The (Abridged) History of The Devil's Minstrels
||Drexil or Drex
Instrument: Vocals (Front-Man)
Birthday: January 12
Musical Influences: Phil Anselmo, Chuck Billy, "Barney" Greenway
Past Bands: Flying Weasels of Doom - Tampa Local Band
Hobbies: Weight Lifting, Strength Training, MMA Fighting
Favorite Food: Protein Shakes & Oreos (together)
Last Book Read: Harold and the Purple Crayon
Trivia: His life goal is to meet his "Lord" King Diamond
In high-school Drexil was a jock; at 15 he was already on the Varsity football and baseball teams. In his sophomore year he met Carl who, in exchange for jock protection, tutored Drex until graduation. Drex had a vision that he barely ever speaks of during a football game wherein he, as the quarterback, ran the entire length of the field without a helmet. He suffered a concussive head injury that he incurred by making contact with every opposing player along the way. Drex claims that in the vision he saw himself becoming the front man of the "best metal band in the world." So immediately after high school he and Carl formed the band the Flying Weasels of Doom. Unfortunately they were not the best metal band in the world, not even close.
A few years later after hearing Byl play live with Boner Alley and finding out that Carl knew Byl well, he threatened Carl with increasingly more intense violence daily until Carl recruited Byl to play with their newly formed band The Devil's Minstrels.
Drex has stated publicly on numerous occasions that having Byl in the band with the addition of Undead Zed on drums; his vision has come true.
Instrument: Bass & Electronics
Birthday: June 2
Musical Influences: Steve Harris, Skott Carino, Robert Trujillo
Past Bands: Flying Weasels of Doom - Tampa Local Band
Hobbies: Video Games, Computer Programming, Comic Books
Favorite Food: Milk & Beef Jerky products
Last Book Read: Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (for the 37th time) and the C# Language Pocket Reference an O'Reilly Publication
Trivia: His life goal is to meet his "Lord" Lord British aka Richard Garriott
In high-school Carl was considered a mega-nerd. He was the lead trombonist in the marching band and treasurer of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons club. This status resulted in daily beatings on a "jock rotation" (Drex having Tuesday afternoons). Once Carl convinced Drex that he needed his help to graduate, the standardized violence stopped, and after awhile Carl and Drex became close friends, mainly due to their shared love of Heavy Metal Music.
A few years after high-school Carl met Byl via a role playing board game competition at a local comic book store. For Carl, Byl's local band stardom had preceded him, and after a year or so of hero worship Carl realized he was a real down-to-earth guy and they became great friends. Once the Flying Weasels of Doom didn't work out Drex asked him to use his friendship with Byl to get him in the new band The Devil's Minstrels. Carl was too nervous to just flat-out ask Byl to join the band so instead created a one-on-one fantasy character duel competition. If Carl won the competition Byl would temporarily play with the new band and if Byl won Carl would buy the next 100 pizzas Byl ordered. The battle that ensued consisted of hours of flinging dice, heated geeky arguments over numeric damage assessment tables and sweat drenched character sheets - the battle is now only documented in local urban legend and whispered about in the dark corners of most comic book stores in a 100 mile radius. So Carl won and Byl started playing with The Devil's Minstrels. However; Byl has never shown any interest in leaving.
Carl 'officially' lives with his mother Melba who is single, overly motherly in public, always high on "prescription marijuana," and is extremely attractive for her age. Carl has dealt with years of continuing "MILF" jokes about his mother. Most of the time he stays at Drex & Nora's apartment as his mother won't let him play video games at home.
||Byl (pronounced Bill)
Birthday: February 12
Musical Influences: Ace Frehley, Randy Rhoads, Darrell (Dimebag) Abbott, Bill Hall, and a huge number of others
Past Bands: Powerhouse Monkey Squad, Shrieking Holy Stones, Bizarre Fungal Nightmare, and many more, but previous to DM; Boner Alley
Hobbies: Comic Books, Video Games, Food in Large Quantities
Favorite Food: Cheese
Last Book Read: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Script Book, Season Two
Trivia: He is secretly in love with Sonya "The Black Widow" the 98lb Eating Champion
Byl picked up his 1st guitar in 1975 after his baby-sitter snuck out and took him to see KISS in concert. After seeing Ace Frehley in concert that 1st time he knew that being a metal Guitarist was his life calling. Since those early years Byl has been in over 17 bands and has a presence on over 25 albums (all locally released demo tapes).
