Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End

By George Dionne | Oct 21, 2010
Final Man's Demise Show (2003-ish)

If you read my last blog, From Pool Shark to Rock Frontman, you’d recall that I gave up competitive billiards to pursue my love of music.  While I am the lead singer for Sound Tower today, there was another band I got my feet wet with.  I didn’t get my start on the microphone either.

After I sold my fancy pool stick, I bought my first guitar.  It was a Fender Strat.  It came with everything the beginning guitarist needed.  I was a little embarrassed being in my late twenties and taking up the guitar for the first time, because I figured that’s something young kids did.  I wanted to start when I was younger but I didn’t have the money for lessons.

My instructor was Michael Freeman of the local band The Moonlighters.  Mike was great, easy going, and fun to learn from.  He could play anything by ear.  Something I still haven’t mastered today.  I found that once the basics are out of the way, playing the guitar is quite easy.  Of course there are advanced aspects that one could get into, but if you just want to play your favorite songs, it’s not as hard as it looks.

I worked with Mike for a little over a year.  At that point I was picking up things pretty fast and began teaching myself new techniques and songs.  I knew I was a good rhythm player, but my solos weren’t exactly on par with Eric Clapton or Eddie Van Halen.  That comes with more time and practice. I felt now was time to start playing with others.

I found a band looking for a guitarist online and went in for an audition.  They were looking for lead guitarist, but I figured if they were as green as me, I could fake it or at least pass myself off as a slow lead player.  The band was called Man’s Demise.  They were a punk and heavy metal type band that played a combination of cover songs and originals.  Tom was the bass player and he was just putting the band together, so they weren’t yet established.

The audition was horrible.  I hadn’t yet grasped the down-tuning concept so I was a little lost when they said they play a whole key lower.  My solos were horrible.  I didn’t know most of the songs because I wasn’t really a fan of the punk and metal music on their set list.  At the end of the audition Tom said to me, “Why don’t you play what you know?"  So I tore through every song I ever played at practice and at home.  That did the trick.  Tom asked me back and the band was complete, rounded out by Ron the drummer, Sean the singer, and James the drummer.

We practiced every week and we were sounding great.  My soloing was becoming better and faster as we went along.  Tom wrote all of the original music for the group.  It was kind of dark material, but then again we are talking heavy metal music.  I was excited to be able to write and add solos to the songs he already had completed.  One of my favorite songs that Tom wrote was called “Hot Rod Johnny.”  The song was different than the rest.  It had sort of a film noir or Twilight Zone feel to it as it told the story of Johnny’s race with the devil.  I added a couple of guitar runs that projected the acceleration of the race car.

I even wrote lyrics to an original song while Tom and Ron came up with background music.  I would never consider myself a songwriter, and never really thought it was that great of a song.  Being the eighties child that I am, I named the song after the band.  The song was about how its not surprising that society is fractured when there are so many injustices going on around us (sounds more artsy and philosophical when I describe it that way.  Here’s one of the verses and chorus:

We’ve got kids heading out to war / what they’re fighting for, I’m not really sure / They lack the tools that they need to survive / And God only knows if they’re coming home alive. Something ‘bout this worlds got to change / but every time we try things always stay the same.

Can’t change my expectations / about the state of this here nation / ain’t gonna be surprised / when it comes to mans demise.

Shakespeare, I know…

As time passed on I realized everyone was really just as green as I was.  We practiced and practiced and practiced, but no one seemed to be looking or knew how to get us a gig.  Another problem that popped up was that after six months of practice, Sean was still using lyric sheets for every song.  We decided to let Sean go and look for a singer.  I suggested that in the meantime, I would sing the songs at practice.  I used to sing in my church choir and in chorus in grade school.

And that’s where it began.  We never found or really looked for another singer.  I moved over to vocals and stayed on leads as well.  I decided now was the time that someone had to book our first gig.  It’s one thing to play in a basement and sound good, but it’s a whole different story when it’s live and in front of an audience.  I didn’t know any bar or club owners so I figured the best way would be to open for another band.

My friend Carlson Wood had a band.  It was a blues-based based band called The Wood Brothers Band (simple enough).  I was a little unsure of mixing metal with blues, but Carl was excited about the idea and gave us a shot to open for him at Jillian’s in Taunton.  Despite being nervous as hell, and the microphones going dead in the middle of one of our best songs, the show was great.

I’d like to say from there Man’s Demise took off and played numerous dates across Massachusetts, but that wasn’t the case.  We only played a handful of dates after that.  One of my favorites was a festival show in which everyone played one or two songs.  It was billed as sort of a musician’s social in which all types of music were welcome.  Well, as we watched act after act of what I would call “hippy” or folk music, I started getting the feeling we were going to stand out…like a sore thumb.

I’ll never forget the look or horror on some of the people’s faces when we plugged in and cranked out two of our heavy metal originals.  It actually brought a smile to my face and I still laugh about it today.  Another gig that I was quite proud of was an unplugged show we did for Pixy103’s Homegrown at the British Beer Company in Cedarville.  It’s not easy translating metal into acoustic tones, but we made it sound great.

James (the drummer) was heading off to college around this time so the search was on for a new drummer.  Unfortunately my life outside of the band was become and issue and I was at the point where I needed to take a break from the band as well.  So in 2003 (or around that time) Man’s Demise played their last show together.

A few years later (around 2006) I reunited with Tom and Ron to play an acoustic benefit show.  It was felt great playing with them again, but the band wouldn’t be getting back together.  Everyone’s lives had changed and we each had other things keeping us busy.

However, that wouldn’t be where my musical collaborations with Tom and Ron would end.  Stay tuned…

Upcoming shows:

Oct 22nd: Buzzards Bay Tavern – 149 Main St - Buzzards Bay (9:30pm)

Oct 29th: The Fan Club – 2859 Cranberry Hwy - Wareham (10pm)

Nov 5th: Buzzards Bay Tavern – 149 Main St - Buzzards Bay (9:30pm)

Nov 19th: Shooter’s – 360 Wareham St – Middleboro (10pm)

Nov 24th: The Fan Club – 2859 Cranberry Hwy - Wareham (10pm)

Nov 27th: Piper Beau’s – 207 Main St – Wareham (10pm)

For more info:



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