I have been a writer on the staff of Maelstrom since Issue #43 in March 2006. Over the years, I’ve had a really great time writing about a huge abundance of diverse music. I used to spend so much money buying CDs, which has lowered to about 0 to 5 CD purchases a year at this point. Last year, I bought Darkest Hour, Muse, Dream Theater, and that was near the end of the year, but I digress.
I’ve been working on a lot of my own music, so I haven’t been contributing to Maelstrom as often as I should have. I think I may have been published on the issue before last, but not the brand new issue posted in January. There’s a lot of music I have missed out on, because I don’t buy many CDs anymore and I don’t download CDs either. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the writing game so I can hear new stuff. Good times.
Projects & Blazar / Rubicon
One of the things that resulted from my time at Maelstrom was my collaboration with the editor of the magazine, Robert Martinelli. He is a drummer in California. I originally received the Line6 Toneport through the zine so that we could record a song with it for an article he was going to write for EQ Magazine. I don’t know if the article was ever made or published, but we did produce a little song with the Toneport. My thoughts on the Toneport are about the same now as they were then, I give it a solid 3 out of 10.
I’m not sure, but I think that first song we made was released on my side-project band’s name, Blazar. Much later, we decided to make a full album with Blazar and I received the M-Audio Keystation Pro with 88 weighted keys. My task was to record the keys for the album with it, and take notes on its performance and things of that nature. I still use it to this day; it is an incredible MIDI Controller and I would recommend it to anyone.
Roberto decided to change the name for the album to his pre-existing band Rubicon, so we were no longer working as Blazar. The Rubicon demo had a lot of problems, and the fact that we’d began to fight over the process didn’t make anything better. As a result of our fighting, I had little to no say over the production of the CD and it came out very poorly. I’m not saying my input would have made any difference, though. The studio, The Atomic Garden in San Fransisco, was a huge vortex sucking up cash and spitting out crap. For all the more time Roberto spent there trying to tweak things and make the album, it really should not have come out sounding like a demo. It didn’t help that he’d chosen an amateur vocalist either but that’s a whole new part of the story I’d rather not go into. Getting a bit de-railed here.
Roberto decided to continue on with Rubicon without me in it, which is not fair at all, but what can I do. I pretty much sacrificed my stake in the band when I allowed the name to be changed. I thought it would lead to bigger and better things, but in the long run, Rubicon became one of the least successful things I was ever a part of.
Of course Roberto and I don’t talk nearly as much as we used to, and there’s a certain element of friendship missing from Maelstrom that will probably always be a stain on my experience there. But for the most part, I’ve got some cool memories. How many people can say they’ve done what I did with that whole situation? Maybe I’m still a little bitter about it.
The guitar riffs I wrote for that demo are still really incredible, some of my best work. I will probably incorporate the best of them into new music sometime. Now that I’ve got a 7-string guitar, I don’t need to “fake” the heaviness like I was doing on the 6-string, trying to write in key of B and using low, crunchy chords. It’s a good thing all of the Rubicon demo was written in a standard tuning! I could play it in any standard tuning without a problem.
Maelstrom is a great zine with some cool friends involved with it. Zaragil — who guested on In Staid Grace’s second album — also writes for the zine, and is considerably famous for his band Ophidian Forest. He had a very similar experience with Roberto, who also plays drums for Ophidian Forest, but I think he is still involved in the band. It’s sad to hear about stuff like that going on.