So in my writing of the last article I decided to finally face a demon and get in touch with Steve Jones and, not only let the cat out of the bag but also see if he had time to answer some questions for me regarding his website Metal Mad. In those days I was so consumed with building RemuS Radio that, other than the sites I visited to garner MP3 files and grab other band links, I didn’t visit too many other sites. Obviously I Yahoo’d a bunch of stuff about local bands that eventually got me over to Houston Bands(.net) and 420 Radio as well as stumbling upon links to bands that actually had their own properly meta tag’d website with or without a properly owned domain, but for some reason I don’t remember ever seeing anything about Metal Mad until they had that first birthday party where I flubbed up the Metal Gods performance by my lame attempt at taping it. After that night it just seemed to vanish from the face of the earth.
Here’s the way my conversation with Steve went, I posted this old show flyer to his Facebook and asked if he remembered it etc. and here he explains what Metal Mad was all about and what his own accomplishments were in promoting Metal as well as getting actively involved in the local Metal scene:
Me: This is one of the first things I saved back then, educate me on Metal Mad because I know jack about it
Steve: I was working at Compaq and needed to run and internal website. They sent me to classes and bought me Dreamweaver to use.
Steve: So I figured I would practice at home doing by building a site about what I loved. At first it was just a general thing. Then I decided to do a Houston only section.
Me: Seems like I remember Bobby W. saying you worked at Compaq, a lot of people did in those days and earlier. I even worked there myself in the early 90’s when I was fresh out of tech school. I didn’t like it much; they had me on the assembly line.
Steve: Yep. Bobby helped all he could. He would make huge posters of the signs I made and we would put them in the clubs.
Me: Bobby and his plotter ha ha Bobby printed up some of my first flyers as well.
Steve: Right. I had 2 people that wanted to be journalist contact me about doing original interviews and stories. All I had to do was give them credit.
Me: Who were they?
Steve: I don’t remember anymore. We had interviews with Bruce Dickinson and several more.
Steve: I got in a few interviews myself with, of course James and members of his old band Helstar as well as Zakk Wylde, Blackie Lawless.
Me: Cool, you had such an inside edge already being an active member of the local music community. I was totally on the outside coming into something I had never even been on the fringe of before.
Steve: When I quit due to time restraints, it was the 4th most popular metal site on the web at the time. Over a million hits in less than a year from all over the world.
Me: Cool, how did you arrange interviews like that with the national guys?
Steve: Some times when they were coming to town I could get a hold of their management. With some of the others, I knew the local promoter so they’d hook me up when they were able to.
Me: Man, that’s awesome. So you were nationwide and I’m guessing that was what you started off going for in the first place then?
Steve: Yes. Then after that was established I wanted to help the local guys so for just a few bucks or sometimes for free, I would build them a small website within Metalmad’s domain. For example; metalmad.com/uglywanda
Me: Ahhhh cool, so at least they had some kind of web presence. You got that whole dot commer thing going on for them, then.
Steve: Also, mp3s were everywhere so I was concerned about the legalities of my posting National/Global band’s music on the site so I started just putting an MP3 of the week at the top of the main national band’s page.
Me: I’m hip to the mp3 thing biting you in the butt since I started off broadcasting national/global bands until the Napster shit hit the fan.
Steve: In regards to Ugly Wanda, Trey told me they started getting emails asking when they were going to tour Japan and South America.
Steve: I also felt like the local bands were against each other so I preached and preached to help each other out. Support each other and I believe you continued that.
Me: Yeah, that attitude was pretty obvious to me coming in. A very separatist kind of attitude amongst most, if not all the local bands – No real sense of family or community at all.
Steve: On the Houston side of the Metal Mad site, I had every club and their contact for booking as well as every band and their contact info. I made all of the clubs aware of this too and it was getting bigger and better. I started something at the end called the “Ring of Metal” for Clubs or bands or people that went above and beyond to promote Houston metal. Frankie at FBI, I made him the very first honoree.
Me: Of course you did, makes perfect sense to me. The man is still doing it too, he’s relentless about it, even.
Me: So FBI was like your hub really, you lived out there close by so it was your home bar I guess?
Steve: Yeah, mostly. I put on a big show where I asked everyone to play for free. No cover charge and promised a big enthusiastic crowd.
Me: Were you playing with anyone back then?
Steve: And that was the biggest crowd I had ever seen there at FBI up to that point. Even James Rivera played the show without being paid.
Me: And Metal Gods had already premiered their show at Bobby’s Xtreme a few weeks earlier so James knew there would be a good draw and still took nothing for pay, that’s awesome.
