Music, My Stories

Remembering Mega

Remembering Mega

Mega isn’t his real name, but a nickname given to him for his love of the band Megadeth.

This all begins in the Australian summer of 1985, when I first heard Stay Hungry from Twisted Sister.  It was on a cassette tape and it was my cousin Mega that introduced me to it.  He also had a video tape of rock and metal music clips that he taped from the music programs that used to play on Friday night and Saturday night.

That is how we did it back then.  There was no Spotify or an iTunes store to sample songs.  We religiously used to stay up late, so that we could tape the new video clip from our favourite bands or bands of similar style.  Hell by staying up late, that is how I was introduced to Motley Crue(the Smokin In The Boys Room clip and then Home Sweet Home clip), Ratt (the Round and Round clip), Quiet Riot (Cum on Feel The Noize clip), Vah Halen (the Jump and Panama clips) and many others.  But one band stood tall over all the others for me back then.  And that was Twisted Sister.   We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock where doing the rounds back to back.

We’re Not Gonna Take It, No
We Ain’t Gonna Take It
We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore

Three opening lines that summed up the youth of 1985.  The ones that didn’t want to follow what their fathers did and leave school early to work the factory floor.  This was our war cry.  Mega and I listened to this song over and over again, by watching the video clip over and over again.  We even rented Animal Farm because we saw the psychotic parent from the video clip on the cover. 

We’ve got the right to choose it and there ain’t no way we’ll lose it, this is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be, just don’t pick our destiny cause you don’t know us, you don’t belong

Mega’s dad was one of those people that never should have been a father.  He was all about money, money and more money.  Mega came a very distant last.  He always kept on comparing Mega to other kids.  Poor Mega could never measure up to his father’s expectations.  That is why this song was special to him and he made it special to me.  Mega’s life was exactly that of the kids in the video clip; however his life didn’t end up getting back at his father, with the power of music.  He just used the music to get away from it all.

You’re so condescending, your gall is never ending, we don’t want nothin’, not a thing from you
Your life is trite and jaded, boring And confiscated, if that’s your best, your best won’t do

Those words could have come from any adolescent child in the eighties.  Mega’s room was a cultural haven.  The walls where covered in posters from Hard Rock, Glam Rock and Metal bands at that time.  He had a record collection that left me envious.  He cherished his records.  He wouldn’t lend them out to anyone and only he could touch them for fear that they will get scratched.  I remember one day, when Mega and I went to the Utopia Record Store, which at that time was in a little shop at Martin Place train station in Sydney.  Mega had the money so he picked up a few more albums and I just stared at the covers of albums that I wanted to buy.  We return back to Mega’s place and it was chaos.  His parents trashed his room, the records where all over the floor, pulled out of the covers.  The reason, his mum smelled cigarette smoke on his clothes when she was throwing them into the wash and wanted to find where the cigarettes where hidden, so they trashed his record collection.  Seriously, who hides a packet of Winnie Blues inside a record cover? 

I remember him saying to his parents, IF THAT IS YOUR BEST, YOUR BEST WONT DO.   That is how important music was to him, he even quoted the song.    Hell, he even tattooed the TS logo onto his shoulder.

We’re right/yeah, we’re Free/yeah, we’ll Fight/yeah, you’ll See/yeah

We’re Not Gonna Take It summed up how we felt at the establishments, our parents and all the rules of what we should be.  Songs like I Wanna Rock, Smokin In The Boys Room, We Rock, Cum On Feel The Noize and Shake Your Foundations summed up what we wanted to do.  

I WANNA ROCK! (ROCK)

The war cry. 

Turn it down you say
Well all I got to say to you is time and time again I say No
NO! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

I can’t even mention how many times Mega’s parents would walk in and turn down his stereo and then walk out.  As soon as the door shut, Mega would crank it again. 

Turn the power up
I’ve waited for so long so I could hear my favourite song so let’s go
GO! GO, GO, GO, GO, GO!

