A Farewell To The King

By Bernard Griess

Bernard is the writer / guitarist for the hard rock band , Undone He has a been a content creator for Total Order Magzine since its launch 6 years ago . This is his first column for Total Order .
A couple of years ago while in the middle of one of those mindless social media scrolls we are all far too guilty of these days , I happened upon a video that really had an effect on me . It was a video of Edward Van Halen . It wasn ’ t one of those countless clips of his devastating guitar prowess on full display , though I , like many others , are certainly shameless in our enjoyment of those . It was just a cell phone video of Edward , the only face visible in the frame , looking into the camera and saying just a few words . His manner , of course was playful as always . But what he said blasted through my soul and resonated , though maybe not in a way you ’ d expect .
“ Eddie Van Halen here …. telling you … Keep playin ’, man . Gotta keep playin ’. It ’ s the only thing there is- music , man ! Keep playin ’, alright ? I ’ m gonna come lookin ’ for ya if ya don ’ t .”
I laughed , of course at first . It ’ s a glimpse at the guy we ’ d all imagined he was , the one his loved ones talked about . Just a guy that loved playing music . It ’ s a short clip , and I kept finding myself watching it over the next few days . The message was there , and well received obviously , but why did I keep coming back to it ? Why was this little good natured and fun message from King Edward continually bouncing off the inside of my skull ? Why was I having a moment , much like young Ralphie Parker in “ A Christmas
Story ”, locking himself in the bathroom , frantically using his decoder pen trying to figure out the secret message from Little Orphan Annie ?
“ What was Eddie Van Halen trying to say ?!?!”
Then , like a wave , it hit me . Ed wasn ’ t trying to tell me to “ never give up .” He wasn ’ t telling me to keep “ fighting the good fight ”, or “ Keep living the dream ”. ALL of us who write and play music in independent bands or projects have those moments . Those moments where we wonder : Should I keep doing this ? Is it worth it ? The money , the time , the stress and aggravation . Is . It . Worth . It ? But those are not the questions that Ed ’ s message were addressing . It was far more simplistic . It was about love .
I don ’ t play the guitar for accolades . I don ’ t play the guitar to try
to be cool , or try to make money , or to try to attain some sort of fame . I ’ m not trying to impress anyone . I ’ m not trying to make any profound statement .
I play the guitar because I love it ,
I and it makes me happy . That ’ s it . That ’ s the message .
When Ed passed this year , in this awful year that has taken so much from so many , I was devastated . I know everyone that loved him was . Of course . People who aren ’ t into the arts , who are unaffected on a cellular level by the contributions of songs or paintings or literature of others , are also always the ones that never seem to understand why people can be so upset over the passing of someone they ’ ve never met . s the message .
“ Who cares ?!?. Five cops or eight soldiers died yesterday , why doesn ’ t anyone talk about that ?!” You know the ones I ’ m talking about . My response to that has always been the same . One of these scenarios is not mutually exclusive . I can be
sad about both . The difference is , someone like EVH had a tangible impact on my life . I spent COUNTLESS hours with Ed . His contributions not only musically , but his innovations of the instrument I love have touched my life in ways I ’ m STILL learning about .
It ’ s sad when anyone loses their life , and certainly someone in the line of duty in service of their nation or their community . But when someone passes who ’ s art ( and in Ed ’ s case his innovations too ) has had such a profound impact on you , it ’ s like losing a friend , a family member . You feel like it was someone you knew personally . And in a way , you did . What ’ s more personal than someone ’ s art ? Their life ’ s work ?
