Featuring the same line up of Jon DuBose (bass/guitars), Chris Cromelin (drums) and Chris Violence (vocals) as on RETURN TO LOWER UNCTON its another hard look at the problems society is facing.
This is the second full album from Downtown Rats in 2020. Downtown Rats have released and astonishing 24 songs in 7 months!
Look for Downtown Rats on all streaming platforms including iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Napster, TikTok, Tidal, Savvn, Pandora, NetEase, KKBox, ClaroMusica, iHeartRadio, Googleplay, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Deezer, MediaNet, AngHami and Amazon
As a kid growing up in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s, I was obsessed with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead ect. I dreamed of starting a band and touring the world. When I started seeing my first concerts, buying t-shirts and programs I would study the artwork, photographs and particularly, the full tour date schedules.
The bands would have dates in exotic (to me) locations like London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and Rome. To a 13-14-year-old kid with dyslexia and straight F’s across his report card, I knew I was never going to have any sort of job where I could earn enough money to travel to the far-flung places these bands toured. But in the back of my mind and with my air guitaring tennis racket in hand and stereo turned up to eleven, I would dream all day.
But as I thought more and more about what it must be like to travel and meet people from all around the world, I started to realize, you couldn’t be a racist. You couldn’t just hate people because the color of their skin, culture or religion. After all, these people are making you rich. They are showing their love for you. Why would you not return that? I surmised that all these musician’s I admired so much couldn’t possibly be racists. How could they hide that from their fans and from the press? My conclusion was, there is no room for racism in Heavy Metal (in my mind).
I have lived my whole life holding out an extended arm to anyone I have ever met. I ultimately have been blessed to travel and see all the cities mentioned above and tons more, worldwide. I have had the pleasure of going to regions I never dreamed of, seeing cultures so completely different and yet still the same.
The reality is, human beings are all the same, with hopes and dreams to live free, raise a family, have safe food to eat and clean water to drink.
This is what Heavy Metal taught me.
In 2005 I was driving home after a night of band rehearsals in Camarillo, California. I was driving east through Simi Valley, California near the Ronald Reagan library, the same city where the police who beat Rodney King were found not guilty. It was after midnight on a Wednesday. I had pulled off the freeway at Collins Drive at the Moorpark City College “Park and Ride” parking lot to eat a hamburger I had left over from earlier that day. As I sat in my car, I watched in the rear view mirror as a Ventura County Sheriff’s patrol car exited the freeway as I had done. He started to cross over the freeway, then stop and flip a U-Turn. I knew exactly what he was doing. I immediately started the car and exited the parking lot. But I had never been in this area before and I didn’t know there wasn’t an on ramp back onto the freeway. I was forced to cross over the freeway and into a dark neighborhood. He quickly followed me and within 200 yards of driving there were another two patrol cars behind me. The street I was on, Collin’s Drive, had no place for me to turn around and I drove further and further away from the freeway, towards Moorpark City College. As I drove on, yet another patrol vehicle passed me going the other direction, flipping a U-Turn and joining the parade behind me. At this point I knew I was doomed and I made a right into the parking lot of the Moorpark City College and as I did, they lit up their lights and sirens. I parked, shut off the engine, killed the lights and put my hands on the steering wheel. More and more patrol cars arrived. I counted 8 in total. Over the bull horn I was told to exit my vehicle and step to the front and put my hands on the hood, which I did.
A sheriff, in his early 50’s approached with a few other officers behind him. He asked me what I was doing at the park and ride. I told him that I had stopped to eat a hamburger, which was half eaten on the passenger seat in a bag. He proceeded to open the driver’s door of my car and asked if I had a problem with him searching my car which I replied “I do NOT give you permission to search my car”. He openly laughed at me and popped the trunk of my car. I repeated “I do NOT give you permission to search my car” yelling it louder for the other officers to hear me. After riffling through my trunk, he opened the passenger door of my car, then opened the glove compartment door, grabbing fist full’s of documents (registration, insurance, ect) and throwing it all on the ground. He then walked to the front of the car, told me to turn and face him. I was blinded with the spot lights of multiple police cruisers and his flashlight as he asked me why I thought he had pulled me over. I figured this was the end anyways and I had nothing to lose. So, with my loudest, meanest, HEAVY METAL VOCALIST VOICE I yelled
“YOU PULLED ME OVER TO KICK THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF ME!”
