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.
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.
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!).
‘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.
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: 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 ♥Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.