Drop Kick Jesus - "Splatterguts" turns 18 this week ...

My second band, Drop Kick Jesus, released our debut album, "Splatterguts," 18 years ago this week. I was still playing shows and writing with Yellow #1, but I knew Yellow #1 was going to be taking a hiatus around this time, since Drop Kick Jesus was taking off like a freight train that couldn't be stopped.

This album is the only album, of the 7 total albums I have released with all my bands cumulatively, where I am NOT the singer. When Drop Kick Jesus started in 1997, I was the last to join the band (partly due to my obligation to Yellow #1) and they already had a singer. I joined the band as the keyboard player, and it was definitely a different experience for me, not only writing an album where I didn't have to write any lyrics or any vocals, but also live. Not having a microphone for the first time, and being stuck behind a stationary instrument, was an adjustment. However just as fun and fulfilling.

We recorded this album with Ken Cmar, who had also recorded and produced Staind, Scissorfight, Sam Black Church, Tree, Godsmack... a lot of the heavy hitters at that time. We got lumped into the whole "hardcore scene" but we were a lot more metal that those guys, and also the only one with keyboards and horror movie samples. Which made a lot of people like us more, but also turned away some of the purists in the local hardcore scene. But when the album was released, we carved our own niche and for the next 5 years, were pretty much unstoppable.

Being in the studio recording an album where I had zero vocal duties, was also an alien experience. All I had to do was track my keyboard parts, and I was done. I didn't have to worry about overlays, overdubs, double-tracking, effects, or the mix.

I think the album still stands the test of time, and I am very proud of it, and have the same love for it (even if it is the only album in my personal discography that I am not the singer) as I do with all the other albums I wrote.

After the touring cycle for the album was over, we parted ways with the singer, and I was moved from keyboards to vocals. We started writing what would be our second album, "Depress the Heart," but I had to do something I had never done before: learn all of the lyrics on "Splatterguts" so we could play them live. And then live, I was singing someone else's lyrics, which I had never done before. Thankfully we started incorporating the new songs we were writing into our live shows, so the "Splatterguts" songs became less and less in our concerts. "Splatterguts" has 12 songs, and I think, we only played about 4 of them live after we finished writing the second album. But in the beginning, when I took over on vocals, we were playing almost the entire album at every show; me singing the old singer's lyrics and singing in his vocal style. Thankfully I was allowed to "be myself" on the second album, since I was now the band's singer and lyricist.

I don't think there will ever be another album like "Splatterguts" for me again -- an album where I am not the singer. But damn, it's still a great album!

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