Archive for January, 2012

The Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2012 by billyg67

When I first thought of doing this “Diary Of A Gladman” blog , I thought it would be cool to try to talk about the two things I enjoy most… far as a creative outlet goes. Those two things being comics and music.

I started out as a comic collector first and when I was  about 15 years old I would sell my first comic collection to purchase band equipment.  By the time I was 15 I was spending less time reading comics and more time listening to the music of the hard rock/heavy metal explosion of the 80’s. More of my money was going towards buying new music (anywhere from three to five albums or cassettes a week) and less money was going to buying comics.

Around that same time I realized a couple of other things as well.  My dreams of writing or drawing comics were slowly starting to be replaced by those of being a rock star. No doubt fueled by the fact that young women preferred rock stars about one million to one  over…..comic book writers and artists.

So if I was ever going to hit it off right with the ladies I was going to have to spend less time talking about Spider-Man and more time learning guitar chords. So the comics got sold…I bought a used Fender Duo Sonic II guitar, an amp, and even paid off the rest of my first drummer’s drum kit.

Well unfortunately me and the guys I was hanging with never became the next Motley Crue (but I have to admit the the whole thing with girls improved…Gene Simmons said it best….just play an instrument…you don’t even have to play it well…and girl’s clothes will fall off) and I played EVERYTHING over the years…started out on guitar and I really sucked. Tried to sing, even played a little keyboards…wasn’t very good at either of those things . Bought a drum kit…bought more than one as I would quit playing drums and pick them back up later more than a couple of times…but never got close to being as good as Eric Carr.

My strongest musical talent was my song writing….I wrote some truly great songs and became known in many circles as one of the best song writers in our area.

And with the help of my brother (who really got tired of me trying to be a drummer) I later became a slightly better than average bass player.

Many. many. many years later….I don’t know how many bands came and went…I know I burned through one marriage…and was married a second time  I ended up recording some pretty good music during that time period   and played some great shows with some very talented guys…but there came a time when my life seemed to have come full circle.

I was reading and collecting comics again. Spending a lot of time and money trying to hunt down every comic that I had sold off in that first collection that was worth a damn. And I came to the point where I decided to sell off all the recording equipment, the bass guitars, the amp, and the foot pedals and spend the money on my comic collection.

And somewhere after that I decided I got tired of buying and  reading “bad comics” and sold off half my collection to finance producing my own comics that I was writing and or drawing. (actually more than half…the comic collection dropped from 14,00 to 4,000…..and I got less than what I sold the original collection of 1,500 back in the 80’s….but got a good deal based on today’s comic market)

Music has always fueled my writing process….almost every story I write is named after a song. My Jack The Rabbit stories are greatly influenced by the music and lyrics of Ronnie James Dio.

But without a doubt the crown jewel in my attempt to combine my love for music and comics is the line of comics I am currently producing with a group of guys (and gals) just as talented as the guys (and gals) I once played music with.  The comics come out through TWILIGHT STAR STUDIOS  here in Springfield Ohio….and I’m talking specifically about the Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride line of comics produced by the studio.

When coming up with the characters, locations, story ideas, and story titles for this line of comics (which include the Necrotrancer books, the Un-Naturals books and Twilight Star Team Up which features Necrotrancer) I wanted to create something that when you saw the art and read the stories you could “feel” Rock-N-Roll.

I mean one the books is actually named Un-Naturals: Creatures Of The Night!!!

Not only is that the name of one of my favorite KISS albums  but it fits the book perfectly seeing how this book features solo stories of the members of the Un-Naturals….which is  a team of super-heroes (if you really want to use  the term super-heroes) which consist of a para-normal investigator/vigilante that is a mix between Batman and Wolverine named Moonshadow..a”cursed” heroine named Albatross (she gets her name from a song by the band Corrosion Of Conformity ….2nd song of their DELIVERANCE album)…

….a female/albino werewolf simply named She-Wolf (inspired by Megadeth’s song of the same name from their Cryptic Writings album)…

…to really emphasis the whole aspect of horror comics mixed with super-hero comics mixed with rock-n-roll that I’m going for here, Megadeth’s “She-Wolf” is inspired by the cult classic horror film “She-Wolf Of London”

……other members of the Un-Naturals include a Moth Man…..last of THIRTEEN (another Megadeth reference) Mothmen, an animated corpse named Epitaph and a female vampire who  was once a nun, named Challis….

