The Steve Satchel Band: Pursuit of Happiness

•September 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

41416213_1439459099489731_9099327312557506560_nToday a local group of Houston badasses dropped their album “Pursuit of Happiness.”

The aforementioned gentlemen are known as The Steve Satchel Band.  If you have not got a chance to listen to this yet, I highly recommend you stop reading this right now and go check it out.  I picked up a copy off of iTunes for only $5.99.  Hell, you can’t even get a decent blowjob from a crackhead for that.  And trust me, this is safer and more fun.  The only reason you would not buy this is that you are an asshole.  And you are not that or you would not be reading this, so go buy a copy.

In all seriousness, this is a really great album and now I’m going to dive in and tell you exactly why I think it is.


This album was very appropriately named.  It is instrumental, which is already a big plus for me (think Scale the Summit or a not as weird Animals as Leaders).  This means that there are no pesky vocals to get in the way of the cool tunes.

Doing something like that can be a bit of challenge though, as now all the focus on delivering melody and structure must be accomplished through the sonic choices alone.  And in this case SSB delivers very nicely.

The album sounds very positive to me.  Something that you might put on driving home after winning a big game, or escaping the police, or having a midget threesome.

I like the fact that these guys sound like they are having a blast playing this music which makes it just as fun to listen too.  I also like how they are not afraid to explore various styles as the journey goes on.  There are spots in the first track Rodeo that almost pull out a Bluegrass vibe in some of the licks and turnarounds in spots.  On April Fools we get some very well written atmospheric sections.

The whole thing is like the bastard love child of some kind of orgy between Joe Satriani, Bozzio Leven Stevens, 80’s era Eddie Van Halen, and the Blues Brothers.



All these cats can play their freaking balls off.

The guitar work is great.  There are plenty of notes without it being just a ridiculous wank fest.  This is important.  I like guitar.  NOT AS MUCH AS BASS of course.  But as far as a second place instrument goes its great.  All the guys who can’t be amazing bass players usually do great at guitar.  When they do this though I prefer that all the fretboard shenanigans add to the song and not distract from it.  You are probably also concerned with this, unless of course you are stupid.  Do not fear, in the case of SSB, it is just the right amount.  All moisture, ducks and checkers…not a drop of suck or loathing.

Drums and Bass are awesome as well.  This is even more impressive because I could actually hear the bass playing a separate and unique part on most of the album.  I love it when they give us space to breathe instead of making us the equivalent of the guitar player’s fat friend that they use as a distraction to pick up chicks.



This record sounds freaking soggy like a prom date.  (This is good.)

I actually can hear the god damn bass player.  That just elevates my spirit to the point my balls almost spontaneously combusted from the shear unique weirdness of the spectacle.

Guitars and drums sound great.  My only small complaint would have been a preference for a snappier snare and maybe having it a bit higher.  But don’t let that detract you from buying this.  It is a tiny thing.  Like complaining that the super model that just gobbled your nadpouch had a couple of split ends in her hair.  Really?  Who cares.

I couldn’t hear the vocals at all.  (This is good, because there was none.)



Great band, great record.  Go buy it.  iTunes or Spotify.  If you are in Houston go catch a gig.


Hey There Folks

•September 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Wow…it has been a long time since I posted any content here and I have quite a few things to update people on in the next few days.  So fear not everyone, there will be new information on all the projects that many of you have asked me about coming soon so stay tuned to this site for that.

String Theory

•February 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

I see this shit all the time.  By all the time, I mean all the time.

Log onto any bass related forum, and as soon as you get past the fingers vs pick dumbassary (fingers for life yo) you will come to the next most hotly debated topic:  How many strings are appropriate before you are a (pick one boys and girls):  badass, poser, douchebag, egomaniac, loser, virtuoso, insane, cutting edge, god, etc.

This meme that I saw on Facebook today sums it all up quite well.


I just accepted it as the way most of us bass players operate for years.  It is just us right?  Do guitar players give the seven and eight string cats grief over that too?  I don’t know.  Do drummers give the guys with seventy rototoms a bunch of bullshit?  What about the singer with three throats?  I think its mostly the bassists that grumble.  Remember that movie Total recall in the 80’s with the alien chick with three breasts?  I don’t remember any guy complaining that she had one boob too many.  Why can’t I have eight strings on my bass?

