Four Letter Nerd

Category - Music

Glenn Danzig, the God Butcher

If you have read any of my articles, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of punk rock. I almost always recommend a punk band for music pairing with comics, from 15-20 I was at punk shows almost every night, and I’m constantly trying to find the next great punk band. I can’t even tell you all the bands I’ve seen live over the years (but Against Me! are still one of the best). Hell, I’m not even sure I KNOW how many I’ve seen. As I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve fallen out of the punk scene I once loved, but that’s due to my love for comics. Now, I feel like I can either go to a show, or I can hit up the comic shop on Wednesday for new books. But, as I’ve grown older and my music taste has evolved into a much wider palate, one thing has remained a constant: my love for the unholy Glenn Beck Danzig. So, in honor of our 666th article, we give you, Danzig, the God Butcher.


For those of you who don’t know who Glenn Danzig is, he was the original vocalist for the horror punk band Misfits. You know, that skeleton face you see on every 15 year old Goth kids shirt? That was the band Danzig started with Jerry Only in 1977, and Danzig left the band in 1984 after struggling with creative disputes with fellow band member Jerry Only. Following their fallout Danzig started a new project titled Samhain, which was more Death/Heavy Metal with themes from horror movies. This band went through a few line up changes until it finally consisted of Glenn Danzig, Eerie Von, John Christ, and Chuck Biscuits. In 1987, the band changed their name from Samhain to Danzig, signed to Def American Records, which later became American Recordings (who also produced albums by Johnny Cash, Slayer, Flipper, The Jesus and The Mary Chain, and countless others) and recorded “Danzig” in 1988 which featured songs such as Mother, She Rides, and my personal favorite Am I Demon. (Still to this day, there are problems between Danzig and Jerry Only. The main one being, Jerry is now a born again Christian, and wants The Misfits to be family friendly. And, well, Danzig would be a god butcher, if he could.)

Following the success of Danzig the band released their second album in 1990 titled Danzig II: Lucifuge, and following that in 1992 released Danzig III: How The Gods Kill featuring artwork by world famous Swiss artist H.R. Giger (Who worked on the Alien films), and Danzig has since continued making music and has recorded 9 albums in 27 years. His latest album, Skeletons is slated for release sometime this fall, and will be a cover album of all the songs that have influenced Glenn Danzig over the year. Besides Skeletons, Glenn Danzig is working on a Elvis Presley cover EP, also rumored for a 2015 release, but no other dates have been announced. The music industry isn’t Danzig’s only area of interest. He even has his own adult centered comic book company, Verotik, which is a combination of the words “violent” and “erotic.” Verotik comics, is an 18+ publishing company, and is Danzig’s way of entering the world of comics. Since a young child, Danzig has always had a love for comics. My fellow 4LN writer Stephen and I are also an example how metal/punk music goes hands in hands with comics.


We have all wondered who we would be if we were comic book characters. And, for the most part, when we ask ourselves this question, we look to our heroes. We want to be versions of Spider-Man, Charles Xavier, Batman, or Superman. We all want to see the best in the mirror. None of us want to see The Joker, Dr. Doom, or Lex Luthor in our reflection. Except for one person, and that is Danzig. If he were a comic book character, there is no one else he would embody more then the villain from Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder run, Gorr the God Butcher. A little backstory for the series, it was pretty much the most metal fucking book I have ever read in my life. Like, every page reminded me of some Black Metal/Death Metal music video, Stephen Andrew and I are almost certain he jammed Emperor while writing the scripts for the book. Gorr is a character that looses his entire family, at a young age his parents are killed, he then marries ad fathers multiple children, whom all but one die. And, to make his story worse, his wife and son eventually die as well. Gorr was taught from an early age to worship the gods, but in his lifetime, the gods never brought fulfillment or purpose. Eventually Gorr gives up all hope, but only to learn that the gods are real, and they don’t care. This causes Gorr to become furious and swears vengeance and death on every god in the known existence.


My name is Gorr, son of a nameless father, outcast from a forgotten world. I have slain my way through multitudes to stand here at the genesis of all things. Blackened by vengeance, wet with holy blood. One simple dream still strong in my heart… The dream of a godless age.

I’m pretty sure this above quote could also be from Danzig by just replacing the name, and no one would be very surprised if he were to say something like this in an interview.

Danzig and Gorr have a lot in common. Well, I actually don’t know that, but I’m just assuming that if they were to hangout, they would have more in common then we would expect. I mean, if given the chance, Danzig would challenge Satan in a fist fight for complete control of hell, and for decades now Danzig has been telling us if you want to find hell, he can show you the way. So, Gorr and Danzig could bring about a true age without the gods, and metal would rule the sound of an unsung apocalypse.

Nerds in Bands: Aub Driver from JAHAI

Do you love metal?! Do you love comics?! If you answered “yes” to both of those questions then you’re awesome, and you’re also in the right place right now! Check out our interview with Aub Driver, lead vocalist for Portland metal band JAHAI!