Challis owes her “origin” to the dark inspiration of “Christian Woman” the first song from the album Bloody Kisses by the band Type O Negative….

As a matter of fact there is a TON of ideas that have found their way into the stories of the first few Un-Naturals comics that came bout from Type O Negative tunes including “Love You To Death” and “Blood And Fire”.

The Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride books are full of blood, bullets, demons, motorcycles, sex… and hard rock tunes. There’s a band called Xotica that appears in the Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride books…the lead singer is a demon half breed named …Xotica. Her lead guitarist is a vampire named Valentino and her drummer is named Spyder but also goes by the name R.J….short for Ronnie James.

If things goes as planned I hope to record four songs with the help of some of my of musician friends in town (and with me acting only as songwriter) that would be put on a “fake” live c.d by Xotica  which would be called Xotica “Almost Live At The Liberty Belle”. Those songs would be “Hell Behind My Eyes”, “A 1,000 Nights In The Fire”, “Blackheart”, and “Dead 2 Me” ( the last song would have to be sung by a male vocalist as Valentino sings that song in the comics. Xotica sings the other three …some of the lyrics do appear in some of the stories) and I would like a female vocalict on those songs who could channel her inner Lita Ford.

The Liberty Belle is a local bar in the Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride books that is owned by a guy named Buff (based on my dear departed friend Darrell Buffington) and who used to be a roadie for the band Yes. (in the books not in real life) The bar itself is haunted by several ghosts due to a deadly fire a few years ago that killed over a hundred people during a performance by the band White Warlock.

If you know your rock-n-roll history you know what real life tragic event this is based on. As for the band White Warlock that was actually the name of one of the bands I played bass for back in the 80’s.

That’s not the only part of my own personal music history to creep into these stories. That fire actually happened 11 Years Ago ( a song of mine that I recorded for the first time….live…with the band Violent Whisper) The title for the book Shades of Gray comes from one of the songs I wrote and recorded with while in a band called Project X (which featured Grace Deer on vocals, Rick Lazear and Doug Huff on guitars, me on bass and Rich Walden on drums)

Another song I wrote the lyrics for (my brother Larry wrote the music for) was called One Night In Chicago. Larry and I played this song while in the band Misled (with vocalist Brad Shumway and again drummer Rich Walden).

One Night In Chicago is also the name of the first story that appears in Twilight Star Team Up which features a team up between Necrotrancer and two characters created by fellow studio member Tim Hagans (Cyber-Cat and Zodiac)

The second story in the second issue of Twilight Star Team Up which my daughter Raichal helped me to write (Raichal’s old band …yeah she was in a band or two in the past too….Kid Chaos  gets mentioned in these books more than once. The drummer for Kid Chaos was Rich Walden’s son…Richie Walden)…anyway the title for the story Raichal and I worked on for the second issue of this book is called “Kiss Your Past Good-Bye” a song that appears of off Aerosmith’s Nine Live album.

Although I have to admit that equal amounts of  the song “Salvation On Sand Hill” by Sammy Hagar also played a large role in the inspiration of this story.

The song appears on the Marching To Mars album. the story features the characters Necrotrancer and Valentino (Raichal created Valentino with the help of local artist Kyle Hilt)

And the story for the third issue of the book is called “Fatal Portrait” ….any King Diamond fans out there?

And I think that when you consider that the next Necrotrancer book is called “Devil’s Dance” a tune by Metallica…the first Challis solo story is called “If You Want Blood” a song by the band AC/DC….and the bad guys (yeah…although the heroes in these books are “monsters” the bad guys are REALLY evil bad asses)…the bad guys in these books are named  Powerslave (an Iron Maiden tune)….

Widowmaker (any W.A.S.P. fans out there can Scream Until You Like it), Painkiller ( a Judas Priest tune), Harvester of Sorrow (another Metallica tune), Devil Digger (another Priest tune), Lucretia (yet another Megadeth tune) and Grave Dancer (a tune from Velvet Revolver)….you can see that when it comes to mixing my love for hard rock and comics….and horror films too……I’m turning my efforts up to 11.

I’m really proud of the books  that make up the Rock-N-Roll Hell Ride line of books from Twilight Star and I hope you check them out.

Want more info on the books… can get it here.

Check us out!

HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!