Hey all, my name is Steve Stred. I am an indie author, writing in the dark horror category, and have several releases out! I am also a massive music fan with Heavy Metal being my favourite category of music, although I have a very wide palette of styles I enjoy. Growing up, the son of the people who lived beside us loved listening to heavy music. It’s funny now but Bob Jr. got me into heavy music and his mom Patti introduced me to Stephen King! Bob loved early White Zombie, Rainbow, Butt Monkeys (now Finger Eleven), Tea Party, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, Testament etc. So he would blast these tunes, and I was hooked.
When my wife and I moved down to the Vancouver area it opened up a world of live music for us. Over the decade we lived there, we attended close to 200 shows, seeing so many amazing bands and meeting a lot of the musicians.
Below are my top 10 metal moments. They are all special moments for different reasons!
10 – Nashville Pussy October 10, 2008, Nashville Pussy with Grady.
I admit this was purely self-serving to go see Nashville Pussy. When Nashville Pussy came around, I was training in the sport of Shot Put. I was using their version of the song Rock N Roll Outlaw as my official song. They were happy to meet up with me and during their set, they performed the song and dedicated it to me, which was such an amazing moment. The bonus was seeing Grady, led by Gordie Johnson. Gordie is the main man in the great Canadian band Big Sugar, so it was cool to meet him and see Grady perform.
9 – Mnemic October 25, 2005 – Meshuggah, with The Haunted, God Forbid and Mnemic.
This concert was fantastic! Mnemic had released two amazing albums when their singer Michael left. I thought they were going to cancel touring with Meshuggah but thankfully Tony Jelencovich of Transport League stepped in and toured with them. That night the line to get into the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver was super long. The doors were supposed to open and then didn’t. We waited and waited and then waited some more. Finally, they opened and we managed to walk into the venue directly as Mnemic’s opening track started. The timing was perfect. After they were done playing, my wife and I spent time chatting with Tony and then hung out with him for a bit while the other band’s played. To this day I still stay in touch with him on Facebook.
This concert has two other memorable moments for me as well. The first was chatting with Peter Dolving (then the singer of The Haunted), who I ended up seeing a number of other times over the years (see moment #7). The second was chatting with Byron the singer from God Forbid. I mentioned to Byron that their album was awesome (IV: Constitution of Treason) and asked him how he liked Vancouver. During their set, he had mentioned they spent the day out seeing the City. He replied that the city sucked and got up and walked away. I still enjoy some God Forbid but I have never forgotten his douchebag response.
8 – Jamey Jasta November 10, 2009 – Gwar with Kingdom of Sorrow and Toxic Holocaust.
This one was a bit bittersweet for me for two reasons. The first is that my wife is a massive, massive Hatebreed fan. She was sick the day of the show, so she didn’t come. I ended up chatting with Jamey for a good twenty minutes and even had him call her phone and leave a message. The second was that I am a massive, massive Type O Negative fan. I can comfortably say the album October Rust saved my life a few times, during the darkest days of depression. I still listen to it at least once a week. Kirk Windstein was forced to miss the tour, so Kingdom of Sorrow had Kenny Hickey fill in on guitar, who was the guitarist for Type O Negative. When I chatted with Jamey, Kenny came out and I said hello and shook his hand. Once I was done chatting with Jamey I wanted to tell Kenny how much his band meant to me, but I was unable too. He was surrounded by a few folks and one of the guys was getting aggressive, so security took the guy away and Kenny headed out to the tour bus. Wish I could have chatted with him some more. As for the show, I am not a fan of Toxic Holocaust, even though I have seen them about 5 times. Kingdom of Sorrow was fantastic and Gwar crushed it as always. That was my 12thor 13thtime seeing Gwar, which was always a joy when Brockie was alive.
7 – The Haunted April 7, 2009 – The Haunted with Marauder, The Agonist and Gross Misconduct. Nachtmystium cancelled.
Another fantastic experience seeing The Haunted and reconnecting with Peter Dolving. When I saw they were coming to play Vancouver again, I emailed the band and said I hoped they had a meet and greet scheduled so I could say hello. The reply was unexpected, as they put me and my wife on the guest list and invited us to come early to hang out. I showed them my Haunted tattoo, which the Bjorler brothers thought was cool. It was great seeing them all again, and I stayed in touch with Dolving for many years on Facebook. The show had a few other notable moments; I had never heard Marauder before, and they killed it, easily making me a fan. The other notable moment was trying to say hello to future Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz. She said no thanks, she didn’t want to talk to any fans before the show. Wasn’t a fan then, not a fan now.
