myself with as much music as I could.By that time I somehow began to aquire blank cassette tapes and started recording songs from the radio and getting other people to make me copies of the tapes they had.1988 was a monumental year looking back because everyone knows that the masterpiece 'And Justice For All'from Metallica came out and I had gotten a dubbed copy from a neighbors babysitter that was a few years older.I remember her telling me how she had spent her babysitting money on the cassette but couldnt understand what they were singing because it was so fast.Around that time I was also introduced to Megadeth from my babysitter who was my cousin through marriage at the time.

There truly was a lot of cool stuff beginning to come out and I enjoyed all of it.Radio stations were playing heavier music at selected times(New Orleans had Headbangers Heaven and Houston had Sweet Nightmares that were played at odd hours during the weekend)and ofcourse every Saturday night was Headbangers Ball.Dont get me wrong Headbangers Ball played some dumb shit at times but for the most part I was getting introduced to bands that were just coming out.I had the best of both worlds listening to glam metal and getting into thrash and speed metal,I was dying to start my own band at 10 years old.

The problem with starting a band that young was first getting the other members who were into the same music and secondly finding like minded kids who had or could get equipment and were on the same mental level as well.Looking back I can now see how I probably stressed out the friends I had being so persistent and probably driving them insane.I knew I wanted to play the guitar but did not have one yet,I found a singer,a girl I knew was going to play bass and I had a friend that wanted to play the drums.None of us had equipment but would spend time coming up with drawings for what I wanted the album cover to be as well as trying to write lyrics and come up with a solid band name.It was fixing to be the summertime again and I would be going to the 6th grade in 1989.Dam I thought that is a long way away,will people even listen to this music next school year?Is my favorite band Guns N Roses going to be around next year?

6.

I still was not able to get a guitar but did see something that summer that once again had a big influence on me.Not having a guitar I would spend the summer staying up all hours of the night trying to catch music videos or horror movies and when I wasnt doing that I was listening to my tape collection ,drawing,or just imagining how I wanted the band to be.One night I just so happened to catch this public brodcast type show that had guitar players on it.I was amazed when I saw Stanley Jordan tapping with all of his fingers on the neck,Jeff Beck with his yellow Fender and Jennifer Batten with her Ibanez guitar(to this day I can not track down what show that was)it was really my first look at what was considered instrumental guitar.Oh yea,watching Morgus was also a ritual for most that lived near New Orleans.Well the summertime is over and 6th grade started.

Starting 6th grade in 1989 not as much had changed as I thought it would.Guns N Roses had made another album and a lot of the other stuff I had been listening to was still being played.Girls would walk around with Poison and Dangerous Toys shirts and the guys would all wear the old Metallica shirts.I once took my entire Strawberry Festival fund which was $5.00 and scored a Metallica-Damaged Justice tour shirt that was a bit small even back then.I didnt care,I wore it proudly almsot everyday.On a side note,I dressed a certain way out of neccesity of being poor and that was camoflauge pants with a metal shirt.I personally did not see anyone else with that combination back then but today it is a pretty common thing.Innovater?

Nothing out of the ordinary really happened that year except constant talk mostly led by myself about getting a dam band together.No one had any equipment and oh yea,the singer failed and I didnt know where the hell he was.It would be a few years later before we would get back on track again.End of the school year and my mom says"hey do you all want to move"?meaning my entire immediate family.I asked her where and when she told me I was eager to make the move(I probably didnt have a say in the matter anyway being 11)It was out in the country surrounded by woods with a canal and plenty of places to camp out.I loved it and have been here for 28 years now.

7.

Oh yea,I got a guitar!Unfortunately it was short lived but in 1989 my parents ordered me a guitar from Fingerhut that they could pay monthly notes on.Years later doing some research,turned out it was a Harmony electric guitar with a small 3 watt amp and instructional book.I had no idea what to do with it when it finally came in the mail and didnt know what a tuner actually was.I tightened the strings on it in my room and ended up breaking 3 from over tightening them.My mom said the guitar was defective and shipped it back.My music career was over as soon as it had started!I would not getting another guitar until years later from that point.I also eventually learned what a tuner was for and how to use one,I never had many broken strings after that.I was bummed out at an early age because I had had the opportunity and it had vanished almsot overnight.

