“I was a dark kid,” says Dane Reinhart about why he started screaming death metal at 15. “I lost my dad to cancer [when I was] 9. I wanted to be the frontman so I could get out the pain and agony of losing my dad. I wanted to feel acceptance [by playing in a band] and write lyrics about my pain.”
Reinhart, 21, would take the Coaster down to Soma. “I liked screamo because I could hear vocalists who would get all emotional and let it out. But then I got into heavier stuff like As I Lay Dying.” He hooked up with other Oceanside death-metal kids to form Ends with an Enemy.
“Even though I started it, they kicked me out. I didn’t like to carry equipment.” He found Vista-based Burning the Masses and joined in late 2006. “We toured all over California, Arizona, and New Mexico.” They drew the attention of Baron Bodnar, founder of Mediaskare, an L.A.-based label that features metal bands such as As Blood Runs Black, Bury Your Dead, and Silent Civilian.
Bodnar discovered the band at an unsigned-artist showcase at Chain Reaction in Anaheim. He signed Burning the Masses to Mediaskare, which released two albums and helped them tour the U.S. and Europe.
But Reinhart said Bodner only wanted Burning the Masses with two conditions: “He told the [two guitarists and bassist] ‘I will sign you, but the drummer and the singer have to go.’ He said that I would never make it in this industry. I was pissed.”
“It took three months to realize this was not the genre of music I wanted to play. I still wanted to do music, but I kind of felt death metal was this dead-end genre. Only a select few make it.”
Reinhart was frustrated as a lyricist, as most death-metal singing is incomprehensible. “Sometimes I’d hear a song and say, ‘You mean to tell me this song is about politics? How the hell would you know?’ It’s all about people trying to be a better Cookie Monster. I wanted people to understand my lyrics.”
Reinhart turned to hip-hop. Performing as Solus, he freestyles and writes his own lyrics.
“A lot of rap music on the radio is pretty weak. You don’t even have to make rhymes that make sense. You can just Auto-Tune your voice over a computer-generated beat, and if you have a big pocketbook behind you, you can push it into the Top 20. It’s, like, a lot of these people [with hits] won a lottery ticket and now they get to cut in line.”