Ziltoid The Omniscient
I had kids at this point, and the life changes, (as those who have kids as well know), cannot be accurately described. It has been the best thing and worst thing and hardest thing I’ve had to do. But it’s such a part of the human condition that it’s not even a big deal, you know? I remember though when they were first born, I actively decided to quit doing drugs and drinking, and in doing so, found that I was able to stand back from myself a bit, and analyze the whole SYL trip and my persona I felt I had been working with onstage.
For some reason, the idea of finally making a puppet (which has been a dream of mine since watching ‘The Dark Crystal’ as a kid) became a kind of compulsion. I went out and bought a bunch of clay and just plopped down at the living room table (between feedings and naps and diapers etc), and started making a Ziltoid.
At first, it was just a kind of silly hobby… (Gave me something to do while not getting laid and pining for a drink)… but as soon as I put the eyes on him, I heard in my head the song ‘ZTO’ – like his theme song, and that was it, it just snowballed. I received a bunch of stuff from Toontrack (EZdrummer) as well as having put together a total rudimentary studio. (As a side note, ‘The New Black’ cost a bloody fortune to make. Lots of unnecessary expenses and also the Ozzfest was 80k to do, and at the time, one of my side problems with SYL is that we spent money like we were in Led Zeppelin). I wanted to use the idea of Ziltoid as a way to prove not only to myself, but to others that I could make a record on my own for a few hundred dollars.
So idly, (again, between the new responsibilities that fatherhood had brought), I began to write. This record was the beginning of the way I write now, with Protools as a sketchbook that eventually ends up being a final product. I worked late at night after the family was asleep and struggled to keep sober for the first time while writing. The result was an album that though full of metaphor, was an intensely emotional record for me. Ziltoid became the personification of the side of me that was allowed to ‘play rockstar’ in Strapping Young Lad, and although I was becoming uncomfortable saying and doing certain things in my music, to have a puppet do it instead was very liberating. The idea that ‘we are all puppets to other peoples desires’ seemed like the best way for me to say certain things indirectly about my fears and hang-ups with SYL.
Ziltoid was a huge breakthrough for me artistically, and my future I think is FULL OF ZILTOID, however, the realizations that came with making this record opened up a can of worms that I knew, even at the time, had to be purged and clarified before I would be able to fully explore the ‘Ziltoidian’ world and potential. It was quite literally the last day of recording Ziltoid that I knew I needed to do the Devin Townsend Project.
|2.||“By Your Command”||8:09|
|9.||“Color Your World”||9:44|