Byl's life of trying to be a full-fledged rock star is long behind him. After decades of attempting stardom with dozens of local Tampa bands he is now fully content to play music with The Devil's Minstrels, eat large amounts of food, read comic books and play video games with his bud Carl.
Due to all the years he's played, the massive number of musicians he's played with, and the sheer amount of local performances; Byl is known throughout the Tampa Bay area as a local metal music legend. He is very humble in his middle age regarding his local fame but also knows he can still shred lightning licks with any of the young guitarists and they in turn respect him for it. Byl may age but his music stays young; edgy and heavy as hell with a subtle hint of all respected heavy metal styles.
Even though Byl gave up on chasing young 20-something girls, they haven't stopped chasing him.
Birthday: April 16
Musical Influences: unknown
Past Bands: unknown
Favorite Food: unknown
Last Book Read: The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics by Cahn & Goldhaber and Shadowlands: Quest for Mirror Matter in the Universe by Robert Foot
Trivia: It's been rumored that Zed was a founding member of Mensa International, but that was in 1946 ?!?
Even the band knows almost nothing about Zed. When DM was holding auditions for a drummer someone called Carl on the phone and said "in answer to your add, the drummer Undead Zed will be delivered" at a certain time and date. At that exact time and date, no one noticed, but a black box was outside their practice area door. After much hesitation they opened the box and out came Zed in a large pillar of smoke. To their shock he sat down at the practice drum set and kicked major butt showing massive technical metal prowess via a 5 minute drum solo. After the solo was over the band cheered and tried to ask him a few questions. Zed answered none and simply went back to the black box, got in, and closed it from the inside. Later that day the band realized that Zed had mysteriously moved into the back room of their apartment.
Typically if someone sneaks into his dark room they will only see him sitting perfectly still looking creepy. However every once in a great while he may be seen sitting in the dark room with a small reading light going over ancient mathematics, physics or scientific manuals.
Computer Network Administrator, Nightly Newspaper Delivery, Inventor, Conspiracy Theory Columnist and anything else that makes him a quick buck. He is known to not be above any type of work.
February 29 - He has always been deeply confused about being a Leap Year baby; he worries how this effects his overall aging progression.
Bachelors Degree in Computer Forensics
Masters Degree in Pre-Columbian Mayan and Aztec Cultural Studies
Masters Degree in Paranormal and Metaphysical Studies (with a minor in Applied Exorcism)
He writes columns for a local Conspiracy Theory Mailer entitled "They Did It!" Phil's most recent work involves topics such as: (1) how he loves video games but thinks they are elaborate brainwashing tools; (2) that he reads comic books mainly because he's convinced that the stories are secret government messages being sent to the USA's enemies that need to be dissected; and (3) that pornography was never created to bring women down, but instead keep men from succeeding in life thus stopping them from having real relationships and forcing the need to buy tons of Mountain Dew and chicken wings.
Phil also recently had a run-in with the law for frantically rummaging around in a ladies underwear bin in a local department store. Once the store-detective questioned him about his odd behavior he explained that he believes any adult woman equal to or under the size of a 3 should be tracked by GPS as they must be alien cross breeds since the only women that will even talk to him are hugely fat - i.e. the thin chicks know he's on to them.
Phil met Carl at a Horror Movie Festival. Phil was there to record and sonically study the women's screams in the independent movie viewings believing that they incite hunger for fast food; which is his theory for why Burger King was a Festival sponsor and why he couldn't stop eating there throughout the Festival. Carl was the only one who believed him and together they remotely hacked into the projector's computer system and showed their favorite "Roseanne" episodes instead of the designated films which ultimately brought down the Orange County Scream Fest. They have been best friends ever since.
"B" Horror Movie Actress, Band Manager, Band Financier and Booking Agent
July 4 - She is a "Firecracker" Baby !
