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Please allow me to Introduce Myself

Vital Signs

Born in New York. Made in California.

I was born and raised in upstate New York. That means good pizza and miserable weather. After graduating from Binghamton University in 1991, I left the green pastures of upstate NY for the "Greener Pastures" of Northern California. The rest, I guess you can say, is History. Peruse the Social Icons above to find out more.


John C. Zizak


John Zizak

Locale: 38.4383° N, 121.3819° W
Phone number: 9!6.3S9.9494
Website: www.zizak.com
E-mail: john@zizak.com


The more you know...


  • 2006-future

    Security Compliance Engineer @ Planview

    Built and deployed worldwide infrastructure for Innotas' SaaS PPM solution. Migrated worldwide presence from physical infrastructure to 100% AWS Cloud-based infrastructure with zero downtime. Created and Managed internal controls to support successful SOC2 attestations for 6 consecutive audit periods. Certified ISO-27001 Internal Auditor

  • 2000-2006

    Sr. Unix Administrator @ First American

    Built and supported systems for FirstAmerican's highly successful Metroscan and Metrolist products. Streamlined operations and implemented several cost cutting measures. So much so, I was asked to be successful elsewhere.

  • 1995-2000

    Lead Unix Administrator @MCIWorldCom

    Supported the CampusMCI product serving Internet services to colleges and universities across the country. Moved to State Gov't group and supported 100s of UNIX systems for various products ranging from SMOG Check II to California Firearm Licensee Background check system.

  • 1991-1995

    Systems Matter Expert @ GTE Data Services

    Cut teeth learning Operations supporting IBM 390 Mainframes. Provided application support for GTE employees Nationwide. Promoted to Systems Matter Expert supporting all Infrastructure components and online applications. Introduced to UNIX, never looked back.


Details, Factoids and Minutiae

photo info: Portland, Maine
Dotcoms Founded
Music Maniac
I can Juggle
1 wife 3 kids 2 dogs 2 cats


Read this stuff.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mastodon playing in a Small Ass Club

Mastodon and Scott Kelly of Neurosis bring 100 tons of heaviness to The K! Pit, where the world's biggest and most exciting bands come to a tiny bar (Blondie's In London) and play for just 50 fans. Setlist below. Setlist: 0:08 Scorpion Breath
4:33 Aqua Dementia 9:14 Crack The Skye 15:54 Diamond In The Witch House 24:00 Crystal Skull 28:06 Blood And Thunder

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Dave Lombardo on Jeff Henneman

Legendary Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo is a busy man these days, manning the skins for the Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies and Dead Cross. However, he recently took some time to pen a letter about his former Slayer bandmate Jeff Hanneman. Hanneman passed away in 2013 from cirrhosis of the liver, also having battled necrotizing fasciitis from a 2011 spider bite. In the decades preceding Hanneman’s death, he left an indelible impression on Lombardo, including introducing his rhythm anchor to punk rock.
“One day Jeff shows up to rehearsal with a shaved head,” Lombardo recalls for Metal Hammer. “We were all, like, ‘Whoa, Jeff, what’d you do?!’ He went: ‘I’m punk. It’s over.’ And he brought all of this music with him: some vinyl, some cassettes – Black Flag, TSOL, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks. I was, like, ‘Wow, what rock have I been under? This is fantastic!’ It was a huge pivot point – our songs became faster, more aggressive after that. He was the one that brought that element to Slayer.”
Lombardo continues, “What a lot of people don’t know is that Jeff was the least musically educated and least musically trained in the band. He was a novice when he joined. I’d been in two or three bands before that, but Slayer was his first. He didn’t know much, but he slowly developed and played and taught himself. It was, like, “Wow, dude, you forged that path, you did it yourself” … If there’s a single Slayer song that really defines Jeff, it’s “Necrophobic” from Reign In Blood. I remember him going, ‘This one’s fast, it’s brutal, we’re going to take it to the limit, to the point where we can’t play it any faster.’ And that’s what we did.”
The drummer also shared how difficult it was to part ways with Hanneman after his various ailments caught up with Slayer’s riff lord. “Towards the end of his time in Slayer, he had gotten to a point where his performance wasn’t up to par with the rest of the band. The alcohol was taking its toll, and so were the operations he had had. It was sad, but we had to make the decision and break the news to him. I know that it crushed him.”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Are you a Satanist?