My grandma would bring me up to the music store on Sundays when they were closed and let me look through the window.Back then it was common to see hot pink guitars or snakeskin guitars and everthing else that was bright and flashy for the time.I had no idea how to get a guitar but I did learn a lot more about music.A lot of styles had developed in the 4-5 years since I had first gotten hooked on metal music.Death metal,Speed metal,industrial,thrash,gothic metal had spawned a lot of good bands and genres.I met some cool people here and there that would mention a band I had never heard of or I would read the inside of tape covers and see who they mentioned.I could not afford a guitar but I did find a way to make money for cassettes and magazines.I would sell turtles and snakes to a biology lab in town.I still have most of the tapes I bought back then from doing that.

Now it was 1990 and something terrible that still affects me to this day happened.Living in the country there are(were)plenty of woods to run around in and camp out.When I got tired of sitting inside I would always walk around in the woods to kill time and enjoy the quitness.One day while a few of the other kids from the neighborhood were around I decided to climb a tree for fun.All I remember was trying to reposition myself to climb higher when I heard"watch out"I leaned back the branch broke and I fell out landing on my back.The right side of me had a cane pole that I had cut earlier with a machete and if I would have been to the right a few inches more it would have went straight into my back probably coming out of the front!I caught my breath and when I got up my right arm was heavy and didnt want to move.I was in shock I guess when I looked at it and realized that when I hit the ground the impact caused my right arm to snap at the wrist and it looked like a "U" the bone was almost completely out of the skin.I got rushed to the hospital and the doctor told me to look the other way and they pulled it until something seemed to crack even more then they put a cast on it.One thing that still haunts me is the doctor telling my mom that in 20-25 years I would more than likely have severe problems with my right hand!

8.

I fucking hated having the cast on.I had to try and sleep a certain way and it seemed like for all the months I had it the aching and throbbing never seemed to stop.I had to go back to school and since I had written up until that point right handed,I had to learn to write left handed(that actually come in handy years later)

I dont remember being given any pain medication during all of that but I figured there had to be something that would help,I was miserable.I had always remembered my mom and dad having thses little strawberry wine collectible's from the festival that they had on a shelf.I had heard about people drinking but had never tried ay myself.One day I took one of the bottles and drank it then filled it back up with water thinking no one would notice.The throbbing was gone and I had a good feeling that I had never had before.I was 12 years old and had found something else I liked.Unfortunately future events would not be in my favor so much stemming from this!

1990-1992 was Jr high school and I was getting more knowledgeable about music and life in general.I still didnt have a guitar but the spirit was still strong and at that age other things were occuring also that seemed to pass the time.Jr High was a dose of reality.I never got into trouble myself,but the school I went to had its share of events that I am sure a lot of people remember.I remember once there was 7 fights before I had even gotten to school that morning.A small riot that involved a girl getting pushed down the stairs,3 suicides by students and fights every other day.I do not support violence but during that time it just seemed normal everyday routine.

Somewhere in that 1990 time frame 2 things happened.First I saw a MTV news special that had Steve Vai playing his Multi-colored swirl Ibanez 7-string universe.He was saying how he was getting ready to go out on the Whitesnake world tour and demonstrated these cat and lion sounds with his guitar.I loved that guitar instantly and have since.The second thing was there was another kid at school that actually played the guitar.I had not known of anyone even having a guitar since my cousin showed me his red flying V.The reality of someone around my age having a guitar and supposidly knowing how to play was an inspiration and a bummer at the same time.I thought it was cool that someone else was playing but I wanted to be the one playing.

9.

I had never actually gone into that music store before and had only seen from the window outside.I was still quiet and shy at that point but made up my mind to finally go in and look around.I think I have always had social anxiety even at a young age and that is probably a factor in my heavy drinking later on.It was like nothing I had ever seen before when I walked into the small store with guitars hanging on the wall and small to giant amps on the floor.I remember one of the salesmen standing there talking to someone with this tiger striped guitar around his neck playing 'Wherever I may Roam'it had not been out very long and I overheard him saying he saw the video and learned it by ear.I was amazed and could not believe someone could actually do that.(that guitar turned out to be a very rare Ibanez Predator that a friend of mine ended up with and still has)

"Let me know if you want to test out anything"he looked at me and said.Too damn scared to talk I just turned back around and stared at the cool guitars hanging on the wall.I knew I could not afford anything but enjoyed looking at them"I see you keep looking at the Ibanez"he walked over and said"here,you can have this Ibanez catalog to take home"they were usually sold for about $5.00 but I think he could tell I didnt have any money.I said thank you and went out of the door.I stared at that thing like it was a playboy magazine and memorized everything in it.I noticed right off the bat it had that very same multi colored swirl guitar that Steve Vai was playing and come to find out it was his model guitars.

