The Arizona Republic/The Rep


Emotions out of Storage

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, 31-is practicing.
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 Black Sabbath.
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 and release.
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."

Megan Finnerty