When I was in the 2nd grade, I was in a school Christmas production of the Night Before Christmas. I played one of the reindeer. I remember that deer costume. It itched like a mofo. One of the little numbers we did was to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so we had to learn the entire song. I thought it was the funniest thing in the world that the song starts with the words, "You know Dasher and Dancer. . ." as if they take for granted that we know all the reindeer names. Most people mumble their way through that part and make up names like Jazzer and Nixon. Then it goes on to question, "But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?" Ironically, it's only at that part that everyone confidently jumps in with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!" I used to laugh my head off at that. I was a weird kid. A lot has changed about me since then: my height, shoe size and nose hair count.
I've been fascinated by masks throughout my childhood. It started with Star Wars. The stormtroopers, Boba Fett and Darth Vader were the coolest thing! My aunt brought me to see Episode 4 in the theatres in 1977 when I was a 1 year old. My parents brought me to see the Empire Strikes Back when I was 4. The same year of that Christmas play, I went by myself to the theatre on the US Army base in Taegu, Korea to watch Return of the Jedi. For each of the new Star Wars movies (Episodes 1, 2 and 3), I went to see them in the theatre wherever I happened to be living at the time. I've watched every single one when it first came out in theatres.
But I was talking about masks. When I was in the 4th grade, living in Fort Benning (Columbus), Georgia, there was a cartoon I watched religiously, called Mask. There were these armed agents who rode around in armored attack vehicles which were disguised as regular cars and trucks. They also, true to the name of the show, wore masks with visual enhancing eye gear and whatever. I still have a lot of my Star Wars and Mask toys. Somehow, the concept of masks always fascinated me (don't tell my shrink).
Skip ahead to high school and bands like Green Jello and GWAR were big. Sykotik Sinfoney were not so big, but I liked them. Anyway, they're all masked bands. Then in college, Slipknot, Mushroomhead and the Berserker came out. I began to get the idea that I could make my own masks. I don't even remember how many I've made so far, but I'm getting better and better at it. You can see one that I made in Chief Loh's music video for our song, "Equilibrium".
I will be showcasing my newest creation in the video I'm making for Shadow Puppet's song, "Scar Chasm". A little background on the mew mask: part of it is a respirator. When I was a member of the crew of the USS Wyoming, SSBN 742, I was part of the paint crew. Whenever we would come into port, we would chip off rusty areas of the submarine and repaint it. We had to use a respirator for safety. I incorporated mine into the mask cuz I think it looks cool. I'll tell you when I've completed the video so you can watch it and judge for yourself whether or not you like it.