4LN – Do you remember when you first got into comics?
AD – Totally.  It was 1992 and I was 8 years old. There was this little corner grocery called Calise’s down the street from where I grew up in Connecticut.  I used to go there with my Dad and beg him to buy me the “Death of Superman” issues.  Then I got hooked on the Ghost Rider “Spirits of Vengeance” story, and shortly thereafter the Spider-Man “Maximum Carnage” storyline.  Terribly convoluted crossovers really seemed to resonate with my young mind. I can hardly read them now.  I was always more a fan of the art.  In fact, I used to trade the collectible Marvel Masterpiece cards with friends on the playground and eventually got all comics/cards banned in school. Too many bad trades, man.  Then along came Pogs…and Yo-Yo’s with brains…and Tamagotchis and whatever other pop culture flavors of the week happened in the 90’s and I just went straight into music.
4LN – If you had to pick an all-time favorite comic series or graphic novel, what would it/they be?
AD – My all time favorite comics character is Ghost Rider (The Dan Ketch/Howard Mackie years). I liked the origin story well enough, but his character design was just metal to the extreme.  A close second would be Deadpool. And when I say Deadpool, I don’t mean the wildly popular shit that everyone is jumping on now (though I have hopes for the film…we shall see).  I mean Deadpool circa 1993 Circle Chase.  My mom hand-sewed me a Deadpool Halloween costume in 1993 — so I feel safe in saying that I was cosplaying way before it was cool.  I was the coolest 3rd grader, or so I thought.
4LN – Let’s chat for a minute about the band you’re in, JAHAI. How did you guys first get started?
AD – I actually joined the 3rd generation of the band.  I’d met lead guitarist (Nikk) at a pop punk show.  He was playing bass in another band and we got to talking – he needed a vocalist that could deliver, and I told him I could.  That was in 2012. Here we are in 2015, just released our first EP called “Death and Entrances.”
We’re a 5-piece melodic groove metal band from Rose City.  Nikk, Jon (Drummer), Loyd (Bass) and Jake (Guitars) had all been jamming for a year before I got in the picture.  Nikk & Jon have been playing together since 2002.
And of course, you want to know about the name… Word on the street is Nikk & Jon were working late one night at the steel mill (yea, they made bomb proof steel plating and shit) and they were trying to come up with a band name – so they asked the asian cleaning lady and she said “JAHAI!”
That’s one version.
The other version is that the Jahai are a native tribe of nomadic shaman hunters in Malaysia. I think in a way all the dudes in this band are some version of nomads, shamans or hunters.  A few are all three.
4LN – Growing up, what bands would you say had the biggest impact on shaping your love of metal?
AD – My love of metal is a weird story. In fact, I think most metalheads have weird origin stories of how they eventually go from nursery rhymes to loving, say Cannibal Corpse (which incidentally, I began listening to because of their appearance in Ace Ventura)
In 1994, My mom worked for Time Warner and used to bring home boxes of CDs (Compact Discs, if you remember) and she would let me go through them and take what I wanted.  Well, I swiped the entire 27-volume Guitar Rock Time Life set (the one you could order on late night) and listened to every CD from the 60’s up to the late 80’s and was totally loving all the variations of music. I really developed a respect for generational rock.
In 1997, I was on a YMCA swim team. I was in the locker room and there were all these extra refrigerators and freezers that weren’t in use – like the sliding kind you get ice cream from. I looked inside one fridge and pulled out a frozen Metallica Black Album on cassette tape.  It was King Arthur finding Excalibur. I brought it home and played it immediately.  Life was never the same (talk about trapped under ice!)
The “metal switch” came about in 2000.  I had a friend tell me about Meshuggah’s Destroy Erase Improve, which I went and ordered from Sam Goody (R.I.P.) immediately.  Changed my life forever. I also was working in the stockroom at Barnes and Noble and met a couple dudes who introduced me to In Flames Clayman. Boom. Life changed forever – again. Now that I understood that Sweden was the answer to every musical question, I couldn’t turn back.  I had a radio show in college where practically all I would play was Swedish Death Metal.
4LN – In addition to being the vocalist for JAHAI, you also do PR for Dark Horse Comics. What Dark Horse books we should be reading right now?
AD – There are so many great books out on comic store shelves now, it’s kind of unreal… At Dark Horse I’m personally a fan of Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County (super creepy southern horror) and Ryan K Lindsay’s Negative Space (Suicide suspense story with some Lovecraft).  Paul Tobin’s Colder has been one of the best cerebral horror books I’ve read – and the last series begins in September.  And I should call out Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal’s The Paybacks – because it is damn funny and superhero’s getting their gadgets REPO’d is a hilarious premise. That one also begins September.
4LN – Finally, anything we should be on the lookout for from JAHAI in the next year or so?
AD – We’re headed to Seattle Hempfest this weekend to play in front of a couple thousand stoned metalheads – I think that will be pretty beneficial for us. There’s a a few local shows that are coming up with some national acts.  Following that we’re looking at a couple mini west coast tours.  And then we’re back in the studio to record our next EP…which hopefully will be released early next year.  And new EP means new tour…Good things come to those who wait.  Stay metal.

Album cover for JAHAI’s EP, “Death and Entrances”.


My thanks to Aub for chatting with us! Make sure to check out the band’s website,, and watch their video for the song Pandora’s Box below!

4LN Movie Review – Straight Outta Compton

IMDB Film Summary: “In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking us back to where it all began, Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how these cultural rebels-armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent-stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A. And as they spoke the truth that no one had before and exposed life in the hood, their voice ignited a social revolution that is still reverberating today.”

I did not grow up around rap music. It just wasn’t apart of my little white, suburban upbringing. The most aware of rap I was as a child was the christian kind-of-rap group DC Talk. Well, they were “rap”-ish early on and that was when I first heard of them, so I’m gonna count it. I remember this one babysitter I had, her daughter was older than me and she was really into R&B and rap so sometimes I’d hear a TLC or Tupac song coming from her room but that wasn’t very often. It probably wasn’t until I discovered Outkast that I really became aware of real hip-hop and rap music. After that though, it became a pretty huge part of my life, in the sense that music in general is a really big part of my life. I even remember the first time I heard Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001 album. I was at my friend Josh’s house and we played it over and over and over. I knew who Dre was, and that he was originally from NWA, but I really didn’t know the story of NWA. I eventually casually read up on them over time and learned more about who they were and what went on in their groundbreaking career, but Straight Outta Compton takes their story, all the ups and downs and insanity, and presents it in the best possible cinematic way.

First off, the casting for this film is flawless. Every single actor was perfect and there wasn’t one weak link, or phoned in performance in the entire movie. Especially Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing him. It could have just as easily gone bad and even though he looked the part could’ve been a terrible actor, but he’s not. He’s actually a pretty amazing actor. Then there’s Dr. Dre, played by Corey Hawkins. Dre’s always been the unassuming force-to-be-reckoned-with in hip-hop and Hawkins makes you 100% believe that quiet wisdom that Dre is known for. Eazy-E is played by Jason Mitchell and I don’t think anyone else could’ve been as magnificent as he was. The film shows you sides of E that you never would’ve know existed, like how he was kind-of funny, and it’s all thanks to Mitchell’s performance that we get that.

