As I fly on this two-hour flight (to work) without any WiFi entertainment, I’m easily persuaded to listen to a band I’ve admired for years. Meshuggah! I know to some, they may not be classed as a local band anymore. But to me, they are the goal in which bands want to endure. I also understand that most listeners don’t “GET” these guys and I’m incredibly OK with this too. Because I like having the feeling that I'm listening to something unique, uncompromising, non-manufactured and rare. Although at times I'm still learning something about the talent of these math metal gods. Let me indulge you the story of how I’ve come to love this band.
Around 10 years ago, I was in Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. Jamming with a fella called Chris, who now makes his own snare drums out of recycled woods with his local music business and plays in a band called Vahlia. (story on them later) As we were jamming he wanted to play more like Meshuggah, polymetered song structures and polyrhythms. I've never heard of them before and felt like a music virgin, he played a couple of their tracks from their album Catch 33. Now I won’t lie to you. I never “GOT” them at first but it certainly sparked an interest. I walked away from that session and bought the album anyway and listened to them for months as I thought they could teach me something. Yet, I still - never - “GOT” - them. So the album was pulled out of the car stereo and collected dust in the glove box with the rest of the overplayed/scratched ever-growing stack of CDs and jewel cases as I cruised around town for a few more months.
Off to Brisbane now and living in the northern suburbs. I was sitting in the summer traffic. Bored out of my mind. No music, just the heat and car fumes wafting in my car window because I had no air con. Sick of the silence with my back sticking with sweat to the car seat and constant work trucks revving their guts off through my car window, I thought of the glove box and picking a band. Within my treasure of ruined car heated CDs and 6 months later, I reached in and found the Catch33 album. My initial thought was "Not this shit again!". I was frustrated of not understanding the rhythm from this band last time. I guess my musical road still needed indulging. I reluctantly, played Catch33 as I was in one of those really weird moods waiting for a meteorite to hit my car. (you know this feeling) I was fed up! I was exhausted! I was wanting something different to take me away from this shit hole.
In the stereo, it goes... BANG! I finally “GOT” it! Literally! Unbelievably, I pondered with goosebumps. I couldn’t believe how it took 6 months of silence of finally grasping what the band was doing. Listen to a cymbal. Not the whole band I thought. Capture that rhythm and see if some other instrument is following that. Who is the singer in time with? Why is the bass out of rhythm with guitarist but in time with the tom and not the bass? I couldn’t believe how I didn’t see this earlier.
I played that album for the next 6 months straight. Skipped songs to hear them again because I heard something else different in them every time. My Meshuggah journey began and I have never looked back. Sure, my peers look at me as some demonic devil worshipper but I don’t care. The music is more than that. This band is pushing the boundaries just like all the greats before them. They took metal to a whole new level. I heard they were coming to Brisbane for a gig. So I bought a ticket and went. Wholly hell. Blew my mind. I’m surprised the balcony didn’t fall of its foundations. You guys want to see a lighting guy who knows his craft? Check Meshuggah’s lighting bloke. There since the beginning of Meshuggah, check out this video it explains everything.
Now, what’s this band got to do with StreamHear you may ask? Well, absolutely nothing. But it sure took me back to a time where the band was initially no bodies touring around on a shoestring budget trying to make a living out of gigs.
Many years and more Meshuggah albums later. I was in Darwin NT, Australia. Taking my baby son and 3-year-old daughter to the waterfront to see a "show and tell" for kids by the local zoo and Litchfield rangers (kids and family stuff). When I saw a bloke wearing a black Catch 33 T-shirt. I was instantly drawn to him and simply said. Pretty sick band hey? To my wife’s humorous yet understanding disappointment, I struck a conversation with an absolute stranger for about 1 hour to talk to someone about one of my favourite bands. This was my local music community and I loved being in touch with it. I’ve never had a bad experience with someone who connects with music. Maybe one day Meshuggah, one of my favourite bands, will upload some tunes and gigs to allow StreamHear listeners the same feelings I had loved from them over the years. Especially when they tour. Whether that day comes, we’ll forever be supporting those bands just like Meshuggah were years ago, when they were as broke as horses back. It’s why I loved them. They explained my life in an instant. I just had to understand the language they were portraying it as.
Please leave a comment, It would be very cool to hear about your Meshuggah experiences and how they influenced you?