(Photo of Gray, Doug & Don-stage man for DEADLOCK courtesy of Ami Markle)
Over my relatively short (ahem!) span of 52 years, one thing has occurred to me as being more important than any other: family. True, I love music, as this blog and the zines before it have demonstrated but those things take a distant 2nd to the love of my wife and children, my parents, even my extended family. With that in mind, I feel the need to take time to talk about some people I’ve come in contact with this past year. Through Jennifer’s (my hot, sexy wife!) urging, I went to see local Maryland cover band DEADLOCK last July. Since then, I’ve gone to see them at least once a month. Sure, a lot of that is because of their music. Anybody who knows me also knows that I don’t suffer sucky bands well. DEADLOCK (along with Facedancer, in my younger days) is one of the very best cover bands I’ve ever seen. They absolutely nail numbers by Tool, Pantera, Sevendust, Metallica, etc.
It’s not just that, however, that’s drawn me to being a real fan of these guys. Interestingly, I discovered the first time I saw ‘em that drummer Chris Lembach (ex Mystic Force) is an old record store buddy of mine from back in the ‘80’s. Beyond even that, however, it was obvious to me very early on that these 5 guys are all just genuinely nice people. Unlike many standoffish musicians I’ve met, they’re all very warm & friendly and always have time for a conversation that can go well beyond music. This is a vibe that spreads in a couple directions as well. You see it in the way the band members (Jeff Caudle – vocals; Doug Guthrie – guitar; Steve Shaffer – guitar; Gray Manna – bass; Chris Lembach –drums) interact onstage, where their sound is defined by a super-organic connection, an understanding among a combo that’s quite uncommon. It’s in their obvious companionship off-stage as well. It’s also something that has branched outward, into the very people who come out and support them each time there’s a DEADLOCK show. Rather than disconnected individuals who happen to drift into the same place at the same time, you feel as though you’re part of…yes…a family who share what they love and really care about each other.
All of this brings me to news that is bittersweet. After DEADLOCK’s show at The Barn in Carney MD on April 16, Doug Guthrie & Gray Manna will be stepping down from DEADLOCK. The reasons are not the “typical” we’re so familiar with, “musical differences” or “personal clashes.” No, Doug & Gray both have young children and have decided that they need to take some time to be with them. What a lot of people who haven’t been around bands don’t realize is that it isn’t just the few hours onstage on a Saturday night once or twice a month. There are many, many more hours of practice during the week involved in raising your art to the level that you and your fans expect. Just as well, what a lot of people who aren’t new parents don’t realize is that you don’t get those years back if you miss ‘em. The reaction of the rest of the band to this comes in typical DEADLOCK fashion. “We’re brothers,” says Chris Lembach and rather than usher in a couple plug-in replacements, they’re laying the name down for now, with the grace & dignity of a knight resting his sword on the mantle. As Gray himself said, and I paraphrase, he's not hanging this stuff up for good. Somewhere down the line, I have a very strong feeling that DEADLOCK will take the stage again. But for now, let’s not rush anything like that. Let’s be grateful for the killer shows these guys have done and tip our hats to Doug & Gray for doing what they need to do. The DEADLOCK family will always be here.
NOTES: DEADLOCK’s last show, again, will be at The Barn in Carney, MD (I-695 Exit 31N), April 16, 2010. SHIFT (Jeff, Steve, Doug & Chris’ all-original metal band with Rich Davis on axe as well) are actually working on new material as a follow-up to 2006’s massive “Creating A Monster”). In addition, CORE (Jeff, Steve & Chris) will continue to do some shows. Their 3-piece format is excellent, culling material from the likes of Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Police, etc. and are playing next @ Reckless Rick’s in Glen Burnie, MD on March 26, 2010. As even more good news, Jeff Caudle & Steve Shaffer will also be doing more of their acoustic shows at venues around the Baltimore area.
SHIFT review on the Realm: http://raysrealm.blogspot.com/2009/09/montrous-discovery.html