Of course, everyone loves to post anything with an extreme amount of strings onto my Facebook page.  This picture found its way onto my wall, I was tagged in it, and it was sent to me in multiple messages.

15 strings

What the hell is that?  Wow!  I bet that is really hard to play.  I remember saying to someone that I was not cool enough for that instrument.  They said “Yes you are.”  But in truth, I found myself thinking that I would have no idea what to do with it.  I did not need it to pursue my goals musically.

It occurred to me today that perhaps some people think that I chose my extended range instrument solely because it had the amount of strings that it does.  Or that I wanted to be different.  Or to be obnoxious  (this is not a farfetched logical conclusion considering I wear stuff like this:)


There is a bit of truth to all of that I suppose.  My personality does lend itself for behavior displays that are outside the norm.  However, in this case my instrument was the end of a long journey to find a way to meet my musical goals.

A journey with a very specific goal.

In this regard, both camps, those that hold that four and five strings are it and those that think it is fine to venture forth into uncharted territory are right.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with someone wanting to play that monster bass in the picture.  However, without a purpose to do so it would be ridiculous.

If I only played bass in a Billy Idol tribute band, showing up with that fifteen string monster would be ludicrous.  It would probably take away from the band.  It would be everything that those who like to say “Why don’t you just play guitar” or “Buy a piano” are thinking of with their smug smiles.  And in this case, they would be right.

What kind of bass player needs that thing?  I don’t know.  But I do know, that if there is a guy that does, truly does need to play it…he will find it.  He will not buy it because he saw it and thought “Holy fuckballs, that looks cool.”  He will see it as a possible solution to a problem he has been trying to solve.  The answer to a sonic enigma.  That is the man who will take that and master it, and then give us incredible music out of it.

If the person makes great music, I would venture that they should be playing whatever it is they are playing regardless of the amount of strings or what others might think.  If it sounds good it is good.

If you buy a seven string bass guitar, and you never ever use the highest two strings, then you should sell that thing and get a five.  You don’t need it.  You are what is wrong with extended range scene.  You are the ones that give ammunition to those that already hate us.  My first time to see a seven string bass in action was at show here in Houston where a band from Dallas had come in to jam.  The bass player never used the high string.  It was pointless, and I was disappointed.

So the big question.  Why do I have an eight string bass?  Do I really need it?

You bet I do.

In fact, I really think I need a nine.

But before you dismiss me on this as nuts, listen to my reasons.  After playing bass for a very long time (30 years this year) I noticed a few things about myself that I wanted to change.  I love to play hard rock and heavy metal music, but I also like to take solos.  I want a ride just like the guitar fellas.  But it was never working very well.

There are two major problems with bass solos in metal.  The first is when the whole band stops except for you and the drums.  This sucks.  I don’t want all the energy to go away.  I want to soar over the crunchy guitar riffs like the other guys do.  So when you try that instead you realize that the reason the band stops playing for the bass solo is that there is no way in fuck anyone will hear anything you are doing over a wall of distortion.  No matter how loud your amp is.

I came to the conclusion, that if you are going to play solos and crazy fills over a band full of distortion, you need to play in a higher range so that you cut through.  I tried a six string, which works kinda, but you still have a very small area to work with before you dip back into the “Invisible Zone.”

I decided that a nine string would work.  You would have a regular five string bass for all your main basslines, and then four melody strings for when it was time to cut heads with the guitar players.

I never did get the nine.  I met Don Schiff online who talked me into my 8 string NS/STICK.  This gave me everything I wanted for the most part.  My only complaint is that the split between pickups occurs between the D and G string.  I would prefer to keep it separated as a five string bass and then a melody section.  But, it is a good compromise to my vision and I love to play it.

When I write my basslines, I keep them where they belong.  In the good ol’ five string range where the bass frequencies are meant to be.  I use my high range for adding chord textures when needed, for extra crazy fills…and mostly…for when its time to make the guitar players nervous.

It is true Jaco only needed four strings.  And if you are only going to play Jaco bass lines (provided you have the skill to do so) you will only need four strings too.  There is nothing wrong with this.