I continued and yelled “YOU BETTER FUCKING KILL ME, BECAUSE IF YOU BEAT ME AND I LIVE, I AM GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT ANYONE ON DUTY TONIGHT WILL BE CALLED IN ON THIS COMPLAINT”.
With in just a few moments cruisers began rolling out of the parking lot. The only one that seemed more surprised than me was this Sheriff.
I yelled out “I DID NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO SEARCH MY CAR” and “YOU HAVE NO WARRANT TO SEARCH MY CAR”
With in just a few minutes the parking lot cleared out and he got in my face and told me it was my lucky night and they left me alone. That was one of the scariest moments of my life as I was certain I was going to either be beaten with in inches of my live or flat out killed in an empty parking lot.
I will NEVER have respect for the police. I have had way too many experiences to ever think there are on my side.
YES, you read that right, the sheriff of the deadliest police department in the United States is also the man who signs the death certificates that dictates the cause of death!!!!
This is my story of my time dealing with the deadliest police force in the United States, the Bakersfield Police Department.
I moved from Los Angeles to Kern County in July of 1999. Once settled, an ongoing story in the local news paper caught my attention. It involved the Bakersfield Police Departments use of excessive force and their “Baby Seal Award”. It was being reported that in the BFPD station, officers were being awarded the distinguished award of a stuffed animal baby seal to proudly display on their desk, if they were the most recent officer to have hit a citizen in the head with their metal baton. “to effect an arrest, prevent escape, or overcome resistance,” without specifically limiting baton strikes to the head to situations involving an imminent threat of death or serious injury to the officer or another. KCSO deputies have been caught rewarding colleagues for aggressive use of batons with a “baby seal” prize for the best clubbing. Others have modified their patrol cars with decals declaring “We’ll kick your a**” (canine cars “We’ll bite your a**.”) Source
Back in the early 2000’s there was an investigation into the so called “Baby Seal Award” that led to the reprimanding of deputies, but to my knowledge, no one was fired or punished.
While living in a small town of south of Bakersfield on the Kern County / Los Angeles border I met Officer Youngblood. He would later become Sheriff Youngblood, not only is he the sheriff of Kern county he is also the CORONER of Kern county!
Meet the man: https://kernsheriff.org/
While living in Kern County, the local news papers continually ran articles of citizen stories of the BFPD’s epic level of police brutality (and possible murder cover up in Frazier Park). As recently as 2015 the problem in Kern County has become national news.
In 2015 a Federal investigation was opened on the department.
The subject of police brutality, threats, beating by the police, harassment and other offences by the police were regular conversations in the community when I lived there. It was an open subject that we all were aware of. And of course 100% denied by the BFPD.
To this day, Sheriff Youngblood still has his job as Sheriff and coroner. To this day, Bakersfield PD is still considered one of the most dangerous police departments in the United States. At what point is enough, enough? By simply leaving police departments like this one unchanged, we are leaving them unchallenged and by leaving them unchallenged, they will continue to abuse their position of power OVER the population, not protecting them.
Even as we have this conversation, as recently as June 10th, 2020 Sheriff Youngblood stated “I am not for a citizens review board” Watch Here
The point of this series of post’s is to show historically, that not only have the police departments around the United States engaged in criminal police brutality, they have also systematically been covering them up with their “Protect the Blue” and “Good ol’ boy” system of police unification. I am posting these stories because I had a first person experience with the situation. IMO, Youngblood is a criminal who should be relieved of his position as both sheriff and coroner and should be fully investigated and charged with the cover up he is so obviously involved in.