I got in the habit of calling the store from home asking prices about all of the ones I liked especially the Vai models anly to be let down at how much they were.(I would end up getting a rare Vai model down the road that is very special to me )Back then hearing a guitar was $1700.00 is almost the same as it being a million dollars.I did however end up with a Super Nintendo right when they came out that eventually led to something even greater.

My Jr.High days were coming to an end,I had no guitar and at that point had never even played one yet.I had a SNES,a few metal magazines at that point and my collection of tapes originals and copies was starting to grow.

10.

Summertime before high school and new life experiences about to begin.

At this point I had not talked with the singer,the drummer had sinced moved and the girl bass player was no where in the picture either.I was by myself but still had never given up on my dream and wanted to stay focused.After using the game system I got bored and had the idea of bringing it to a pawn shop and trading it for a guitar!I talked to my mom about it and she agreed to it to my surprise.I was excited that there was a remote possibility I may finally be getting my own guitar.My mom took me to the pawn shop because naturally I was not old enough to pawn anything and when it was said and done the salesman pointed out my options.It was like picking a prize at a festival from popping baloons with darts and having to choose from a certain row.

As he was going down the line he pointed to a red guitar that was pointy and didnt look like the boring typical guitars,that was the one I wanted.It was a 'Eagle"brand guitar that I have never been able to find any information on and I do not have any pictures of it.I could not get a amp from the deal though so I didnt worry about it really.I was just extremely happy to own my very own cool looking guitar.

I got home,went to my room and sat there with this new guitar I had at that point waited almost 6 years to get and I was excited.My excitement changed very quickly though when I immeadiately realized that I had no idea how to play anything at all.I actually didnt know what a pick was at that point and I felt depressed right off.I did not personally know anyone who played and I had no family members that were musically inclined either.I had no idea what the fuck to do!I had finally gotten what I wanted but I was completely miserable.This trend seemed to reoccur many times throughout my life.

11.

Now,anyone reading this may be thinking"he has only talked about guitar and has not really answered the original question"dont worry it will all tie in eventually and when I say the floodgate opened up it did just that.

Ah,summeritme was finally here and I had no idea what would be in store for me that particular summer.I was excited that I did not have to go back to school but I didnt seem to be in contact with any friends either.I remember the first day of summer my phone ringing and someone saying"hey is this Josh"?"Yea,I answered"who is this"after them telling me I was sitting there thinkingokay what are you calling me for.The person was a friend of a friend of whom I did not know very well or how they had even gotten my number."Hey,schools out you want to come spend the night and listen to some music,draw,etc"yea sure.After getting there he introduced me to some newer music that I wasnt aware of at that point,King Diamond being the one that stands out."If you listen to this album you can see ghosts around the room"he said.I didnt buy it but enjoyed the music anyway.I also got introduced to a band that night that I had heard a little bit of but for some reason did not really like at first,Pantera.Of course now I could not imagine the thought of ever not liking Pantera,Oh well I guess some things take a while to absorb.

That summer was actually was pretty cool.I had a new friend telling what high school was going to be like,what kind of girls would be around and there was no end in sight for cool new metal coming out.I spent the rest of that summer messing with my guitar but still didnt know how to play anything.I was depressed and actually considering giving up before I had even started.Me being down one day I decided to ride my bike over to my Grandmaws house right down the road.I would have yet another turning point in my life from this single event.

I know it was 1991 at that point because Metallica's black album was out and Enter Sandman was being played non stop.I clearly remember riding past this red tin house with a old van parked out but I never saw anyone outside.To the amazement of my ears on that day I could hear Metallica blaring loud from that very house.I was to affraid to just go up to the house so I asked someone that lived by my grandmothers house if they knew who lived there."Yea,it is my cousin Eric,he is older than us and also has a band"the person told me.My first reaction was "can you introduce me?"Sure the person said,lets go.I was extremely shy and full of anxiety even at that age so I probably almost passed out while walking to the door.A taller guy opened the door and after being introduced he said"hey man,my name is Eric".

