PLACES I NEED TO VISIT BEFORE I DIE… (PART 2)

Published June 16, 2014 by gigiadamantopoulos

Continuation of my bucket list of places that I need to visit before I die. If you haven’t read part 1, click here.

7. New Orleans, Louisiana

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Jazz musicians during their set in the night club.

You might think why I didn’t specify where in New Orleans. That’s because anywhere you end up in this vintage area, you will hear music that are so pleasant to the ear, and that’s what you call Jazz. May it be in Bourbon Street or in Frenchmen Street, I think you will find this place very awake at night. Plus, I think going around these area will give you a feel about vampires and voo doos, well that I just assume it because majority of vampire and voo doo movies that I’ve watched used this area as their setting.

 

8. Chess Records (2120 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, USA)

 

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The Chess Records building, now re-named Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation.

This piece of landmark is the birthplace of blues music. Founded by Leonard and Phil Chess, this place is where the biggest blues artists recorded their masterpieces. One of the artists that recorded here is the father of modern Chicago blues, Muddy Waters. Together with Muddy Waters is the amazing harmonica player Little Walter. Willie Dixon also recorded here and the building was re-named after him in the latter years. One of the pioneers of rock n’ roll, Chuck Berry, also recorded here. And who would forget the legendary Etta James, in which she recorded some of her earlier hits here.

 

9. Sun Studio (706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, USA)

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Sun Studios is now a landmark for all music fans.

The birthplace of rock n’ roll. This place is, for me, the holy grail of all recording studios. Artists like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, BB King, Roy Orbison, and of course, the King of Rock n’ Roll himself, Elvis Presley, call this place home before they were legends all thanks to Sam Phillips.

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Another thing spectacular that happened in this place is the Million Dollar Quartet. This is when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins had an impromptu jam session on December 4, 1956.

 

10. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (1100 Rock and Roll Blvd. Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is where you can find the people who influenced the music we have today.

This place archives everything about those people who shaped the rock n’ roll music industry from performers, to producers, and to significant people. First created in 1983, it houses the most extensive rock n’ roll repository there is. Every year, they induct people into their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame award since 1986. Among the first inductees are James Brown, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis. Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey were inducted as Early Influences, John Hammond received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Alan Freed and Sam Phillips were inducted as Non-Performers.

 

That’s basically it! Who knows when will I be able to go to these places, but I’m sure that someday I will.

What’s on your bucket list?

-Gigi ❤

 

Places I need to visit before I die… (Part 1)

Published June 6, 2014 by gigiadamantopoulos

Many people create a “Bucket List”. It’s something to look forward to in one’s life. This list probably contains places to visit, things to do, people to meet, goals to achieve, and other things that they need to do before they die.

I, however, only have a bucket list that contain 12 places that I need to visit before I join my heroes in the next life. And I will, I WILL go to all these places.

So if ever that you’re into Rock n’ Roll, old school music like me, maybe you’d like to visit these places too.

 

1. Wembley Stadium (Wembley, London, England)

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The original Wembley Stadium

If you’re a real music lover, maybe you’ve heard about this stadium more than 3 times. This stadium was built in 1923 as a football stadium that became a venue for some of the biggest concerts in the history of music. Notable concerts that happened on that stage includes the all-star benefit concert called “Live Aid“, happened on July 13, 1985 which include acts like Status Quo, Spandau Ballet, Elvis Costello,  Paul Young, U2, The Who, Elton John, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and the band who everyone said stole the show, Queen.

Other performers that rocked this stage include The Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Cliff Richard, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Michael Jackson, and Queen.

Focusing a bit on Queen, it was said that this stadium was the favorite concert venue of their frontman, Freddie Mercury. Three of their most memorable performances happened on this stage. One was the Live Aid. Another one was the “Magic Tour” that happened on July 12, 1986, their biggest and final tour with Freddie Mercury (Frontman, Piano, Lead Vocals) before he died and John Deacon (Bass) before he retired. Brian May (lead guitar) and Roger Taylor (Drums) remained active in touring as Queen until the present day. The other memorable performance was probably the most heartbreaking for Queen fans, the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert that happened on April 20, 1992. This concert was a tribute to Freddie Mercury who died on Novermber 24, 1991 from bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS. Performances include the remaining Queen members (May, Taylor, Deacon) and some of the biggest acts in those times like Paul Young, Seal, Lisa Stansfield, David Bowie, Annie Lenox, Elton John, Slash, George Michael, Axl Rose, and Liza Minnelli. The concert raised money for AIDS research.