6 – At the Gates Reunion Show – El Corazon, Seattle, July 23, 2008. Openers were Municipal Waste, followed by Darkest Hour.
This was a show I couldn’t miss. At the time At the Gates was doing a short US tour to give Slaughter of the Soul a proper send-off (which turned out to be false) and I knew I needed to be at the El Corazon to see it. It was two days after my birthday and if you have ever been to this venue, you know how small and intimate it was. They were in fine form, crushed every track and I remember smiling with sheer happiness through every single song. Two highlights for me were chatting with the drummer from Book of Black Earth before the concert and during one pivotal moment of a classic ATG song (you all know the one) when Tomas yelled GO! But misjudged the stage and took a small tumble into the crowd.
5 – Devildriver and Snot October 18, 2008 – Devildriver Headlined with Snot and Straight Line Stitch
I believe I have seen Devildriver 8-10 times now, and each time I somehow manage to run into Dez the lead singer (former singer in Coal Chamber) and chat with him. It started back in 2005 when my wife, myself and my youngest sister Melina saw them with In Flames, Trivium and Zao. I drew a quick picture of Dez singing with his foot on a monitor to show Melina how he stood. Devildriver had a signing session at their merch table and I had him sign the picture I drew on a napkin. I ended up framing it and have it somewhere in a box. That was my frequent opening, as whenever I saw Dez I would mention it and he would then remember and we would have a good chat. He was always super kind, asking my wife how she was doing, how they did live and we would talk about hanging the next time they came through. This show was different for me simply because I got to see Snot. For those who don’t know, Snot was a late 90’s punk/hardcore/metal band from California. They had one release studio release, one live album, some tours, including Ozzfest, before recording their second album. Their lead singer and his dog, the group’s mascot, was killed in a car accident on the way to the studio during recording. The second album was released as a tribute album with the music from the recordings used, but friends providing the vocals. Snot reformed with Tommy Vext on vocals and it was such an amazing show to see those songs performed live. As much as I wish it was Lynn on vocals, this was the next best thing.
4 – Himsa Farewell Show – El Corazon, Seattle, August 16, 2008. Openers were I Declare War, They Come in Swarms, Killing the Dream, Book of Black Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room.
When Himsa announced they were having a Farewell show in 2008, we had to go. Summon in Thunder was such a fantastic release so it was a surprise when they decided to hang it up. When they also announced the tickets were $10, it was a no-brainer to drive the two hours down to Seattle. It was just a month prior that we had seen At the Gates at the same venue, where I spent some time chatting with the drummer from Book of Black Earth. We didn’t know they were playing at the show until we arrived so it was great seeing them. Wolves in the Throne Room and I Declare War were standouts as well, but I really can’t recall the other bands. Himsa though was the main draw and they didn’t disappoint. They played every song you would want them too, and in between songs, John the singer was throwing free merch from the stage, giving away banners and even offered up their touring van. I see they have got together to play a few random shows this year, but it was great seeing them go out in fine form.
3 – Down August 10, 2009. Openers were Weedeater, Danava and Voivod.
This concert stands out for me for several reasons. I had seen Down previously opening for Heaven and Hell with Ronnie James Dio. The first thing that stands out was that I ended up being stood up by two of my buddies who swore they could make it and then texted last-minute to say they were not coming. Voivod were fantastic as was Weedeater. I can’t remember Danava at all. Not sure why guess they were just unmemorable. Down were fantastic. Phil’s voice was in top shape and this was one of the few shows I heard people say that the Commodore’s sound system was good. The second reason this show stands out was the absolute highlight after the show. After chatting with the merch dude for the majority of the night, he eventually gave me clearance to hang out after the show with the bands. I chatted with Voivod about Simpson’s and how awesome Canada is for metal. Then I got to chat with the Down guys, specifically with Pepper and Kirk. Those two were super nice. I chatted with Jimmy and we discussed Superjoint Ritual and where Down was touring next. Then the grand moment arrived. I was ushered into a room where I spent 15 minutes hanging with Mr Philip H Anselmo. We talked Pantera, Superjoint Ritual, Down, how my life was going and how I liked the show. He gave me a HouseCore Records Frisbee (which I still have) before leaving. Was fantastic. Normally this would be #1 on most people’s excellent music moments list, but the last two are a slight step above for me.
