Because It’s Hallowe’en: How to Psychologically Engineer Death/grind

Having recently, for whatever reason (paging Doctor Freud) been listening to a shitton of death/grind, and being the in the psychological sciences and all, I naturally came to wondering about the possibility of shaping the behavior of (“engineering”) a musician who loves to play death/grind?

Not unlike John B. Watson (the behavioral psychologist, not the “thin as a lathe, brown as a nut” one) and Professor Higgins, I was thinking about designing, though shaping of behavior, a death/grind musician– my pigeon, my little Albert… my Doolittle of deathgrind.

Step 1:

Begin with your subject pool, technically accomplished musicians: they know their scales, key signatures, modes, and can generally read music, at least to an extent;

Step 2:

Make them love progressive rock and metal, but long for something even harder to play (especially for drummers);

Step 3:

Now quickly, before they quite naturally become a tech-death band, tell them they can only play punk/hardcore covers or some derivation thereof;

Step 4:

(This is the pivotal part)– introduce great trauma into their lives. And I don’t mean being annoyed or bored or even genuinely angry (like punk/hardcore)– I mean extended, reinforced, seemingly-at-random abuse of some kind, be it verbal, psychological, physical or sexual (and don’t’ let them talk about or process it with anyone else, ever)– that leads to things like:

demonstrating very disordered thought processes that will tend to manifest under stress;
being overly intense in emotional displays (these lapses in regulating feelings generally being highly inappropriate and maladaptive);
having low frustration tolerance;
and being prone to lose control.

Once you’ve installed these wildly pathological stimuli, serve and enjoy deathgrind!*

Happy Hallowe’en!

*Note: approximately 1 in 5 of these subjects will exhibit severely maladaptive behaviors, namely serial crimes, most likely serial sexual homicide. Results may vary. Not applicable in NH, MA, ME or NY.

An unethical, dangerous, possibly blasphemous, essentially evil… and brilliant idea

So I love Disney Channel pop music.


I said it.

I realized I had to come clean with this, when I was recently perusing the stats on my iTunes and Zune playback.

It turns out that lately the two highest– the chart-toppers, as it were– were both from the soundtrack of the Disney Channel Series© Shake It Up.

Ahem… they were the Shake It Up theme song and the delightful number “Watch Me,” done, of course, by series stars Zendaya* and Bella Thorne.

I dare you to click on either link and listen. And NOT hum the song for a week.

They’re professional earworms.

Look, don’t you even judge me, motherfucker– I listen to them at the gym, okay? And they’re like, great for cardio. It’s not like I love their youthful enthusiasm and energetic optimism… or their sassy-yet-reserved wardrobe, or fabulous dance moves…! or anything…! That’s stupid! Itunes recommended them because it said I liked Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.**

So. There.

And THEN: I had it.



What if…??

What if we had the roster of soulless-yet-undeniably-gifted Disney pop song writers work with extreme metal artists? Like Acephalix or Napalm Death or Electric Wizard?

If Disney thought there was money in it, they’d do it in .000005 milliseconds! Demi Lovato (no stranger to extreme metal) and Selena Gomez would be pumping out grindcore and black metal hymns like they were scripted scandals or Bieber babies!

It would be the greatest music– in the world!

It would be, like, The Entertainment in Infinite Jest, or the song the sirens sang at Odysseus! We’d all have it on repeat every day until forever…!


…this is some strong shit.

*What? She only has one name. Like Cher. Or Madonna.
**Ignore this.

Why the tenor saxophone is more metal than the guitar

1) There’s no electronics between you and your audience: it’s like scaring the shit out of an audience you’re rocking with an acoustic guitar;

2) The amount of distortion you can emit comes from your very breath and your mouthpiece: and, unlike guitar electronics, you can only get more distortion the stronger your chops (i.e., mouth muscles, i.e., embouchure) are…

3) There’s no script: you can’t plan the bombastic chorus riff because, in jazz improvisation, you don’t know what the riff is until you actually play it…!

4) Jazz guys/ gals know what I’m talking about– hey, you Metalheads:

Don’t waste your time thinking (like I did for so long) that jazz was pussies on a football field playing easy listening music. Real Jazz is hardcore shit– dig this:

Versus this

And tell me I’m wrong….