12.

Now,up until this point I still had the dream,owned a guitar and had seen one or two people do a little picking but nothing like I was wanting to play."Do you play any "he said.Yea,I told him,I have a guitar and listen to heavy metal.He responded with"I have a band and we prctice over here every weekend,you can come check us out is you want to"I was speachless and politely walked away.I had to go and see it for myself and sure enough that weekend when it was getting dark I got on my bike and headed over.I could here guitar,drums,and vocals down the road before I had gotten there.My life was about to change.I parked my bike and walked up to people hanging out and the 2 house doors wide open.The carport was full of people,the living room had girls on the couch and music was loud as fuck coming from the back room.I felt like I was in a bad ass movie or something."Hey man you made it"the tall man said."Did you bring your guitar?"No,I replied,Im not good enough to really play with a band yet."Well,dont worry about that you will get there,hey come over here and meet the guitar player""Hey Sam this is Josh,Josh Sam"I didnt know what the hell to say and just stood there.I ended up sitting on the couch just listening to covers of Black Sabbath,Metallica,Lynard Skynard,gGuns N roses,Ozzy Osbourne,and believe it or not Soundgarden.(I still have a hand written songlist from the man himself in a scrapbook"

After aeeing a actual metal band right in front of me inspired me more so than ever to learn how to play but I wasnt quick to ask anyone to show me.I later had an opportunity to trade the Eagle brand guitar for a Peavey T-60 to someone and I went for it.Shortly after that(probably a few weeks)I finally worked up the courage to bring my awesome Peavey country guitar over to Eric's pretty much just to show him.For some reason he liked it instantly and offered me a trade on a guitar he had sitting in a case.He never did end up playing guitar and I never did know how he ended up with it(never will now)It was a hot pink Dean guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo and a hardshell case.I thought it was flashy and similar to the bright 80's guitars I had fell in love with years earlier,I traded on the spot.I asked him where that guitar player was so I could ask him to show me how to play something but he said he didnt know that day.Oh well,I had a new guitar that looked metal and I was happy.

13.

I had gotten ahold of a Circus magazine(that I never paid for)and each month they would have a few bars of guitar tab.One issue had music notes from"Everything About You"from Ugly Kid Joe.I knew the song but really didnt know how to read the music.I would listen the song over and over while l was looking at the notes trying to make a connection but nothing was making sense.I dont remember exactly how long this went on for but it felt like forever.(Probably 2 weeks in teenage life)

I was talking to someone on the phone who didnt even play guitar and was explaining to them what I was trying to do."take the page and turn it sideways so it looks like 6 strings of a guitar neck"the person on the phone said.I did and immeadiately saw what he was talking about.I was looking at the number from left to right on each string.Now for anyone who reads tab this will be self explanatory.I put my fingers on the fretboard like the magazine said and raked my thumb across the strings.I had played my very first D major chord(the first chord of the above mentioned song)and the sky opened up for me and the seas parted.It all made sense and I knew how to read all of those numbers I had been seeing in guitar magazines at the grocery store.

Now that was a revelation within itself one of those defining moments of discovery that will saty with someone forever,well at least for myself.I continued to go to Eric's house to watch them play and look through magazines Sam would bring with him.I started learning little bits of songs that I liked but wasnt until I had a teacher that it started coming together.I had finally statred coming out of my shell and strted asking questions.Once Sam told me they were going to start practicing at his mom and dads bell pepper packing shed to avoid any noise complaints and I was welcome to come over for guitar lessons.

It was around December of that year that I made another trade,as much as I liked the Dean guitar I had fallen in love with a BCRICH that was hanging on the wall at Hayden Music(rip)in Hammond.My mom and dad let me sell the Dean to the pawn shop and my grandmaw gave me the rest of the money to go and get the BC Rich Warlock and a Peavey Rage158 amp.I had never gotten a amp up until that point so I was happy with the way things were starting to go.

14.

My first guitar lesson was till this day very embarrissing even now.I showed up at the bell pepper shed and brought my new rig inside and was ready to get started.I stood there with my guitar hanging around my neck but I didnt have the strap behind my back but more like a olympic medal hanging around my neck.Sam busted out laughing pointing at me and showed me how to fix it.I bet he still laughs at that,I know I sure do.