2 – SepticFlesh February 2, 2009 – Cradle of Filth Headlined with Satyricon, SepticFlesh and 69 Eyes.
This was a crazy show. I was super excited to see Cradle of Filth live for the first time. I was pumped that Satyricon was going to be there. I don’t mind them but respect their catalogue and what they have done for the music scene. I hadn’t heard SepticFlesh back then nor 69 eyes. I took a listen online and didn’t make it 60 seconds into a 69 eyes song. SepticFlesh, on the other hand, was a game changer. They had been on an extended hiatus and just returned with Communion. The album was crushing and is still always in heavy rotation for me. They are one of my top favourite bands now, to the point of me getting the jester statue from the Communion cover tattooed on my arm. I managed to hang out with the band and this was one of the first bands who was truly cool and nice to my wife. Up to that point, the only other bands that had been kind to her were Devildriver, Tony from Mnemic and every time we ran into Gene Hoglan. Not to say any of them were purposefully assholes, but many of them wouldn’t even engage with her, have conversations with her or acknowledge she was there. Our night progressed to a friendship with Fotis the drummer (now ex-drummer) which continues to this day. We ended up hanging with their merch guy most of the night watching the bands. This relationship turned into me working merch for SepticFlesh the next two times they came through on tour. Of course, Satyricon and Cradle of Filth were amazing live, but that show was 100% about SepticFlesh for me. Once again, for many folks, this would be their #1 metal music moment. But, as some say, you never forget your first.
1 – Korn, Powerman 5000 and Papa Roach. Kelowna, BC. July 31, 2000.
My first metal concert. I had been to a few live concerts before when I was younger. The biggest person I had watched was Waylon Jennings at the Creighton Valley Jamboree. I was probably 9 or 10 when my family went and it was fantastic. The biggest moment for me in my metal life was my first metal concert. It was in Kelowna, BC and it was a triple header. The opening band was Papa Roach (blech) who were fresh off the release of their new single, Last Resort. Once they left the stage, Powerman 5000 came on and destroyed it. I had liked their album Mega!! Kung Fu Radio. When Tonight the Stars Revolt came out I was pushed over the edge. Seeing them choreograph their songs to their light show was awesome. Then out came Korn. Since their self-titled release in 1994 I had been a massive fan. The stage show was great, the pyro and lights were amazing and the band was in fine form. Back then we didn’t have the World Wide Web where I lived, so when we saw Mike Bordin drumming in place of an injured David Silveria we were losing our minds. To this day the one memory that really stands out for me was talking to the bus driver from Korn before the show. At the time I couldn’t believe how lucky this guy was. I was so naïve back then.
I do have a few honourable mentions.
1 – Seeing Heaven and Hell with Ronnie James Dio. Megadeth and Down opened for them and it was the first show of the tour.
2 – Soulfly performing Sepultura. I loved Sepultura growing up, but was never close enough to see them with Max as the lead singer. When Soulfly came through Vancouver and I was able to make it, I jumped at the chance. Goatwhore opened and was amazing as always, but seeing Max perform and sing Territory, Attitude, and Roots Bloody Roots had me grinning for weeks.
3 – Black Sabbath. Seeing Sabbath with Ronnie was surreal. Seeing Sabbath with Ozzy filled my blackened metal soul.
4 – Motorhead. They were on Gigantour which was fortunate for us as that meant they came to Canada, something they hadn’t done in a number of years. Lemmy killed it.
5 – Trans Siberian Orchestra. Yes, yes, debatable metal band, blah, blah, blah. But seeing Al Pitrelli and Jeff Scott Soto was amazing. And their live show and stage set up are second to none.
So that’s it. My top ten metal moments and five honourable mentions. I find music plays a very large role in my life and I hope it does for you as well!
So in closing, I have a question for you all reading this; what’s your top 10 list?
Whilst you’re here, check out Steve’s new short story collection, Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery