Rare Footage of Megadeth's Gar Samuelson Unearthed
This is going to be one of those rare "newsy" posts on the site, and I realize this ins't the usual "content" found therein but I thought it was worth highlighting given the importance of the material involved. The short version is that American musician Shane Buchanan had recently uploaded to YouTube a series of home videos in which his old band can be seen recording at the home studio of Gar Samuelson in 1995, as well as grainy footage of a part of a performance by Fatal Opera, the band Gar played in prior to his untimely death. The reason for these uploads, sadly, are that Shane is apparently suffering from terminal cancer and thus wanted to make sure some of this documentation goes out there in time. I wish Shane and his family all the health and happiness in the world, and cannot say I how I appreciate these uploads.
I'll link to the videos and a brief depiction of what can be found in each below, but first I guess there's some explaining to do as to why some 90s home videos are, to me, reason enough to go outside of my programmed content. Gar Samuelson is the most important drummer and one of the most important musicians to me as far as my appreciation and love for metal and all music. I've been on record as being a severe Megadeth fanboy (going as far as writing this convoluted essay about them, and also having the privilege of very briefly interviewing Dave Mustaine and a much larger interview with Chris Poland, linked at the end of this paragraph), but Gar has a very, very special role in all of that. Gar, to me, is the way all metal drummers should be – unique, musical, but mostly both completely cognizant of the time he should be keeping but also a master of a time all his own. In his jazz-like timing and spacing he created a wonderful negative space of hovering and waiting that allowed the song to breath and float all while crushing it with precision and heaviness. When people speak of "feel" and of "groove," especially in metal, to me they speak of Gar Samuelson. You can also read more about him, his unique personality and incredible talent in this interview I was fortunate enough to conduct with former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland about their work together.
However these home videos Shane so kindly uploaded, and continues to upload, are important also because there's hardly any footage of Gar, anywhere. There are very few basic videos of his time in Megadeth, including the odd interview and few shows, and there's hardly anything about the time period following that. Gar had a difficult life, one that had ultimately led to his death in 1999, and not much of is was public. So even if these videos are just as advertised – a bunch of kids recording with a legend using a Sharop camcorder – they represent a very rare opportunity to see Gar in the flesh in his later years.
So, no these are not the pristine drum cam shots of Gar us lovers of his music and talent have always and will always dream of, but it's a significant addition to an almost non-existent archive. Much thanks again to Shane, and much love and support to him and his family.
Among the recording videos this is probably the best one, focusing almost entirely on Gar working the board while the band is recording.
Up until now (I'll update this post when needed) this is the only performance video. You can't really see much of anything, as Shane explains in the description, but any chance of hearing Gar play is gold.
The other videos uploaded as of today are nice time capsules but have a little less of Gar in them, though you can make out some dialogue in the background.
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