I knew how to read tab and had started learning how to use a pick.He got me started with some riffs I wanted to learn from Black Sabbath,Metallica,Slayer,but I wanted to play one particular song that HE could play.Crazy Train!To my embarresment he would not let me borrow his guitar magazine with the tab so I wrote it down on notebook paper with a pencil.I got a dubbed copy of the song and started to what I thought would be impossible in my bedroom at home.Sam would ride over with his guitar sometimes and I would go to his house to try and learn stuff.I worked on Crazy Train as my number one priority for a long time and always enjoyed going through it.I dont remember how long it actually took me to learn but while learning it I found it easier to play other stuff I had never tried before.It was getting exciting.

At this time I was in High school and went for no other reason than to socialize.I knew I was learning how to play and along with that started to give me more and motre confidence.Along with gaining confidence in myself I started thinking it was time to get a girlfriend to round out my life.I figured fuck it,Im going to be a rock star I should have all the girls.

15.

I would see her in the school pick up line every day but never did approach her to start a conversation.She was pale white,thin,blonde hair and had a porcelin chinda doll face.I had to talk to her.I had older friends that were legends in my mind that played real music and were living the life.I didnt really consider the friends at school that experienced and focused on my life outside of school more.I did however work up the courage and instead of just walking up and talking to her I went home found her unique last name in the phone book and called it.To my surprise after introducing myself she told me that she knew exactly who I was and had wished I would have simply approached her.Now I am 13-14 and really had no idea what a "relationship"was besides the stereotypical highschool relationships one would see on a tv show.

We talked for a bit and hung out at school after that for a little while and even went to the mall once or twice.Having similar interests in music and other things it was cool.I would constantly talk about music and guitar playing and she would play piano pieces over the phone that she had learned.It was going well but just didnt really ever evolve into anything more and before I knew it we were over.I didnt really feel very much about all of it and we still talked at school.One cool thing was that I got the chance to go to a concert.Megadeth!Yes,the mighty Megadeth with Stone Temple Pilots in New Orleans.I had to sell several of my cassette tapes to get the money for the ticket but it was dam worth it.

As usual I was nervous as fuck going into the concert.I walked in and it felt like the thunderdome on Mad Max.I had never seen so many metal people in one place my entire life in one giant room.It was January 9,1993(I still have my stub and little pamphlet)I knew a little from STP from constant video play for 'Sex Type Thing and Plush but was there for megadeth.I was already a huge fan of Rust In Peace and liked Countdown To Extinction very much.Whenever Megadeth came on the place erupted and it was loud.I had seen videos of people trying to crowd surf and wanted to try it myself.I went to the front of the stage where it was starting and some big ass fucker picked me up and off I went.I was floating backwards staring at the ceiling and then it happened.I am not sure why but when the crowd ran out I hit the concrete floor on my back and couldnt move.I looked up at the people gathering around me but could only move my eyes and had no feeling in my entire body.All I could think was about news headlines stating kid gets paralyzed at Megadeth show.I think I was motionless for a few minutes and then started to regain feeling in my limbs so I got up and started moving around.One of the people who had went to the concert with us and told me I had blood coming out of my left ear,I felt it and it was.I didnt know what to do so I went to the bathroom and washed my face.I didnt get to enjoy the rest of the show because I could feel the back of my head swelling up but didnt want to make a big deal out of it.I never really told many people and felt it for about 3 weeks straight after that.I am still here 23 years later so who knows?

16.

The rest of that year was fun and my guitar chop's were getting pretty dam good.I had never owned any of my own tab books so my mom scrapped up the money and got me one for my 15th birthday.(I still have it)It was Megadeth-Rust In Peace and the music was hard as fuck to play.I could play a few Metallica,Sabbath riffs and had for the most part learned Crazy Train note for note but this was on a different caliber.I thought I was a strting to be a good guitar player but this shit was mind blowing and I felt inspired and intimidated at the same time.I was getting kinda discouraged here and there but as usual I carried on and never gave up.Besides practicing from that book in my room and going to school not much exciting really happened.Not until December that is!