That said, if you are going to play Dr. Froth parts you have a choice.  You can play my basslines on a five string…but if you want to play all my parts and solos.  You are going to need an 8.  (I recommend the NS/STICK…it kicks ass).  There is nothing wrong with this either.

I am not Jaco.  Neither or you.  Again…nothing wrong with that. 

Figure out what you want to create and get the tools to do that.  Nothing more, but nothing less.  Make beautiful music that speaks to your soul.  If you do this, your art will always be fulfilling.

Good luck folks.

Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre: The Movie: The Review

•January 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

“Don’t thank me.  Thank Satan”  — Tom Araya

Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre:  The Movie.

Stop here and re-read that title.  I’ll write it again for emphasis.

Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre.

It’s beautiful, in the same way that the large wrapped Christmas present from Grandma would tease you from under the tree in the weeks before the special morning;  full of promise, hope and the secret siren whispers of toys that your parents would never buy you.  And while sometimes you would open that box just to have your little boy spirit crushed by a years supply of fucking socks,  there was also the occasional time that Granny would get it right.

This is that time.

In fact, if we wanted to keep the analogy going proper, this would be the equivalent of Granny having your gift hand delivered by a squad of midget strippers who packed your present in to the box tightly with cash and drugs.

The last time I saw a movie title that was this awesome (and accurate) was when I bought the straight to DVD movie:  “Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.”  That movie was the box of socks.  This movie was midget stripper gold.  Why?  Let’s dive in a take a look.

First off, ask yourself the following questions.  What is a movie for?  What decides if it is successful or not?
I am not a filmmaker.  I have never made a movie, but having worked in the arts as both a composer and a writer, I understand a little bit about what storytelling mediums have in common.  And so to answer the first question about the purpose of film, in this case it would be to tell a story in an entertaining fashion.

This is something that no amount of budget can buy.

If your story sucks, and your characters suck, no amount of special effects and high dollar infusions can save it.   You can keep dumping money on the head of an ugly hooker until you bankrupt Wall Street, but it will never make her face not instantly wilt you boner.  The inverse to this is that if the story is strong, and the characters are developed where we can invest emotionally into them, high budgets are not needed to make a great movie.

HSZM was not made by a known filmmaker (yet).  Josh Vargas has made some music videos for some respectable names such as Down and Phil Anselmo.   And to be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to view it.  I will not lie; I had prepared myself for another Jesus Vampire Hunter movie that looked like it might have been made by a second year film student with his friends after losing a bet to see who could hold their nuts on a running belt sander the longest.

But that is not the case.

This story follows the tale of a hair metal band called Witches Lips on their quest to record on album and secure a recording contract.  The movie starts out by introducing us to the band members, taking us through a gig, and finally out to a studio in the middle of nowhere to record an album.

And right away everything works.

Perhaps it is the musician in me, but I know, have known, have collaborated with, fist fought, and cursed out every one of these guys.  Obviously not the actual fictional members of this band, but their real life counterparts that can be found in almost every musician I know to some degree.

This was not handled in a stereotypical fashion (like the animated characters from Dethklok), but in a very realistic way.  If you would have told me that this was a real band and the first part of this film was a documentary of their last tour/recording project.  I would have believed you.  The actors that make up this band are that good.  And the band itself is believable.  If you have ever been in one, or have been friends with guys in a group…you will believe it too.  They have chemistry.  They should probably be a real hair band.

There are some beautiful moments.  When the drummer is crying during the recording session as he is forced to tap out his drums parts on a keyboard (to get…that sound), I felt his pain.  Yes it was hilarious.  But it also touched on something, that despite your take on it for good or ill, is a very real issue out there in modern recording.

And the bass player.  Poor bastard.  Spent most of the film in a substance-induced haze, only coming out of it to help save the day.  This sums up most of my bass playing brethren.

This movie is the bastard love child of Spinal Tap and Evil Dead.

So our heroes are recording their album in a cabin in a graveyard (how metal is that).  During the session they go into the basement and discover an ancient book that summons the dead from the graveyard.  Of course, the sound engineer can also read ancient dead languages (If you know some professional sound engineers…this kind of shit is not really far-fetched).