I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention how brilliant Paul Giamatti was as the group’s manager Jerry Heller. I mean, Giamatti is a brilliant actor anyway, but his performance here was just so perfect. You get the sense that while Heller was doing some less than noble things with the groups money, he always genuinely cared for Eazy-E and only wanted the best for him. I don’t think anyone else could’ve accurately depicted that conflict of character.

The film is directed by F. Gary Gray, who also directed Friday, as well as movies like Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job, and Be Cool. There’s a visceral sincerity in Compton that he captures so brilliantly. It’s very different that anything he’s done in the past and, dare I say, may be the best movie he’s ever made. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Friday is, like, a classic, but this movie has everything. It’s honest, and funny, and heartbreaking, and intense at times. The film is about how the NWA guys all came together, and the opening of the film shows Eazy trying to get paid for some drug deals but the cops show up to raid the house. Watching him and the other people in the house scramble to get out made me so nervous and I wasn’t anticipating that at all.

F. Gary Gray is the gentleman pictured in the top row between Ice Cube and Dr. Dre

Ok, so this is the part I’ve kind of been eager to get to because I’d like to clear something up.

I think that there’s this misconception, mostly among stuffy old white people, that Straight Outta Compton is somehow a political response to all the racial unrest that we’ve become more aware of taking place across our country the last year or so. That is false. This movie is about NWA, and the men that were apart of it. Yes, there are parallels between what was going on in the U.S. at that time, the late 80’s/early 90’s and today, but Straight Outta Compton isn’t trying to make some statement about those similarities. If you think that, you are missing the point. Which is, these men made something of themselves in an era and culture that told them they’d never amount to anything. They overcame great social obstacles to achieve something they didn’t even necessarily intend to achieve… becoming the most groundbreaking rap group of all time. Without NWA and their fearlessness, it’s entirely possibly that modern rap and hip-hop music, as we know it, wouldn’t exist.

Straight Outta Compton is a damn-near flawless film. I found nothing to dislike about it, aside from some minor cinematography moments that, in my opinion, made those particular scenes a tad unbelievable film-wise, but never took away from the story’s credibility.

It’s currently the #1  movie in America and with good reason. Understandably, it isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you love hip-hop & rap music, or you just appreciate a really good underdog type story, then I highly recommend you see it.

Nerds in Bands: Josh Schwartz from A Sound of Thunder

The main reason for the “Nerds in Bands” series even existing is because I love both comics and music (especially metal) so much and I really wanted to find a way to combine the two here on 4 Letter Nerd. This newest entry of Nerds in Bands perfectly captures that sentiment, and I think you’ll see why…

Ladies and gentlemen, nerds and metalheads, I present to you my chat with Mr. Josh Schwartz, guitarist for epic metal band A Sound of Thunder. They’ve got something pretty damn cool coming up that you should check out!

4LN – Give us a little background on A Sound of Thunder and how you guys got started.
Josh Schwartz – The drummer Chris Haren and I met in a local cover band. We discovered we had a passion for the same kind of powerful, slightly proggy hard rock and metal and for writing original music, so we said goodbye to playing other people’s songs and started on our journey with A Sound of Thunder. Things didn’t really take off until our vocalist Nina Osegueda joined us in late 2009, and the final piece of the puzzle was when our bassist Jesse Keen joined in 2010.

4LN – What bands, would you say, have had the biggest influence on you guys?
JS – We all have different tastes, but I would say the two most influential bands and the two that all 4 of us love are Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Nina, Jesse and I also share a major love of King Diamond, and the 4 of us have a growing appreciation for Rush, spurred on by our drummer Chris who is a Rush fanatic!

4LN – Your new project is a pretty epic one, especially for those of us who are Valiant Comics fans. It’s a concept album based on the series Shadowman. Can you tell us about that and how it came about?
JS – Nina and I are both comics fans, and like writing songs that tell stories, so doing something based on a comic book was a no-brainer for us. There was never a big plan to find a comic book publisher to partner with us though. We just walked up to Valiant’s booth at the Baltimore Comic Con in 2013, with no forethought or planning, and told them we liked their comics and would like to do some music about some of their characters. We were surprised that they said yes almost immediately, and from there things took on a life of their own!

4LN – The Kickstarter you guys put up has already almost doubled the amount of money you needed to make the album happen. Did you anticipate that big of a response?
JS – We expected the Kickstarter to do well, because our fans are extremely loyal and helped us fund the last two albums through Kickstarter too. But we didn’t expect this campaign to blow up so fast! It really has been amazing to see and we are all incredibly thankful to everyone who has backed the campaign and helped spread the word!

4LN – Let’s talk a little Valiant comics before I let you go. If someone came to you and was interested in getting into Valiant, where would you personally suggest that they start?
JS – My favorite Valiant character is Shadowman, but for another reader, I might suggest they start with Harbinger or X-O Manowar, because I think they had longer, more consistent runs and there is more to dive into there. Shadowman was great but is kind of broken up into two distinct, shorter runs, with quite a change of tone and direction in the middle.

4LN – Ok, last question… If you could craft a concept album around any other Valiant Comics character, who would you pick and why?
JS – I think Bloodshot or X-O Manowar would both translate well to metal concept albums, or maybe Harbinger for a more progressive, thoughtful album. But for our band, I think Eternal Warrior would be the next best fit. Shadowman was really perfect for us because it has elements of black magic, and of course the Deadside, which suggest some of the darker tonalities that we use, and the New Orleans setting which suggests blues and jazz influences which we already have in our music. But Eternal Warrior would be great for some epic battle metal! You could really cover a lot of ground, from ancient Mesopotamia all the way to 4001AD!