I had never done any drugs and did not really think about it all that much.I had taken advantage of sneaking a beer or a screwdriver whenever possible but never any drugs.A cold night in Decmber I got a visit from someone that had lived nearby for as long as I could remember.I never was best friends with them but I didnt mind talking to anyone at that point.He asked me if I wanted to sit on the porch and smoke a joint.You know,I wanted to be a famous guitarist and I figured I would run into that stuff eventually so what the hell.I sit there and took a few puffs and after a short time of passing back and forth the entire joint was pretty much down to the roach.At first it did not have any affect on me until I realized the stars in the sky were forming shapes and coming toward me.I did not know what to think and figured this was how everyone felt after smoking.I told the person I wanted to go into my room and play guitar.

It was the weirdest experience I have ever had.I remember playing the guitar but being able to play stuff I had never even played before it was strange.I turned to the person and said "Hey can you see this"my hands were turning into claymation like the Green Jelly-3 little pigs video.It wasnt until I stopped that it got worse.I told him to grab my headphones so I could record the shit I was playing because no one was ever going to believe it otherwise.I paused for a moment and everything got quiet except for my heart beating around the entire room,I had no choice but to wake my mom up and she called the ambulance.After getting loaded into the ambulance the hallucinations stopped and I started throwing up non stop.Later on after an analysis at the hospital it was determined that I had smoked a joint laced with angel dust and almost had a heart attack from it.I eventually made it home and slept for almost 2 days straight.

17.

I returned to school as usual and no one even knew what had happened to me.I did not broadcast it and wasnt exactly proud of it either.I was pretty much scared straight at that point.Well,except for alcohol!I had always seen this plain but good looking girl in art class but really didnt think I was going to be her type.I remember one incident where she accidentally kicked my booksack under the table and later told me she thought I was going to kill her.As usual like most instances so far I started talking to her purely by chance one night through a mutual friend.I enjoyed talking to her on the phone and like the one before we met at the mall.One thing that has always stood out in my mind is one conversation we were having and she told me how she loved this guitar part on a song.I asked her to play it over the phone and come to find out it was 'Aint Talking About Love' from the mighty Van Halen.I didnt know how to play it but knew someone that did so I let her go and immeadiately called him and learned it right there over the phone.

I called her back and told her I had a surprise for her,I sat the phone by my amp and played that very riff a few times then picked up the phone.She loved it and knew I had learned it just for her(a technique I would use throughout life)I felt like I had won her heart from doing that and it definately boosted my ego as well.Unfortunately it didnt seem to go as I had planned.I was getting really good at my craft and didnt want any distractions to say the least.I did want a girfriend but I also wanted my alone time to practice for hours without having to answer to anyone.I broke up with her and for the first time felt something from doing so.Was she my first love?Years later I was told that my dumb ass doings drove her into a deep depression,I never intended for that and didnt think I could have possibly meant that much to someone else.It was just what I heard and have never been told anymore about it.I am sorry.

I was so tired of wasting time at school and tried to stay home as much as possible.That year was cool in one way though.We had a guitar class as an elective and I was the one that convinced the principal to let us do it.The band leader was naturally concerned about the school band so he let us play our guitars in the sheet music storage room which was the size of a small closet.I think there was 7-8 people crammed in there at one point.It was great sitting there for a class and playing metal riffs back and forth and the teacher never bothering us.On one occasion he did walk in and say he had to give us a grade so we would all have to learn a small piece of music to be graded on.I always being the dam leader it seemed like reccomended Ode To Joy for electric guitar.I had gotten a new guitar magazine and it was in there that month.He agreed but I dont think he actually ever come back to listen to us.I do remember getting an A in band though.Towards the end of school he said he was going to get a friend of his come and play guitar for us.He said that the guy played classical guitar and was very good.He never did come and play for us and what is a classical guitarist?

18.

At this point it was 1994 and several factors that had good and bad influences had taken place.Ace Ventura had come out and seeing Cannibal Corpse was one of the coolest things ever.I was playing guitar everyday for hours on end and gotten pretty dam good.Well that is what I thought until meeting another guitarist that was from Texas.I was at a friend of mines Halloween Party and in walked this long haired dude with a Vital Remains shirt.Regular metal shirts were pretty common but to see someone with a death metal shirt was not.I wanted to see what this person was all about so I went over with a beer in hand and introduced myself.The rest of the night we ended up talking about all of the usual shit and then he said he played guitar.A few guitarist had emerged at this point but none were really anything special to me.I told him and my cousin to come over the next day and check out my playing.I didnt expect them to actually come over so dam early and I was hung over pretty bad.Eager to see what this player had I invited both of them in and went back to my room.I had my bcrich and the same small Peavey amp set up and told the guy to play something.

