Archive for September, 2008

Nine years ago today…

September 09th, 2008 | Category: blogging,history,Mastermind

It amazes me how quickly time seems to go on one hand and oh so painfully slow on the other. I can barely believe it was nine years ago today – 09/09/1999 – that I finished mixing our last full length studio release Angels of the Apocalypse. Surely it cannot have been so long ago! Yet at the same time it feels like we’ve been under the dark Neocon cloud for decades. Perhaps because we have, going back to Reagan, but I will refrain from getting into that here. It’s no secret I have deep disdain for Republicans and the people running this country so moving right along I will try to give a brief retrospective of how things came to be as they are (or are not as the case may be) regarding Mastermind.

So what did happen? The first crack in the armour was when Rich moved an hour drive away severely limiting our creative time together. Although it wasn’t apparent at first as he diligently made the drive to rehearsals and gigs, it became clear over time a few hours here and there is simply not enough time to do anything other than just run thru stuff to keep the machine running. I still had a drummer, but much less of a collaborative partner.

Adding a full time female vocalist took us too far off our original course. Not to detract from these lovely and talented women, but in retrospect a female vocalist may have been the biggest mistake we ever made. Although we were one of the first heavy bands to do so, when Evanescence hit the ensuing flood of fem-vox bands left us in the dust. Taking Mastermind out as a bar band simply to keep going was also a mistake that took us even further away from our original direction. I should have stayed home and worked on new recordings but…..

Changing over from analog tape to all computer recording also changed my work methods which slowed things down considerably. Dicking around with computers all the time was simply no fun, I’d rather just play guitar! The relentless march of digital technology and highspeed Internet also hurt the music business at large and though we completed a new album in 2004, we couldn’t get a label to pick it up. I’m not blaming this totally on labels or the Internet, the change in musical direction we were going thru was surely a contributing factor. But it didn’t help. The morphing from prog to metal was also not something I was totally comfortable with either and after a point my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

Finally, the revolving door of a half dozen bass players put a serious damper on my will to carry on. Each new player meant starting over from scratch and I just couldn’t do it again. When the last one left in January 2007 that was the death knell as I saw it and a chance to just make a clean break and start over. Rediscovering my roots with the 2005 Cream reunion I was remembering WHY I enjoyed making music in the first place, and in disconnecting my synthesizers I also rediscovered the joy of simply playing guitar. Taking a dive into the blues I grew up with has been refreshing, made me a better player, and has brought me full circle to a point where I am writing new music that I actually enjoy again. The previous blog gives some insight as to where that’s going.

So there you have it. Not that we haven’t been doing anything these past nine years! We played more live shows than ever before, recorded a whole new album, released the well received Broken EP in 2005, and put together a whole new act – The Berends Bros Band – but this date stood out to me and I felt a need to reflect on some of the things that have happened over the years. ~Bb