From left to right, standing: Yadro Fabijancic – Guitar, Vocals; Daniel Kerese – Keyboards, Sampling; Daniel Urdaneta – Drums; Manuel Ruiz – Lead Guitar. Sitting: Keric Alvarez – Bass; Miguel Tarazona – Frontman, Vocals; Saul Yanes – former Guitar, Art director

This is the last line-up of my band, Feel The Blade, circa spring of 2013. We all came from different backgrounds and joined the band during different times, but we all shared one true goal: making it big in the music industry.

Too bad for us that we foolishly attempted to do so in Venezuela, a Yoko Ono of a nation if there ever was one.

ftb 2007 1

First band pic ever. From left to right: Gabriel, a.k.a. Milhouse, Daniel, Saul and Miguel. Caricuao, December 2007.

Our dream started in late 2007. I was graduating from the tropical hell known as el liceo, ready to leave the behind reggaeton-infused adolescence I never really fit into. After crossing paths with Saul and Miguel, (and clicking on, well, basically everything in life) we started FTB, played together for a few months, and recorded a 4-song EP so rough and amusingly amateur that we took it off the internet out of shame.

Nadie nace aprendido!

The songs did manage to get shared through Myspace, though, and shortly we started to get recognition in our social circle of the time: the Emo-meets-comegato fauna of the San Ignacio mall. A sustained progression in our musical skills took place alongside a couple of lineup changes, and we finally played our first live show at La Cigarra in June of 2008.

The adrenaline rush that kicks in during the intro of your first time playing live… is unforgettable.

ftb 2008 2

2008 Lineup (left to right): Armando (former guitarist, crazy but full of talent); Chucho (we hate this S.O.B.); Miguel; Saul; Daniel. El Hatillo, October 2008

We spent the next two years playing throughout the country and acabando los trapos pretty hard. Cabimas was our first destination outside of Caracas. San Antonio, Valencia and Maracay followed shortly, after Yadro joined the band and helped us take the sound of Feel The Blade to a new direction.

Everything was going great for us, until our first coñazo with reality came: Saul told of his his plans of irse demasiado and move to Argentina with his GF.

We threw an epic despedida party for our homie that was way too ahead of his time, and had no other choice but to move on.

And moved on, we did. Yadro replaced Saul in the guitars, and Keric joined us as the new bassist. The gigs were getting bigger, better and more frequent; we were actually making enough money to pay for our rehearsals and even to invest in band merch; and finally, the breakout: Union Rock Show, August 2010 (sorry for the bad quality!).

FTB DAUZ 2

‘Best band pic ever’ – Armando, Miguel, Yadro, Keric and Daniel after a 2011 show in Caracas.

That was our first true rockstar experience, from the backstage faranduleo to the huge crowd going crazy, moshpit and all, and of course a wild night of groupies, booze and dope. This led us to 2011, the year we (thought) we were gonna make our dream come true.

In the following years, we got serious on all aspects of the band, including with social media: our Youtube channel (check it out for live shows and our exclusive Diaries!) and FB profile kept us relevant in the music scene and secured us a lot of gigs. We invested in even more merch and instruments. We recorded our second EP (which you can download here for free) and released it with our first music video, in the same DIY spirit on which we did everything.

with jona bmth 2011

Como carajito en Navidad: Miguel, Keric, Daniel and Yadro posing with former Bring Me The Horizon guitarist Jona Weihofen. Caracas, October 10th 2011

Things were starting to look great for us. Nothing can compare to what’s arguably one of the best moments in all of our lives: the day we played with Bring Me The Horizon, our long-term favourite band and greatest influence behind our music. That by itself made all the work behind our band worth it.  In a close second place, there’s that time when we played in Colombia, by far the best and biggest show in the band’s history.

It all went downhill from there.

Despite putting all of our money and time into the project, 2013 was the year when we hit the proverbial wall of denial. Prices for music instruments and recording time went through the roof and never looked back. Our long-time rehearsal studio closed down to turn into a freakin’ Scientology church. Most of the bars that hosted our shows in Caracas closed before and during the year; that led to us stopping playing live altogether.

We started recording our third EP, but the project was frozen when our recording studio guy emigrated. A nostalgic music video compiling our adventures throughout the years was the swan song of our rapidly vanishing fantasy.

last show ever 2013

Last show ever: Miguel and Keric at the Secret Show in the house of the Zeta, Caracas, August 30th 2013.

Daniel Kerese, a wacky friend of us who had recently joined the band as keyboardist, was the first one to abandon ship, in July of 2013. One last gig in a house party afterwards, and that was it. Yadro left for Chile “just for the holidays” in December 2013, never to come back again.

