Archive for the ‘Band Members’ Category

Looking to the Future, We Leave the Past Behind

(With tongue firmly planted in cheek)


Last Saturday, James played his last show behind the kit with Division.  His family and he are moving to Ohio to begin the next part of their lives, and we wish them all well.  Well, we wish his family well; to hell with James, I hope he gets hit by a car and dies.  If you’re reading this, James, frankly I’m surprised, since I thought you were too stupid to read.  I wish Melinda and Hazel well with their new, improved husband/father, and I hope he plays a real instrument, like guitar.

It is a strange feeling to look back on nearly a decade in the same band, watching everyone else change around you.  It seems only yesterday that I stood in the damp, cramped front room at Barco Rebar, auditioning through the shittiest Marshall JCM900 in existence, ultimately replacing founding guitarist Matt Crooks.  That was a band at a crossroads; a principal writer was leaving, the local music scene was shifting in a new direction, and tunes were being penned for the first album to fully feature 7-string guitars.  I won’t go into details, but there was a lot of tension and doubt in the band at the time, and it felt like a slow climb out of a hazy pit.  Gigging helped, and as James, Mike, Nick, Ron, and myself slowly gelled as a live act, we became tighter, both musically and as friends.  We had a lot of fun times opening for some of our heroes at Jaxx, and several very entertaining road trips, parts of which we barely remember.  Playing with those guys made me a better guitarist, more knowledgeable of gear, and a better live performer.  Ultimately, those days wouldn’t last, as Ron’s wife Meghan moved out of the area to pursue a new career.  We sure do miss Meghan, and wish her all the best of luck in her future endeavors, and are delighted she took Ron with her.  I hope he chokes on a burrito, stupid pasty-faced, prepubescent-looking hack, since bass is for people without enough talent to play guitar.  He was obviously compensating for something, and we all feel real bad for Meghan on that count.

We picked up Tim, and soldiered on.  Tim mainly played guitar before joining Division, realized he didn’t have enough talent for it, and made the switch to the big strings (I guess they’re easier for a tall goofy guy to grab onto).  Tim joined during another transitional period, as we started playing more small clubs and bars.  We got to watch Jaxx destroyed by the soul-sucking leaches at Outerloop, and discovered a truly awesome scene out in Loudoun County  Tim banged away with us for a year, got married, joined fifty-seven other bands, took on a demanding new job, and quit like the quitty quitter he is.  Your hair is falling out, loser, and we take pity on your wife for being stuck with a widow’s peak and your job working on boats.  With sailors.  I think we all know where I’m going with this.

Nick, who didn’t want to be showed up, also quit.  I’m in two bands with Nick, so I’m waiting for him to quit that one, too, so I never have spend another waking moment with that egotistical, no-talent assclown.  Maybe a stray meteorite will take care of that for me.  Enter Scott and Dan, on lead prima dona and big dumb guy guitar, respectively.  Having run out of talented people in the area to turn to, we were stuck with the retreads.  This was obviously too much for James to bear, since he’s moving hundreds of miles away to Cleveland.  You know people suck when you move to Cleveland to get away from them.  It must be the bald quotient in the band or something.

After eight years, Mike is the only person left from the four guys staring at me in that grungy rehearsal room in Falls Church.  Mike is like dirt, though: old, crusty, and around for the long haul.  I’m still looking for the broom that works on Mike, but I guess he is punishments for the sins of a former life.  All joking aside, I’ve shared some times, both good and bad, with everyone whom I’ve been lucky enough to play metal with in this band.  Every single one of them brought something different to the band, as reflected in the gigs we played and the music we wrote.  Now, we stand once again at a crossroads, replacing another member on the eve of writing and recording the next album.  Who knows what direction the next FNG will take us, but I’m equal parts excited and trepiditious, just as I was when I was the FNG.


Seems like old times? Eh, not exactly…

Many of you already know about Scott and Dan returning to the band. It seemed like a slam-dunk, and that everything would be simple.

