You see, after seeing my good friend Jeff Thomas and his wife at their going away thing at Catbirds I made a pass by the Rudz 28th anniversary party. Now since I was already a bit under the weather the night before – I wasn’t planning on staying long but I figured I’d say hi to some people and at least check out Golden Axe but outside of the Rudz crew, there were few people there I knew. I briefly spoke with Chris Kemmerer who has some Cabaret he’s trying organize [Linus writing one showtune…hmmm, I don’t know but we’ll try anything one]. Brad Moore explained how he received his wrist injury while riding his bike. The bottom line is this - in paper, scissors, Rock, Brad Moore – Rock beats Brad Moore. So aside from bumping into Mara on my way out, that was about it. Maybe everyone was showing up late or were charging their batteries for the Fatal Flying Guilloteens show the following night at The Prol.. Anyhow, what ever the case, to get back to the point of this blog – Golden Axe rocked!
If you took a well adjusted John Cramer and made him a metal guitarist you’d have Golden Axe. I make that comment because Golden Axe has the same physicality that John has with his guitar and a lot of the same mannerisms except he actually looks comfortable and happy to be there playing for people. People call out goofy things or someone tries to mess him up and he just smiles, quips back, and keeps rockin’ without missing a beat. So I guess that makes him Bizzaro Cramer. The guy’s performance is basically “Wow, this is pretty frikkin’ cool isn’t it?” It’s not braggy or pompus it’s just a genuine invitation to marvel at metal when it’s done right.
OK! Ok, maybe I should explain what he does. Basically, it’s a guitarist and a drummer nothing more. The drummer is this skinny dude (never underestimate a skinny drummer) who just pummels away (double kick and all) as Golden Axe plays his mix of early Metallica riffage mixed with Eddie Van Halen virtuosity. Now, I grew up with a lot of metal dudes who could play circles around most any other guitarist. The problem all those guys had is they couldn’t compose a single interesting song. To them technique was an end goal in and of itself. It was the equivalent of having this Norm Abrams like skill and then turning around and making well crafted 2X4.
Golden Axe, mercifully, can actually compose something people who aren’t guitar geeks can actually dig. The material and his approach, while clearly genre specific, shows a very witty and playful writer. It’s hard to explain but he crams a lot into his songs like some crazy ass architect defying the engineers. It seems like he tosses riffs, time changes, and solos left and right but in the end you sit back and admire the result; you nod your head, smile, and think “That is how it’s fucking done!”