You may have read about my YouTube drama.
Short version: I made a video for a song by the death-metal band Suffocation and uploaded it to YouTube. The video received over 3,000,000 views until YouTube removed it, via Warner Music complaint, for copyright infringement. The full story is here.
I’m happy to report that not only has the issue been resolved and the video is back on YouTube, but one of the more awesome experiences of my life occured because of it.
Background: After YouTube removed the video, I got in touch with the band’s management: Extreme Music Group. Their manager told me that they approve of the video and want it back online. I also reached out to Roadrunner Records (label), Warner Music (distribution) and YouTube — they were all surprisingly nice and cooperative.
But the coolest thing happened a couple of weeks ago. Suffocation was on tour and playing a show here in San Francisco. A drumming magazine, Sick Drummer, heard about my YouTube story and contacted me. Somehow they hooked up a free ticket and backstage pass for me at the concert.
The show was great. Granted, Suffocation isn’t a big as Ozzy or anything, but they’re one of the biggest death-metal bands out there, and there were well over 1,000 people at the show. Suffocation has been around for more than 20 years and I’ve been a big fan for almost that long — since I was 14.
So I get to the show. I watch their set. They rock. I’m wondering what to do with the backstage pass. I figure it’s kind of embarassing for some random guy to go backstage like I’m a groupie or something. But I figure ‘what the hell’ and when the band gets off stage, I head to the backstage door. The bouncer shines a flashlight on my pass and lets me in.
The first person I see is Suffocation’s bass player, Derek Boyer. I approach him awkwardly, “Umm, hi. I made a YouTube video for one of your songs…”
Almost immediately, Derek was like “Dude I thought you looked familliar!” He called over to the rest of his bandmates, all hidden around other parts of the backstage area. “Guys! Get over here! It’s the YouTube guy! Here’s here!”
They all came out. Terrance Hobbs, a legendary guitar player said to me, “You have no idea how many times we’ve watched that video!”
One of the other band members shouted, “Can we get a picture with you??”
It was surreal. Here’s a band I’d been worshipping since I was a high school freshman. And here they are, asking to take pictures with me. It was insane. And so fun.
We chatted for a while about this and that. Each member was cooler than the next. Mike Smith, their drummer and major influence of mine, is famously quiet and was sort of subdued, “Cool man… glad we could influence you.” I chatted with Frank, Suffocation’s singer, about a show of their I saw in Maryland almost 20 years ago — he remembered who else was on the bill!
They had a lot of questions for me. They wanted to know the full story with the video, why it disappeared and how it got back online. Later that night I hung out a lot more with Terrance and Guy Marchais, their other guitar player. Terrance gave me a copy of their newest CD and Guy gave me some “Suffocation”-branded guitar pics.
All in all, was a night to remember. The backstage picture is below.