On the day he passed , my wife and I were sitting on the couch . We are both hyper sensitive people , so we were very sad . She
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So that’s a struggle to admit that you realize that you missed the game, you will never meet her. ON-THE-UP WILDWAYS FUSE EMOTIONAL LYRICS WITH METALCORE POWER FOR PASSIONATE RELEASE “ANNA.” OVER 5 MILLION STREAMS! Sometimes the english language can be so inadequate to express ones deepest feelings. So many things get lost in translation. Since 2016, Wildways from St. Petersburg, Russia, have been cranking out quality releases since 2016 and have become Russia’s biggest metal export. Toli Wild talks about his most reflective and personal release yet. His lyrical delivery of the trials of this process are painstakingly pure and unpretencious. With “Anna” perfection maybe isn’t as far away as he thinks. There seems to be this symbolic meaning behind this record “Anna.” Is there an overall theme behind it? TOLI: Yes. Absolutely. It’s real interesting you noticed “I Love You” is fully Russian, so I really appreciate it that you just paid attention to that. It’s a pretty personal, emotional release for me and my close friend, I need to mention he’s not in the band, but he just helped me a lot with writing amazing, super sad lyrics, mostly Russian lyrics, but it’s really personal for me, yea it’s actually a long story. Photo Credits: Wildways Facebook Anna is a Russian name, its about the perfect image, the perfect women, the perfect picture, but she’s not real. I just got this idea at some point of my life. I just realized why I’m so alone, with no relationship because I’m already 28 and I just realized this is a problem inside my head. I create it piece by piece, perfect women, which I’m not supposed to ever meet, so I just wanted to say goodbye to this perfect image inside my imagination. So that’s the idea of the album, I became older, right now I’m 28, I don’t need to live in pained glasses anymore and I just needed to learn to love the imper- fections in someone else. Was it an emotional struggle to go through this process while recording? TOLI: It’s a struggle to just be in the posi- tion, in the point of your life where you already understand that’s the problem inside your head. That’s the struggle. You always dream of the perfect love and you just miss the time, miss the days, miss the years and you just don’t under- stand why because your just wasting the time. You don’t pay attention, like your still alone. You were able to finish this record just before the global pandemic hit. TOLI: We just started to write this record more than a year ago. We wrote some songs on tour in Rus- sia, we wrote one song on the Japan tour and the last songs were written in the United States with producer Cameron Mizel. We actually just got back to Russia from the US and CO- VID 19 had just started. Actually, we are always writing songs. When we think about a new album we just go to our hard drives to find some amazing demos which we can work on. So, in that respect, we are always writ- ing something. It’s not like we all sit down and say, ok lets start writing for the album Anna. No, we are always writing something and just choose the best parts, the best melodies and try to put it all together for the album. You guys have put out a bunch of music, non-stop since 2016, why the furious pace? TOLI: You know, I think it’s just that the 21st century is faster for music. It’s absolutely a dif- ferent time then talking about the 80’s and 90’s for sure. Right now it’s absolutely a different time and if you wanna be someone, you need to work every fucking day because there are so many mu- sicians all over the world, you just need to write everyday. An interesting thing when we realized the album, I was reading commentary on Rus- sian social media, after just one week, it was like ok guys when is the next album. So this is how it works right now in 2020. I think it’s bad and good at the same time. Technology is good for finding any new genres, any new music, new plug ins, new everything like instruments, but it’s bad if we are talking about how impor- tant it is all over the world. Musicians are trying to make albums too fast I think. What is the biggest creative difference from 2016 till now for the band? TOLI: I think it’s a huge difference between our first album since 2016 and right now. With every new album there is a huge difference, because the first album actu- ally we were kids. We just went to the U.S. for the first album in Arizona and we just literally had, like just guitar pro. Do you know what that is, guitar pro? It’s like a pretty old amp, we just hadn’t any idea of how it works, how to record some- thing. I actually didn’t know I needed to record chorus’ with a lot of harmonies. So it’s a huge difference because the first album we were kids, and this album I actually produced, so we became bigger as songwriters. We became lyric writers and we just became bigger like producers for sure and I mean musicians as well. (Continued on next page) Wildways Facebook Wildways Instagram Wildways Website Buy Wildways Music Photo Credits: Wildways Facebook Page 57 63 Page