After running into Anthrax backstage at Mayhem Fest, I needed to run out to the parking lot to meet up with King B and ingest another beverage of choice. The gates had just opened, and Mayhem Madness was in full effect. A sea of black poured through the festival grounds at an overwhelmingly high rate of speed and spread throughout the parking lot strewn with stages and tents.
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival has always been an interesting festival to cover. The interest does not exist solely within its lineup, but within its people. Metalheads have always been pigeonholed as falling with a very common stereotype. However, as I pulled into the parking lot, you’d think that you wandered into a Dave Matthews tailgate. Sure, the target demographics may be a bit different, but people were still out jamming to their favorite tunes, cooking up some serious BBQ, sharing their favorite beverages, joking and laughing. Sure, metal may be raucous, angry and hardcore, but the bottom line is… People are out just to have fun (besides the meatheads that hit the moshpits just to throw fists at faces or the backs of their heads.)
While King B was on his way over on the train (not The Train) from Philly, I met some lot neighbors who were there, rockin out with their kids. And these kids were pure rockers! One never knows who or what they’ll experience at a fest, and this year presented me with a sneak preview of music’s future. Our nice lot neighbors fired up their BBQ while we were serenaded by the soothing sounds of Slayer. As we shared a cold beverage or 3, I noticed that the guy’s 10 year old son looked like a mini rocker, so I called him over to discuss music.
“Hey big guy… Who did you come to see today?”
“(Cue devil horns) SLAYERRRRRRR!!!! Man, they’re the best. I’ve seen them about 10 times!”
“Ten times? Sounds like you’re a huge fan! You look like a serious rocker! Do you play?”
His dad (rocking a fresh tattoo and who was previously in a band) said, “He’s a drummer in a metal band that formed through The School Of Rock. You should really hear him play. These kids, though young, are incredible. His double bass skills are badass!” It was awesome to see how proud his dad was of his son. Too often you see these boisterous parents who brag about their kid’s prowess in sports or in school, but this kid found his niche early in death metal, and his dad couldn’t be more proud.
We chatted for quite a long time while we snacked on killer cheeseburger, and all went for a walk along the side of the festival talking about the bands of the day. He stopped dead in his
“Can you get me to meet Slayer? I’ve always wanted to meet them!”
“Keep your eyes peeled. One thing about Mayhem Fest is that I’ve seen most bands just wandering through the crowd at any given point in the day. I can’t get you backstage to meet them, but maybe they’ll be doing a signing at their tent today!”
It turned out that they were doing a signing later that day, and hopefully the little rocker got to meet his musical idols. Seeing today’s youth interested in subjects other than video games and sports is an awesome thing, and adults as a whole need to foster and embrace a child’s interest in the arts, no matter if it may be of your own personal interest or not.
Beverages and downtime finished… Time to return to the festival site and shoot The Devil Wears Prada! More to come…
“Damn it, I’m home.”
And home is hot as hell! As I surveyed the sights and smells of Camden’s Rockstar Mayhem Fest, I quickly threw down one or two Landshark beers, and set off across the street to get our press credentials. There was a huge line of people waiting to get into the venue, and guess what the predominant color worn was….
Yep. You guessed it. 90% (at the minimum) of the people in line were rocking out their best black. Yes, I was guilty of it as well, but I wore a navy blue shirt last time and stood out like a sore thumb.
I scored our passes, and flew over to the press room, which was dark like the rest of the fest. How fitting. Members of Asking Alexandria were being interviewed for Fuse, and there were a few others being interviewed by misc outlets. I listened in as I prepared our field recording equipment and thought to myself, ‘thank god we don’t do interviews from a cookie cutter.’
Time finally came to interview Tim from As I Lay Dying, and this dude was a beast. I’m sure you are aware that Team Excelsior is a pair of beasts themselves, but Tim may fit the description of a future Excelsior member. I always find it intriguing that some frontmen of metal bands can be so soft spoken when not on stage. (Matt Pike from High On Fire was quite the opposite, but cool as hell) We’ll have a transcript of our interview with AILD soon.
