To Play or Not To Play

by | Oct 9, 2013 | Silly | 2 comments

I'm not a playa, I just crush a lot.

I’m not a playa, I just crush a lot.


I once read an interview with Gene “The Atomic Clock” Hoglan around the time of Testament’s Demonic and Strapping Young Lad’s City one of the things he said that stuck with me was he didn’t actually know what he played on City because Devin Townsend programmed  so much stuff and a lot of the drums that he wanted were just not humanly possible. I vaguely remember John Tempesta saying something similar about the first Rob Zombie album.  Not so much the “not humanly possible” stuff but the “there was a lot of programming, so some of the drums weren’t me,” thing.

And then we have Rings of Saturn.

This is why I don't want my kids to grow up in the suburbs...

This is why I don’t want my kids to grow up in the suburbs…

Yesterday Jay posted about how Rings of Saturn’s guitarist/mastermind/leader, Lucas Mann, posted a video 1 of him passably finger syncing some sequenced guitars.  This is meant to, I suppose, quell the accusations that Rings of Saturn record their music at half speed. 2 Since I’m the “Metal Guy” on the Daft Paragon Ranch; Generalissimo Ratkowski asked me to add my opinion to it if I felt inclined 3.

But before I do that, I want you to check this out:

Steve Vai played all of the piano in that song.  And by “played,” I mean “sequenced because he’s not that good of a pianist.”

Here’s Jeff Waters 4 not being able to nail the solo for “The Dagger” from the Roadrunner United album.  You can literally hear the edit in the final product

(Solo starts around 2:38)

So, back to Rings of Saturn.  They are a technical death metal band formed by a couple of high school students.  Technical death metal is a subgenre of heavy metal which is basically Dream Theater without all of the restraint and pop songwriting sensibilities for which that band is rightfully lauded5. The controversy surrounding this band of children basically comes down to this:

They didn’t own up to it.

If they had owned up to studio chicanery  to create their album people would just have said, “yeah, that’s just what they did to get their sound.” But they didn’t they continue to deny and deny and deny.

So, is it sad that this band has, apparently, built an entire career around a falsehood?  Sure.  But let’s be honest here: this is a band of children playing music in a genre with approximately 12 fans. The controversy surrounding them is the most press they were ever going to get.  So, yay for them.

  1. Seriously, is that his mom at 1:34
  2. Something that Paul Gilbert did as a joke on one of those Guitar for the Practicing Musician compilation albums in the late 80s/early 90s
  3. Also, I initially sent him this story because he was looking for transcription software
  4. In an unfortunate, even for a Canadian, stage of growing out his hair
  5. My fingers, literally, would not type that so I had to enter all of that with my tongue