I want to say a big “thank you!” to Josh for taking the time to talk with me! If you’re a fan of bands like Mercyful Fate, Hammerfall, and Nightwish, then I strongly urge you all to check out A Sound of Thunder. If you’re a Valiant Comics fan, make sure to also go to their Kickstarter page and support what they’re doing!

Nerds In Bands: Young Fox

For this installment of Nerds In Bands, we had a chance to chat with Marty Lunn from the band Young Fox about D&D, Battlestar Galactica, and what Young Fox is currently up to. Enjoy!

4LN – So I hear that, among other things, you’re into World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, HeroScape, and Magic the Gathering. Would you say that you obsess over one of these more than the others?

Marty Lunn – Well Dungeons & Dragons and HeroScape are things I haven’t done in quite a while (though I did use a 10-sided die recently to put the numbers on my Super Bowl pool — nerds and sports is another story), and Warcraft has kinda been put on hold for a while until I can update my computer (she can no longer handle the awesomeness). Magic is what’s happening with me right now…and it’s not my doing! My gal and I have a small vintage/collectibles business that we do and we recently purchased an old lot of Magic cards. She said “we should play it sometime”…and Pandora’s box opened.


4LN – What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting into some tabletop gaming but they’re not sure where to start? Tabletop gaming can be very intimidating for newbies.

Marty – Walking into a store that sells Magic cards during a “Friday Night Magic” tournament feels like your intruding into someone’s home. That being said, each player and store owner that I’ve talked to has been more than eager to give out tips and to help people get started. The folks that produce the game are very aware that the way to keep the game alive is to get new blood playing it, and they have decks and card bundles specifically made for this task. My advice? Get some cards…read a few rules…and play!


4LN – It was also mentioned to me that you love Battlestar Galactica. What do you think it is about BG that sets it apart for you from, say, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Marty – Two things make Battlestar Galactica special for me. The first is that it is not so much the story of spaceships and battle, but rather survival. It seems that all of the best shows deal with this in some way, be it Lost or The Walking Dead. What people will and can do to survive always makes for great watching. The second is that it is grounded to us. Earth is a very real thing in their world (or so they hope), and we are meant to feel connected to them in all ways save technology. It doesn’t hurt that the cast may be the finest ensemble ever assembled, and the writers can die knowing that they have their masterpiece (and let me not forget Bear McCreary’s amazing score). Watch it kids, you won’t be sorry!


4LN – I’d like to talk about your band, Young Fox, for a minute. How did you guys get started?

Marty – What became Young Fox started out as an idea of mine to do a band based on many of my favorite bands that, for some reason or another, never became household names (several of those bands have recently begun working together again for new music and tours, so I may have guessed right!). I was a fan of Luke and Chris’ band before Young Fox, so when that band dissolved, I invited them out for a drink to talk about starting something new. We began writing things a little over two years ago, and last summer released our first EP entitled Predecessors.


4LN – I listened to your EP, Predecessors, and I really enjoyed it. I feel like it has this straight-forward, non-pretentious, pure rock sound. Do you guys have a specific direction you focus on when writing songs, or do you try to just follow the music where it goes?

Marty – Well first, thank you for checking us out! The songs on Predecessors are frankly all over the place stylistically and lyrically. Many of the songs are ideas that were kicking around for quite a while, and Luke and I were still figuring out the dynamic of how to come together lyrically. I love each of the songs on Predecessors, but each has its own vibe for me.


4LN – Lastly Marty, what does 2015 have in store for Young Fox?

Marty – Well to continue my last statement, Young Fox is currently working on pre-production for our first full length record. Whereas our EP is a scattering of ideas, the full length will have a more concise sound sonically and lyrically. We plan on being ready to record sometime in June and and hopefully it will be out this fall. We also plan on doing many more shows this year than we have to this point, so please keep an eye out for us if we’re in your town!


I want to say a big THANK YOU to Marty for chatting with me! If you want to know more about Young Fox you can check them out at any of these links:

I’ll leave you with my favorite song from their Predecessors EP, called “A Diet of Worms”. There’s something about the structure of the song, and all it’s layers, that reminds me of early Muse. Enjoy!

Nerds in Bands: George Schmitz of Stick To Your Guns

I think, if I’m recalling correctly (it gets tough to do that when you become an elderly hardcore kid of… 30), that the first hardcore bands I got into were Stretch Arm Strong and No Innocent Victim. I grew up in a religious household so my rebellion consisted of listening to “Christian” hardcore and metal (I use quotations because I feel like neither of those bands would label themselves “Christian hardcore”). Eventually I would discover bands like Earth Crisis and Madball, and my taste is music has really never stopped evolving since.

I wanna say it was…like… 2007 or 2008, I went to a show at a local venue (that has now been closed for about 5 years) to see a couple of bands (I think it speaks volumes that I don’t remember the bands I actually went to see but I vividly remember STYG). One of the opening bands had a t-shirt that caught my eye.

I had to have it. But I didn’t really know the band… I decided that I’d watch their set and if I liked even one song I could justify buying it. I stood in the back with my arms crossed and Stick To Your Guns went on. By the end of their set I didn’t like one song. I liked ALL OF THEM. I was hooked. I bought the shirt (which, in all honesty, I lost almost immediately because I’m terrible with possessions), I bought a CD, I probably bought something else I don’t remember, and I became a STYG fan from then on. I’ve got every album, and I jam them all frequently.

Recently I heard the news that George Schmitz, the drummer for STYG, wrote and published his own comic. Well there was no way I couldn’t do SOMETHING on 4LN about it. I reached out to George in the off-chance that he’d be interested in letting me interview him about the book and (SUCCESS!) he enthusiastically agreed. Check out our chat below about how George got into comics, how his new book came to be, and what bands he thinks you should be listening to right now…

Embedded image permalink


4LN: When did you first get into comics?
George: I first started “reading” comics when I was in the 6th grade, but I was always ga ga about super heroes. Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman the Animated Series were my favorite things in the world when I was a kid. I remember going to the Warner Brothers retail stores when those were still a thing and losing my mind when my parents let me get some new toys (haha). So, superheroes were always a part of my childhood, but that first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie really got me hooked. I was already going to my local comic book shop to compete in Pokemon tournaments, so I just started buying up back issues of Spider-Man while I was there.