Steve: After that show I shut it down.
Me: So had you planned to shut it down after that show already?
Steve: Yes, it was getting so big and demanding.
Me: Like a job, right? I’m hip…
Steve: If I couldn’t do it right I did not want to do it at all.
Me: I hear ya
Steve: It was actually hurting my marriage.
Me: Ahhh I can see how that happens. It wasn’t hurting mine at the time but had my circumstances been different in my relationship it easily could have. I can totally see how that could’ve happened.
Me: Did anybody know you were going to shut it down after that show?
Steve: Only my wife and maybe Frankie, I presented Frankie with his Ring Of Metal thing and then my wife and Frankie surprised me with one. I felt sick about it.
Me: Ohhh man, I bet you did. I guess at the time you also had 2 small children at home too and not just an angry and frustrated wife. Ok, so that answers one of the questions I had because I vaguely remember some kind of award ceremony thing but had no clue what that was all about when I attended the show.
Me: Well Steve, I have a confession to make regarding that night and I’ve never told anybody about this because I felt so retarded about it afterwards. Remember when James was playing and the power on that side of the bar kept going out? Like 3 or 4 times even…..
Me: I had this bright idea to try and capture the Metal Gods live somehow and thought I could haul something as simple as my home cassette deck into the bar with my stereo amp, talk the sound guy into letting me plug into his board and it would all be good. Well, it would’ve been fine had I not have had the volume knob of my amp turned up entirely too high and it was drawing way too much power on the side of the bar I was plugged into. Once the power went out like for the 4th time I turned my shit off and put it back into my truck and it never went out again. The day after the show I put 2 & 2 together and realized it was me knocking the power out.
Steve: Why I oughtta!! lol
Me: Yeah, that was me. Hey, I at least had the sense to stop finally, I was so naïve back then, dude. I’m really sorry.
Me: Naive about more things than I even realized at the time which is the crux of what I’m writing about with this regular column at Lone Star Metal but I wanted to include the tie-in to Metal Mad and be able to talk about what Metal Mad was doing up to that point. I wanted to be sure and include what you were doing in regards to the locals **prior to my public confession about knocking the power out at the Metal Mad party as well as James’ Metal Gods show.
**My previous article ran longer than expected so I was unable to include my conversation with Steve in that article**
Steve: Cool. I appreciate it. I miss it a lot. You never know what could have been, I had a lot more ideas that I wanted to implement on the site.
Me: I miss it too, man; I don’t miss the parts that ended up being a pain in the ass though.
Steve: People were even starting to pay me for ad banners on the site.
Me: Man, I guess it was pretty short sighted on my part in regards to the work I was doing and not charging anybody anything. I just couldn’t help but keep thinking how lucky I was just to be in the mix in the first place. I had more friends than I had ever had in my life due to the website so the thought of charging money just wasn’t an issue and didn’t really occur to me.
Steve: Sure. Did you ever see the “Metal Babe of the Month”? The first day of every month I would put up a real “metal babe”. No models or anything, just regular Metal chicks and on that day each month, the hits to the website were double that of any other day of the month.
Steve: I got about 50 CDs in the mail to review as well. That was pretty cool. I definitely miss that.
Me: I think I might remember “Metal Babe of the Month”, I wasn’t a frequenter of the site to be honest. By the time I started getting hip to what it was really about it was already gone.
Steve: Yeah, my wife was on there a couple of times, Lisa Hocker, Kat James and a few others from around the world.
Steve: I had a rough go of trying to do the reviews, not to mention didn’t have a lot of time to do them either which is when I started getting other people to do them like Trey and a few other musicians.
Me: Yeah, Trey wrote quite a few for RemuS Radio as well.
Steve: I could not get into the death metal so I asked some local death metal folks to write something and said they could keep the CDs for their time and they just never ever came through for me.
Me: You obviously didn’t know Dave Kellogg lol
Me: There’s just something about being put in that position by bands or by people – you know, the situation that you’ve created for yourself by promoting bands and their music etc.. That kind of thing can go to your head, you know? The whole “hey look at me, I’m that guy you came to for all the answers in regards to your band” thing or whatever when I was really running things by the seat of my pants most of the time anyway. It ended up being the root of a few issues for me personally, I got a little too caught up in it and found I was getting’ a bit full of myself then eventually, getting a lot more full of shit than usual.
Me: Trey actually asked me to manage Wanda on one occasion; the man was clearly out of his mind. It’s all I can do to get up and go to work on most days, how in the hell am I supposed to manage a band?