After the interview, I headed out to the grounds to shoot some bands when I bumped into Scott Ian and Joey Belladonna from Anthrax being interviewed on Sirius XM. (I want that DJ job ASAP) I rarely ever get starstruck anymore. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest acts in music, but seeing Scott and Joey sent me back in a musical time machine of greatness. I blurted out “that’s legendary stuff right there” to another “media” guy who was too coolto acknowledge how legendary they were. Hey man, you’ve gotta give props to greatness when you see it.
After listening in to a great interview, I headed out to meet up with King B and get this show started…
More to come…
Oh festivals, you used to be so easy. Getting to Mayhem Fest in Camden, NJ was a bit trying this year. I had to get a few final supplies at Staples on the way to the city, and my memory card broke. Good thing I had the files saved to my phone. Filled our field audio recorder with fresh batteries and a new memory card, but it wouldn’t read the memory card. Went back in to get a different memory card, but that didn’t work either. Decided to fly back home in 15 minutes to look for the old card… Which was nowhere to be found. Flew back to another store which finally had it, picked up a 12-pack to stay hydrated, then back on the road.
About an hour and a half to As I Lay Dying interview time. If I FLEW up 322 to 95, I should be fine. Fuck Murphy’s Law. Channelling my inner Dale Earnhardt Jr, I put the pedal to the metal while cranking Slipknot’s new “best of” through my speakers. Eventually, I sat in silence as I ran through the interview in my head. Excelsior dominates all interviews and this would be no different.
As the Philly skyline came into view, I asked the gods for no traffic, and thankfully, there was none. Could I do GTA insane stunt jump over the Delaware river and cut 20 minutes off of my time?
Damn it. I was out of my nitrous boost.
The shitfest of Camden was immediately evident after crossing the bridge into The Dirty Jerz. I really wish that this venue was on the PA side of the river. Isn’t Camden the Murder Capital of the US? Shady shit around every turn. It’s crazy what danger people will put themselves through to see live music, isn’t it?! I couldn’t help but to think that the “Park Here” signs would lead to the infernal pit of doom. Thankfully, we always park across from the venue.
As the minutes ticked off the clock, Jaegermeister trucks became visible in the distance. Waved closer and closer by the friendly Camden police, I ended up in the closest lot to the venue, and surrounded by a sea of black shirts, excessive piercings, BBQ smoke, and balls to the wall blasts of people’s favorite metal band (most commonly: Slayer).
Pulled my car into a ridiculously tight space, greeted my new neighbors, cracked a cold beer open, and with about 35 minutes to interview time, thought to myself…
‘Damn it. I’m home.’
Keep your eye on moetrainstracks.com for more Mayhem Fest coverage!
Oh damn. MTT is all geared up and ready to go, because TOMORROW in Camden, NJ is the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival! We’ve been doing a ton of prep work, and will blow you away with the greatness that comes from Team Excelsior’s interviews.
With all of the metal that we’ve been listening to lately, the demon has entered our bloodstreams as has the angst of a legion of peoples. Slipknot’s latest release (a best of album) reminds me why they are at the top of the genre and headlining the festival. Track after brutal track, Slipknot destroys your soul and builds it back up again. It’s also a great tribute to the body of work that their late bassist, Paul Gray, has left for the world in his absence. Slayer’s first album in almost a decade, Worship Music, is a masterpiece. For a band that’s been around for over 30 years, they are putting out music that rivals their early greats. Asking Alexandria has also been blasting out of my car speakers, and they’re certainly making their footprint on the scene.
While on the grounds of Mayhem Fest tomorrow, we’ll be doing our interviews, shooting concert photos, doing live tweets, and other great shit… So keep your eye on MoeTrainsTracks.com all day long, and follow the greatness of MTT and Mayhem!