#policebrutality #kcpd #bakersfieldpd #blacklivesmatter #fightforchange #unity @cnn @cnbc @nytimes @latimes #sheriffyoungblood
Thanks to the cellphone camera, the on going game of “my word against yours” is OVER! I have experienced first hand corrupt cops, liars, abusers and police who simply don’t do their jobs when called upon. Time and time again I have struggled with the frustration of dealing with the police, both being harassed, manhandled and threatened by some blue pump monkey, brooding their chest, waving a gun and badge in my face while obviously getting off on the whole “Power Trip”. I have dedicated my entire lyrical catalog of musical recordings over the last 30+ years at fighting injustices for those without a voice. Is my music aggressive? YOUR DAMN RIGHT IT IS! Many times it’s an abstract vision of events, but it is always fighting the powers of abuse. My music is also NOT FOR CHILDREN!
This little game that the police have always played is being exposed. The game that we all know is real, but the police claim is not. Every single police officer employed today has seen it behind closed doors in the station locker room. I do believe there are many men and women that joined the police department to make a positive difference in the world and I firmly believe that every single one of those “Good Cops” ran into a wall of the “Good ol’ boy system”. Right now, there are officers on police forces across the United States that have openly celebrated criminal police brutality and have been rewarded for their brutal efforts by their superiors and peers. It’s laughable when the police departments across the country swear up and down that that is not the case.
Here is a perfect example: Burbank police officer commits suicide on public street
Burbank officer listed in FBI probe kills self
Thursday, October 29, 2009
(10-29) 20:20 PDT Burbank, Calif. (AP) —
A police sergeant who was being investigated as part of an FBI probe into police misconduct shot and killed himself on the corner of a residential street Thursday, authorities said.
Neil T. Gunn, 50, was found dead around 11:40 a.m. after he committed suicide as he stood at the junction of North Sunset Canyon Drive and East Harvard Road, the Burbank Police Department said in a statement.
Witnesses reported seeing the 22-year veteran turn the gun on himself, police said.
The FBI has confirmed it is looking into possible civil rights violations by Burbank officers and the U.S. attorney’s office has issued a grand jury subpoena for personnel records involving 12 members of the department, including Gunn, the Burbank Leader reported.
The subpoena sought records on “use of force, defensive tactics, Tasers, pepper spray, or the rules and ramifications pertaining to the use of excessive force or a violation of civil/constitutional rights.”
I bring up this specific case, because not only was I living in the area at the time, but I was very close friends with a family member of this officer. The day he committed suicide was a huge shock to his family but also a stunning proof of guilt as far as I was concerned.
His suicide ended an FBI investigation into police brutality: FBI probe of Burbank police focusing on alleged excessive force involving 12 officers
“Among the most explosive claims were that department officials tolerated an environment in which officers commonly used slurs about race, ethnicity and sexual preference directed at them, their colleagues, suspects and the public.”
With his suicide, he both closed the investigation and allowed the “Business as usual” police work to continue. Burbank PD Sgt. Neil T. Gunn is a criminal and should be remembers as such. He covered up criminal activity within his police department and his actions, through his suicide covered up all the abuses of his fellow officers and to a lessor degree, the entire Burbank PD.
So, what can be done? Well, It starts with the police officers, in their own locker rooms and stations having an open conversation and admission that this is what has been going on and that it’s going to stop! If the police do not police themselves, than we have NOTHING. It starts with them. Continued pressure on the entire police force to weed out the dirty cops must continue and the police men and women that call out, report and speak against their fellow officer should be rewarded. This is the ONLY WAY that I can see this coming to an end.
#policebrutality #burbankpd #SgtNeilTGunn #corruptpolice #georgefloyd
When I was a kid in the 1970’s growing up in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles, we knew the police officers who patrolled our neighborhood. In fact, our neighborhood beat cop lived two streets over. We all knew him very well. As a kid, maybe 9-10 years old, I remember there being a dispute among the kids and someone stating that our local beat cop was in front of his house mowing his lawn and we all got on our bikes, road over, interrupted him and ask him to weigh in on our debate, which he did with a smile. I distinctly remember him and his partner rolling through the neighborhood in his “Blues Brothers / Adam 12” model police car, waving to us kids, us riding our bikes next to his police car and the feeling of unity. Our neighborhood mailman and bread man lived on our block as well. This is when community had unity.
By the 1980’s my experiences with the Los Angeles police department took a different turn.