Unfortunately, the original Wembley Stadium was demolished in 2003 and was re-constructed. It opened in 2007, in which the first articst that held a concert in the new stadium was George Michael. Eventhough it was completely renovated, still, the presence of those great performances still lives on that place. And probably, my life wouldn’t be complete without visiting that place.

 

2. The Garden Lodge (1 Logan Place, Kensington, London, England)

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One of the entrance of the Garden Lodge filled with messages and flowers for Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

The Garden Lodge is the home of what people say (and what I say) the most brilliant and the greatest frontman ever, Freddie Mercury. This is where he lost his battle with AIDS. Freddie loved this house so much that he gave it to his bestfriend (and ex-girlfriend) Mary Austin when he died. Some of Freddie’s ex-lovers also lived and worked here when he was still alive, serving as a chef, gardener, etc.

There’s nothing much to see in this area because the house is completely covered in high walls. But what makes me want to visit this place is to see all the messages of the people who’s been touched and influenced by Freddie Mercury. All those messages are written within the walls of this place. Also, fans all over the world gather in the gates of this house to celebrate Freddie’s birthday and death anniversary by putting up candles and flowers to pay tribute to this legendary person.

 

3. Abbey Road Studios (3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, City of Westminster, London, England)

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The Abbey Road pedestrian used by The Beatles in their Abbey Road album.

You are probably not a huge music fan if you do not know this place. The Abbey Road Studios was the place to be if you are in the 60s and you are a recording artist. Many of the greatest acts in those days recorded in this studio because it was known for having new and innovative techniques in recording. But unfortunately, it’s not the recording studio that music fans usually visit in this place, but the zebra crossing, pedestrian lane outside the studios which were popularized by The Beatles when they used it as the cover of their 1969 album “Abbey Road”. You definitely have to walk barefoot in that crossing.

 

4. Freddie Mercury Statue (Place du Marché, 1820 Montreux, Switzerland)

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The statue of the legendary Freddie Mercury.

There are many places that gave a tribute to Freddie Mercury, but this one is definitely the most significant. The statue was sculpted by  Irena Sedlecka in 1995. Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen, wrote “Freddie Mercury, Singer of Songs, Lover of Life” at the bottom of the statue.

The beautiful statue was overlooking Lake Geneva. As told by some of Freddie’s close friends, he fell in love with Montreux. He wrote and recorded some of his last songs in Mountain Studios, which are also owned by Queen.

 

5. The Day The Music Died Tribute (Gull Avenue, Clear Lake, Iowa, USA)

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The monument where in fans give tribute to the 3 rock n’ roll legends.

Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17), and The Big Bopper (28). Those 3 musicians died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 in which we now call as The Day The Music Died, thanks to Don McLean who used it in his hit “American Pie”. I can’t really say most about it because everytime this subject came, it gets me emotional. Just refer to my “The Day The Music Died” entry in which I will write soon.

 

6. Hitsville U.S.A. (2648 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, USA)

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Home of Motown. This place was purchased by the founder of Motown, Berry Gordy in 1959 and became the first headquarters of Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, and other Motown artists. Today, it is now a museum which features some memorabilla from the golden age of the 70s era in music.

 

Watch out for the part 2 of this list.

-Gigi ❤

 

 

 

A new career path…

Published June 4, 2014 by gigiadamantopoulos

I am a good example of what people call a “slasher”, and no, I haven’t killed anyone yet.

People define slashers as those who usually multi-task or have multiple job roles. This is now common nowadays because we tend to shift our focus to different things that we want to achieve before our time expires. And so the statements “Let’s do it all!” and “Let’s have it all!” are those beginning words that urges us to become a slasher.

In the music business, slashers are almost everybody. A great example of slashers are those singer/songwriters that are now becoming a trend.

And I’m no exception. To quote Queen, the greatest band ever lived, I want it all!

I started as a songwriter, and back then I was contented in just writing those words. Then I saw a movie that would become my favorite movie ever, Cayote Ugly. This movie tells a story of a songwriter who moved to New York hoping that one great artist can sing her songs. But it wasn’t easy. People who write songs should be the one singing them because they know the feeling of the song. They know how each line sounds. That’s what happened to the girl. She gets nowhere near her dream unless she sings those songs herself. But the problem was she has stage-fright. And then the cliche part comes. Girl meets boy….boy helps her to face her fears… ya di ya di ya… girl finally sings one of her songs… and in the end, Leanne Rimes sang that song.