Which would you say came first: your love of comics, or your love of music?
My love of music came first, but it was quickly followed by my love of superheroes and comics. When I was in middle school, I no joke had the conscious thought of “Man, one of these days I’m probably going to have to choose between the two of these hobbies if I want to make one of them work out.” I shortly thereafter fell out of comics for a little bit to focus more on the drums and being in bands, but that was VERY short lived (haha). I feel like everybody takes that break from comics, almost like it’s a rite of passage.

What specific comic writers and artists would you say you gravitate most to?
I am a sucker for a writer who is unapologetic about his/her love for a character and their mythos. That being said, it’s no wonder that Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek are my favorite writers. I love it when a writer can embrace what makes these characters and their worlds inherently special. I’m all for re-imaginings and some deconstructing, but I love watching superheroes BE SUPERHEROES.

You’ve just self-published your first comic, Diamond Lass. Can you tell us how that came to be, and what your inspiration was for writing it?
Diamond Lass was an idea that I had for quite some time now, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. Fortunately, my friend Caleb Goellner is an incredibly talented artist and has been making his own comics for some time now. Without Caleb, I’m not even sure if I would’ve been able to pull any of this off. He’s as much a part of it as I am!

As for the inspiration, it was a combination of ideas in comics that I wanted to explore, as well real life things that we experience while touring. It’s loosely tied into our band, but it functions on its on as well.

Have you always wanted to write comics or is that something you decided more recently to pursue?
I’ve always wanted to write, whether it be prose, screen plays, comics, etc, but it’s always been something that I’ve pursued casually.

Can we expect to see more of Diamond Lass in the future? Maybe in print, perhaps?
I actually have physical copies! I had them this last weekend at Emerald City Comic Con and I will be selling them on tour as well.

Lately, there have been many other musicians venturing out in the comic book world (Claudio Sanchez from Coheed & Cambria, Max Bemis from Say Anyrthing, and Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance, for example). Do you have any desire to turn comic book writing into a “career”, or at least to branch out and do more comic writing on a professional level?
I think it would be really cool. I have a long way to go as far as writing, but I am really enjoying myself now that I’ve gone through the whole process. Writing comics on a professional level would be the dream. Maybe one day!

Embedded image permalink

This next section is our lighting round. Just answer with the first thing that comes to mind…
What’s your current favorite comic series?
Mark Waid’s Daredevil is still my favorite book on the stands. Everything Jonathan Hickman’s been doing with Avengers and New Avengers has been nothing short of phenomenal. G Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel is absolutely delightful. Snyder’s Batman is incredible. All the big books coming out of Image: Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals, Black Science, Deadly Class, Low, Wicked and Divine. It’s an AMAZING time to be reading comics.

Doom, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein… If you could only play one of these 3 video games for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Duke Nukem…..because that’s the only one of those games I’ve ever played (haha). I peaked at Mario 64 and never really got into games!

What new band should we all be listening to right now?
As far as hardcore goes: Discourse, Turnstile, Angel Dust, Code Orange.

For punk though: Rozwell Kid has been one of my new favorite bands! And Teenage Bottlerocket just put out a new record that everybody should buy!!!

Assuming she doesn’t, if Diamond Lass had a theme song, what would it be?
If Diamond Lass had a theme song, it would be the Propagandhi discography. She’s all about social justice and mental fortitude. But when she’s looking to relax, she’s listening to a heavy dosage of Tegan and Sara.

If given the opportunity, what established comic book character would you want to write?
Oof. That’s the million dollar question. I want to write a Plastic Man book! He’s so insane. I feel like he’s overlooked! How about Plastic Man teaming up with Metamorpho for some real wild adventures. That’s a bedfellow team that writes itself.

Last question, I know that you’re also a big wrestling fan and one of our other writers here, Bill, is as well. He wanted me to ask you how it felt to see your buddy Seth Rollins getting the belt and becoming the WWE Champ.
It’s so fucking cool!!!! I’m so stoked for him. I can’t wait to see how the story plays out.

Had a blast at #SummerSlam. Huge thanks to @wwerollins & @joshyg27 for the tickets!!!

A post shared by Stick To Your Guns (@stygoc) on


I want to thank George IMMENSELY for talking with me about Diamond Lass. If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself you can get it at a pay-what-you-want cost here: DIAMOND LASS.

I read it and loved it. If you have been in the hardcore scene at all then I think you’ll be able to appreciate, and even chuckle, at the nature of the story and how it plays out, as Diamond Lass confronts Slandering Sammy Simmons and his misguided arrogance. It’s funny, honest and self-aware. And it’s super easy to read, which is always nice. I highly recommend it.

Additionally, if you’re interested in checking out Stick To Your Guns’ new album “Disobedient” (which debuted last month on Billboard’s 200 Chart at #85 because it’s REALLY F–KING GOOD), you can find that here:

Google Play:

Nerds in Bands: Barren Womb

Welcome back! I hope you’ve had a chance to check out our first couple of Nerds in Bands interviews, but if you haven’t all you need to know is this a series where we interview people in bands who also happen to have a nerdy side.

For this installment of Nerds in Bands, I had a chance to chat with Timo Silvola, drummer for Norwegian band Barren Womb, about his love of comics, and their new album “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken”.


4LN: When did you first get into comics, and was there any specific issue or series that got you interested?
Timo: I’ve always been into comics. When I was a kid I used to scavenge secondhand bookshops for old Conan the Barbarian issues. One day I picked up a compilation album from a Norwegian comic publisher and it had a piece of Preacher in it. My mind was blown. Soon after I began working at the local comic book store and a new world opened up before me.