When it’s like this I feel the music shootin through me
There’s nothing else that I would rather do

Music when done right is like that.  You lay back with the album, the lyric sheet in front of you and listen to each song and read the lyrics.  It was a therapeutic feeling, without going to therapy.  This is something kids these days will never feel as their lives are always on the go and they are connected to each other 24/7.  Back then, no one was texting you or phoning you, there was no Facebook to kill time on and there was no Computer in the house that you could use.  Music, Books, Magazines and TV was all we had, with the occasional Cinema outing for a new release. 

Cum on feel the noize
Girls rock your boys
We’ll get wild, wild, wild
Wild, wild, wild

That’s all we wanted to do.  Get to the Rock N Roll show, to hear the music, to feel the noise so that we could get wild.   Mega just wanted to be a drummer.  He saved up his social security money to purchase a drum kit and then saved up again to purchase another bass drum so that he could do double kick.  His father frowned at him and they both kept on yelling at him every time he played.   His father wouldn’t let Mega borrow the car, so we used to catch the train with his drum kit and my guitar and amp to the rehearsal room.  That is full blown commitment.

We always talked about our band and the songs we would write.  We never got there.  He more or less gave up drumming due to all the stress pushed on him from his parents.  He failed at school so his father wasn’t pleased, especially since Mega’s sister was all A’s.  He went to Art School as his other talent was drawing, and that led nowhere as Australia post-recession in the early 90’s wasn’t employing young up starts.  And this was the pre Internet era.

By 1997 Mega was diagnosed with schizophrenia due to a chemical imbalance in his brain.  His parent’s won.  His parents finally had control of him.  From all the medication that was prescribed, Mega ballooned into a 140kg slob.  I abandoned Mega after 2006.  It was too painful to see him.  He hadn’t showered for weeks and he looked like Crusty the Clown from The Simpsons.  He never could remember the last time we spoke due to the medication even though it was 24 hours ago over the phone.  It got to a stage when I called and his parents wouldn’t even give him the phone.  I used to send him CD’s of the EP’s I was doing with my band, and his parents wouldn’t give the CD’s to him.

I heard he broke the fridge door because aliens where inside it.  Prior to his diagnosis, I remember I was at his place and he goes to me ‘She is there.”

“Who is there”, I answer back.  Mega’s face got all spooky and weird.

“Her.  She is there next to you, laughing”, he answers back.  I am at this stage thinking WTF.  The hairs on the back of my neck are hard as a rock.  I turn to where he is pointing and as I expected, no one is there.

“WTF, Mega.  What’s this shit?’ I fire back, both worried and angry with him.  What came next freaked me out.  He started laughing hysterically, like those weird horror movies where kids have these evil imaginary friends.  Typing this and recounting the events is just freaking me out.

Mega was such a mega influence on my life and the music I listen too.  He was my first cousin.  Mega’s mum and my mum are sisters, but they are so different.  Maybe because my dad was a muso it was easier for me, but Mega he didn’t get that.  That is why he loved coming down to our place and staying for a week or a month.  He was liberated at my place.  We would go down to the Pub, drink beers, shoot Pool and just crank the Jukebox until the morning hours.  On the other hand his home life was hell.

It wasn’t healthy anymore for me to be around him.  I didn’t want to be dragged in to all of that shit that was going on.  By 2006 I had my second child.  I didn’t want my kids growing up around an uncle that was mentally ill.  Selfish and cruel maybe, but these are the choices we make in life.  You can say I took the easy way out by abandoning him, and a lot of people condemn me for it, but those people haven’t dealt with a person that has a mental illness.  Then others, who have experienced mental illness with loved ones, tell me that they only wish they had the courage to walk away.  Instead they got sucked down with their loved one and are now suffering depression as to why they couldn’t help them.

Mega is still alive.  He will probably even outlive me.  But to me Mega died in 1997.  After that it wasn’t Mega anymore.  The jokes and the laughs went out the window, his fascination with Horror movies became greater and his paranoia was getting the better of him.  I still think he will knock on my door and say, what’s up, have you heard the new ….