Keric got lucky and managed to score one of the last cupos to study English in San Francisco, and through very hard work and enrolling at a community college, managed to stay legally and live there happily ever since. And as I’m writing this, Saul is living in Puerto la Cruz, struggling to cope with the Cola Lifestyle and raising his newborn son; Miguel is due to emigrate to Argentina within a month; and Manuel, the dude sporting dark glasses in our group shot, was lost in a sea of recording and studio musician gigs.

Who’s to blame for our fate?

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the first culprit coming to our minds. If it wasn’t for the crime wave, the hyperinflation, the unmitigated destruction of the domestic private sector, and the remoteness to the rest of the world, we would likely have had a better chance of making it; but most importantly, we’d be still playing together instead of being scattered around the world.

But we mustn’t kid ourselves: in the land of insufferable “urban” latin bullcrap passing as music, our brand of energetic, visceral and noisy rock music was an eternal outsider. The odds were stacked against us.

But if you asked me what would I do if I had the chance to live again, I’ll undoubtedly live my FTB years all over again. Miss you all, cabrones

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Russian-Venezuelan. A Santiaguino who left his heart in Caracas, Daniel is currently rehabbing from his addiction to High Beta and is pursuing a masters' degree in economics at Universidad Católica de Chile. Views are his own.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Broke my heart this story. You can always have a mid-life band! Hopefully in 15 years things will stabilize…hopefully.

  2. Dude I feel so connected to this post, as a pelabola musician myself I know the struggle. Right know for the independent bands is so hard to do anything. A few years ago I’ve had this power metal band https://www.reverbnation.com/secuency , our singer left to Ireland to practice English with one of those cupos (his accent was so bad), It was supposed to be something temporal, but he is not coming back. Anyway his voice was so amazing we didn’t even dared to look for a replacement, so we kind of abandoned that band.

    Today, I am in another band with the same guitarrist from Secuency https://www.facebook.com/NeutriniaBanda , and we are encountering the same problems as before, only worse, organizing an event is so expensive, and the equipment too, even drumsticks aren’t affordable anymore. But you know, we keep trying because this is the thing we love, we are still looking forward to our first live show, but even rehearsals are awesome. I once said in one of those rehearsals that bands are the seasoning of life, you can have one without it it but it would be so dull and I can’t imagine my life without my band.

    Thank you for this post man, and keep rocking

    • PS: Lo de las baquetas de pana que es una locura… si estás en CCS avisame y con gusto te regalo un par. Por suerte hace unos años compré unas cuantas Carbosticks y todavía me queda un par en buen estado. Que cool otro baterista/economista jeje ♥

      • Muchas gracias, yo soy es tecladista, pero yo creo que los músicos/metaleros/economistas son muy comunes.
        Cuando tenga un viaje a Caracas te digo 😀

  3. No creo que nadie pueda decir que quien compone o interpreta este tipo de música sea un espíritu alegre. El video de presentación de su canal de youtube sería un buen ejemplo. No cabe ninguna duda de que se lo pasan maravillosamente bien durante esos años y de hecho, como muestra su post y muchos millones más como él, de hecho mejor incluso que cuando ustedes se hagan mayores porque todo tiene la intensidad de lo nuevo y lo que se acaba de descubrir. Tendrán entonces experiencias que acariciarán el resto de sus vidas pero, insisto, los jóvenes no son espíritus alegres. En esa canción yo siento ansiedad, angustia, ganas de una intensidad que les llene… pero ni la más mínima alegría.

    • Gabriel.. gracias por tu observación. Lo que dices no es del todo incorrecto.. Nuestra idea siempre fue la de expresar a través de nuestra música y puesta en escena nuestros sentimientos sobre la realidad en que vivimos, sin filtro. Que no expresemos alegría creo que es un reflejo aceptable de nuestro mood a la hora de componer e interpretar la canción.

      • Sí, estoy básicamente de acuerdo aunque yo en general veo la música como un reflejo de lo interior, no de lo exterior. Con lo de que no hay alegría tampoco quería decir que son unos tristes pero bueno, creo que esto ya se entendió. La juventud hoy en día es una etapa de la vida que se sobrevalora por todas partes cuando en realidad lleva asociada muchas ansiedades (aparte de otros muchos inconvenientes). La música es una manera de lidiar con ellas.

  4. Venezuela is a country with a deep musical history but the conditions for making music under chavismo are just abysmal, unless you are a two piece half canned wedding band, a joropo gig, or something insipid and pre packaged (a canned pre packaged joropo gig). For good music you need an environment where artists can roam free and live cheaply and where the kids can get out. Mexico City, Bogota….but Caracas, forget it. I feel for you. Performing live music and listening to it are about as close to joy and freedom as we can reliably get. Chavismo has managed to wipe out a live local music scene in a major Latin American city. That is not a simple accomplishment.