Nora is currently enrolled in Pinellas Park Junior College
She studies: Ethnic Pseudo-Color Matte Processing and Method Action for Horror
Nora is Drex's girlfriend. Nora met Drex in a bizarre turn of events. On that fateful night she had just broken off a long term relationship with her cheating high-school sweetheart. She vowed revenge by sleeping with the next shlub she saw. She walked straight up to Carl with all intents and purposes of him being that next guy. Carl had been watching her all night but was too afraid to say anything to her. He hadn't noticed her walking toward him as he bent down to pick up what he thought was a lost camera SD card thinking there might be something funny or dirty on it. When he bent over, Nora's direct line of sight went straight to Drexil. When Carl stood up he came face to face with Nora and Drex playing uvula boxing, and to add insult to injury the lost SD card turned out to be a broken blue corn chip. After a while Carl did find out about his missed chance but now the whole thing has been reduced to a big joke between Nora and Drexil. Carl on-the-other-hand will never eat another blue corn chip for the rest of his life.
Nora is a professional "B" Horror Movie Actress. She is good enough as a "straight to DVD screamer" to make enough money not only to support herself but the band as well. She handles everything regarding DM. She passionately believes in the band and puts her heart and soul into it.
The (Mis)Adventures Thus Far - with a different looking Phil and Nora
"Rockumentary" - in 3 Parts
In part 1 after the band shreds a short tune, a film crew moved in quickly to get exclusive interviews with the band on their epic home-turf; their apartment. They started out attempting an interview with Drex who, as expected but in record time, decided to pull out a sword and undeniably declare himself the Ultimate "Metal Warrior."
Unfortunately Carl kept interrupting the proceedings by (1) announcing that he taped over Drex's VCR "Ultimate Alpha Male Cage Match" recordings, by (2) yelling out that he was unsure about making Drex a sandwich with the funky mustard he found in the fridge; which he thought could possibly cause Drex intense gastro issues, and (3) Carl averting a violent thrashing because he spilled some of that funky mustard in Drex's combat boots.
Finally in this portion they interviewed Nora to get the scoop on both herself and the hidden secrets Drex keeps about his rumored 'sensitive' side. Nora also discussed her favorite horror movie gig; "Dracula's Spatula" wherein she was continually chased by a cooking utensil with little googly eyes and paper fangs.
Continuing in part 2 Carl was the 1st to be interviewed delving into his "L33T SKiLZ" (Elite Skills) as a video gamer. After the interview Carl had more than a few technical difficulties during his keyboard solo - poor Carl's computer popped a BSOD or "Blue Screen of Death" that he fixed just in time.
The next to be interviewed was Undead Zed. Reluctantly the film crew went into the dark cold recesses of The Devil's Minstrels downstairs room where Zed resides. After several attempts they got very little out of Zed and decided to bail - especially since the film crew's cameras never seemed to work around Zed anyway. To add insult to injury directly after the interview attempt, the band tried to film another tune when Undead Zed's drumsticks started flying around the room by the dozens breaking one of the cameras.
Lastly Carl gave directions to the film crew on where they could find the elusive shredder Guitarist Byl.
In part 3 the film crew made it to the "Comic Barn" where Byl works and is part owner. Byl discussed in great detail his love for comic books and the deeper philosophies regarding their meaning - he explained that in 1,000 years archeologists may not know if comic books were fictional tales or historical accounts of reality - much like cave paintings.
The Devil's Minstrels became serious for a minute when Byl explained his two Guitar 'Angels,' which are represented by his two arm tattoos - one for Randy Rhoads (who died in a plane crash on 03-19-1982) and one for Dimebag Darrell (who was brutally murdered on stage by an idiotic psychopath on 12-04-2004)
After explaining that there is no such thing as an "extra slice of pizza in his world" Byl shredded a blistering Guitar solo paying tribute to his two fallen angels.
The Rocumentary comes to an abrupt end as Carl bolted into the filming area yelling something about how they got "The Big Gig!"
"The Big Gig!"
Drex tried to get the information out of Carl (by yelling alot) hoping that the "Big Gig" was either the Jacksonville "Metal Barn" gig they had been trying to get, or possibly the Gerble-Spraken Metal Festival held in Germany. Carl ended up finally explaining that the "Big Gig" he was so excited about was a gig for their one and only band-sponsor; "Olmec Head BBQ Sauce." Carl explained that The Devil's Minstrels had been picked to be in their next TV Commercial both as spokespeople and as the official "Olmec Head BBQ Sauce" jingle composers/performers. Drex was obviously not happy about the whole idea as he said quote, "but we're a freakin' metal band you dingus!"