Obviously, the engineer and the visiting representative from Iron Blade records decide that the band must reshape its sound to include this text.  I won’t spoil the story for you…but the following mayhem involves zombies, and an outstanding appearance from Slayer’s Tom Araya.

So, after looking at our definition earlier we see that HSZM does succeed on telling us a story with great characters that we can invest in and hope that they overcome their obstacles to reach their goal.

This is not to say that HSZM is not without its share of issues.  Obviously you can’t take a film about zombies crashing a recording studio too seriously.  The main plot development device of having the long lost book of evil power sitting on alter in a guy’s basement that nobody has found seems a bit convenient.  You would have thought that it at least would have been in a hidden chamber in said basement.

The other thing is it almost felt like two movies.  Mr. Vargas could have left the whole zombie thing completely out of this film and kept the tone of the first half following Witches Lips gigging and recording adventures and had an outstanding movie.

Once the second act engaged, it was the first time since starting the movie where I remembered I was watching an indie flick.  This is not any fault of the creators of the film at all, but just the reality of doing blood and gore on a lower budget.  They did a great job, but it feels very B-movie, which if that was the intent, than they were very successful at that.  With a title like Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre, I suppose that they were probably going for that style.

I think the problem was that the first act was so good that it took away from the second a little bit.

These are small, small nitpicky details.  This film is very entertaining and I did enjoy the zombie action (though I love B-movie horror films).  I would venture a guess that the fact that I wanted to know more about what is going to happen to Witches Lips when the credits rolled is a testament to the great development done by Vargas.

The music itself was composed by Marzi Montazeri and featured Tim “Ripper” Owens.  How freaking badass is that.  The soundtrack to this is going to be awesome.

Fans of early Peter Jackson films, Spinal Tap, Evil Dead, and anyone who has ever played in a hard rock or metal band will really enjoy this movie.  You can tell that a lot of love and work went into it.

So what about the second question?  What makes the movie successful?

I suppose the answer to this will change with every person you ask.  Some only count the dollar signs, and some will only count artistic expression.  I think that the fact that I had a really enjoyable time taking this ride with Witches Lips is evidence enough that Josh Vargas and team succeeded in creating a great movie.  I’m looking forward to the next one.

Make sure to check out Hairmetal Shotgun Zombie Massacre: The Movie upon its release.  It gets the Dr. Froth seal of Moistitude.

Pass the Suffering

•November 26, 2015 • 2 Comments

It is officially Thanksgiving now.

My Walnut Turkey is in the oven cooking.  Everyone is asleep and the house is quiet and peaceful.  These are my favorite moments, and as I sit back in the solitude to reflect and find myself led to an interesting thought.

This year I am thankful for my suffering.

Now, before you accuse me of launching into some emo-ridden, wa-wa-milk and cookies bullshit, hear me out.

All of the things we experience in our lives are filtered through our perspective.  How we choose to employ positive, negative, and apathetic energies changes everything.  The event does not change, but the filter we engage as we process it can alter it in surprising ways from individual to individual.

As adults, it is generally quite challenging to change the way our minds process information.  It can take quite an emotional shock to re-wire ourselves into looking at things differently.  Few things can handle this task as well as suffering.

This does not mean that I am thankful for the event that triggered the suffering.  I am not happy at all that my daughter died in my arms and I’m not really thrilled by the fact that my father was killed by a gas tanker.

But the process of that expierence…and the things that it did to me.  Now that I can look back on it all…well…I am thankful for that.

When compared to burying my baby girl, the notion of freaking out over being unable to find my shoes or being unable to pay the cable bill seems absurd and ridiculous.

The process changed me.  It changed the filter that I use to view the world.

In the end, that has made me a much happier person now.

Those events broke and reshaped me.  I was lost for a decade and did many things to many people that even the thoughts of it now seem so unlike me that it is hard to believe it happened.

But the suffering set me free.  I no longer live in fear like so many.

The confidence that this world will NOT break me, that it is unable to do so after so many attempts…is a comfort that can not be described.  It took so much from me…but did not leave me empty handed.

And so, this year, I am thankful for the suffering that has led me to peace and acceptance of the world around me and my place in it.

