Tag Archives: Black Sabbath

Secret Society in Smaller Lies

17 Oct , 2011,
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Tony Bergeron, drummer for Secret Society in Smaller Lies

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a group that comes from Houma, LA. They played their first gig in January 2010.  Secret Society in Smaller Lies is a diverse group of friends and unorthodox musicians who all share an obsession in making music.

Drummer, Tony Bergeron says that the members of Secret Society in Smaller Lies let things come to them naturally at practice and they see where things go from there. He says that Secret Society in Smaller Lies is not concerned being a part of any scene or genre, because that is where he feels many artists begin to lack sincerity and authenticity. “All that frame of  mind does,” he says, “is regurgitate ditto copy bands.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies lp cover

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–band members

Secret Society in Smaller Lies is Marc Miller on guitar and vocals, Cory Bergeron on bass, Joe Harp on vocals and synthesizer, Christian Yates on guitar, and Tony Bergeron on drums. Tony Bergeron says that SSiSL tries to utilize everyone’s best attributes.

Marc Miller and Tony Bergeron are cousins who starting playing together in a garage when they were around 11 or 12 years old. “We’ve always thrown around ideas and been in projects together. I’ve ran into Joe over the years at parties and we’ve always had really cool discussions about early electronic music.”

When a mutual friend suggested that Tony and Marc join him on a recording session, they were impressed with the sound he brought to the table.

“I was introduced to Christian in late ’99, when I moved to Houston for a short time with a friend from Houma,” Tony says. “At the time we were very much into Gang of Four and the Minutemen. When we’d jam it came off like cracked out jazz punk or something.”

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–all around the South…and California

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has performed in Lousiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama,Texas, and California.  A sampling of artists that Secret Society in SmallerSecret Societyband I Lies has played with include Columboid, Bombon, Savage Republic, Saccharine Trust, Wes Hartley and the Traveling Trees, Carnage Asada, Freda Rente and the X Chemical.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies has music on Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, and downloadable stuff on Reverbnation. They are currently in the process of recording an EP at the moment. Tony says that releasing the ep and getting a dependable van for touring are the band’s immediate goals. Tony has been setting aside cash for the tour van, from his day gig at the tire shop he works at. “So, it’ll be a few more weeks for us to knock that out” he laughs.

Secret Society in Smaller Lies–Learning Punk Rock as a kid

Tony told me that when he first started playing drums as a kid in late 1986, his uncleSecter Society II and older cousin would hand mix tapes to him, as a way to introduce him to newer music. Tony says that as early as 7 or 8 years old, he was hearing bands like the Replacements and Suicidal Tendencies, Minor Threat and the Circle Jerks.

He told me that every time he would go to the mall to buy
tapes he would have either an uncle or cousin guiding his options. “It was a cool time for me. One minute I’d be listening to hard edged stuff from the Dead Kennedys and the next to PIL, the Dead Milkmen, the Cult, the Smiths, and so many others. It was great having older cats show me all these diverse bands.” He says that he felt very fortunate to have the guidance that he did.

Secter Societyband II

Tony Bergeron says that today, he is still listening mainly to the older stuff. “The Screamers, Black Sabbath, the B-52s, the Minutemen, Saccharine Trust, MC5, James Brown, Sebadoh, Hawkwind, PIL, Mission of Burma…I could go on for days man,” he laughs again.  “Right now i have WIRE’s ‘Pink Flag” in my bedroom cd player.”

As I sometimes do, I asked Tony Bergeron if an alien landed on Earth and only knew Earth music from radio broadcasts, how he would describe the music of Secret Society in Smaller Lies. He responded that the band is somewhat a mixture of Black Sabbath, the Cure, and the Talking Heads. Hmmm…Interesting. I think I like it.




Secret Society in Smaller Lies.


My Michelle

20 Jun , 2011,
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g and r band photo

My Michelle–Guns and Roses

My Michelle.  I awoke with the sun this morning. My morning rituals and devotions done, I grabbed my guitar and coffee to sit on the hillside, play some music, and plan my day. As I was warming up my fingers, playing with various progressions, I stumbled across a familiar pattern. Dammit! It’s My Michelle, from Guns and Roses’ 1987 debut release, Appetite for Destruction. For all of the great indie and punk rock to have come out of the 1980s, I think I can say that Appetite for Destruction was one of the finest examples of mainstream hard rock to come out of that decade, without losing any of my punk rock or indie credibility. From the opening of Welcome to the Jungle to the final strains of Rocket Queen–and My Michelle was one of the better songs on the album– Appetite for Destruction didn’t really have a bad song on it. After 24 years, I’m still getting over calling Guns and Roses a guilty pleasure. It’s all perspective, of course. I am an ’80s boy, you know. Growing up, New Wave was my thing. I never really cared for what I called bad ’80s Los Angeles cheese metal. Bands from the Hollywood scene in the 1980s never really made that big an impression on me.  But, hearing My Michelle put Guns and Roses on the map for me.



My Michelle–Guns and Roses.  Head and shoulders better than everybody else

I liked what Faster Pussycat was trying to do with their first record–did they have a second one? If so, I didn’t pay any attention to it. I was almost interested in the in the way they blended bad heavy metal with traditional 12-bar blues. With such a blatant mixture of styles, I almost felt like they were onto something. It would have been cool to me if I felt like they were actually able to pull it off. But, Faster Pussycat never really found their groove, in my mind. All these years later, I think I recall a song called Cathouse, or something like that. Faster Pussycat had a great idea, and I wanted to get behind them, but I was hearing too much cheese metal and not enough good old rock and roll.  I wanted for Faster Pussycat to grab me the way Guns and Roses did.  I wanted Cathouse to move me like My Michelle.  Nope.  Not to be.