I was a typical teen, getting into trouble and spreading my wings and when I got busted with a stolen bicycle in junior high school, the police rolled out in force to make an “example out of me”. I was in 8th grade at the time, I was arrested and held in the principal’s office for 2 hours, purposely, before being marched out of school after the final bell rang, in front of the entire school to a fleet of waiting police cars. It had to have been the slowest crime day in Los Angeles’ history to have allowed that many police cars to arrests a 13-year-old kid. It was the most scandalous event of the school year thus far and instead of making an example out of me, they made me a total bad ass for the next three weeks.
But my memory of their intention, to prove some point of power over me and the other young people in that school left us all feeling less respectful of their tactics. I may have been young, but I wasn’t stupid.
Fast forward 3 years, I was 16, drinking beer in a cul-de-sac with some friends. We chose this spot, because we could see cars coming at a good distance and we had an escape route should any one come. We drank there off and on for over a year, with out any issues and then one night we watched a black and white round the corned at speed, barreling towards us. Our immediate response was to ditch our 40 ouncers in the ivy and blast for the escape route, the second we made a move, their cherries lit up and we could hear the engine strain. They had a 300-yard street to get to where we were drinking, we had a 100-yard parking lot to cross before a 4 foot drop off into another parking lot, a place they could not drive too.
We were halfway across the parking lot when they reached the entrance. In a full terror sprint, we hauled ass as they approached. I was blistering the soles of my shoes I was running so fast, I cleared the first lot, cleared the drop off and cleared half of the next lot, but my slowest buddy wasn’t so fast. I turned around to see him tackled by a female police officer who grounded him into the asphalt. She put his arm behind his back and as he screamed bloody murder I watched and heard her hyper extend his arm behind his back and snapped his arm like a twig, on purpose. The blood curdling scream that followed still makes me sick. I remember her looking around the parking lot to see if any of us had seen / gotten the message. My respect for the LAPD ended that very moment. 16 years old.
Every single experience with the LAPD, Ventura County Sheriff’s department, Kern County Sheriffs department, Burbank PD and other police departments (Williams Arizona is a particularly shitty PD as well) has yielded the maximum ticket, sentence, fine, punishment. Regardless of how simple the infraction. Any time it has come down to the discretion of the police officer, where he could have simply said “Well, it’s not a big deal, just don’t do it again”, the option has ALWAYS been the MAX. As an adult I have never run from the police. Any time I have ever been pulled over I have kept my hands on the steering wheel, spoken clearly and with a respectful tone, but it has always been met with the maximum fine, harassment or arrest.
With all this said, I have never been beaten by the police. I’ve been verbally abused, had hand cuffs put on way to tight, been put in holding cells overnight without shoes or shirt with the air conditioning maxed out, ect.
Do I believe that through all of these negative experiences, that the only reason I have never been beaten by the police is because I am white? At 53 years old, looking back I can say, YES, I feel, that even though I have had a lifetime of negative experiences with police, that my only saving grace has been my skin color. I firmly believe, that there were many, many instances, where things could have been very different for me, if my skin color had been different.
I have personally experienced police officers, judges and corrections officers that were not qualified to do their jobs. Both men and women that 100% abused the power of the badge to incite fear, pain and exert power over the community that has only led to less respect for them. I have also seen the police 100% blow off their responsibility when called upon them at times of need and NOT do their jobs.
I’ve heard time and again that “It’s a tough job being a police officer”. I get that. If you’re not up to the task, DON’T DO THE JOB!
Today the beat cop is dead. He has been replaced with NATO equipped marines that patrol the streets of America like its Baghdad. Police patrol streets that they don’t live in. They have ZERO connection to the people they are sworn to protect and because of this, respect for the police, by the community is gone. The police are not seen as hero’s, they are feared by everyone from children to the elderly.
Do I believe the black community that there is systematic racism in the police department, your damn right I do! What a horrible, fearful way to live your life, never knowing when or where you will be harassed by the police. Knowing that no matter your financial status, you will always be seen and treated like a criminal.
And what is the police’s end game? To eradicate 12.7% of the population of the United States? Where do they think the African American population is going to go? Do they think that they are going to beat them all to death and then one day it’s just going to be all white America?
