Supporting the Troops

20 09 2010

I’m a fan of the band Otep, an alternative metal band with an angry lesbian singer who goes by the name, Otep Shamaya. They have several songs I’m not so keen on and a bunch that I absolutely love. I’m also not so keen on the fact that Ms. Otep gets dramatic and preachy on stage, on their albums, and on the internet. At one point, back when myspace was relevant, I deleted the band from my friends list because I got tired of the constant barrage of political bulletins they posted. I assume it’s all her, but I don’t really know. Today I saw this from Otep on facebook: “If we have money to pay “contractors” like Blackwater, we have the money to give our Soldiers a RAISE.”

1. There is no reason to put the term “contractors” in quotes.

2. We don’t have the money to pay them. In case you haven’t noticed, the US government is running a major budget deficit, contributing to a massive debt that cannot realistically be repaid.

3. Contractors like Blackwater are in it for the money, clearly. It’s a racket. So are soldiers who voluntarily enlist knowing they’ll be sent to fight a bullshit war. They just lack the experience to get the better paying gig.

4. US soldiers get paid pretty well, especially on hot deployments, and especially considering the lack of work experience and skill that most go in with.

5. Soldiers are enablers. They allow the assholes in charge to do the horrible things they wish to do. If it weren’t for the volunteers, the ruling elite would have a lot more difficulty in achieving their awful goals.

I spent four years in the US Army, and don’t see why I deserve any respect for living off of taxpayers for all that time while I provided nothing in return. I hate bring this up because I hate the positive reaction it gets. I don’t regret it or feel bad about it, but I’m not proud of it either. There’s really nothing to be proud of. Playing war and driving humvees was fun for me, but it was of no benefit to taxpayers. I’m glad I never went anywhere hot and never had to kill or witness violent death. Having grown up in a society sprinkled with jobless, homeless, and mentally ill Vietnam vets, it kills me to know the process that created such men is at it again. I really think we’d be better off if fewer wounded combat vets survived. Several years ago, when I first realized that this was going on with a group of young men that are almost all younger than me, I teared up and I don’t do that.

I can’t support these guys and highly discourage others from doing so and from joining the military at all.

Corey Taylor is a Douchebag

30 09 2009

On Saturday, I went to a place called Fear Farm to see the End of Summer Scorcher. It was a day long concert with Sevendust headlining. It was 104 degrees with a completely clear sky, so I purposely didn’t get there in time to see all the bands. I walked in while Sick Puppies was playing. They have some song on the radio right now that I don’t really like, but they seemed decent live. Then, Otep took the second stage. This was my third time seeing them. They were facing the sun, the sound wasn’t great, and they only had a 30-minute set. I couldn’t hear the guitar most of the time. They’re much better headlining a dark place like the Clubhouse in Tempe. After that, Atreyu hit the main stage. I was pretty sure I didn’t like them. I was right. They suck. Next, it was back to the second stage for Shadows Fall. I’d never seen them before. They’re good live, but I just don’t get into a lot of their songs.

Five Finger Death Punch was next. I saw them at the first End of Summer Scorcher a year ago. They were great then. They went on when the sun was still up, and the crowd wasn’t insanely huge. At one point during a song I was singing along to, I swear that signer Ivan Moody saw me getting into it and pointed me out. This year it was a bit different. They were still great, but the crowd was easily ten times the size. It was nuts. The concert sold out, and this band had to have the biggest crowd of the whole show. They only played two songs from their new album, one of them being “Hard to See”, which is really pretty good. I don’t recall them playing either of the singles that were tacked onto their first album after it had been out for a while. They finished with “The Bleeding.” It was great.

Corey Taylor’s Junk Beer Kidnap Band took the stage after that. I was completely ready to be disappointed. Earlier in the week he was on the local radio station saying that it’s not metal, and that he didn’t care if anyone liked the band. He and his friends were having fun. It was very not metal. The first song they played was “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. They did some crappy originals (that weren’t very original), a Rolling Stones cover, and the two mellowest Stone Sour singles. Toward the end they seriously played the Cheers theme song. “Where everybody knows your name”? – Yeah, that song. They finished with “Wish” by Nine Inch Nails. That was cool, but it hardly made up for the other crap. At the very end Corey yelled, “fuck you!” into the mic. No Corey, Fuck you.

Having never seen Sevendust before, I waited around for them to play, and I once I heard a few songs, I left. They seemed pretty solid live, but I’m just not that into them and I had a headache.