Yeah, that didn’t exactly go as planned. Dan and Scott were completely out of the music scene after their original departures. Neither had been in any sort of band, and in fact Dan hadn’t played much at all during his absence. It was a surprise to all three of us (James, Dave and I) how well both did in their auditions when we took that into account. We assumed it would be pretty easy to iron things out and get back out playing, oh, say in August.

Well, you can probably see this coming – while both of them have worked very hard, the combination of crazy summer scheduling and working through the bumps of two talented people learning how to be in a band again delayed our re-emergence a bit more than we would have liked. To paraphrase a great frontman I saw recently, we regret this – but we are back now.

You can catch the first two of many shows to come on either Sep. 29th at the Sunset Lounge in Hagerstown, MD (with Doom Syndicate, Cammo Shorts and Heimdall), or on our return to Monthly Metal at Balls Bluff in Leesburg on Oct. 6th, with our brothers in metal Pharaoh in a rare U.S. show, as well as Trihexyn and Death Penalty. Details can be found on our shows page.

In the spirit of The Old School, we’ve also decided to re-release 1998′s “Ascension to Eternity”, our long-out-of-print second album (and the last one to feature both Dan and Scott) via Bandcamp’s “Name Your Price” option. You can get it free – which we’re fine with – or you can pay what you think it’s worth, here. Enjoy it, and hopefully this whets your appetite for the new music coming towards the end of the year. We’ll be featuring several songs from this one live (along with the “Trinity” and “Control Issues” material, of course). This album contains some of my personal favorites from the Division catalog, and I’m looking forward to dusting some of them off and showcasing them again.

So who are your influences?

Every musician has influences. That person that made you want, no, need to pick up a guitar. The vocalist with incredible range and power that you just have to try to achieve. The drummer with the sick fast feet, you sit down at your kit and start playing faster and faster until you get it.

But can you explain who influences what in you playingsingingdrummingwhatever?

Me,  I’ll divide it as best I can:


  • Ronnie James Dio.  He had a truly commanding voice it made you listen, yet with exceptional         control  and emotion
  • Bruce Dickenson:, “The Human Air Raid Siren” ‘nuff said
  • Matt Barlow: Dio’s diametric opposite, where Dio has this command and control over his voice, Matt is the wild raging storm, full of raw passion and emotion. When he sings it’s from the heart and soul a voice that can bring you to tears one minute and tear your head off the next.


  • Dio again, going back to that commanding quality.
  • Rob Halford, You can tell it’s him at the first note.
  • Geoff Tate, again like Halford there is no mistaking that voice,


  • Warrel Dane,  he tells a story with his voice in every song, listen to “The Obsidian Conspiracy”  he runs the gamut from mourning to pure unbridled hate and never misses a note.
  • Geoff Tate, “Gonna Get Close  to You” is one of the creepiest songs I’ve ever heard, and Tate nails it.

Range: lets call this “the range I want (or wish I had)”

  • Midnight (RIP),  Crimson Glory’s enigmatic front man, regularly danced in the middle to high soprano range.. I’ve hit the high notes in “Azrael” exactly once.
  • Eric Knudson (Eric AK),  Flotsam and Jetsam’s resident screamer.. “Doomsday for the Deceiver” is another song that I would love to be able to hit consistently.
  • Rob Halford, I think he may have the widest useable range of any singer in heavy metal.
  • Chuck Billy, probably the lowest unaided (no pitch shifting) voice in metal.  Chuck has a lot of power in his bass/baritone range and it rumbles in like an earthquake  (“PREACH!!!!!”)


  • Listen to anything by Crimson Glory or Queensryche and you’ll hear it

I’m sure there’s more, if you’ve heard me sing and think I’m dead on or way off, lemme know





— Division is coming, prepare for war.

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Control Issues

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Control Issues delivers a deep assortment of musical textures and emotions through songs that have been forged and tested in the unforgiving world of live concerts.