If you are suffering this year at this time, I would give to you the knowledge that the events will pass, and if you let it, will leave behind a source of happiness and strength if you only allow yourself to use the right filter in your mind to process it.

May your holidays this year, and every year, be filled with happiness and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friend,
Dr. Froth

Surfing with Salad

•November 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The Salad:  “This idea is stupid, it won’t work.”

Me:  “It will work…you’re just a fat-ass.”

Looking back on it, it would probably be the only time that the Salad was right.  It was a stupid idea.

But it was not as if he was fraught with a litany of amazing intellectual insights himself.  From the shenanigans with the bulletproof vest to the incident where the burn imprint of his ass permanently scarred the seat of one of the go-karts, mayhem tended to follow the Salad everywhere he went.

In a way, the surfing incident was the culmination of a long journey of increased stupidity that all of us had descended upon there at the Houston Grand Prix go-kart track.

It had started when we found the abandoned shopping cart and then decided that we should use a chain to attach it to the four wheeler.  I remember going for a “test drive” in this contraption as Ronnie the Fist gunned the four wheeler up a hill by the back track.  The shopping cart did not take the hill with the same grace as the machine and instead projectile vomited me up into the air with the greatest of unease.  Remarkably, I walked away from this unscathed.

The other fellas took their turns in this contraption, but the shopping cart continued to degrade with each passing round.  It met its demise when poor Nugget took a run in it; the back completely falling apart, ejecting the man out behind mostly, and dragging him along the grass.  The road burn he got from this was almost unfathomable.

The shopping cart was, for the most part, annihilated.  We were able to salvage the bottom part of it,  basically just the four wheels held together by the lower portion of the cart where shoppers, during happier times in the carts life, probably stored water or paper towels.  It was just big enough for someone to sit in.

And if you were going to sit in this thing you might was well be pulled behind a go-kart like some kind of jet-ski from hell.

The Salad took a turn around the quarter mile in this manner without incident.  The cart, however, did not survive my attempts to force Salad up onto the concrete side railing in the pit like some kind of Evil Kanevil knock off.  I remember being unimpressed with its design.  How did they expect places like Food Fair and Dollar General to make a living when their shopping carts could not even survive a 30mph jaunt around a track.  It was sad.

I think it was Ronnie the Fist that came up with the final design.

A large piece of wood was to be outfitted with sled handles and tied to the go-kart like a sled.  Ronnie had constructed the sled in the shop and presented it to us.  We all thought it looked like an outstanding idea and could not wait to try it out.

The original plan was that The Salad would attempt to surf the track while I drove the go-kart.

We got everything ready by the pit on the quarter mile track.  The Salad was in position on the sled and I had the car fired up and ready to roll.  I got in and eased the gas pedal down.   Nothing happened.   We lurched forward maybe an inch or two at most.  It was very anticlimactic.

The Salad and I began to argue.  He was convinced that the plan was retarded and that it would never work in a million years.  I was totally convinced that he was a fat son of a bitch and that the go-kart would need a larger motor to drag his ass around the quarter mile.

Refusing to concede that he might actually be right, I suggested that we switch positions.

He thought that sounded reasonable and so I climbed aboard the sled and he hopped in the go-kart.  To ensure success, The Fist pulled up in another car and gave Salad a push.  With a smug feeling of satisfaction, I gave a thumbs up as the sled began to move behind the car and pick up speed.

I was right.  Salad was a fat-ass.  The idea worked.

Sadly, The Salad was also right.  This was the dumbest fucking idea known to man.

To be honest, the first three turns of the quarter mile was actually pretty damn fun.  I even managed to somehow navigate the “S” curve on the sled.  It was the final straightaway that everything went south.

I’m not sure if the Salad disabled the governor and got the go-kart up to a higher rate of speed where the turns could no longer be navigated or if the rope just could not take any more abuse and broke.  I guess it does not really matter at this point.

The go-kart track is asphalt like a regular road.  The side rails are pieces of steel that have been bolted to tires.

At the magic moment, the sled could no longer be turned for one reason or another.  The speed had picked up enough where I had ended up on my knees on the wooden plank, holding onto the handles that Ronnie the Fist had created.  I was beginning to become concerned.

