The Arizona Republic/The Rep
I smush in a set of earplugs, but the sound is still deafening.
It makes me want to scream "woo-hooo" and head-bang
like Beavis and Butt-head.
I like it.
On a Tuesday night at a storage facility in Tempe, Valley
rock band Greenhaven-guitarist Jay Hofer, 28, drummer Bill
Schumann, 32, bassist Uncle Dave, 27, and singer Matt Strangwayes,
In space No. 4 at Aztec Storage Center, the stucco walls
are carpeted over and the concert bills from the Hollywood
Alley, Big Fish Pub and Jugheads are tacked next to posters
of David Lee Roth, Iron Maiden and Neil Diamond.
An Ozzy Osbourne bobble head dances to the beat as the band
charges through several originals and covers of ZZ Top and
Greenhaven plays un-ironic, polished heavy metal filled
with driving guitar work and lyrics delivered with a preacher's
fervor and a rock star's swagger.
This isn't music for hipsters, dance-floor types or sensitive
emo kids. This is God-bless-America rock and roll, music
best danced to from the waist up, bending-forward, straightening
up, hair swinging in great arcs.
In this time when so many metal albums feel hyper-produced
and calculated down to the last snarl, there's something
delightful in The Last Powerful Second, Greenhaven's February
debut. Lyrics are clever, drumming is breakneck and guitar
solos are hair-metal-amazing, but the metal still has an
unaffected rawness that makes listening and act of liberation
Greenhaven has perfected this freeing art of being hardcore
even while the band members keep their day jobs. The music:
AC/DC riffs. The image: all in black. The CD cover art:
a shot of the storage space's former owner, a disabled Vietnam
vet, pistol in one hand and cigarette dangling, peering
through a truck window.
After practice, we drive to Papago Brewing Co., where I
learn that, more than four years ago, Strangwayes recruited
the other bandmates. He was looking for musicians who not
only love Thin Lizzy, Van Halen, Blue Öyster Cult and
all of the other bands you could catch on old episodes of
Headbangers Ball, but who had the technical chops to play
such intense rock.
"We wanted music that was a little more timeless, with
big riffs, played hard," Strangwayes says. "Absolutely,
positively and to the grave, we play from the heart."
"And we love every second of it," Hofer adds.
"We leave it on the stage every time," Strangwayes
continues. "Win, lose or draw, I'll be lucky if I live
to see 50. I've got five bones I've broke onstage in the
last 10 years."
"There's no show that I don't cramp up or just ache
at the end, but you just do it," drummer Schumann says.
After a few beers, talk drifts to record labels, touring
and the future.
But before they can get too far ahead of themselves, Uncle
Dave puts down his beer and raises his right hand, declaring,
"Rock! There's no goal but rock."