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Be Somebody

Be Somebody

What a song.  I didn’t hear this song until a few weeks ago (Jan 2013) and the album it was on ‘The End Is Where We Begin’ was released on April 17, 2012.

That is how it is these days.  It’s an information overload society we live in.  The beauty of the internet is that nothing goes away.  This song deserves more attention.   I came across this song from a download I hadn’t listened to, and after I heard the whole album, I purchased it on Amazon.  It was that good; I wanted to have it in my collection.

“We all wanna be somebody; we just need a taste of who we are
We all wanna be somebody, we’re willing to go but not that far”

Aint that the truth.  We all want to be someday, but we are not willing to take it all the way.  That is the majority of people these days.   Even in my case, I wanted to make a living from music, but I also wanted to have a house, a family, a car and to have all of those, I needed a steady income.  So I became a slave.  Doing the grind.  My first job I was paid $160 a week and $100 went on petrol getting there and back, as it was 75 minutes drive from where I lived.

You can’t say that Thousand Foot Krutch wasn’t willing to take it all the way.  I did a search on them and the Wikipedia page shows that the band has been going since 1997 and prior to that the singer Trevor McNevan was in another band from 1995.  During that period 6 albums have been released from TFK and 4 from his side project FM Static.   Remember the golden rule, content is king.  Keep pumping it out, keep the fans satiated.

All up that is 17 years of work put in to BE SOMEBODY.

I wonder why bands are classed as Christian Rock bands or Christian metal bands.  Music is music, rock is rock, metal is metal.  The themes in the lyrics are irrelevant to me.  When I first heard the song, my initial view is that the lyrics where about music and how important music is to him, then I thought it was about someone that is very important.  I did come across an article in where Trevor states it’s about the Holy Spirit and how it speaks to him and how he feels about it.

“When I can only see the floor, you made my window a door
So when they say they don’t believe, I hope that they see you and me”

You know the feeling when your head is down, nothing seems to be going right and you just need that someone, a song, a friend, a lover, a parent to show you a different door that you can open.   I remember growing up and relating to We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock from Twisted Sister.  It was the music that opened doors for me.  They told me what I needed to know in a way no one else could.

“After all the lights go down, I’m just the words you are the sound
A strange type of chemistry, how you’ve become a part of me”

Yep, let the music play as we go to sleep.   Let it take you to the imagined place in your mind. That is the chemistry going on between the ears.   And then the chorus kicks in…

“We all wanna be somebody; we just need a taste of who we are
We all wanna be somebody, we’re willing to go but not that far”

How far are we willing to go to achieve our dreams, our passions, and our desires?  Do we go into things head first and with no plan b or do we go into it with a strategy and a fall back?   How many hours are we prepared to put into our art?  I could have done things differently, I could have made different choices, however one thing I didn’t do is go all the way.  I became safe in getting the fortnightly wage, I became scared to change, just in case I lost the possessions I had.  I became another link in the chain and I forget what I was.  I need to get that taste back.

“And we’re all see through, just like glass
And we can shatter just as fast
That light’s been burned out for a while; I still see it every time I pass
It was lost in the coldness of my mind, behind a box of reasons why”

There it is.  Our mortality.  We can hide behind names; make up, clothes and hairstyles.  We can build something that takes forever.  All it takes is one second to see it all disappear.  We need to be great every day, bullshit doesn’t cut it.  Be see through, it’s okay.

Musically the song is pretty easy, moving from C to Em in the verses and C to D to Em to G in the Chorus.

I did some Googling on TFK and saw that their latest album was done via Kickstarter and released through Tunecore.   The band took control of their career again, after 8 years on a label.

Apart from Be Somebody the album has a lot of good songs, like Fly on a Wall, War of Change, Light up the Sky, The End Is Where We Begin, Courtesy Call and Let the Sparks Fly.

Give the song a listen, it deserves your attention.  Don’t let the Christian moniker dissuade you from experiencing it.

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