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EXCLUSIVE TOUR BLOG WITH MANTIC RITUAL GUITARIST JEFF POTTS, PART 1: “IT WAS A ROUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE, HONEY…”

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After Corey Mitchell’s perfect review of their album Executioner, how could we resist running a tour blog from Mantic Ritual guitarist Jeff Potts? Read his first installment below, and if you’re very well behaved, others will follow…

Right now I’m sitting back stage at the Masquerade in Atlanta with the peculiar kind of sore throat that only comes from prolonged screaming and generally abusing the hell out of the vocal chords.  This doesn’t sound that weird for a guy who’s in a  thrash band on a black metal tour, but it’s actually pretty odd – because I’m the guitarist.


First, a brief recap of the tour so far.  Things are great, overall:  the turnouts are solid, the other bands are cool, the crowds are more receptive to us this time around (our last tour of this length was with Pro-Pain and Sworn Enemy…  apparently the hardcore fans aren’t all about thrash).  Marduk, Nachtmystium, Merrimack, and Black Anvil have all been playing aewsome sets.

But touring can never be easy, and something obviously has to go wrong.  This time around, it’s the brutally long drives.  Luckily, it gives us stories that might seem funny months later, and no one wants to read a tour blog about everything going right.

We woke up at about 8a.m. and barely made it to Toronto in time.  Then we woke up at 8 a.m. again and barely made it to Baltimore by 7. [Pics from the Baltimore show can be seen here. – Ed.]  The drive was extended by a few hours due to traffic, wrecks (not us), getting lost, etc. It was during this leg of the journey that our singer, Dave, noticed that he was chilly in his hoodie and jacket while everyone else was wearing short sleeves.  By the time we arrived in Baltimore, Dave [Watson] was too sick to sing and running a fever 103.  By the time we’re to hit the stage, he was too sick to even play.  I know how he feels – I had the same flu virus (or whatever crazy Canadian plague he caught) and I couldn’t go to work;  and my job is much easier than playing a set on this tour.  To add insult to injury, the directions took us the wrong way within a mile of the venue and I broke this necklace that I really like.  Did I say “something” has to go wrong?  For the Baltimore date, I meant “everything.”

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Dave in healthier times. Get well soon, dude!

So as the one who knows the lyrics best, and the one who could sing and play them at the same time, I was given the position of acting Mantic Ritual vocalist.  “It can’t be that hard,” I thought.  “I always do some vocals in the set.  I scream like ten words and feel fine after!  This will be easy.”  Guess what, you guys – I was wrong!  Hence the sore throat from the first sentence (See what I did there with that setup?  We read a lot on the road, ’cause that’s heavy metal, kids!).  Fresh from our brief stay in the hometown of Rush, we gave it our best shot as a power trio, after some frantic backstage practicing on my part and after we managed to get the bass amp working, and I’m happy to say things went better than expected.  We got some solid applause (part of me thinks they were the “A for effort” kind of applause, but when circumstances aren’t on your side you take what you can get), I only had to repeat one verse because I blanked on the lyrics,  and most importantly, everyone had a lot of fun.  Apparently even wimpy power metal fans like myself can pull the thrash vocals out of their ass with enough beer and adrenaline in the mix!  Dave was already looking a hell of a lot better by the time we finished due to some medicine from some of the other guys on the tour.  Thanks, Cartel!

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After a solid three hours of sleep, we hit the road at 4 a.m. and made the drive to Atlanta, which brings us to right now.  Dave’s off to find the nearest CVS with a clinic since a twelve-hour trek can really take its toll on even the most steadfast of sick band members, and it looks like things will be back to normal tonight.  I must say I’m left wondering how the hell the black metal vocalists do this every night without permanently losing the ability to talk… which is why someone should remind me to high-five Blake from Nachtmystium next time I see him.

Stories should have morals at the end, and the best I can think of is this:  Don’t let anyone give you shit for being one of those geeks who likes heavy metal way, way too much.  Go ahead and crank up those albums and badly sing along any time you’re alone (or in a crowd, depending on the amount of alcohol involved) – you never know when you’ll suddenly be asked to scream yourself hoarse with only a moment’s notice!

-Jeff Potts

Visit Mantic Ritual on MySpace.

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