Spirit of decades past With Ghost, can the devil’s music finally become a family affair? By Mozes Zarate mozesz@newsreview.com
Cardinal Copia has a lot to prove. He doesn’t have the blood of a pope, but as the newest bandleader for Satanic rockers Ghost, he’s got youth and “sexual charisma,” according to the clergy. The church needs that: all of Copia’s predecessors are dead. Papas Emeritus I, II and III were assassinated and embalmed earlier this year. The snappy-dressing, jukebox-carrying cardinal’s their only hope.

Until the next album. You can watch the playfully dark succession story unfold on YouTube, used this time to hype Prequelle, Ghost’s fourth LP.

Behind each newly appointed skull-faced preacher is actually the same guy. A fan of history, heavy metal and the 1980s, Tobias Forge is Ghost, the next in a lineage of Grammy-winning rock bands who wear costumes and sing about the devil. Backed by masked musicians called Nameless Ghouls, and the oldest of the fictional popes, the saxophonist Papa Nihil, Ghost makes a tour stop at the Community Center Theater on November 15.

Can the band please the clergy, or at least Sacramentans who grew up on Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper and Judas Priest? Because that’s exactly who this music is for.

Listen to Prequelle’s “Dance Macabre,” an arena rock love anthem sewn as a dark party for the dead, and you’ll see what I mean: It’s a nostalgia trip to that bygone marriage of glam and horror, with reverb-heavy drums, triumphant keys, layered vocal melodies, power-metal riffs and a wanting guitar solo. And similar to bands like Iron Maiden, Ghost pulls from history for contemporary commentary: The song “Rats” retells the Black Plague, so in this case the 14th century. Wonder who they’re calling out?

After a 2015 Grammy win for Best Metal Performance, Ghost is making a name for itself as torchbearers for a classic kind of heavy music. SN&R spoke with the frontman about the apocalypse in Prequelle, creating satanic music that’s inviting to everyone, and Forge’s love for his brother, who died in 2010, on the same day Forge uploaded Ghost’s first EP on Myspace and became an overnight sensation:

Are you a big history buff?

I’m not a historian. I’m interested in history. It’s a lot of ground to cover if you look at it from a worldwide basis, but try me.

There are a lot of historical parallels being drawn right now. To the Cold War. To World War I and II. What’s Prequelle about, and how are you pulling from history here?

The main concept is mortality … Acknowledging the fact that you can persevere so far, but as far we know, you’re likely to succumb to some sort of ending. … And I think from an apocalyptic perspective … that has been preached and prophesized many, many times. Civilizations have come and gone. And new ones arose at the expense of others. … It’s easy to think of humanity as very complicated, but at the end of the day, it’s very simple. We’re not that smart. We move in groups. And we tend to do the same things over and over again.

Are you responding to any recent historical cycles you’ve observed?

Well, politically, in terms of the Cold War, there’s a lot of things … You have a little bit of Watergating here, you have a little bit of the crisis of the mid 1900s going on. We still have huge countries against each other. I’m talking about Russia and America, and me as a European, we’re sort of sitting in between, which is not very different than how it was in the ’50s … But from a worldwide perspective, I also think that there are enough people in the world who don’t want it all to go away permanently … I want to believe that we will be able to look back on this 50 years from now as one of those weird points in history when things were a little bit rocky. But then 50 years from now, there will be something else.

How do you see your role, being a popular musician playing apocalyptic music?

I am an entertainer. I am here to make you feel potentially a little bit better about the world, and in your every day-to-day life. … I guess a lot of the entertainment I’m into, especially when It comes to rock, has some sort of social take, commenting on the contemporary state of the world, especially in the ’60s, the ’70s … But I don’t have higher hopes than that in terms of Ghost’s relevance to what is going on. I don’t think we’re changing a whole lot. But I think we can probably be a little bit of a band aid for anyone who likes Ghost and what we and we’re doing. Hopefully [we] can be a pillow to squeeze if the times feel rough.

In the ’80s, artists like Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne were known for incorporating Satanic themes, and upsetting Christians. But that was 40 years ago. Are there any ways that you’re music has offended people, that surprised you?

I think that I have been personally more subjected to people who have said the opposite. Just coming from a traditionally more conservative background, and then being surprised that they are oddly in favor of what Ghost is doing. Maybe not 100 percent from a philosophical point of view, whatever that means, but it still resonates in a positive way among people who would traditionally not like “satanic rock music.” … I have theories about it, but I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact that heavy metal in the 1980s was way more of a household thing, and the gap between generations was bigger at that point, so you’d have the 15 to 25-year-old teenagers in 1980 or 1985. Their parents would have been 40 or 50 at that point, and were potentially of a different breed than most of the 40 year olds, 50 year olds, 60 year olds today. … But it all depends on how you present yourself as a spokesperson for a band like this. I’m not here to shock people who are not willing to be shocked, if that makes sense. I’m not here to throw a grenade into the god-fearing home, trying to rip your family apart … I want them to come to the show and have fun and feel good about themselves, and want to live their lives … not to commit suicide or go kill someone. I want people to be happy and embrace life. … I can imagine Rob Halford [of Judas Priest] having never said anything unlike what I just said, nor Ozzy Osbourne.