Do you have an all-time favorite issue?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’m a sucker for one-offs and although I’m not a Superman fan, I really enjoy Red Son. Instead of crashing down in Smallville USA, Superman grows up on a Soviet collective farm in the 1950’s. This results in a global communist superpower that is governed by Superman. Batman, my favorite superhero (due to his lack of any real superpowers) also has a different spin put on him. He is an anarchist saboteur who opposes Superman’s totalitarian regime. It’s a perfect mindfuck of an alternative course in history – both in comic and the real world.


Typically, comic readers will gravitate to certain writers and/or artists whose work they really enjoy. Which writers and artists do you feel most drawn to?
These writers certainly adorn many covers on my shelf: Moore, Jodorowsky, Ellis, Ennis, Miller, Loeb and Mignola. As for artists: Bolland, Mæbius, Gibbons, Miller, Mignola and Sale.


What’s your favorite ongoing series right now?
The Manhattan Projects is absolutely the best new thing I’ve read in a long time. Jonathan Hickman incorporates historical people and events into a crazy new story where nothing I love gets left behind. From aliens to the Illuminati, Einstein and quantum physics, killing nazis and the multiverse to exploring the mind. It’s like the comic equivalent of DMT.


Switching gears, let’s talk about your band, Barren Womb. How did you guys get started?
We met up in Tromsø with a band in mind which never took off. Moved to Trondheim around 2007 to start a three piece and from the ashes of that came Barren Womb.


You just released an album “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken” last year. Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
There’s something special about putting out the first full-length. For us it was a confirmation. We recorded it during a weekend in our rehearsal space and Tony mixed it. It felt like nothing could stop us from doing what we want. It received an overwhelming amount of good feedback. We’re really looking forward to the next one, it’ll blow your mind!


Finally, do you guys have any upcoming touring plans?
Oh yes sir. We’ll be touring the US East Coast with New Haven’s Grizzlor From March 21st to April 4th. Starting in Austin, TX at SXSW and ending up in New York, we’ll be promoting “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken” as well as our new split 7″ with Grizzlor. Later this year we’ll be releasing our second LP and touring accordingly.


I want to thank Timo for taking the time to talk with us. If you’re interested in checking out more from Barren Womb you can do so by going to any one, or all, of these links:

I spent quite a bit of time jamming “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken”, and I really love it. I think most people would say that Barren Womb has a vibe that would remind people of Every Time I Die or maybe even The Chariot (RIP), and they’d be right, but they actually reminded me of a band that I used to listen to about 15 years ago called Selfmindead (and I maintain that their album “At the Barricades We Fall” still holds up today among all the other late 90’s/early 00’s hardcore punk albums.) However, it wouldn’t be fair to label Barren Womb as any one specific genre. These dudes are all over the place (there are even some black metal elements, and I LOVE ME SOME BLACK METAL). I honestly feel like you just have to listen to their album all the way through in order to fully appreciate their sound. Just listening to a few track won’t give you an accurate comprehension of their versatility. Do yourself a favor and listen to “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken” as soon as possible.

4LN Music Review- Catch the Throne: The Mixtape, Vol. 2

Last year HBO dropped the Catch the Throne Mixtape, which was collection of hip-hop songs inspired by Game of Thrones. The album boasted hip-hop heavy hitters like Big Boi, Common, Wale and more. They made the 10-track album available for free and I remember really digging it. It was a fun concept. Take this epic show that people love so much and give it a hip-hop soundtrack. It makes sense if you think about it because Game of Thrones and hip-hop music are both servants to well-crafted linguistics. (Well, good hip-hop anyway. I won’t name names, but some hip-hop is superfluous garbage and it’s creators have every right to make it, but I also have every right to call them manufacturers rather than artists. That got a little off topic. Sorry.)

Anyway… I like hip-hop, so I was pleased with the Catch the Throne Mixtape. WELL GUESS WHAT?! They’re back!

Last week HBO dropped the Catch the Throne Mixtape Vol. II on iTunes, and once again they made it for free! However, this time around they made a little more eclectic, adding some electronic elements (MDNR), some Spanish jams (Yandel, Raquel Sofia), and my personal favorite… METAL! Oh, I should mention. I also like metal. Actually that’s an understatement. I f***ing LOVE heavy metal. And HBO went out and got a trio of some of best metal bands out there: Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, and Anthrax. (There’s also a track by the band Mushroomhead that most people would probably consider “metal” but I’m choosing not to comment on that song because…)

Killswitch and I go way back. All they way to their first album. I once saw them in a venue that held like 500 people and there were only about 40. It was nuts. A year later, they sold out that same place in minutes. They’re a band that rarely breaks new ground musically though. They mostly just do what it is they do REALLY well. And they do melodic heavy metal better than most other bands out there. Their track Loyalty is just that, a really fast, really melodic metal track that gets your blow flowing.

Mastodon is another band I go way back with. I’ve been a really big fan of theirs for years and they’ve proven themselves true artists by constantly evolving. They contribute the track White Walker and I swear to god(s) it reminded me of something that I could image Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds doing. It’s slow and kind-of creepy. I love it.

Finally, for our last metal section entry, we have Anthrax, heavy metal godfathers who bring the thunder. Their track, Soror Irrumator, hits your ears and like a sledgehammer and leaves you with musical blunt force trauma to the head. It riffs SOOOO hard.

Hey! Let’s talk about the hip-hop tracks now, shall we?! No? F*** you, we’re going to anyway.

The very first track, The Oath, is from Method Man and it sets the perfect pace for the album. It opens with Jon Snow reciting the Night Watchmen’s Oath and then goes into Method throwing down in that amazingly unique way that only he can.

The next hip-hop track on the album is called Never Back Down, and it’s from a dude named Ty Dolla Sign who’s been around for a few years and is just now starting to get some recognition for his talent. The track, and Ty in general I guess, reminds me a little of Future. Not that they’re exactly alike or anything, just similar sounding to me. Ultimately, Never Back Down has a polished depth to it that makes it inherently Game of Thrones-like.

On down the line a little we find a track from the almighty Snoop Dogg, called Lanister’s Anthem. What can I say… It’s f***ing Snoop Dogg. It’s a catchy, solid rap song, cause that’s what Snoop does. He throws out that laid back flow that makes you feel relaxed, and then he builds a killer track around it. Dude knows how to make people love his music, that’s for sure.