The board went directly into the sidewall of the track.  It went right under the tires and steel railing.  Of course I was too big to do that so I just smashed right into it.  Fortunately for me, I was able to absorb the impact with my face and wrist.

The Fist had pulled ahead of the Salad and me and had turned around just in time to watch it go down.  I went into the railing face first, one of the tire bolts puncturing my forehead and shattering my left wrist.  The impact threw me straight up in the air where I spun around and somehow ended up on my back on the track.

It was so horrendous that as he ran over to me, he was sure that I was probably dead.  He told me later that the whole thing gave him nightmares.  It sounded pretty heinous.  I’m so bummed nobody got this shit on video.

I have no memory of the impact.  I do remember flying through the air after the initial hit.  I really did not think I was going to survive this, but as I was still lost in grief over the death of my daughter, I was just fine with that.  I remember completely relaxing and looking kind of forward to seeing my little girl again.

That is most likely why I am still with you today.  When I crashed down to the ground, I was so relaxed that I just rag dolled around and did not break my neck.

By the time The Fist had reached me I had completed taking inventory of just how fucked I was.  I was pretty fucked.  I knew my wrist was toast.  I suggested that one of them take me to the hospital.

We got to the hospital, and of course my head is just pouring blood from the big hole in my skull.  I ran up to the counter and leaned over it and said in my old man voice “I think I might need to see the doctor.”  The nurse did not find this as amusing as I did.

Later on the doctors would marvel at how interesting it was that I did not get paralyzed or killed.  They told me that they would have stitched the hole in my head except that there was nothing to stitch it to.  Instead I got a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.

On my 30th birthday I got a brand new titanium plate placed in my wrist.  It is amazing that I can still play bass, though sometimes it can get a little sore.  I had a big bandage on my head on which I would write cool motivating phrases like “Show me your tits” or “Need Painkillers.”

I still played gigs like this too.  I would just reach over the neck of the bass and use two fingers to handle all the frets.  It looked pretty dumb, but hey, the music does not stop just because the musician is an idiot.

The whole track surfing incident was a big wake up call for me.  I learned that I was not twenty years old anymore.  Coming so close to no longer being able to play my instrument was an eye opening experience as well.  My days of daredevil dumbassary were over.

It still is just so hard to admit that the Salad was right….sigh.

At least I learned an important life lesson:  Don’t surf a go-kart track on a piece of wood tied to a go-kart.

It’s OK to make mistakes if you learn from them, right?

Music, Music…Everywhere Music

•April 7, 2015 • 1 Comment

Wow…So many projects and so little time.

Here is the current update on all the things I am doing right now and what you can expect in the near and far future from the land of milk and froth.


This is it. The mothership of all the things I have been working on in the last few years. I am in the final stages of the creation of this huge monstrosity of a concept album with my friend Robert Lowe. Drums are being turned in, the final vocals are being tracked, and we will be mixing in a couple weeks. Wow.

Dr. Froth:

Velvet Shades of Moist…my solo album for all intents and purposes is mostly done. I have put it on the shelf because I wanted GID to come out first. But believe me this thing will follow up right on the heels. I am very excited about this album because it is all instrumental and has no other instruments besides my NS/STICK and Steve Bundrick on drums. It is sick.

Six Minute Century:

We are writing album three right now. Don LaFon has some riffs he is working on as do I. Mikey Lewis is even going to do some composing this time around. Chuck and I are very excited about the direction of the band and we think all of you will be as well. We plan on writing throughout the summer and hope to begin tracking in the winter of this year.

Disciple Of Doom:

Robert Lowe’s flagship project. Right now we are doing live shows playing the classics from his time in Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. However, writing is underway for brand new material for a release sometime next year. Get ready for Doom.

Winter’s End:

The local Houston cover band that I play in with a bunch of my friends is still active and you can catch it every couple of months. Classic 80’s hard rock and metal.

Metal Asylum:

The project with James Rivera is still alive and well though not being booked very heavily at this time.

Mike Pritchard’s Blue Thunder & The Lightning Horns:

Yep…once a year in Lubbock you can catch the reunion of this great blues and classic rock band featuring a four piece horn section.  Bad ass.

So there you go…lots to do and see.  Get ready for some great music coming your way very soon.