Written by: Matt Drummond
Reaching the age where people can legitimately refer to me as an “old timer” has made me think about numerous things. One element of my life that has had me concerned is the new generations of metal heads. Will the old school traditions die? What does the future hold for heavy music?
Heavy music has played such an enormous role in my life that I shudder at the thought of new generations of people not having metal. Well, recently my fears were dulled, and that’s because I sat down with a guy who embraces metal wholeheartedly. Through talking with Chicago’s own Nick Ayala I got a crystal clear view of the future and it turns out everything’s going to be ok.
An accomplished musician and dedicated fan, Ayala comes across as a guy who’s been involved in metal for a long time. Even though he only has 19 years of life under his belt, he’s been a metal head for all 19 of those years as he explained.
“So I guess it all started, like literally, when I was still in the womb. My parents were always surrounded by music, so when I was a little boy, like 4ish, I remember hangin’ out with my mom and we’d listen to Kid Rock and like Nonpoint, stuff like that.”
The first song that Nick remembers standing out to him was ‘Zero Tolerance’ by Death. Like Nick already stated, music and metal had embedded themselves in him from day one.
“It’s kinda how I’ve always been with metal; it just grabbed me. Basically, I was like ok, I guess this is where I gotta go.”
As you can probably guess, it didn’t take long for Ayala to start playing in a band.
Weaving his way through a handful of makeshift bands, Ayala acknowledged that his first “real” band took form around age 12.
“I was in this band called, Sudden Death. We were just a bunch of 12 year olds who really liked old school. We walked around in Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, and Anthrax t-shirts. We were like, well, that’s what we like, so let’s try to do something that sounds old school.”
Being in a band that was actually writing songs lit a fire in Ayala. He had unquestionably loved heavy music, but for the first time ever he was getting a taste of what it took to write songs.
“I think to be able to write and play heavy music you have to have really gone through something that’s traumatic for people to experience. I think the only way for people like me to get that out is to have something grab them, and for me that just happened to be aggressive music.”
The left hand path turned out to be the right one for Ayala. In a relatively short period of time, Nick went from a 12 year old in a band to a guy playing drums for Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre and opening for D.R.I.
After talking with Nick, and listening to Texas Toast, it became evident that he still has a passion to gash listeners with some full tilt thrash metal. Although Texas Toast appears to be built on the foundations of classic thrash metal, they also inject an array of different styles into their songs. If you look at their Facebook page, the band does a great job breaking down how they view their style.
“Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre is a crossover thrash band made up of a group of nerdy dudes who love making music and combining fast riffs with comedy and pop culture references.”
Think a comedic thrash metal version of Macabre. The band is made up of Josh “Macho Frost” Kandich (vocals), Jordan “The Fresh Prince of Long Hair” Miller (lead guitar), Matt “CM Drunk” Granberg (rhythm guitar), and Nick “Cock Lesnar” Ayala (drums).
In 2013, Texas Toast delivered their first knifing to the gut with the release of their debut EP, Busey Up Your Asses. Since that inaugural fireball, Texas Toast has been on a rip and tear campaign, releasing two more EP’s, one single, one live album, two split records, and a full length album.
As busy as he’s been with Texas Toast, Ayala had not quenched his thirst for metal quite yet.
It’s evident that Nick’s first love is thrash, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love other styles of metal as well. For this latest endeavor, Ayala dropped the sticks, and picked up the guitar. Accompanying the instrument change, the style changed as well.
His other band, Bad Blood, has more of a decimating hardcore approach. Joining him on this latest twisted ride, are; Deserey Esalie (vocals), Dan Sinnelly (bass), Damien Barbosa (drums), and Mikey Diaz (guitar).
Unfortunately as of this writing Bad Blood doesn’t have any recorded albums, but that will change in the very near future. The members of Bad Blood are currently in the process of recording their first record, and Ayala is definitely excited for the future of this band as well as Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre.
To wrap things up, I asked Ayala a question I always ask last, and that is what being a metal head means to him.
“It’s weird for me to answer, because I’ve lived my whole life like that, literally. The people, the music, it’s like whenever I’m listening to metal or at a show, I’m home.”
I have nothing to add to that statement. All I can say, is this young metal head is in for life.