The last hip-hop track I want to mention is Lord of the Light by Talib Kweli. Ok, so Method Man’s style is incomparable, and Snoop is a damn legend, but Kweli… is a FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. He has a focused energy that not many other rappers can match but, the thing is, he doesn’t have to always come out swinging for the fences because lyrically he SLAYS. This track is one of the major stand-outs for me.

There a few other hip-hop tracks that are sprinkled in with what I’ve already mentioned, plus there’s the Spanish-style tracks that I also alluded to, but another thing that’s really neat about the album is the heavy presence of female artists. There are 4 tracks that are contributions by women and I think that’s fitting and necessary due to how crucial women are to the plot and story in Game of Thrones. Honestly, I think on the Game of Thrones Mixtape Vol. III (*fingers crossed*) they could bump that number up. I mean, off the top of my head I can think of at least 10 female on Game of Thrones and the exact same amount of male characters so I feel like it’s not far-fetched that they could split the balance to an even 50/50 next time around. I guess we’ll find out.

All-in-all, the Game of Thrones Mixtape Vol. II is a great album with some really solid tracks that are sure to please any GoT fan because there’s something for everyone.

Check it out by clicking the link below, and let us know what tracks you like most!

Catch the Throne: The Mixtape, Vol. 

Nerds in Bands: Unifier

Welcome to the second installment of “Nerds in Bands.” If you missed our debut interview, then I suggest you click here and check it out while then rest of us wait for you to catch up… go on.

Great! Now we’re all caught up!

This week I had a chance to pick the brain of Aslan Freeman, vocalist/guitarist for the band Unifier. Check it out below!

4LN – Aslan, as I understand it, you have several nerdy interests. What would you say is your biggest nerd interest?
Aslan – I’m going to answer this in two ways: I’d say the nerdiest thing I’m interested in is playing Dungeons & Dragons, but the nerdy thing that I am the most interested in is following E-sports, especially Starcraft 2. I watch tournament streams (and have attended tournaments), follow popular announcers and players, and even watch strategy and analysis videos. It actually paid off pretty well when our first EP Oh, Great City originally came out. I e-mailed our music video for “Spotless” to my favorite caster and he tweeted it as his song of the day, which got us around 18,000 views in the first 24 hours.

How did you initially get into that?
I’ve always been an avid gamer, and used to take turns playing the Warcraft 2 campaign with my neighbor almost every day growing up. When Starcraft 2 finally came out (like 10 years or so after the original Starcraft) some buddies of mine got into the beta and had an extra key they gave me, so I tried it out with them and got thoroughly addicted. We still get online and play together every now and then, but unfortunately I’m too busy to play much so instead I just watch tournaments while I work. As far as Dungeons & Dragons goes, some of my college roommates were part of a long running game that one of the English professors at the college (who has become one of our best friends) was DMing. He was starting a new game and looking for some other players so I decided to give it a shot. It ended up basically being a weekly ongoing guy night where we’d get together to relax, eat terrible food, and play for a few hours.
What movie do you wish everyone would see?
Obviously it’s always tough to pick a favorite anything, but one of the best movies I’ve ever seen that I’ve always thought was generally overlooked is The Prestige. The premise is genuinely original, the acting and writing are great, and the twist at the end is exactly what it should be.
In your opinion, what is the best show on television right now?
I love Game of Thrones just because I’m such a fan of the books, but for me it’s really a toss up between House of Cards and True DetectiveHouse of Cards is a much more fun and intriguing watch for me, and has proven its greatness over multiple seasons, but the first season of True Detective is about as perfectly done as a show can get, so I can’t wait to see how the next season turns out. If it continues to be as quality as the first I can absolutely see it becoming one of the best shows of all time.
I’d like to talk about your band, Unifier, for a minute. Can you tell us how Unifier came to be?
Our first guitarist Chris and I actually met through the group we played D&D with and ended up playing together in another band for a while with some of the other guys. A friend of ours had shot a B-movie style zombie short film that he needed a little music for, and asked Chris if he could get something together. I’ve got a little studio set up so he asked me if I could help him with it, and we got together one day to record a couple of songs. We had such a great time and things came together so easily we decided to start a new band together and keep doing it. I ran into our drummer Mike at a show shortly afterward, and knew him from watching his bands play in our hometown when I was coming up in high school. As the three of us rotated through some other members and lineups we happened to play a few shows with our bassist Luke’s old band and became friends. When we finally got a long tour offer that our bassist at the time wasn’t able to commit to, we asked Luke if he wanted to give bass a shot and come out with us. Since then Chris left to go back to school and we’ve been through a couple other guitarists, but we always have fun and find a way to keep things moving forward with whoever’s along for the ride.
After listening to your EP, “Oh, Great City”, I feel like there’s no way to classify your sound, which is a real achievement in the current landscape of modern music. I kept trying to think of other bands that it reminded me of but all I could do was think of different bands that I could hear minor elements of (As Cities Burn, Foo Fighters, Death Cab…? Am I way off here?) Who would you say are the biggest influences for Unifier?
That’s awesome to hear! Thanks so much, you’re absolutely on point there. Our big three have always been Brand New, Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters, though of course we shift others in and out of focus for different releases to try and keep some fresh development in our sound. Right now we’re looking a lot at Deftones, Coldplay, and Balance & Composure for some new elements.
You’ve just recently signed with Spartan records, tell us what’s up next for the band in 2015?
The first order of business is putting out a new music video for one of the tracks on our new EP Gutted, which Spartan will be releasing onMarch 24th. After that we’ve got plans to put out a couple singles that we recorded around the same time we were working on Gutted last year, and we’ve been gradually writing and demoing songs for our next full length.


My thanks to Aslan for chatting with us here at 4LN. If you’re interested in checking out more from Unifier you can follow these links to their various websites:

Additionally, they’ve just released a brand new song called “Break” (That I can NOT stop listening to!) which is off their upcoming EP, titled Gutted. Listen to it and make sure to pick up the album when it drops on March 24th!

