Metal Legacies

METAL LEGACIES: PAUL RAVEN OF 16VOLT, MINISTRY, REVOLTING COCKS DIED OCTOBER 20, 2007

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METAL LEGACIES: PAUL RAVEN OF 16VOLT, MINISTRY, REVOLTING COCKS DIED OCTOBER 20, 2007

Metal Legacies is an ongoing memorial to extreme music pioneers who kicked the proverbial bucket way too soon.

[MetalSucks contributor Corey Mitchell managed Eric Powell’s band, 16volt, from 1996-1998. He asked Powell to write about his friend and bandmate, Raul Raven, for the Metal Legacies series.]

by Eric Powell

Life. It goes by too fast and comes at you too slow. When you are 14, all you want is to be 16 so you can get the keys to the car and just drive, just drive wherever — fucking freedom. It seems like those two years take forever. You count the milliseconds waiting for your ticket out of hell. Then you blink your eyes and all of a sudden you wonder what happened to your twenties, then your thirties, and it’s all a flash. Those two years you waited for the keys to a car, barely a blip. You look back at all the days and at all the scars, and mostly at the memories, now rich with texture and variance, they blur together weaving a sort of out-of-body, self propelled storyline that hopefully ends with some kind of impact.

At some point in our lives we hopefully realize that everything we do counts for something. A never ending chain of events both understated and exaggerated, and our choices link together to write a tangled, barely understandable life story. We hopefully get to a point where our experience with time develops a conscience — a self-aware state where we appreciate all that we missed and we miss all that we didn’t.

Some are born lucky, falling into a calling early, riding it like a well built clipper attacking uncharted seas, often a rough ride, but the ride never lets them down. It’s a single threaded path holding true to itself, a line drawn by our own internal and elusive drive. These lucky few charge ahead with no rules, saber in hand, slashing and gnawing effortlessly through what seem like goals in life, but come off as merely happenstance.

You can apply this babble to the chosen few who get to play music for a living, who get to tour for a living, who make it into the “club” — a silent brotherhood of merry thieves living on the outskirts of society, in the lounges of tour buses and in the dirty back stage areas of outdated concert venues. Gathering in dark hallways to share stories of their battles over catered liquors and fruit plates, duty free cigarettes, and handheld HD video cameras, a broken generator, a sprained wrist, an amp exploding, Roman candle fights in the middle of Montana. So much that can never be spoken. Things left to the moments and events that will never be uttered, the code keeping everyone’s skeletons secret to only the lucky bastards who get to live and witness the real deal. It all falls under the banner of “Rock and Roll,” right?

“Rock and Roll” is like the modern “piratism.” It’s a place of brotherhood. Where your friends are not next door, or in your own town — they are in other towns, you only see them in bars, on different continents and within protected Facebook profiles. You see them once a year, they bring you bartering items, sometimes even gifts. And no matter how long the time has passed you still know each other. You meet with a grizzled full-body clench, gold-toothed grins wide with “story.” You don’t even have to speak. There is an understanding. The accomplished Rock Pirates know this, they have nothing left to prove. No more dues to pay. They have found out how to tame boredom and massive adrenaline rushes daily, within minutes of each other. They have learned things most of the world will never know. Things like, you never take a dump on a bus; things like when the sound man says “it will sound better once people are in here” – it never will. There are secret words and sayings. Languages unto their own, a place a common man would stick out as much as when a tour crew of 20 people roll into a waffle house at 2:00 am.

Some say this “Rock and Roll” keeps you young. Others say for every year you tour, the Devil himself gets one back at the end. For Paul Raven though, He kicked the Devil in the nuts, took a swig of the hard stuff, spit the saliva from his mouth and gripped his bass pick just before landing into one of his trademark driving, thunderous bass lines — the tone of sea monsters calling from the deep. A seemingly evil grin as he whipped his ax through another song in the set, another city on the tour, another tour for the album, another album for the band, another band for the story. Paul Raven was one of these people. Hell he was a fucking charter member — a club president. Raven had more road friends than the population of some third world countries. His impact on music goes wider than anyone can even know. His reach was bigger than he was.

The list is long — Killing Joke, Ministry, Prong, Revolting Cocks, Pigface, Mob Research, Treponem Pal, Murder, Inc., Society 1, Godflesh, and my own band, 16volt. He played with all of these bands and more. He did it full bore, pedal to the metal, hard-core. And he fucking loved every second of it.

He wasn’t the frontman. He didn’t put on some bullshit persona and make believe rockstar for a few hours a night. He lived it. From foot to skull, he was a rock and roller. And he did it for anyone and everyone he wanted to. But he did it knowing that it was priceless and he did it knowing that he needed to remember it all. He knew he had a calling, he rode the waves, he conquered the globe. But at the end of his days he respected his craft and he loved his friends and he rocked his fucking heart out for all of us to see and hear. Paul Raven taught me something. He taught me that music and it’s dank environs are a special place and no matter who you are or what level you are, you rock it like there is no tomorrow and you remember it. Because it goes by too fast.
METAL LEGACIES: PAUL RAVEN OF 16VOLT, MINISTRY, REVOLTING COCKS DIED OCTOBER 20, 2007
As a footnote to this story of ours, I am not an article writer, I am just a fan and luckily his friend for almost two decades. I was humbled and honored to have my friend play on my record FullBlackHabit in 2007, just before heading off to Geneva, just months before his untimely death on the morning of October 20th.

That day rattled me.

I wasn’t sure, I am still not sure, how to process it. It seems like it was only a few months ago when Raven pulled into my driveway, jumped out, gave me a massive bear hug, called me a fucking pirate and we hit record on my Pro Tools rig as I watched a legend play to the music I created. That day was one of those days for me. One of those events. Just me and Raven in my studio, and he is just rocking to my tracks, and I think now about seeing him on stage, and hearing him all these years on soo many great albums and in soo many great bands and I realize how lucky I was. No. How lucky I am to be a part of his club.

Raven & Powell by 16volt.

Long Live Paul Raven.

Viva La Rock and Roll.

-Eric Powell / 16volt

16volt’s websiteFacebook, Twitter

Corey Mitchell’s Facebook, Twitter

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