Steve: So, anything else I can do or answer for you?
Me: I think that’s about it man. What happened with your job at Compaq? What exactly did you do for them anyway?
Steve: In the end I was a technician in the returns area. HP came in after the merger/buy out and said “We already have our own returns department and we don’t need two of them so…..” and they laid me off.
Me: What are you doing now?
Steve: I am the manager of Kat’s Guitars.
Me: Shut up, which one? She has a few, right?
Steve: Well the actual person “Kat” the does not really own the stores. Her husband Bryan named the music stores after her.
Steve: I am at the big store in the Woodlands, Kat works here now too since she was laid off from ExxonMobil.
Me: She was laid off? No way! She’d been there quite a while. I assumed that she retired.
Steve: No one is safe these days, man. I was at Compaq for 13 years myself.
Me: I’ve got 13 years in with Exxon now myself. Kat worked for the Upstream Company too which is really odd that she was laid off but, it is what it is. I hope that everything has worked out for the best with all of ya’ll.
Me: Who else works at Kats Guitars that I would know? I read something somewhere recently where it was mentioned about a couple of guys I knew being guitar techs there at Kats but I can’t remember now what exactly I read or where I read it but….
Steve: Mike Heald gives lessons at Kat’s. He used to play with James Rivera in Helstar a few years ago.
Me: Yeah, I remember Mike from the band Wartorn with Mike Martin on bass.
Steve: Correct. Ken Hill is an incredible bassist and painter at the store. Mike and I are now in a band called Metal Masquerade together. ( www.Facebook.com/metalmasquerade )
Me: Well I guess that’ll do for now man. I’m going to quote you from this conversation if that’s alright with you? It’ll probably publish in April’s edition of Lone Star Metal if I can keep Rusty on a more disciplined publishing schedule (or myself on a more disciplined writing and deadline schedule, right boss?).
Me: Anyway, all I needed was just the facts about Metal Mad and what all you had done with that since its ending sort of became my websites beginning so I wanted to fill in some gaps and get your take on a few things. Not to mention getting the plug in about those who preceded me in these efforts of promoting the local scene.
Me: Very good, then. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about this and I appreciate you laying the groundwork for what I did with RemuS Radio.
Steve: You’re quite welcome; I’ll see you and Brandi at the Jake E. Lee show
So that’s it, my soul is now cleansed and I’ve made amends for at least some of my ignorance. We’re far from the end of my dip-shitness though so don’t start suckin’ each other’s dicks just yet.
As a side note, Rusty and I are producing our first show together. Well, actually I’m producing my first show since 2005 and I decided to throw Rusty a bone so he could actually apprentice the production of a 3 Ring Spectacular under somebody who was less full of himself than a certain blow hard that lives in a gated community way-the-fuck due West of Houston. People, what you don’t know about me you could fit into a small solar system and what you do know about me at this point, you could fit on the head of a pin or better yet, Rusty’s dick but nonetheless – if I were to show up at this motherfuckin’ show that we’re doing on August 16th at BFE and suddenly I realized that (1.) I forgot my belt (which would never happen) and then (2.) I also forgot the fuckin’ ball cap that I wear pretty much everywhere except to bed and to bathe (which would also never happen), I can assure all you folks out there that the show would still go on, and flawlessly at that.
No one…….and I mean no one would be jumping through hoops to help me pull my bulbous head out of my own pompous ass. At no point would I have Rusty running around trying to direct me to a fuckin’ Academy store or whatever just so that I could continue to “appear” to have my shit together or not look like the Dufus that I clearly would look like if I were to go off and forget the one clothing item that I legitimately need to keep my pants up or forget my signature ball cap that makes me look like some kind of Texas sports defector…..you know, a New York Yankees ball cap??!!
I digress though, that ain’t me nor will it ever be me. Now if I go off and forget my wallet you bet your ass Rusty’s on the hook for that one. He might have to stay behind and wash some glasses to make it good but whatever, that shit builds character.
Anywhoo, remember to keep it TRUE and by any means necessary keep it METAL. I’m pretty much at the point now with you people where I’m not beyond huntin’ your ass down and doing a spot check just to make sure you ain’t out limp-dickin’ somewhere at a “A-Ha” reunion show or some such nonsense. That shit will cost ya a night in the box fo damn sho. Not to mention you’ll be forced to take the Walk of Shame as well and nobody wants that(more than me).
Next time we’ll talk about Internet dating, the devil, poorly cut cocaine and getting yourself involved in a chat room slap fight with the members of Superjoint Ritual……maybe.
I could get distracted or something so don’t hold me to that.