Motley Crue–yawn. Poison–get real. Take off all that make-up and concentrate on improving your music boys. KISS had already done the make-up thing ten or more years before, without looking like drag queens. And KISS’s music was a whole lot better. So many Los Angeles heavy metal bands that I wanted to like–many of my friends were metal heads–but, I felt like Los Angeles metal was a big in-joke that I was not a part of. I didn’t really get the metal that was coming from Europe, either. The Scorpions–from Germany–were the punch-line to a bad joke to me. I knew Run for the Hills and Flight of Icuris by Iron Maiden. I bought Def Leppard’s Pyromania when I was fourteen–which I enjoyed for about a minute. I don’t even recall other English or European metal bands, except for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath.

black sabbath

I like Ozzy’s work better now than I ever did when I was younger. And although I always knew Paranoid and Iron Man, I didn’t really get into the old Black Sabbath until I was already in my late 20s or early 30s. While I’m on my Sabbath jags, people will tell me that I don’t strike them as a Black Sabbath guy. Same with the Grateful Dead. “That’s funny,” they would say. “You don’t look like a fu*king hippy.” I hear those both pretty often.

But, my point is, Guns and Roses got my attention by being interesting to me. Are you kidding me? My Michelle? Welcome to the Jungle? Paradise City? Sweet Child o’ Mine? Damn! Appetite for Destruction was a fine record, and is still one of my favorites.

My Michelle–Guns and Roses blew everything they had on their first record

I think Guns and Roses shot their proverbial wad on their first record. I don’t see how they could top Appetite for Destruction, their introduction to the world. It was good. It was too good for them to release without having a supply of equally good songs for a follow-up recording. The ep, G and R Lies had some fun music on it, but I didn’t feel like it really counted. My girlfriend at the time, bought me Use Your Illusions I and II, when they were released. I tried to like those records, but the standout songs didn’t stand out to me. I felt like the majority of the music was filler material wrapped around a couple potential singles that I didn’t think were all that good anyway. The Spaghetti Incident? Ooohh….Strike three. If Guns and Roses had produced ore music like Sweet Child o’ Mine and My Michelle, and fewer songs like Civil War and that Charles Manson song Look at your Game Girl, perhaps they could have kept my attention. But they didn’t.

axl and slash

I admit to having a certain amount of sympathy for Axl Rose. When I came to Hollywood in 1987 to go to school and work in the recording industry, I felt a little like Axl in the Welcome to the Jungle video. I was a farm-boy immersing myself in the Los Angeles metal scene. A year or so later, I checked my –now empty– bank account, shook the cobwebs from my brain, took the straw out of my nose, and waved goodbye to Hollywood.  Sheesh!  I’m glad Los Angeles works for some people. It didn’t work for me. I’m still a Dodgers guy–fu*k the Giants!–but keep me out of Los Angeles.

And, over time, although Axl Rose couldn’t keep his damned mouth shut long enough to keep from spouting stupid, ignorant, racist statements, I reasoned that no one could take Appetite for Destruction from Axl.No one could ever take away My Michelle.



the Grateful Dead…

18 May , 2011,
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Grateful Dead–Friend of the Devil

I was having breakfast in a cool little cafe in my old home-town yesterday. I was drinking my coffee and preparing for my day, as the Grateful Dead was playing in the background. I think Dude put on American Beauty to get the day going.

Don’t call me a hippy, but I love the Grateful Dead. To me, the Dead are not even a guilty pleasure. I love the Grateful Dead’s music. There I’ve said it.

I had known about the Grateful Dead since forever. I had heard their name, without connecting the name to the music. Oddly enough, until I was introduced to the Grateful Dead, I guess I assumed from their name that the Dead was a hard rock outfit sort of along the lines of Black Sabbath, MC5, or Iron Butterfly.

Grateful Dead-do I look like a hippy?

Imagine my surprise when I actually listened to the Grateful Dead, and attached their name to their music. The first Grateful Dead song I consciously remember hearing was Friend of the Devil, when I was 19, living in Santa Cruz, CA.

From my limited exposure to the Grateful Dead, I think my two favorite albums of theirs are. American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead.Grateful Dead_


And, I am pretty far from being a traditional Grateful Dead fan. Do I look like a hippy? I do love Americana music and bluegrass, though.

If I remember correctly, much like the fictional band, Spinal Tap, the Grateful Dead has had many band members–I counted twelve, but I could be wrong–pass through he band over the years. Until the end of Jerry Garcia’s life, the core members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann.

Introduction to the Grateful Dead

Soon after I heard Friend of the Devil, the same friend played the song Touch of Gray from the 1987 album, In the Dark. It seemed weird to me to be discovering a band I had heard of for years, and to have their video all over MTV not two months later.

The Grateful Dead was a band that had always managed to get by me, every time I would get close to discovering them. About twenty years ago, I met a traveling friend of a buddy of mine, who gave me a tape merely labeled ‘dead. U of Iowa…’ and some date from the early 1970s, that I don’t recall.

The music was not at all what I expected. I was unprepared to hear the folk, bluegrass, blues, and country and western influences blended with jazz odyssey and space music. I liked it.

The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto jug band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions. The band’s first show was at Magoo’s Pizza in suburban Menlo Park, California on May 5, 1965. They were still known as the Warlocks although the Velvet Underground were also using that name on the east coast.

That show was not recorded and I don’t think anyone even has the set list anymore. The first show under the new name Grateful Dead was in San Jose, California on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests. Earlier demo tapes have survived, but the first of over 2,000 concerts known to have been recorded by the band’s fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on January 8, 1966.

So, don’t call me a hippy. I don’t think I am a hippy just because I like the Grateful Dead. For me, I was into rockabilly, and some folk and blues. It seems natural that I would like the Grateful Dead.