And so I ended up singing. I’m not saying I was good, but it’s enough that I hit the correct notes.

And then I realized that to be a true songwriter, I must be able to play an instrument so that I can record it. So I studied piano, and it was not easy and ended up quitting. So I moved to guitar. And guess what, I also quit. Something about learning how to play an instrument made me uncomfortable in a sense that until now I haven’t figured out yet. But this wasn’t a sad time. This made me look for alternatives. And this lead me to Digital Music where in I can play all the instruments ever existed digitally.

So I was fine in Digital Music. I did that for almost 6 years. But then again, I saw an interview of the greatest artist that ever lived, Freddie Mercury. He said that your songs are your babies. You are the only one who knows how it should sound. And in order for you to produce that sound, you have to play it yourself. Imagine what’s going on in his mind when he wrote Bohemian Rhapsody. But he had an advantage because he played the piano and little guitar. This opened my eyes that I really need to learn how to play. So I forced myself to learn how to play the guitar again, thinking that this will make me a step closer to what I wanted.

And then one thing led to another. I was seriously obsessed with Queen, and when I say “seriously obsessed”, I mean a shrine, autobiography books, memorized 90% of all their songs, and I watched all the documentaries and music videos there is about them. So yeah. Even though Freddie Mercury died 2 months before I was born, I idolized him so much. I wanted to know everything about him that made him a legend.

Then this thing started. A fascination of legends, icons, and significant people that influenced everyone, every sound, and every genre that we have today. I wanted to know why The Beatles became so huge. I wanted to know what Bohemian Rhapsody means. I wanted to know who invented Rock n’ Roll. I wanted to know everything. So, what I did was enroll myself in online courses about the History of Rock n’ Roll.

From then on, I was out of control.

I studied the music of the 20s, the 30s, 40s, and my personal favorite, the 50s. Then the 60s came and I became obsessed with The Beatles, but this time it wasn’t “seriously obsessed”. Just enough obsession.

If I wasn’t weird enough back then, I now became much weirder. People asks me what music I like, and I answer them honestly. I like Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Queen… and almost everyone who asks me that question follows up with “How old are you?”. Then I realized how many 22 year olds out there who listens to these kinds of music nowadays. I was not listening to the latest music but the opposite, I go backwards. Since my obsession with Queen (which are abundant in the 70s), then came to my obsession with The Beatles and Bob Dylan (60s), then to Buddy Holly (50s), then to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (40s) and so on.

This made me realize something that I could become… a Music Historian.

Very few people in my age knows about these stuff, and why not be one of them.

So therefore I conclude, I am now a singer / songwriter / music producer / music historian. And who knows, in a few years, this list might be longer.

 

-Gigi ❤

How to create a home recording studio in less than Php 500

Published June 3, 2013 by gigiadamantopoulos

Seems impossible? Not!

Before, recording your tracks require you to go to the studio and spend a lot of hours and a lot of money before you finish an album. Well I learned this from loads of Queen documentaries that I’ve watched.

Fast forward to our generation, music and technology now goes hand-in-hand. Everything is digitally made. Having computers is a must these days like it makes you invincible if you do own one because of endless possibilities.

If you are a wanna be music producer or a songwriter like me, or a singer, or an uprising artist or whatever you want to be in the music business, I feel you. This business is expensive. BUT! (and no that’s not your behind! 😀 ), it should not stop us in chasing after our rock star dreams.  So here is a cheaper way in recording your demos or your songs, or whatever audio things that you do. Here are some of the things that I use that saves me a lot of money just to create a demo cd. Trust me, it’s not a new thing.

Before I start, I assume that you have these things…

  1. Laptop/Desktop PC – must have a headphone and microphone port.
  2. Cellphone – must be capable of recording. A smartphone is highly recommended.
  3. Musical Instruments – this can vary to whatever instrument you can play and what you have.

So here are my recording buddies…

Converters

headphoneConverter Big-Small These converters play a huge role in my recordings. There are 2 of which that I use, one of it is what I call Big to Small. A guitar for example, notice the cable that you plug in the guitar to the amplifiers uses a jack (in which I call Jack Stereo) at the end. This converter allows me to plug in my instruments directly on my computer so that I can record while playing my songs in a direct way even if I’m singing along with it, it only records whatever I play in my instrument. The converter “converts” the Jack Stereo into a Small Stereo so that it can fit to the microphone port of your computer. That’s why it’s called Big to Small.