The best guitarist I had ever seen in person was my guitar teacher but I must admitt,this fucker was pretty dam good.He played Troops of Doom from Sepultura,some Death Riffs,Morbid Angel,Unleashed and Paradise Lost.Once again I had to re evaluate my own skill level on guitar.At this point I was listening to Death,Thrash,Glam,Speed,Grind and traditional heavy metal as well as shred guitar players alike.I welcomed the more knowledgeable guitarist and it gave me a new perspective on stuff I didnt know how to do yet.

During that year,I also got to see some legendary concerts like Pantera,Black Sabbath,Motorhead,Morbid Angel,Sepultura,Prong,Danzig,Type O Negative,Megadeth (again)Corrosion of Conformity,the highlight of it all was getting to meet Peter Steele(rip)Type O Negative had just finished playing and I went to the bathroom.Standing there was the man himself with no one else around.I walked up to him and just started talking and he was a big mother fucker.They had given out these godflesh stickers at the door to everyone so I got him to sign mine.A few minutes later other people noticed he was there and started to crowd around before he signed my sticker he said "Josh,can you hold my water bottle"it was pretty dam cool and I have always felt very priveleged to have met him.

19.

I kept doing what I had been playing guitar,listening to music,having different associates come and go.Some friendships would begin and others would abruptly end overnight it seemed like.I hated going to school and it would soon come to an end for me.

Remember the drummer that had moved to Mississippi?He was back and had actually gotten into heavier metal than I ever thought possible.A few months after him living here again things started to come together.He called me and said he had finally gotten a drum set and was ready to get something going.I had been waiting on this and was ready to get with it.Ill never forget the first practice at his grandmothers house in the living room.He had gotten a sparkle orange 5 piece drumset that looked like something from the 1950's.It didnt matter though because it was a drumset nonetheless and that was all that really mattered.I sat my small peavey on a chair plugged my Bc Rich in and started to play.He started playing the drums and instantly drowned my small amp out completely,it was actually kind of funny.I am going to need a bigger amp to play with the drums,I asked him if he knew a singer or another guitar player.His response was"you are the one that keeps up with everyone and I just moved back,you should know some people"I guess he was right."Hey,I met this killer guitar player at a party a while back maybe I can see what he is doing"

I got in touh and we set up our first pactice.I do remember it being in the winter time because we had set the drums up in a workshop outside and had to take turns warming up by a small electric heater.I had naturally brought my small Peavey but it was even better that the new guy had a bigger amp that had 2 inputs.We had no idea what to play so I mentioned Am I Evil? the Metallica version.I had been working on it for some time and I knew the other's were familiar with it also.The drummer counted of and then me and the other guitar player started playing.It was unreal and a feeling that can never be recaptured once it is done.It was great and me and the drummer especially knew it.

The practices began to become a every weekend thing and although not always very productive it was a lot of fun.We had focused on learning some cover tunes and the other guitar player could play solo's as well.We would mess around with Am I Evil,Raining Blood,Troops Of Doom,Orgasmatron,Dead Skin Mask,Seasons In the Abyss,Dead Embryonis Cells and something I had started learning was the cool riff from Joe Satriani's 'Summer Song'.It was very exciting and people around school even started to acknowledge the fact we had a band and a metal band at that.We tried out a single bass player but that did not work out because he was mainly into punk music and I hated that shit.My mentor Eric came by a few times to sing but had his own thing going so that didnt work out.Another guy later came into the picture who was more less just a hanger on and eventually somehow ended up in the band after I left.

I thought in the beginning just from the pure feeling that it would turn into something major.I even remember one time someone walking miles from town out to where we practiced just to hear us.His famous quote was"you guys are fucking awesome".I had one a girl or two's heart from playing guitar,had people talking about the band and was getting better and better.It can only keep getting better right?I remember someone saying"hey,have you heard of this band Acid Bath from Louisiana?I have there first demo you wanna listen to it?"I did listen to it and I hated it!

20.