So Carl and Byl went off and tried their best in writing the jingle. 1st Carl went all nutz and played an overly complicated Techno-Metal tune that Drex vehemently hated. 2nd Byl and Zed played what they yelled out as the "Bug Song" and played a heavy metal version of the "Mexican Hat Dance." Then finally Phil jumped in and started blasting away his rendition on Trombone almost making Drex's head explode in fits of anger.
Afterwards the professional film crew attempted to film the commercial via combinations of the band-mates - it was an utter failure for a mountain of reasons. The pro film team was led by world renown director "Penny Peavy."
Finally when the commercial was aired on TV, much to the dismay of most of the band, the commercial was only Nora (dressed in jungle gear and a pith helmet) and Byl (dressed in a grass skirt and feathers) pitching the sauce with a bizarre accompanying jingle written and performed by Carl and Phil.
At the very end, Carl shocked everyone by casually mentioning that had gotten the Jacksonville gig.
"Road Trip !" - to Jacksonville - in 4 Parts
In part 1 Carl explained to Drex, whilst in his clothes closet, that for a show of the Jacksonville magnitude he needed a "hook" on stage - something that people would remember. Drex pointed out that Carl's hook is that he's an idiot... Then after almost getting beaten up by Drex in a pile of his own underwear, Carl explained the Jacksonville gig to everyone.
The details were simple: (1) they *weren't* headlining, (2) it was *not* a paying gig, and (3) there was to be *no* radio coverage - everyone agreed it sounded like a great gig. However; Drex decided for everyone that they had to ride up to Jacksonville in style and "upstage those stupid headlining poser bands." So Drex put Carl and Byl in charge of getting The Devil's Minstrels Official Tour Bus.
Before Byl decided to seek out guidance from "the all-knowing pages of yellow," he unknowingly helped Carl with his "hook" problem. Carl explained that he wanted to do something like Kerry King's nail armband. So Carl decided to make a Nail Helmet - in his words "what is more metal then headbanging with a helmet covered in nails?!?"
So Carl, Byl and Phil all went to meet an RV salesman at his lot. They all learned that the salesman seemed nice but sleazy, Byl has an irrational hatred/fear of ABBA and the RV they were sitting in had a price-tag of $1.2 Million.
Once the salesman realized that the group had about $16 on them he threw them all out - and in Carl's case, physically.
Part 2 started off with Carl getting a head start on the creation of his nail helmet. Afterwards Carl, Byl and Phil headed deep out into the Florida woods on a convoluted trek to find someone Byl only knew through a 3rd party. All they knew was that his name was "Smek," and he may or may not have an RV they could possibly use. When they finally came across the eccentric Smek 'doing a number' in the woods, Byl asked him if he had an RV they could borrow. Smek showed them his "diamond in the rough of life," a crappy run down little "caravan" as he called it.
Smek agreed to let them have the RV but he insisted that they take care of his "burts" which turned out to be dead birds he had tucked away in his shirt pocket. The group obviously freaked out and ran barrelling from the woods all the while Byl yelled back to Smek that Freddy, Smek's cousin, still owed him the $9.45.
However; before exiting the woods the group heard Smek yelling "remember, Tommy Hilfiger sells bad milk man - fungus!"
After Drex realized the group attempted to get an RV twice and struck out both times, he decided to take matters into his own hands and do it himself - well with the help from the Carl and Phil. Much to the confusion of the group, Drex muttered that "he knew it would come to this one day."
Early the next morning, as an old school bus pulled up to a stop sign, Drex jumped the hippy driving and threw him to the ground screaming things like "that's for throwing Carl's fruit-roll-ups out the window!" Carl quickly realized that this hippy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and that Drex was having a flashback to their sadistic 3rd grade school bus driver who had terrorized them. Carl tried to calm Drex down by reminding him that he was actually the one who threw Carl's fruit-roll-ups out the window.
Regardless it became obvious that Drex was planning on stealing the hippy's school bus!
Part 3 immediately started where part 2 left off, the band stole the hippy's old school bus - but not before the hippy snapped a quick photo of them with his phone.
After loading up the bus with all the band equipment and the 15 suitcases Nora brought along, the band threw up the horns and headed out on their road trip.
