Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Name Change

Well, StrangeLand has been going strong for just around 8 years now. We have only made on personnel change in that entire time - when Karl left the band, and Jeremy joined. Since that time, we have been writing - and getting ready to release a full length CD on the world.

As we have been contemplating what form we will take - and how we plan to get out in the world and spread the metal madness - we talked about where we want to play, the type of music (Metal, of course) and how we want to stay power metal, and maybe get into some progressive elements; Jeremy really brings that out.

So we have been bantering about some names for about 5 or 6 months. Last practice we came up with a short list of 3. We are looking into legalities, making sure we aren't using a name anyone else is, copyright stuff, etc etc. All the business end of naming a band. Fun.

Anyway - I hope to have an announcement to make within the next week or so - and Jeremy will also - in his blog (check the links out on the right).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Amp

Kevin Schmitt just picked up a new amp. Egnater Tourmaster 4100.

Wow. Oh my.
This thing kills!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This was pretty cool - we ran into Herman Li after the show and he was nice enough to oblige me with a pic. He was a very nice guy - and certainly more soft spoken than when he's on stage!

Dragonforce, Turisas & Power Glove; House of Blues, Dec 8, 2008

House of Blues is a very cool venue - this was my first time there - at least to the Chicago HOB - and it was a load of fun! The venue is what you'd refer to as 'intimate' - I think maximum capacity is around 800 or so, and there are 2 balconies, and they seem to be box seats. The decorating is. . . interesting. You have to see it.

The bands playing were diverse and interesting - as interesting as it gets for metal. The first band was:
Power Glove

They describe themselves as Video Game Metal. The song titles were taken from video games from various consoles and possibly some PC games, but I think the vast majority are from Consoles - and older ones, from the 80's & 90's - like Mario Brothers, and the like. The guys were obviously having a blast - really getting the crowd into it - constantly throwing out blow up swords, blow up bats, and Starburst candy. What a hoot. They were great musicians as well - easily pulling off the intense metal runs that were bombastic, and almost thrash fast. Oh - and no vocals - other than the bassist egging on the crowd throughout the short set - but no singing or screaming or anything. No lyrics. That's a better description.

The outfits were something else. Very video gamey. I think they have started a new genre - I also think they are the only artist in that genre! Loads of fun!


This band from Finland was another in an interesting night! They came out all dressed in "Battle gear" - after the lead in voice over called all of us "brothers and sisters of metal" to hear the Battle Metal of Turisas!

The photo is difficult to make out everything - sorry, the Blackberry isn't a pro camera - but the band consists of vocals, bass guitar, guitar, violin, accordian (yes, that's right - metal accordian), and drums. The music was great - very catchy, reminded me of a folk-metal kind of similar to Irish drinking songs (they did have one - One More!) - but great musicianship, very energetic, and really engaged the crowd. I did learn that Finns do not like American beer - or Dutch beer. :) Oh - and the face & body paint! All the band was painted in red with black streaks from head to toe. All exposed skin was painted. Gave a very interesting effect. They certainly looked battle ready.

The Accordian and Violin really added to the folkiness of the band. My first experience with that type of music - well, other than Elvenking that I saw at ProgPower USA this year. Overall, a great performance, a great band - and lots of fun to watch.


The headlining band did not disappoint. These guys all must be downing a 6 pack each of Red Bull before going on stage - because I have never seen any other band - ever - with as much energy, and carrying out as many antics as Dragonforce!

These guys are nuts! And what a blast to watch. They are interacting with each other and the crowd constantly - you can really tell these guys like each other, because they mock each other incessantly - and make fun of each others stage moves through the entire show. The interaction between Herman Li and Sam Totman - and Frédéric Leclercq - is absolutely hilarious. It certainly doesn't hurt that these guys are phenomenal musicians.

The shredding was constant. I think the songs are just written around the guitar solos! What a blast to watch - and aspiring guitarists will be attempting to copy this for years, I'm sure.

Overall - great show. Very fun bands - and lots of laughs - as well as some jaw-dropping shredding going on. I highly recommend checking out this show if you get the chance!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Tali-Band on myspace

Yes - that is correct! We have created a Tali-Band Myspace page!

For those of you that haven't ventured down yet (as in, down the blog - to see the older posts) - I was a member of the band, affectionately known as "The Tali-Band" while I was stationed at HQ ISAF (HeadQuarters, International Security Assistance Force) Kabul, Afghanistan. The ISAF is the name of the organization set up by NATO to assist the Afghans in gaining control of their country from Al Quaida and the taliban.

Long story short, for New Years Eve 2008, some ingenious folks - that also happened to be musicians - got together and decided to come up with some entertainment for the troops stationed at HQ ISAF. The band did so well, and the crowd reacted so positively, that the band stuck around. Even thought the membership seems to change frequently, there are enough talented folks - from all over the world (or at least from NATO countries) to keep the band going. I left HQ ISAF in late May of this year - 2008 - and the band was still going strong.

Something we decided to do while I was part of the band, was record a CD, and sell T-Shirts to benefit a local charity. We picked The Women Of Hope Project, located in Kabul. The Women of Hope operate to really make a difference in the lives of the folks they help. They do not simply provide money to the needy - instead they foster self-dependance, and a steady stream of income. For women, they teach a variety of crafts, including sewing and needlepoint - where they will make dolls, clothing, pashminas, jewelry and other goods, and sell them on military bases and at markets around the country. For men, they teach carpentry and masonry. The folks in Afghanistan are hungry for change - and the desire to help themselves. Betsy and the Women of Hope make that happen!

The Tali-Band helped by recording a double CD (live and 'studio' - which was the Milano Restaraunt on base), and getting T-Shirts printed up (in Chicago, no less - thanks Windy City Screenprinting!) - and selling them to military & civilians on base.

By the time I left the country, we had raised nearly $10,000.00 for the charity (it takes $100.00US to train one man in a skill - for the women, the time is a bit longer, but difficult to put a dollar amount on).

Please visit the website, and make a donation!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Snow shot

You know, I am really not fond of snow, ice or even cold weather, for that matter.

Its not even just driving in it - which is probably the worst - but the fact that cold and ice is the enemy of bass necks, and of shiny finishes, and can hurt my precious.

Anyway - winter is here.