It’s time all people stand up against the injustices of the police. Force them to a higher standard. Force the police to weed out the bad seeds by putting pressure on them all. Make it such an unpleasant situation for them that they are forced to remove the prejudice, abusive and violent cops from the police department and end the “Good old boy” way of doing business. It’s only when the police have had enough, that they will look inward. It’s only when they look around the police station and see the officers among them that have bragged about and been rewarded for abusing their power (I’m looking at you Bakersfield PD and your ‘Baby Seal award’). It starts at the top! The police chiefs of America need to become the hero’s of tomorrow by making the hard choices and living up to the standards that they signed up for.
There is no secrete that the blue protects the blue. That the blue is the only color they are sworn to protect and that all races are judged with black following to the bottom. This isn’t some abstract concept that’s hard to understand. This shit has to end or we will never be free, any of us! #tiredoffearingthepolice #blacklivesmatter
While locked down, I have been making the best of my time musically. Once again, I am working with Jon DuBose on two different projects.
The first one is HEAVY INDUSTRIES
This features Jon DuBose on bass and rhythm guitar, Jesus Alonzo on lead guitar, Gauthier Trumel on drums. These tracks have been mixed and mastered by Matheus Manente. These songs are classic Speed/Thrash Metal. If things go well, we are hoping to make music video’s for both tracks. There is a third track currently in the works that include the same line up.
The second project is DOWNTOWN RATS
This features Jon DuBose on bass and rhythm guitar and Chris Cromelin on drums. It is being mixed and mastered by Jon DuBose. It is currently being recorded and should be out mid 2020. The genre of this album will be in the Speed Thrash/Punk vein which will also include a cover of Black Flag’s “This Is Good” as well as a few other gems.
Stay tuned, more music coming soon. – CV
During this lock down period I have been working hard on new music. This first song SOLO RIDER features Jon DuBose (bass, rhythm guitar), Jesus Alonzo (lead guitar) and Gauthier Trumel (drums). Mixed and mastered by Matheus Manente.
You can expect a few more songs from this line up in the following months!
When I was a kid listening to the first heavy bands I came across, Queen, Zeppelin, KISS, AC/DC and others, I saw them as “International”. When the New Wave of British Heavy Metal hit the scene with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Motorhead and others, I knew it came from “Over There…”. In school, I learned where “Over There” was, but I struggled to figure out how to get there.
I was never good in school, I struggled with my education, so I never thought I would ever make the kind of money necessary to travel abroad and see all the exotic lands that my favorite bands came from and toured in, but I thought that if I was in a band that I would have a better chance of seeing those places.
I knew from an early age that if I was going to travel and be “International” as a musician that I couldn’t hold any prejudices. As a young kid, I made lots of mistakes, did things, said things. That’s what you do when your young and that’s what you do when you never leave your block or local town. But when you start to look at the world as a whole and that there are other people and if you are lucky enough to go out and meet them, then you can’t hold any prejudices in your heart.
When I toured with my band, Cessation Of Life, it was an unbelievable pleasure to meet people from all over the United States. I was quick to learn that each State of the United States is like its own little country with its own traditions and customs. Most of which are very fun to experience. But there were times when I realized that sometimes you run into people that are not “International”. They have never experienced anyone from outside of their town. They have never traveled and cannot or will not respect others idea’s or beliefs or different skin color, sexual preference and what ever.
The more I have traveled, the more those interactions become obvious with people of lessor tolerance.
Seeing bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Sepultura and Motley Crue, I knew those bands had been around the world. I bought their tour books at the shows that listed all the tour dates and I knew they were “International”. I knew that they had shaken hands with every color and creed.
For me, it said “These people must be tolerant of other colors and religions or whatever”. I would surely read about it in magazines if they were yelling mean things from the stage or telling fans to fuck off because of their skin color. So, without anyone having to tell me that being prejudice is bad and from that fact that none of my grandparents or parents ever behaved that way, I came to the conclusion that being “International” meant being TOLERENT of others in general.
I have had the opportunity now to have traveled around most of the United States, lived in Japan, currently living in Italy and traveling around Europe, soon to be heading to China, meeting Metal Heads where ever I go and exercising the lessons I learned not just from my parents, but the lessons I learned from the bands I worshipped as a kid.
\m/ METAL \m/