Normally after a band is together for a while you all get to where you want to write your own music.I was fine with that but had not had much experience making up my own shit.The other guitar player however was really good,could play very well by ear as well as come up with riffs.I was game to have another guitarist write riffs atleast until I got better at writing myself.It started out pretty good but I realized that even though this dude could play he would write some stupid ass shit.I later learned he was heavily influenced by the likes of Gwar,Anal Cunt and other dumb shit in general.I had already started having conflicts of interest due to the subject matter of what was being presented as well as the actual personality of certain band members.I was not willing to compromise and knew I would be more content doing things myself.

I have been known to get on peoples bad side for simply being non compromising and honest about things that I did not truly believe in.I left the band and all did not go smoothly as I had planned.I started hearing from other people how the other guitar player was going to kill me and how it was in his blood so to speak.Come to find out a very famous movie about a man on death row who befriends a nun was a true story based on this guys uncle.It was 'Dead Man Walking'with Susan Sarandon and Shawn Penn.The guy who was electrocuted was this fuckers uncle and the thought of all of it kinda freaked me out.I did see that person years later and I am still alive!

Even though I had left the band and didnt have anything lined up,it really did not bother me for some reason.I wanted to work on my skill more and then go back to the band thing.It was nearing the end of that school year and I could not wait to get out.I had heard about this kid at school who also played guitar but he would never really talk to anyone.I saw him walking past my classroom so I stopped and introduced myself."Hey Im Josh,I heard that you play guitar"he responded with "yea I do,My name is Joey".

21.

I had always seen this dude from school for years and years but did not know shit about him much less that he played guitar.He was always non comforming and extremely intelligent.I was doing my best to make friends that played music and that could possibly be a band member.I started talking with him at school and asking him some questions about music theory and scales because he was well versed in that sort of thing.We traded phone numbers and would talk on the phone from time to time about everything from girls at school,shitty musicians we had come across,what we wanted to do when we got older and especially about music.He was not a metal head or burnout or anything like that.I know he favored some of the grunge and alternative but more than that he was a dam good songwriter already.

I had since gotten back in touch with my second girlfriend but it still didnt work out,we would talk a lot on the phone and it was enjoyable but never was like the first time.I was a bit heartbroken to say the least until I walked through the lunchroom and there she was.I had never seen this girl at school and dont know how I could have ever missed her.There she was sitting with her friends at the table,long blonde curly hair with a beautiful face and a low cut shirt.I was once again in love.I did not know what her name was but I had to find out.Back then everything was word of mouth and that was about it.I asked around only to be told"dude she is way out of your league" I simply ignored those comments and said fuck you.It took me a few days but I found someone that was dating her best friend at the time and I actually knew him a little."Man,you have to get me her number or atleast tell her I am interested"a while later he came back with a crucnched up piece of paper and handed it to me."This is her number"he said "good luck with that one man"he walked away and I opened the paper.

I now had her name and number and just had to get the balls to make my move.I waited kinda late and called one night to my surprise she answered.A few seconds later her mom picked up the phone in the other room and asked who it was,I hadnt introduced myself yet so the girl didnt really know what to say.I felt like a fucking idiot in that situation and started to hang up myself but I didnt.I had went this far and had to at least take the chance.She responded that it was a friend and her mom hung up,I introduced myself and she said she didnt know who I was and that made me feel even worse.I tried to give her an idea of myself but she insisted she did not know and told me she had to go.I sat there for a few minutes and then called back to try and describe myself more and she told me straight out she did not know me and to leave my number so she could figure out who the hell I was.She took my number and hung up on me.I felt horrible.

22.

The next night I was talking to my new friend Joey and instead of going on and on about music and the like I was telling him about the incident and how ignorant I felt.He had been going through a relationship turned stalker in his own words at the same time and even wrote a song about it later on.I was completely bummed out and my confidence level had turned to shit.Now I have always been pretty self motivated and driven but sometimes shit like that will make anyone feel bad about themselves.Me and him continued to talk a pretty good bit and he asked if I would like to audition for his band.I knew it was not my style of music but hey I wasnt doing anything else.I agreed to it and went over to audition.It was cool,I played the stuff I knew and listened to him play the stuff he had been writing.I wasnt really into the alternative/grunge but if I knew what I knew now I would have joined his band.A while later him and the bass player talked for a bit then come back and told me I could join if I would like.I didnt want to go into something half assed so I declined.We had a lot of respect for one another so it wasnt a big deal after that really.We continued as normal to talk on the phone about shit the next week or so then I got a surprise call.


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