Are you a Satanist?

From a strictly Christian point of view, if that means believing in a physical, half man, half-ram living in the underground, no, I don’t believe there is such a thing. I’m not the opposite either. … And you know, I’m sure in the eyes of the beholder, if I was put in front of true god-fearing bible thumpers, I would probably be regarded as a Satanist … just because I’m not a god-fearing bible thumper. But the concept of Satanism has many, many forms … In the last 50 years now, ever since [Anton] LaVey and pop-cultural Satanism, when that rose in the latter of the part of ’60s with the Church of Satan, and Black Sabbath and Black Widow and Coven and that sort of hippie Satanism, which at the end of the day, heavy metal, black metal, all that is based upon that cultural Satanism. … I grew up with that. … So from that point of view, I would definitely say that culturally, I am definitely, for lack of better way of putting it, I’m a devil-liking kind of guy. But … I wouldn’t sacrifice a baby to a half-ram that I believe to be living in the underground. … And I would never ever encourage anyone to do that.

Oh good. In an interview with Revolver magazine, you likened Ghost to procreating with rock history. What has Ghost meant to you?

Obviously, it’s meant the world … Not only am I myself depending on it, but I have two kids depending on it. I have a wife who’s depending on it. I have around 30 people around me living on this. So obviously it has a great feel of significance for me … It’s very much reliving a lot of the things that I did as a kid, when I dressed up as KISS and Alice Cooper, and watched horror films. It’s very much reconnecting with a lot of the things I grew up with. It’s very childish. In a regurgitating kind of way.

Is that what you meant by “procreating?”

I guess so, I’m not involving myself as a child in that, so don’t go incestuous or weird here. (Laughs.) I’m definitely wallowing in my past. I’m very much a typical kid who grew up in the ’80s. Just because I had a brother who was older than I … I got a lot of teenage culture from him at an early age. I’m definitely wallowing in that. If I would meet myself in 1985, you can compare the things I’m interested in, and not a whole lot has happened, really. I’m searching to recreate myself as a five-year-old with my brother. That feels important.
#Sacramento #Sacrametal

Saturday, October 6, 2018

YOB’s Mike Scheidt on Touring

Getting—and staying—healthy on the road helped save this doom metal icon’s life. Original article by Kim Kelly can be found here. Don't forget to check out YOB on Saturday December 1st at Slim's in San Francisco.
In 2017, Mike Scheidt—the warm, shaman-esque guitarist and vocalist of long-running Oregon doom outfit YOB—got sick. He got very sick, and spent months battling a flare-up of diverticulitis, a life-threatening, chronic intestinal disease that struck him like a bolt of lightning and sidelined his participation in music (and everything else) for most of the year. Though he’s since recovered, the experience changed him; his health remains a constant concern, since he could fall ill again without warning. His close call figured heavily into YOB’s latest album, *Our Raw Heart*, a sprawling, contemplative doom odyssey whose title track sees Scheidt belt out lines like, “Beckoning my restless ghost/ From holes in my gut/ To love from miracles” in his impassioned howl. YOB have hit the road several times since Scheidt received his clean bill of health, and though he and his bandmates—drummer Travis Foster and bassist Aaron Rieseberg—aren’t party animals by nature, these days the singer stays especially vigilant about his wellness routine.

Calling from a tour stop out West, Scheidt opened up about surviving his ordeal, the ways he’s adjusted his touring routine to stay healthy, and why it’s important to avoid writing checks that your body will eventually have to cash. Spotify for Artists: How do you make touring work nowadays, knowing that you’re going to have to factor in your health? Mike Scheidt: Well, I just have to take responsibility for the fact that I do have limitations, and if I want to keep doing this, then I have to make a choice. In this case, that means choosing to eat better, making sure I’m drinking lots of water, that I have supplements and the other things I need to manage my illness, and also cutting down on things like drinking [alcohol] that have a negative impact on my insides. I think that anyone who goes on tour comes back home feeling a little beat up, and for me that’s increased some. That affects my quality of life in general when I’m back home as well. It’s possible for me to get sick again, and so this is just an entire life decision.

