Local metal fans bored with commercial rock radio stations here in Houston really need to check out Sweet Nightmares, a show hosted by Bryan Posey (aka DJ Metallord) and Gilbert Issac Castaneda (aka Kill Casta), which airs weekly on Thursdays from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on 90.1 FM KPFT and on the web here. Many new listeners are surprised to learn that the show has been on the air for 30 years and is one of KPFT’s longest running programs. A cool thing is if you are an early riser and can’t stay up late to listen live on Thursdays you can listen to a few weeks’ archived shows on the KPFT website here.
The current hosting team of Posey and Castaneda will celebrate their one year anniversary on Sweet Nightmares together on September 20. For many of the show's previous years Bill “The Master” Bates co-hosted the show with Wes Weaver of Houston death metal band Blaspherian and then on his own. Bates suffered from a number of health problems late in his life and passed away in February of 2016; he was much loved in the Houston metal community and an all-day memorial concert to help raise money for his family after his death was held at Scout Bar in March 2016.
“We all miss Bill Bates very much, may he rest in peace, but we try and keep this going on in his memory because he would want that,” explains Posey. “This show was very important to him and it’s important to a lot of people man. I really have realized how important it is now doing this on the other side now and it still is relevant to this day.”
A memorial plaque dedicated to Bill Bates is hanging on a wall at KPFT as well as a small pamphlet given out at his funeral. I asked Posey if the show has changed any since Bates passed.
“I always say we keep it updated without outdating it, you know,” explains Posey. “We try to mix the new with the old, and I’ve done polls on Sweet Nightmares Facebook page on what people would rather hear — the old stuff or the newer stuff — and usually it’s 50/50, a little bit of both, so we're getting really good feedback. I think Bill would be very happy with the way it’s going and what’s going on with it, yes I do.”
Before Posey joined the show, Castaneda co-hosted the show for 3 years with Herman Garcia, who did an excellent job as well but had to leave due to Hurricane Harvey which devastated the lives of so many people in the Houston area.
“He lost his house and everything in the hurricane,” says Posey. “His girlfriend lives in Tennessee so he was like, screw it I don’t have nothing here I might as well move to Tennessee. He didn’t want to do it but they were planning on either her moving down here or him moving up there but there was no sense in her coming down here since the house was gone... He pretty much had to pick up the pieces and start over his life and move there. He really, really didn’t want to go and he hated leaving the show.”
Posey adds that Garcia asked him to replace him on the show since he thought Posey would be the best person to do it with his history within the Houston metal scene, his knowledge of the bands and his previous years of experience as an Internet DJ with Hard Rock Radio Live and his own Nuclear Rock Radio website. Posey also has booked Houston metal shows past and present with his Throne of Metal Promotions & Bookings.
“I didn’t jump on it right away, I thought about it,” explains Posey. “I actually spoke with previous host Wes Weaver before agreeing to do it and he said 'I think you should take it' and so that pretty much sealed the deal for me.”
The current hosts of Sweet Nightmares represent two different generations of metalheads, with Posey being in his 40s and Castaneda, who got the shortened nickname Casta because some of his friends had trouble pronouncing his last name, is in his 20s. Posey had been a fan of Sweet Nightmares for many years while Castaneda discovered it more recently.
“If it weren’t for Josh (Rivera) from Thraxis I wouldn’t even know about this gig,” explains Castaneda. “He told me I have a great radio voice and how would I like to put it to use? That’s how I got hooked up for this gig and ever since
Posey and Castaneda get up to the station an hour to an hour and a half before the show each week and talk about music and what they are going to play on the show; they work together like a well-oiled machine at this point.
I asked the guys how they became such big fans of metal music in the first place.
“When I was way young, when I was a kid, I grew up in a house full of girls with four sisters and my mom so they were always playing pop, hip-hop, or R&B, but I knew that none of that was my cup of tea,” explains Castaneda. “I remember what got me hooked was hearing on the radio on a classic rock station was Twisted Sister’s 'I Wanna Rock' and that was the song that was pretty catchy to me and I thought it was really good but I didn’t know what other music that was similar to that to listen to at that time. I was jamming to some hard rock and some alternative jams and I was just thinking like some of these are good but I feel like it needs more aggression, and I’m that type that started exploring more music on the Internet, and then I went to my cousin’s house and he had all these vinyl albums and CDs, stuff like Dethklok, Exodus, Warbringer, CKY, a variety of different types of metal that he got me hooked to. Then I got into some classic metal and the new wave of thrash metal and it just expanded from there.”
Years earlier Posey discovered metal music from a relative as well.
“When I was a kid, my uncle had all these vinyl albums — rock music, hard rock music. I’m talking stuff like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, I mean literally like hundreds if not thousands of albums,” Posey explained. “I was just fascinated. I remember being 8 or 9 years old looking at Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary of A Madman album going 'wow dude this looks cool!' And then Kiss was the band that really started me into hard rock and stuff. As I got to be a teenager, I discovered Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, all that stuff, and then it just got harder and more extreme. I was there for the birth of thrash metal, the second wave of punk, a lot of the New York City hardcore stuff, and death metal. It became an obsession and it’s a part of me, it’s like my being... rock metal music, it’s always been there for me and it’s helped me through a lot of things.”
Posey and Castaneda like metal so much they both became drummers, playing in several different bands over the years and they both agree the music is a very big and important part of their lives, not just some trivial or slight thing.
“This is me, this is how I am and I always will be until they throw the freaking dirt on me," explained Posey. "I didn’t want to be a doctor, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a freaking rock star.”
The extreme metal music played on Sweet Nightmares is an obsession to their listeners as well; people all over the world listen to the show via the Internet, in addition to the local fans who listen live on the radio and call in to win free tickets to shows each week. The program even has a number of fans who are serving time in prison; Posey showed me some of the letters they have sent in to the show thanking Sweet Nightmares for the music they play.
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Posey and I are about the same age and we reminisced a little bit about how some people thought metal music was literally evil and earnestly satanic back in the 80s; the metal music scene was also more of a boy’s club back then while today it is a lot different.
“It’s really changed now because there are a lot of women fronting bands and there are certain women who are freaking shredders and just unbelievable guitarists,” explained Posey. “The ladies hold their own man. I know some gals that are heavier than some dudes you know that are into metal. The reason [my wife and I] got together was because of rock and metal music. We've been married for 20 years now.”
“In the metal community, everyone just makes you feel like family, especially when you’re at shows,” said Castaneda. “Sometimes people like to be judgmental just because they see a guy with long hair...but whenever you go to a metal show it just makes you feel like you’re with your family, with your brothers, your sisters. It’s a metal bond that everyone has.”
Sweet Nightmares airs weekly on Thursday nights starting at 11 p.m. on 90.1 FM KPFT and online at kpft.org