GSA is thrilled to have Don Slater on board as our newest writer and columnist. Don is the talented and entertaining bassist for Battlecross, a metal band from Michigan you’ve likely heard of. If you’ve never seen the band live, change that as soon as you fucking can; trust me.
Don’s column debuts today with the following entry, which we hope you enjoy as much as we did.
“This is Jack Burton in the Pork Chop Express and I’m talkin’ to whoever’s listenin’ out there. Like I told my last wife, I says ‘Honey, I never drive faster than I can see and besides that, it’s all in the reflexes.’”
You don’t necessarily need to know where this quote came from to understand what it means and why I’ve titled my monthly contribution to GunShyAssassin after it. The quote comes from the movie “Big Trouble in Little China,” which, in my opinion, is one of the best movies ever made; it features one of the best characters ever created, Jack Burton.
My column will be not unlike his ramblings over CB radio while driving on a dark and stormy night; off the cuff, relatable, and hopefully interesting to you. I’ll deal with a myriad of subject matters, from the obscure to the obtuse, from the intriguing to the occasionally depressing. I’ll also touch on whatever tour we’re on, as those tend to be fun to read, let alone write about. With that, welcome to the Pork Chop Express and being the first of many columns to come, allow me to give a long-winded introduction of myself.
My name is Don Slater, I play bass for the band Battlecross, and I like to write in my spare time. My interests include music of all types (except country), video games, good beer, good smoke, disc golf, wrestling (entertainment, not greco-roman), sports, and beer.
I reeeeeeally like beer. More on that later.
As you can see, I’m not much different than any other dude. No big super-hobbies like pole-vaulting onto a zip line then jumping off a hundred foot cliff into a sparkling blue lagoon from said zip line. As incredible as that sounds, my bashfulness towards life-threatening stunts keeps me grounded in the “no fucking way am I doing that” group. Yeah yeah, I know, adrenaline rush and such, woo hoo. I get enough of that from playing on a stage or listening to a damn good song. Hell, making a passing maneuver on a two-lane highway gets my blood pumping.
You could call me a nerd and I’d fully agree with you. “Shit head,” not so much. Definitely not “cocksucker,” though that’s a good one to call a dude that’s being a total shit head. “Blood fucking cunt,” well, you’re clearly talking about the bitch behind me yapping on her phone while her two kids bray like they’re being hit with red hot pokers or flaming kendo sticks.
So I mentioned beer. Beer, beer, beer, beer, beer. I love me some beer. Sometimes a little too much, but never too little. Stouts, IPAs, reds, pils, you name it, I’m gonna try it and probably like. The seasonal stuff can get a bit out of hand, like the “Seven Kinds of Chilies” beer my buddy Dustin showed me. I’m sorry, but beer shits are bad enough without having to add super spiciness to it. Also, fruity beer? No thank you. That cherry wheat by Sam Adams tastes like someone spiked a perfectly good beer with cherry cough syrup. Barf city, man.
I tend to gravitate towards the IPAs. I used to hate them, but have since acquired a taste since we had Adam Pierce in the band. The bitterness was a huge turn off, as PBR was always my go-to swill for having a good time, but I’ve learned to embrace it. Since my recent liking for the unusual beer, finding good craft beer or hunting down a brewery in whatever city or town we’re in has became a priority. It’s always nice to get a taste of the local brands. It makes you feel worldly without having to leave the country. So yeah, there’s a kinship with myself and beer, and you know what they say, “A beer a day keeps the DT’s away.”
And then there’s music. My life, my blood, my passion, my reason for being on this mud ball we call Earth. Heavy metal, punk and rock will always be my favorite genres. I won’t go into the sub-genres of those three. I can’t keep up with all of the branding and titles these days. I know what they mean and why they exist, as it really does make it easier to describe a band to fellow metal heads about what type of music they play, especially if the third party hasn’t heard of the band before. At the end of the day, however, when someone asks me my favorite style of music, it’s always simply “metal,” as it should be. Save the dissection of heavy metal for a more involved conversation with friends.
Oh, earlier I put “except country” in parenthesis. My disdain for country is pretty severe, though I have an appreciation for the older, more thoughtful style of country music. The crap I see in passing on CMT as I channel surf is downright mind-numbing. “But women love country music,” my friends say. Okay, good for them.
There’s no accounting for taste, and if that’s what gets them through life then so be it. As much as I can’t stand country, I won’t look down on somebody for liking it. It’s simply not fair to judge someone on their musical tastes. Doing that is almost as bad as judging someone for what kind of food they eat. If they’re happy, why piss on their parade? That being said, fans of heavy metal are constantly being judged unfairly for liking aggressive music.
Yes, it sounds aggressive, but that doesn’t mean the listener is a stark-raving lunatic hellbent on the eradication of humanity. Granted, we may think about it more often than others, but instead of acting on it, we just make a song about it or enjoy bands who do well on that matter. Same unfair judgement goes for punk rockers, too. Dirty, greasy, impolite twats with no respect for authority seems to be the typical assumption. Though a slight few in the world may be like that, just as the assumptions of metal heads can occasionally be true as well, most punks I’ve met are pleasant people and enjoy intelligent conversation, over a few pints of course.
Then there’s performing music. I really can’t wax enough about the high that being on a stage can bring. It’s natural to get nervous. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a touch of nerves before playing some of the first few dates on our recent summer European festival run. Yeah, sure, we were the first band on many days so the crowd wasn’t super deep, but it was deep enough for our first time in many of the countries we played. In my head, I have a saying I tell myself before every show — after you hit the first note, it’s all or nothing. You’re committed now. Just give ‘em hell, play the living shit out of that bass and have a good fucking time.
I typically don’t warm up before a gig either. I feel if I spend too much time before a show going over the set we’ll be performing, I’ll get into my head too much and overthink shit. It’s happened plenty of times before. Instead, I go the cold route with a few finger and body stretches five minutes before our set time and just let the body and mind do their thing on the spot. Let the show flow, man. If you fuck up, worry about it later. Now is not the time, especially in front of new faces. Smile, get over it, move on to the next riff and melt some fuckin’ faces.
I’m sure from reading you’ve noticed I’ve left a few holes open on the few things I’ve written about so far. By design, that’s so I can touch on these subjects as often as possible without blowing my wad in a single stroke. Plus I’d like to read any feedback and refer to any of the more poignant comments received about a particular subject, much like the chatter over CB radio.
Though you may not always agree, I like differences in opinion, especially if they are well put. Make no mistake, I will write something you very well may completely disagree with, but instead of saying “dood wtf y u so stupid? wrong wrong wrong lolol dumbass fuck u,” give me a more well-thought response with complete sentences and a point. Pretty please.
With all that said, thank you for reading. Sorry this post was essentially “me, me, me,” but it’s only a one-time deal. It’s good knowing the slightly warped mind of the writer. I feel this is a good start and touches on some pretty basic topics.
Trust me, from here on out it’ll get weirder and more diverse. Things will only get smoother over time, and more participation from you means more input from me. I said monthly, but who knows? If allowed, I could possibly do two a month once in a while, if so inspired. Writing has always been one of my more creative outlets, I’m happy with this opportunity given to me, and I will do my damnedest to make it worth your while. Until next time!
DSDFA. Over and out.
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