  5. Cuanta falta hacen, da mucha nostalgia al leer esto. Los buenos tiempos se han ido del país, los buenos festivales y toques. Sólo se apoya al rock genérico ladilla y las ranciedades de Gillman.
    Saludos.

  6. Ay qué post tan ridículo.. Insufferable! OK, el reggaetón es una porquería para ser consumida y botada pronto, pero la salsa y el merengue son geniales y bailables. Además, como economista debes entender el concepto de tener un “niche”, un área del mercado. A mí me gusta el rock y fui al concierto de metálica y de Dream Theater y me lo tripeé, pero viviendo en el imperio, yo no extraño bandas anglo-wannabe, yo extraño bailar salsa y por qué no, hasta reggaetón y gaitas también. Teniendo una pareja gringa, lo único que lamento es que eso es algo que no puedo compartir, que cuando es diciembre y quiero poner gaitas en el apartamento, no se siente igual… Eso es como que tú me hables mal de los tequeños pq ay no, yo so muy sofiaticado para esa vaina, yo como mozzarella fingers en Friday’s(bueno, si es que existe aún) pq ser anti-Venezolano es más progreso… Osea, todo tiene su espacio: crear rock en Venezuela está bien, pero no tiene pq reemplazar o crearse en vez de géneros más nuestros..

    Todo este post suena como los pendejitos de 19 años que toda la vida es un toque y una olla y fumar.

    Insufferable.

    • Well, that hardly seems necessary.

      Creo que hay cero correlación entre querer hacer rock en Venezuela -sufriendo las consecuencias de la crisis en este area- y ser “anglo-wannabe” u odiar la salsa y el merengue.

      I had my teenage rock band too, and that has not in the slightest stopped me from loving and even covering Simón Díaz, Calle Ciega, Oscar D’León (as a matter of fact, one of my favourite rock bands has an amazing “Llorarás” cover), etc.

      El caso es que es casi imposible para una banda de rock lograr algo en Venezuela. Exhibits A-H: Luz Verde, Americania, Los Colores, Viniloversus, La Vida Boheme, Los Mesoneros, Primera Edición, Telegrama, etc… Mis bandas favoritas, todas parcial o totalmente fuera del país.

      Yo estando en Venezuela sí extraño mis bandas venezolanas… Cause they’re gone. And it’s not like we’re oversupplied of merengue and salsa concerts, for that matter. Nor that it’d be safe to be at one.

      As a musician, that’s what I find insufferable.

    • Hola Gane. Que pena tu comentario.

      No se si te diste cuenta pero solo mencione el reggaeton, el cual para mi es muy pobre musicalmente (por decirlo bonito). No tengo absolutamente nada en contra de géneros musicales ricos como la salsa y el merengue (los cuales se y me gusta bailar).

      Antes de agarrarla feo, porfa te agradezco que leas bien… Y te recuerdo que el reggaeton tiene de venezolano lo mismo que los mozzarela fingers. Ese “género” nació en Puerto Rico.

      • No solo eso, se pierde totalmente el punto del articulo. Lo que menos importa es de q era el grupo, es simplemente ver como la situacion pais trunco un sueno o un progreso a un grupo de jovenes q al parecer tenian el talento para hacer grandes cosas, sea un grupo de rock, gaitas, joropo, regueton o inclusive mas alla y no solamente en el aspecto de grupos musicales, puede haberle pasado a bailarines, grupos de teatro, etc. Sin mencionar como destruyeron el Teresa Carreño.

        Muy buen articulo que refleja lo q pudo ser y no fue por este gobierno.

      • Ok, te entiendo. Pero es que me pareció de muy mal gusto decir que pobres nosotros no pudimos hacer plata y seguir cojiendo y drogándonos pq en este pais la gente quiere mierdas latinas. Osea, lo uno no quita lo otro.

        A mí me parece bien que haya rock en el país, ojalá que en un futuro haya espacio para eso de nuevo. Pero dada toda la situación, tiene un aire de inmadurez y de no querer reflejar mucho en qué mal que murieran las bandas y la capacidad para hacer arte, sino en qué mal que no tengo vida de rock star. De verdad disculpa si te mal entendi. Tal vez es que cuando lo lei tenia el apellido atravesado, pero el “mourning” de la vida de rock y las jevas no simpatizo mucho.

  7. I made it in the US, but in Venezuela nobody cared until my famous band mate’s name and former band were mentioned. Cultural addiction to American products.
    The other thing I wanted to mention is that the Yoko Ono hatred is so 1970. I saw her name mentioned twice in two articles in a pejorative manner.

  8. La mayor parte de la banda nunca tuvo el nivel para pertenecer al competitivo mundo de la musica profesional en venezuela (ni la intencion de obtenerlo). Esa es la realidad.

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