Mykill, drummer of SLAYER TRIBUTE Dead Skin Mask, talks about his set-up, past projects, and their cd release.Written by Javier Escandoza
I e-mailed Mykill, drummer of Slayer tribute band Dead Skin Mask. I'm not sure what he prefers to be called. His name is Mike Aresco (Michael, hence spelling as Mykill). He is an interesting character, to say least. After seeing them for them twice, this time with a 60% new line up, I wanted to see what they are doing and what news of their CD release is available. This is what Mykill said:
Javier: That is some set you play.
Mykill: Well, no, not really. It is necessary for this music. Slayer does not use a small rinky-dink drum set, nor do I. You see, Slayers albums, all have use of a big set. The only album you could get away with some small, crappy 5-piece set is, maybe, SHOW NO MERCY. From HAUNTING THE CHAPEL to GHUA, there is NO WAY. So, any Slayer tribute that has any less than 11 pieces of drums on that stage, had better stick to songs off SHOW NO MERCY, less AGGRESSIVE PERFECTOR.
Javier: Tama and Paiste. That helps bring Slayer's music to life?
Mykill: Well, yeah! The TAMA (drums) part of music is least detectable. It is real hard to listen to a cd and tell what brands of drums are used. There are too many variables, like, what heads are on drums, mic placement, or what effects and equalization are in mix. TAMA are very strong, look great, and stay adjusted. I have NOT screwed with my MTH 100 tom holders, since I bought them in '91! The MTH 900 is same way. The PAISTE (cymbals) part, there is a huge difference between sound of PAISTE and other brands. PAISTE is best sounding cymbal you can get. If you ask me... there is no other choice. Even if Slayer did not use them, I would. They sound like no other and they are gorgeous to look at. I'd rather buy these brands, forever, rather than ever get others for free, actually. Fortunately Paul (Bostaph), and Dave (Lombardo) are smart AND have good taste!
Javier: Have you seen or heard any other SLAYER tributes?
The Rise of Poker: Railbirds and RaisersWritten by Trent Gresh
If you are not playing poker, you may soon be in minority. The game has come a long way from dangerous days of road gamblers and prohibited backroom games. It is true that those two things still exist in some places, but game itself has been propelled into limelight and into legitimate status, due in large part to shows such as World Poker Tour (Travel Channel) and World Series of Poker (ESPN).
According to America's Poker Face, an article by Betsy Streisand (USNews.com, 2004), number of poker players in America has increased to about 80 million, a 30 million increase over estimated 50 million players just a few years ago. Most of these players still play brick-and-mortar poker (in home games and casinos), but number of players now taking advantage of convenience of online poker games is rapidly growing. It is estimated that there are over one million players playing online at well over 1,500 sites. The lobby area of two major sites, PartyPoker.com and PokerStars.com, regularly show over 60,000 and 40,000 players online, respectively. These types of numbers are only expected to explode over next few years.
In poker terms, both railbirds (those watching) and raisers (those playing) are increasing in size. As a poker insider, I am often asked if I see rise of poker as a simple fad that will wane in a few short years. I really believe that poker has yet to reach point that will be considered a baseline in future years. I would estimate that growth may slow down in about three to five years, and number of players may be holding steady at around 100 million at that time.
This rise in popularity is illustrated by an example of a local tournament in which I regularly participate. I started playing in a neighborhood tournament toward beginning of 2004, which was hosted in two adjoining living rooms in a duplex. The game had a $20 buy-in with no rake (the rake is amount reserved as payment for those who host or manage gameand it is what makes poker illegal in most places). At that time, twenty-four people came to play in game and take their chances at finishing in top five places to win a couple hundred dollars. The game is held about once each month and new faces arrived each and every month. One year later, in January of 2005, this group of friends had to use multi-purpose room of a local business to host 114 players that arrived to play in same level of game ($20 buy-in, no rake). Over four times number of players in just one year of growth.