// First Assignments

I received assignments to write about heavy/aggressive/extreme music this week. I’ll be doing album reviews for About.com Heavy Metal, as well as a bi-monthly column for Portugal’s largest metal magazine, LOUD! To say that I am excited would be a major understatement. Both opportunities are a direct result of the story I wrote for Decibel Magazine’s blog—the Deciblog—this past January.

I have published music reviews in the past, but never on the scale of these two major outlets. I would like to publicly thank José Carlos Santos (LOUD!) and Chad Bowar (About.com Heavy Metal) for giving me a chance to write for a much wider, larger, and international audience. Much respect. I am both humbled and honored. I’ll be joining the ranks of some great writers.

Sometimes it pays to be a total geek about something. That “something” for me is music.

I can’t wait to get started.

JHS

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// Decibel Magazine

In my last post I talked about having a dream of writing for Decibel magazine, a great publication covering most everything heavy in the music realm. I got a gig with the help of some friends. My story went live on the Deciblog yesterday at 3 p.m. I wanted to link to the story here. Please check it out:

Strength Beyond Strength

So many thanks to Decibel, and especially to Justin Norton, who helped get this thing going.

Follow Decibel on Twitter.
Like Decibel on Facebook.

I hope this article helps people out.

JHS

// A Dream Come True

About two months ago I posted something on my Facebook wall, as I do quite often. It was a simple statement: “I want to write for Decibel Magazine.” I didn’t expect much after I had written the sentence. It was a pipe dream, after all. A friend put in a good word for me, and sent in a link to my own blog. A day later I received an e-mail from one of Decibel’s editors. He invited me to write a piece for the magazine’s blog (the Deciblog). I’d get 2,000 words to tell my story of survival and how music—namely metal—helped in my recovery. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

I started writing that very same day. Before I knew it I had written almost 1,000 words. At that point I thought I needed to outline a bit. So I did. It helped immensely and I was able to finish pretty quickly afterward. Nervously, I sent it to my contact.

News came back fast. Everyone had loved it. I only had a few changes to make and a couple of questions to answer. They were satisfied. I was over the moon.

The piece, titled Strength Beyond Strength: The Jason Statts Story (not my title), should go live on the Deciblog January 30.

Dreams do come true; even pipe dreams.

JHS

// My Ear Hates Me

I feel sorry for my left ear. It’s existence since age 14 has been somewhat disconcerting, to say the least. It was around this time that I developed an ear infection. I doubt it was my first, but it definitely was the worst up to that point. It required surgery.

I was cool with this, as I thought I was pretty tough at 14. I figured I would just throw on some Bolt Thrower, scarf down some chicken McNuggets, go get my ear cut off my head and completely rebuilt, then go about my normal day. Not the case. My head felt like it was going to fall off for about two weeks after the surgery. Plus, I had to wear a hockey mask contraption on the side of my freaking head the whole time. This looked dumb. After a while the hockey mask came off and I could hear pretty well. I was happy.

This actually worked fine for a few years. And if it hadn’t been for me blasting my eardrums with loud music, both recorded and in various band situations, it probably would’ve held together a lot longer. More problems, and a second surgery. This was okay for about two years. More problems, one more surgery.

The third surgery was successful. I have about 45% hearing in my left ear. I could get higher, almost 100%, with a prosthetic device. I’m just not ready for that yet. Over time though, I will definitely consider it as an option. I love sound (and music) too much to lose it altogether.

One thing is certain though; my ear produces some crazy stuff. It is absolutely terrifying to see what comes out of there sometimes. Terrifying. But I guess that’s part of the fun. This reminds me, I need to go to the ear doctor. He is pretty cool, too. More on this later.

JHS