WARNING: Read this blog wearing ear protection–the long ear plugs, not the short ones.
Chace Corrigan (vocals)
Josh Kirchhefer (guitar)
Trevor Kuma (guitar)
Sean McGee (bass)
Blaise Turcato (drums)
If the “melodic” part confuses you, because you’re not used to the metal rock scene, then just go with “hardcore metal,” because they are. But here’s a Wiki link to the breakdown of various kinds of rock music (check out heavy metal). Like novel writing, there are a myriad of genres. Take a look a them; if you’re at all interested in rock music, it’s quite interesting. I don’t pretend to be hip to all the sub-genres, but I am a fan of rock music in general, love the energy associated with it, even heavy metal.
I only know of Sorry, No Sympathy because one of their guitar players (Trevor Kuma) is the son of a friend of ours. They’re on tour, and played at The Zodiac, a Colorado Springs venue, this past Tuesday, St. Patty’s Day. It was my first time seeing them play live, though I’ve seen several of their videos over the years. Wow. Such power, such raw (twenty-something?) emotion in the vocals, barked out by Chace Corrigan. To be honest, I don’t know how Chace does it, night after night…it is such an outpouring of energy, it seems to me to have to be exhausting at some level, but he shook it off afterward as if it were nothing.
Which, of course, it’s not.
Which brings me to the kinds of guys these dudes are. What you see up on stage and what you shake hands with before and after are, well, kinda different.
These guys are polite and gracious. They know they’re performing for you, and they acknowledge it. They know you could be out watching some other bands or doing something else (like sleeping), but that you came to see them, and they thank you for that if not so much in words, in actions…how they relate and interact with you. When I approached their “Merch table” (selling their T-shirts), Sean was sitting behind it and immediately stuck out a hand and introduced himself. Josh and Blaise were outgoing and, well, happy. Trevor—a giant of a man—was a little more reserved, but nonetheless friendly. Chace seemed really glad to see me, though we’d never met. In fact, when I first met Chace and mentioned that I was looking forward to finally seeing them perform live, he said something that actually took me aback—that I hadn’t expected: he said he looked forward to playing for me.
Did not see that coming.
To be truthful, I didn’t really have any expectation of what was gonna come out of his mouth on a greeting level (though I’ve seen the band’s videos), never gave it any thought, I was just stating a fact—I really wanted to see these guys play live. And earlier that day my wife and her friend (Trevor’s mom) had taken the band out to eat, and my wife was telling me what absolutely cool guys they were, and it further intrigued me, though I had already seen their interview. My wife also told me Chace was a philosophical kinda guy and was actually interested in reading one of my novels, ERO. So, I brought him a copy and autographed it for him at The Zodiac.
As I met and talked with the rest of the band members I was impressed with all of them. They were not wired and unapproachable, but all had a ready smile and outstretched hands. Easygoing, the lot of them. Not standoffish, not rude. Just a couple of regular guys, plying their trade. So, at the Merch table, I had to get one of the T-shirts.
Now, once up on stage, they went into their “mode,” and became one with their music…and Chace transforms to an unstoppable emotive force. The technique (I recently learned) is called screamo. It is a flat-out demonic-sounding, barking out of distorted vocals that can blister your soul and frighten the uninitiated, and usually trucks in forms of emotional pain, fucked up politics, or the right to be human and one’s own expression of being human. And the music…guitars, percussion…the energy…is simply kick-ass.
But…a weird and curious thing happened to me as I experienced these bands (there were four of them) that night…and it kind of surprised me…but I felt a “coming home“…is how I even noted and described it silently to myself. Admittedly, I am not a “screamo” kinda guy in that I typically don’t listen to a lot of hardcore metal like this…but I’m not above taking some in now and then…but as I stood there rockin to the four bands that performed that night, I realized I loved the raw, youthful creative energy I was experiencing. The feel and kind of energy that radiates from humans expressing themselves early in their careers…uncaring for what the rest of the world might think of them…just explosively expressing themselves for who they are and how they see themselves. You—hell, the performers themselves—might not even totally understand why they do what they do (is it past life anger/angst…current life anger/angst?), but they know, they feel this “stuff” emanating out of them…out from their souls in such powerful, emotive explosions…and this is how…this is the only way they know that they can express themselves…express the unbridled energy that bursts forth from every pore….
This…is who they are.
Take em or leave em…this is what they do.
From what I know of them, from what I’d experienced, I didn’t see them (or any of the other bands’ members) parading about the joint breaking and smashing things like you might see so much on TV, getting stinking drunk and acting like idiots…these members behaved respectfully, hell, they stayed to listen to the other bands late into the night! But within each of them is this powerful, undeniable energy that craves release…and this is their creative vehicle for it. So what that not everyone “gets it”…those that do they welcome and perform for. And they are grateful for their fans. For their outlet.
It was interesting as I stood there and took in the night, the performances, because I did see a definite tie-in to writing. The apparent “duality of being.” These guys were great guys in every sense of the word—Chace was even a good sport about posing with my novel when I asked him to (I was egged on into the photo, by the way, I wasn’t gonna get in it…) after their performance—but, up on stage they take on a different kind of “greatness”: they turn into performers giving up their lives to their creative forces. Yelling like demons, whirling around and smacking into each does not make them bad people, neither does wearing body ink and sporting piercings. All the things those without typically associate with “non-nominal behavior.” “Bad” behavior. But that’s faulty reasoning. Dismissive of the mind behind the body. The energy of the soul behind the flesh. Plain and simply it is their energy that drives them to do this…to become “a different kind of greatness”…to express themselves in the way they want to express themselves, just like when I write my novels and people ask me, “Geeze, why do you have to write about violence and weird shit?” Or with my soon-to-be-released work-in-progress, “Why do you have to write such graphic sexual acts? You a pervert?”
It’s about the energy.
My work is about telling a story that needs to be told, whether or not it embarrasses me or is good or bad, and I have to be true to the energy of the story. I am the vessel for my stories (likes these guys are for their music) and I have to be me in the expression of those stories through the energy of my being. I have to bark out my own “duality” demon voice when the story necessitates it. That doesn’t mean I walk around acting out my novels anymore than it means the band walks around offstage acting out their music…it just means that we’re being true to the energy of our work.
We have to be ourselves.
And this was what Chace also belted out during one of his sets that night, “Be yourself! Be true to yourself and don’t worry about what others think!” Of course, the standard caveats apply about not hurting others, etc., I add, but the point is made.
We have to be true to the stories we’re telling…these guys have to be true to themselves…to the stories they’re telling, because, make no mistake about it, they are telling stories.
We all are.
It’s in our every move, our every thought, our every action.
It’s the story of our lives.
So, is there really a duality?
I think not. I think it’s really just another aspect—another part—of the gestalt called Josh or Trevor or Sean or Blaise or Chace. And we—each and every one of us—have to be true to that. Be true to our lives.
So, in the end…you are who you are…sorry, no sympathy.
Sorry, No Sympathy’s first full-length album “EGALITARIA” will be released early this year. Their single “Ignite,” however (the video at the top) is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play music.
Tonight, Sorry, No Sympathy plays at 8 p.m., at Jazzy’s Rock N’ Roll Grill, in St. George, UT.
Sorry, No Sympathy Twitter: @SorryNoSympathy