If you hadn’t gotten sick, do you think you would have naturally eased into a routine of more serious self-care and wellness on the road? About a year before I got sick, I was trying to manage depression. I’ve been in a spiral for a number of years and made this decision that I had to turn that around, so in early 2016, I quit drinking, got on what was then Obamacare and got back on antidepressants, and started exercising. I dropped 50 pounds and was getting pretty healthy; when diverticulitis struck, it was a really dramatic attack, and one of the doctors hypothesized that I may not have survived it had I not spent the year prior getting my house in order. So I would say that having an illness where I literally almost died put some perspective on the whole thing … and as bad as it looked then, there’s an interesting serendipity about all of this. Also, I just turned 48, and there’s a certain amount of extra upkeep that’s just a fact if I want to keep living well and touring well, and not slowly fall apart. __You’ve been touring with YOB on and off since 1996. What are the biggest challenges of living on the road now, and how have they changed for you over the years? __ I think there’s a certain amount of exhaustion that you find an equilibrium with when you’re touring, and [you] have to dig deep every day ... for 30 or 40 days. For me, it’s about two weeks in, where I’m tired but I’m able to do it, and there is something that’s energizing about alcohol; it can take an edge off, or a shot of whiskey can have this almost fake energy effect in such a way that it makes it a little easier until the very end of the night.

Really, YOB doesn’t party that hard on the road in general; we have our buzzed times, but then when we’ve toured with bands who are just barely crawling into the van at 6 a.m., we’re just like, ‘Man, how do you do that every night?’ Maybe I just don’t have the constitution for that, especially now. Why do you keep hitting the road so hard? At this stage, YOB could pull a Neurosis and play two big shows a year, and people would still trip over themselves to get tickets. You know, in our future maybe that’s not off the table, but it does seem like right now ... it feels like there’s work to be done. Getting out there, playing music, and doing what we do, the conditions are right, and we’re supported in doing it, and it may not be that way forever, so we just all feel like these are things we need to do.

What advice can you share with other touring musicians living with health issues and chronic illness? It’s hard to give advice in the sense that I think most people intuitively know that if you drink a bottle of Scotch, you’re probably not going to feel good the next day; if you eat at Taco Bell every day, you’re probably going to pay for that with extra-long trips to the bathroom. I think for each person, they find a place where they realize that they just don’t want to write checks that they have to cash and deal with those consequences. And there is something to be said, in my personal opinion, in that we travel a long way to get to a place, and then people will go out of their way to end up in that room, and they’re there to see us and we came to see them, and I feel a certain sense of responsibility to get it right. It’s not just about us and our agenda—it’s a shared environment and we want to give the best that we can, because not only does that make for a great evening for us, it can make for a great evening for everybody; if we are just complete drunkards onstage and play a terrible show, we’ll walk out with that, and that’s not what we want. —Kim Kelly

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mute Is an Excellent Film Noir That Just Happens to Be Set in a Cyberpunk World