Nerds In Bands: The Foxery

Welcome to a new ongoing series! We’re always on the lookout for ways to create unique and original content here at 4LN. One way we’ve tried to do that is by incorporating music as much as possible into our articles and posts, while keeping it closely relevant to nerd-culture. About a year and a half ago, 4LN writer (and my comic bae) Bill Clark did a Local Spotlight article on the band Daisyhead and I have to get that article credit for inspiring me to start this series. I love music. It’s always been a huge part of my life; just as big as my nerd-interests. I would even call myself a “music-nerd”, but *some people* think that you can’t be nerdy about something as general as music, but those people are sad and lonely and pity them…

ANYWAY! I really wanted to do this article so I reached out to John at Spartan Records (a killer indie label that you NEED to check out) and explained what I wanted to do. I asked him if he could connect me with any nerdy dudes or ladies in any of the bands that he works with. He was kind enough to take time to collaborate with me on this and now thanks to his generosity I present to you the first ever Nerds in Bands.

For our inaugural piece, we got Mike and Kyle from Louvisville, Ky’s The Foxery to talk to us about their love of comic books and what they’re into right now. Enjoy!

4LN: When did you first get into comics, and was there any specific issue or series that got you interested?
Mike: I first got into comics when I was a young one. I would buy whatever the local big box grocery store carried which rarely carried the same series two months in a row so I would just read parts of stories until I was old enough to learn the layout of our city and walk miles to our nearest comic book store which Kyle now works at 20 years later. Ha. The first comic I ever read was a Superman comic that had Doomsday in it which was a bigger deal than I realized at the time. I haven’t read a Superman comic since. 🙂

Kyle: Comics are one of the first things I ever read. My dad would take me into the comic book store all the time when I was little. The first comics I read that made me fall in love with them were Bone by Jeff Smith and Todd Mcfarlane’s Spider-Man.

4LN: Do you have an all-time favorite issue?
Mike: First series X-Factor #87. There’s a scene where Pietro is talking to a therapist who I believe is Doc Samson and he explains how in his world, he doesn’t have super speed, the world is just moving insanely slow around him which explains why he’s always so grouchy. That has always stuck with me as a really creative way of looking at super heroes with super speed because before that I was always bored by that super power.

Kyle: The two that come to mind are both by Matt Fraction. There is an issue during his Fantastic Four run where they’re all in space headed to Earth to defend the world from some threat and they leave their kids behind so they’re safe. The whole issue is the kids listening to the last messages their family has left them before they maybe die and Reed Richards says something like “I’m a scientist, I believe there’s no god. Therefore nothing matters. Therefore everything we do is literally all that matters. Remember that.” It’s so so powerful. The other is an issue of Hawkeye that is told through the perspective of a dog. The colors are only colors dogs can see and the words are only words dogs can understand. It’s just incredible.

4LN: Typically, comic readers will gravitate to certain writers and /or artists whose work they really enjoy. Which writers and artists do you feel most drawn to?
Mike: I like Robert Kirkman a lot. I also really love Jeffrey Brown. He makes comics that make me feel some type of way. He makes comics that hit you right in the feels and he also does Star Wars and giant robot comics so he’s rad all around!

Kyle: Obviously Matt Fraction haha. I also love Neil Gaiman, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie. I’m drawn towards artists that are bigger than life and think they’re some sort of huge entity, like Kanye West, so I also love Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.

4LN: What is your favorite ongoing series right now?
Mike: I’m really digging Outcast by Robert Kirkman. That’s a fairly new one and a really dark and scary book. If our record, “Unless” we’re an instrumental record, it’d be the soundtrack to Outcast. I also get every Simpsons and Simpsons-related comic that ever comes out and I’ve never been disappointed by one yet.

Kyle: As far as superhero stuff it’s Batman by Snyder and Capullo, and for other stuff it’s by far The Wicked and The Divine by Gillen and McKelvie.

4LN: Switching gears, let’s talk about your band, The Foxery. How did you guys get started?
Mike: We are The Foxery from Louisville, KY. We’ve been playing in different incarnations for 8 years now but the current line-up which is solid and sticking around has been friends for years now. We started as a three piece and wanted to be heavier so we got a second guitar player; then we wanted to be prettier so we got a Fender Rhodes, and then we needed to be heavier again so we got a third guitar player and to balance all those guitars out, we started having Trav, our Rhodes player, play auxiliary drums as well.

4LN: You just released a new album “Unless.” Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
Mike: We started writing it a long time ago as a four piece and by the end of writing the record we were our current six piece line-up, so the record follows a story of growing and changing. It gets really dark and hopeless feeling which I think we felt at different times throughout the writing of it but ends on a hopeful note once we found this line-up and started putting more time into the band. We’re all really dedicated to exploring what we can do further and I know we’ll still write dark and heavy songs but we’ll be super stoked to be getting dark and heavy together! 🙂

4LN: Finally, do you have any touring plans on then horizon?
Mike: Our plan is to tour every chance we get. We are currently on tour as I type this but this tour ends in two days so we’re gonna start booking our next tour south. We’re shooting for late May/early June. We’re gonna be doing more touring with our Spartan labelmates, Shy, Low. We also want to tour to wherever the Stephen Colbert’s Late Show will be filmed and hopefully make a stop at the studio to play the show! 🙂


I want to thank Mike and Kyle for chatting with us about comics and their band. I took a listen to their brand new album “Unless” and I gotta say, I really loved it. It reminded me of early MewithoutYou (with some light Brand New vibes) and, having been a fan of MwY from the very beginning, I feel confident saying that if you like them then you’ll definitely like The Foxery. I highly recommend the tracks “Broken Vessel” and “The Filth II”. If you are interested in checking out more by The Foxery you can buy their album by clicking this link: The Foxery – Unless, and you can catch up with them at all of their various social media sites by using the links below.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr YouTube