They didn't get too far down the road before they realized they needed gas and pulled over. The weather distinctly got exponentially worse in a matter of seconds as they pulled in - it was oddly scary. Once there a creepy gas attendant wearing a Tommy Hilfiger shirt delivered a care-package with the band's favorite foods - Drex's protein shake and oreos, Byl's 64-ounce Mountain Dew and Funions, and Carl's Slim-Jims and milk.
However; just as they started really getting freaked by the attendant they noticed a familiar car that had pulled up - it was Grace, Drex's official Stalker!
Realizing the seriousness of the situation they all jumped into action as they immediately plowed into the bus and took off at blistering speed! Which was in actuality only about 53-mph for the DM bus...
Once everything calmed down, everyone went about their business on the bus. Phil drove, Drex enjoyed the view, Nora went through travel maps, Byl slept and Carl worked on his nail helmet while eating his Slim-Jims and milk.
Suddenly Carl announced loudly that something must have been wrong with the milk because they needed to pull over ASAP and that he needed to use the bathroom NOW!
In part 4 Carl started hallucinating in the gas station bathroom from apparently eating a combination of bad milk and slim-jims. He realized in his fogged out state that Smek was right - he had told them flat out their fate and it all came true as the weird gas station attendant from the previous stop had given him bad food and he had been wearing a Hilfiger shirt - but why had this happened?!
While the bus waited on Carl, Grace the infamous Drexil stalker once again snuck up on them - this time with her little pooch "Drexy." It spooked the band so much they quickly fled the scene unknowingly leaving Carl behind.
A few minutes later Carl emerged from the dungeness gas station bathroom still having problems with reality - but he did spot Grace and after diving head-first into some sticker-bushes ran for the woods across the street in an attempt to hide from her. Carl wandered the woods directionless wondering if had a case of the fatal fungus - he was completely lost.
Carl was finally rescued / captured by a overly gung-ho police officer who once realizing Carl was part of the crew he was chasing across the state, slapped him in handcuffs.
Carl started to feel a little less foggy but was convinced it was "Game Over." When questioned by the cop about the whereabouts of his band he told him he wasn't even sure how many nights he had spent in the woods or even what state he may have wandered into. The policeman showed him he was still across the street from the gas station where he had started.
The band (really only Nora) realized they had left Carl behind and slammed a U-turn returning to the gas station hoping Carl was still there. However; when they got there they were accosted by the policeman with Carl in tow. Just as the cop was happily about to take them all in the hippy showed up on a moped and said they could keep the bus - on one condition. Realizing they were a band the hippy gave them an ultimatum - play the “Open Air Free Jazz & Tofu Festival" (instead of their original gig) and keep the bus or go to jail.
Drex immediately said he'd rather go to jail and Byl proclaimed his utter disdain and disgust toward tofu. However it had to be a deal much to the disappointment of the cop who had been chasing the band across several counties.
Upon getting to the Jazz & Tofu festival Nora showed Carl that she had finished his nail helmet - much to his surprise.
It turned out that literally nobody showed up for the festival except for the bizarre gas station attendant that gave Carl the bad milk (maybe his plan all along) - he had also attempted to befriend Phil - which did not take - not at all.
However; The Devil's Minstrels played the show as promised until Carl fell over and crashed into Undead Zed's drum kit because the nail helmet was way too heavy for him.
Figuring this was "Epic Metal" Phil joined in the celebration with the creepy gas station attendant after all.
All Hail The Devil's Minstrels !
"Phil and Carl's Video Game Xtravaganza !"
In this video Phil and Carl attempted their own spin on the "Wayne's World" public access show formula except with a twist; this was a Heavy Metal Spun Video Game Show!
In the show they covered several video games and concepts - including the famous MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) concept of "Male Until Proven Female" - meaning the people who play chick characters are not usually female (so be careful who you hit on) - take Byl for example who always plays the hottest thing he can.
Drex not being happy about them making the show in the first place, made fun of this concept saying it was analogous to playing with dolls, of course until he *saw* how hot these pixel-chicks could be - which got him into major hot water with Nora who thought he was watching virtual porn.
Afterward Phil and Carl continued their show into the annals of gaming history both showing off some old but cool gaming hardware and allowed Byl to ramble on a bit about a story from 1986 wherein a "Zorn" ate his horse - something that has haunted him for well over 25 years...