Back in the 1990s, I fronted an ahead-of-its time metal band called Rocketsled (I did not come up with the atrocious moniker, but I’ve nonetheless been forced to live with it ever since). Members of Rocketsled went on to play with Drowningman, Non Compos, (née Non Compos Mentis), Cancer Conspiracy, The Halogens, The Dakota and Township (I think those are the major ones).
The Burlington, VT group anticipated practically every heavy sound that was to become fashionable in the metal world in the next decade — from start-stop riffbombs to stoner sludge to atonal chaos. We evolved incredibly quickly, perhaps too quickly for our own good. There was label interest around our self-released 1995 CD, ’71 Nova, but we never really had our shit together enough to make a go of anything (I was 21 years old, for fuck’s sake). Which is probably a good thing — looking back at my proclivities at the time, I could easily picture myself dead in a touring bus at Ozzfest in East Palookaville. Besides, my own tastes were much more varied than the aural assault I was tasked with helping to unleash. Or so I told myself, anyway.
My memories are a bit fuzzy, but I think Rocketsled ran from 1991 or 1992 to about 1996. We were very popular in our hometown, and also made a pretty decent mark regionally. Regrets, I have a few: namely, that we didn’t get to follow-up Nova with another disc that would’ve captured the band’s brief trance-metal phase. Instead we bickered and dickered, eventually demoing a handful of sludgecore tracks that I thought were beneath us.
And here’s a video of one of those lesser numbers, courtesy Jeff Howlett of Howlerman Productions. It’s from our 1998 reunion show at BTVT’s still-missed Club Toast. Wanna know what’s really weird? On Friday, I was riding the train and thinking for the first time in a decade about that reunion show. A sold-out, feel-good triumph it was. Anyway, I found myself wondering if anyone had taped the show (this was before the days of cellphone cameras and flip video). Lo and behold, this morning Howlett (who fronted an excellent ’90s “smartcore” band called 5 Seconds Expired) sends me the vid. How come the Universe doesn’t respond when I ask for gobs and gobs of money?
Thoughts on this video:
Oh, and here’s something for you all: a free MP3 copy of Rockesled’s ’71 Nova (complete with uncleared Darth Vader samples.) Enjoy?