A scifi tale by virtue of its setting, but an old-school film noir at heart thanks to its story, Mute is a puzzle with eccentric pieces that eventually all fit together—perhaps a bit too neatly, given its fondness for jagged edges. But its love of sleazy neon and some unusual themes do much to make up for its contrivances. Duncan Jones’ latest is set in the same universe as his 2009 debut, Moon, ahead of an as-yet-unnamed third film in his planned trilogy. The films have a loose connection that we won’t spoil here, but it’s not a giveaway to say that Mute takes place right after the events of Moon—so, sometime soon after 2035. But it begins 30 years earlier, at the scene of a boating accident that leaves a boy named Leo half-drowned and fully mute. That brief moment sets up just about everything we need to know about Leo in the movie’s present (where he’s played by Alexander Skarsgård). Also—told you there were some unusual themes—he’s Amish. Though he’s not totally devout, he’s still the most lo-fi person in Mute’s futuristic version of Berlin; it’s a grimy place, full of tawdry bars, brothels, faux-American diners, and tech that’s seemingly used solely for instant gratification. Leo, who flexes his Amish woodworking skills in his spare time, is definitely the odd man out. Granted, he’d already be unique because he can’t talk, but being freakin’ Amish just ups the ante. That, and the fact that he appears to be the only person in the city who’s motivated by the purest of causes: True love.
Leo is an earnest guy in a bad town, and since this is a noir tale, the object of his affections goes missing early on. His wordless search for his beloved, a blue-haired beauty named Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh)—of course, he carries an actual photograph of her around, being stubbornly old-fashioned—leads him into some dark places, though he’s not a complete outsider in that world. Leo and Naadirah meet while working at a shifty nightclub called Foreign Dreams, a place where, of course, Berlin’s foreign transplants mingle and engage in various black-market activities alongside robotic go-go dancers. That said, a boring old coffee shop is where Leo first crosses paths with Cactus Bill (Paul Rudd), another American expat who’s on his own desperate quest. It’s a seemingly random encounter that echoes throughout the rest of the story at louder and louder frequencies. Cactus, fond of cigars and loud Aloha shirts, is a surgeon and former military man who served in the Middle East with Duck (Justin Theroux), a fellow doctor who now has a successful practice crafting bionic body parts. That said, he’s happy to help his best buddy mend bullet-riddled gangsters in an underground clinic, a gig Cactus has only taken because he’s desperate to get the money and necessary documents to flee the country. (To reveal why would be saying too much.) The dynamic of Cactus and Duck’s friendship is one of the weirdest things about Mute, but it makes a strange kind of sense. They became friends under extreme circumstances, and though they may not like each other all the time, there’s a bond there that can’t be broken. Also, they’re both total assholes. Straight up. Cactus and Leo, on the other hand, are total opposites—and the fact that Leo keeps popping up like a bad penny spins the already rage-filled Cactus into an even more dangerous fury. He provides necessary contrast to Skarsgård’s silent character—they are two tightly coiled men pursuing their own very specific, very urgent agendas who otherwise couldn’t be more different in every way. Also, it must be said that while Skarsgård is fine as the lovelorn Leo, seeing the normally likable Rudd rip into such an obnoxious and morally corrupt character is one of Mute’s biggest selling points. Why is he rocking a 1970s porn ’stache in a futuristic cyberpunk movie? Well, why not? Jones’s story for Mute—he shares a screenwriting credit with Michael Robert Johnson—ends up tilting way more toward film noir than scifi in the end. It unfolds on a way smaller scale than something like Blade Runner 2049, the most high-profile recent example of scifi noir. Mute feels like a much more personal story, putting a small network of damage-prone relationships under a microscope and discovering that emotions can be just as raw and real even when the people feeling them are surrounded by artificial flash. Mute is not a perfect movie. A lot of its quirkier beats end up fitting too neatly into its conclusion, which can feel a bit forced once the story’s dominoes start falling over. (The woodworking thing? Yeah, it comes back in a big way.) But if Mute feels tenuously tied to Moon in terms of story, there’s a deeper connection in that both films take the time to question what makes us truly human, no matter the circumstances. Mute also offers a downbeat yet relatable vision of the future, with tech that seems eminently plausible (food delivery via drone!) as well as some more worrisome projections, like the idea that genuinely good people are probably an endangered species. Mute debuts today, February 23, on Netflix. #Netflix #Noir

SYSTEM OF A DOWN Teased As Headliner for Aftershock Festival 2018

System of a Down haven't played a U.S. show in almost two years, since 2015's Riot Fest, but it looks like they'll be playing this summer. Aftershock Festival just released a teaser for their lineup announcement, which is happening April 9, 2018, and we are certain the band they are teasing is System of A Down. The annual festival happens on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 at Discovery Park in Sacramento, CA. Will this be System of A Down's only show? And will System of a Down have any new music to play. System Of A Down have not released a new album since its two efforts Hypnotize and Mezmerize in late 2004/early 2005, and it seems like it's going to stay that way for a little bit. While it looked as though there was hope for a new album in 2017, bassist Shavo Odadjian said recently he doesn't see the album happening anytime soon. In a recent interview, Serj Tankian said the band can't agree on how to move forward. We have. We've discussed it and we've played each other songs, but we still haven't come eye to eye on how things should be done for us to be able to move forward with it. And that's where it's been. Tankian says despite the lack of a new record over the course of 12 years, people shouldn't assume the band isn't getting along. They're still really good friends (and family now in some cases) and they have fun doing shows, but a new record just isn't something that's happening at the moment. That's the funny thing. When people don't see a record, they assume the worst about your internal relationship. But the truth is we're actually better friends – at least I'm better friends with everyone than I've ever been. John's my brother-in-law; he's in my family. We have a great time together touring. But sometimes putting together a record, and that creative output and how things should be done, is different in four people's heads and it doesn't always come together. Fortunate or unfortunate, however you want to call it, that's the truth. But touring is easy, because you've done all these songs. You have fun, you go out and tour, and that's it. At the time, Tankian expressed concern that a new album would require a touring commitment, and with a young family, it's not something he's interested in. Check full article at Metal Injection here.
#SacraMetal #AfterShock #AfterShock2018


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