Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Squared Circle Pit Ep. 11

Sapolsky is this week's Squared Circle Pit guest
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: Squared Circle Pit
Episode: 11
Run Time: 53:49
Guest: Gabe Sapolsky

Summary: Rob Pasbani has been interviewing people from the world of metal in his previous ten episodes, but for this episode he instead brings on a big figure in the world of wrestling, Gabe Sapolsky. To stick with the show's recurring theme of heavy metal, Sapolsky says he got into metal via wrestling, by watching The Road Warriors and desperately trying to find out what song they used for entrance music. It was Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," and that led him down a path to becoming a fan of bands like Neurosis, Eyehategod and High On Fire. More of the discussion leans toward Sapolsky's role in creating Ring of Honor after working at ECW, and his current role as the head guy behind EVOLVE. Pasbani asks about their working relationship with EVOLVE, which Sapolsky says has been stress-free and beneficial for both parties.

Quote of the Week: Sapolsky - "I'm not a big venue guy. I'd rather go to the small club or the small theater and see my favorite band there. I also really admire artists like the Melvins and King Buzzo and his whole attitude, and Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly of Neurosis. These are guys who play the music they want to play and you don't see them catering to a crowd. I love that attitude...that whole attitude of where their music comes from and what their inspiration is, that's also what drives me to this day and it's something I respect a great deal."

Why you should listen: I'm not sure how often Gabe Sapolsky appears on podcasts to give details about what he does, but if this is somewhat rare, then it's a good peek behind the curtain where Sapolsky sometimes stands with Triple H. Sapolsky is an affable guy who seems genuinely interested in Pasbani's questions, especially the ones about music, probably because it's a topic he doesn't often get to discuss in a public forum.

Why you should skip it: If you're into this show for its theme of talking to people like Jamey Jasta and Zakk Wylde, then this one is an unwelcome departure. One can't blame Pasbani for not passing up the chance to talk to a guy like Sapolsky, but the loose connection of Sapolsky being merely kind of into metal is tenuous at best.

Final Thoughts: At the very least, this episode provided some fun stories about the role of heavy metal in ECW, where unlicensed music filled the show. We often hear about how tables and chairs made ECW different from its peers at the time, but not enough attention is paid to how the music they used truly set the "outsider" tone that defined the company in its early years. If they hadn't been playing Pantera and Morbid Angel, the show would have been less scary and visceral, therefore much is owed to the violent nature of that soundtrack. It's also fun to know that Sapolsky worked at a record store in those years, and the entirety of Raven's band t-shirt supply came from him going to that store and getting free shirts. And when Raven actually looked up Morbid Angel's lyrics, he was shocked and offended that he had been wearing their shirt. Quoth the Raven, probably: "Is this DEVIL WORSHIPPING music??"