It Won't Rain For You

I didn't listen to much music when I was a kid. I had some singles on 45, like "We Are the World" and Weird Al's "Eat It." But it wasn't until I was thirteen that music really struck a chord with me. A friend of mine told me to get Nirvana's Nevermind and GNR Lies for these two girls who were sharing a birthday party downtown. Not only were the gifts well received, but when they played the tapes, the sounds filled me with an intangible feeling. It was something I couldn't lay hands on.

From Nirvana and GNR I moved on to Metallica, whose black album is one of the best selling yet most underrated albums of all time. For hardcore metal fans, the record represented the sell out of the most respected band in the genre. For me, it bridged the gap. I wasn't a metal head. I was a kid who wore grey sweatpants and pastel t-shirts from my aunt and uncle's Florida Keys retreat. But the black album showed me something about music. It showed me how heavy it can be, and how sad. While Metallica doesn't have the complexity of structure that albums like ...And Justice For All or Master of Puppets contain, it does have the dynamics and range of emotion. After investigating those earlier albums, I realized something. There was a way to lay hands on these emotions. Literally.

I didn't want to play music. I had to play music. Like a junkie needs a needle, I needed a guitar. I needed to have it in my hands. So for my fourteenth birthday, my mom took me to Sam Ash where she told the salesman I was looking for a guitar.

"What kind?" he asked.

"A black one," I answered. And with that, a young metal guitarist was born.

I'm 33 now, and I've been playing on and off with varying degrees of seriousness for the past 19 years. I've recorded an album, a couple EPs, and a swath of demos. It Won't Rain For You is the first recording that sounds almost exactly the way I want it to. (I say almost exactly, because if you can't find something you'd like to improve, you're not trying hard enough.) It's just three songs, but Villain's Lament and I took our time crafting them, demoing them, and finally recording them.

I play almost all of the guitar and bass on the recording (Logan pops in for the third of four solos in "Fifth Time's the Charm"), and I think you'll find that I'm still that metal guitarist that was born 19 years ago. The rhythm guitars are heavy, and the leads are abundant. But like the black album, the arrangements are modest and the vocals are accessible. We have two lead singers, and I'd like to think they both have nicer voices than James Hetfield, if not the same rugged enthusiasm. You can judge for yourself:

If you like what you hear, the disc and downloads are available in the following places:

More from Villain's Lament at:

Good Game Stars

I signed on to PokerStars today to convert my remaining Frequent Player Points to cash. Having purchased a $4k Supernova bonus shortly before Stars closed shop to US players, I only had a few hundred dollars worth of FPPs to convert. When I opened the cashier, I was surprised to see almost a thousand dollars sitting in my account. Thanks to Stars’ quick agreement with the Department of Justice, I had been able to cash out my previous balance within a week of the US shutdown. So why was there money in my account? Because Stars is the best.

The PokerStars VIP program is built around milestone bonuses, where you earn a few thousand dollars every hundred thousand points or so. Since I was caught between milestones with 8 and a half months left to play, they prorated the bonus and deposited the cash into my account. While this seems like the logical course of action, few online poker sites would make good on their promised rewards in this fashion. But Stars does the right thing.

I’m saddened that due to my government’s rectal-cranial inversion, I can no longer play poker on the best site on the internet. What will happen in the future? Who knows. Maybe Stars will fight the DoJ and win. Maybe regulation will come in the form of legislation. Maybe the smaller sites will learn from Stars’ example and pick up their game. But for now, it’s good game Stars.

Good game.

Patriotism Is A Character Flaw

“USA! USA! USA!” the crowds chanted outside the White House. “USA! USA! USA!” the crowds chanted at the ballpark. What few of these people realize is that this feeling they have coursing through their veins as they shout their brains out - that’s the feeling that inspired the murder of everyone in the World Trade Center. That feeling is the cancer that has had the human race destroying itself for all of recorded history. It’s us against them. They call it patriotism. I call it disgusting.

I wrote a piece about my views on patriotism. Read the rest here:

Bin Laden Is Dead

Can we focus on something important now, like explicitly legalizing online poker? To be honest, I find it hard to care about world politics and missions of vengeance when U.S. domestic policy is so embarrassingly hypocritical.

Speaking of embarrassing, I wrote a little piece about Mason Malmuth's recent behavior on his internet forum:

Yesterday was my birthday, so I took a day off from the live grind. I ate lots of vegan banana cream pie, too. Now it's up to Foxwoods for a two day session, back home for music practice, then down to Atlantic City for another two day session. Then it's time to make some poker videos over the weekend. It's not a bad life, but I could do without the travel. Some explicitly legal live poker in NYC would be nice. But I guess I'll have to settle for dead terrorist leaders on my birthday.