 

headphoneConverter Small-Big On the other hand, Small to Big converters are the same thing, though it converts a Small Stereo (like the one in most earphones or headphones… I believe they call it a 3.5 jack though I’m not so sure) into a Jack Stereo that can be plugged in amps or other devices that requires a Jack Stereo. Small to Big converter is what I use if I’m using a digital version of an instrument and then use an amplifier so that I can use it to broadcast my recordings.

 

These converters are available in hardware stores and it costs around Php25 each.

 

Cables

Jack Stereo Cable (Big)Cables are a must if you’re into these stuff. It helps you connect 2 things together and it helps you move around equipments in proper distance. There are 2 kinds of cables that I can’t live without (minus the power cables and cable tv of course), one of it is the Jack Stereo Cable. This is what you use when you connect your guitars or your piano to amps.  This is the cable that I use to record my instruments directly to my computer. Using this cable, I will plug in my guitar and at the other end, I will use the Big to Small converter and connect it to the microphone port and start recording. So instead of you playing your instrument in an amplifier, you play it inside your computer in which you are now recording.

 

Baby Stereo Cable(Small)Another cable that I can’t live without is the Baby Stereo Cable. This is just an opposite of the Jack Stereo Cable. This is what I use when I want to record some sound effects or melodies that I create using some music apps in my smartphones. Some of them doesn’t allow you to save what you create. I just plug it in my phone where you plug your earphones or headphones and plug the other end to the microphone port and start recording.

These cables are also available in hardware stores for about Php70 each.

 

Microphones

My favorite thing in the world. Microphones or mic allows you not only make your voice louder, but it is also use as a recording tool. When I record a sample of my song when I’m writing, I use my phone because it’s faster to review what I recorded. If you want to use your mobile phones as your main recorder, I recommend you use an iPhone (or iPod) that has a Voice Memo app or a Windows Phone and download the Cloud Recorder app (this is just based on what I use, you may choose others as well).

You can also use the built-in mic in your laptop if you think the quality is good. But I prefer you use desk microphones. There are cheap condenser desk microphones. These costs below Php200 depending on where you buy it (I suggest you use the desk microphones sold in CD-R King, it has nice acoustics when you record your instruments over the mic).

deskMic1 deskMic2

 

karaokeMicBut here is a trick that I discovered around 4 years ago. You can actually use a regular microphone, like the one you use in karaoke. You can use the Big to Small converter and plug it into the microphone port in your PC or laptop.   

 

 

Basically, that’s it! With the use of any software that you know and you can make your demos in no time! I’ll blog about some music software that I use next time!

 

Hope you like it! 😀

-Gigi ❤

They are not the person you loved…KILL THEM

Published January 31, 2013 by gigiadamantopoulos

Valentine’s Day is coming. More and more people are going into relationship, and many are breaking up and creating new ones. This cycle is never ending most especially for people who have a huge network. Some activities that usually happens during this time are romantic dinners, out of towns, hiking, and including the activities that are meant to produce something (if you know what I mean). You might consider getting ready for this event, who knows, an unknown virus can spread at this time, infecting the people you loved the most. If that time comes, are you ready to kill them for your own safety?

 

Like the typical scenes from all zombie movies, there will be times that the main character’s love interest or one of their friends or family members will get infected and this can give you a hint on what can happen: You kill them, or they kill you.

 

In surviving through a zombie apocalypse, you have to decide what your priorities are. The important thing is to stay alive and you should do whatever it takes to be clean and to be stable in a place where your resources can prolong your life. Here are some things you need to be reminded in these cases:

1. If you are in a group and you just survived a horde of zombies, find a good and secure hiding place temporarily. If you do so, check your group for possible injuries or wounds like scratches, bruises or anything that contaminates the skin. Even a simple scratch can infect them and turn them in to flesh-eating corpse that can jeopardize the survival of the rest of the group. If some members of your group obtain wounds or injuries, find out or investigate what happened. If they were bitten or scratched, you have to let them go, leave them behind, but the best solution is to kill them though killing them can be decided in time basis, you can kill them before turn into zombies or after they turn, either way they will be dead sooner or later. Some members of the group will try to hide some of their wounds as long as they can, but if you see them acting weird, I suggest you make a move right away.

2. Most zombie movies have this scenes where in they lock up their loved ones who is already infected and who are already turned into zombies. Let me say this now, THIS WILL NOT DO ANY GOOD TO YOUR PACK! It is always a fact that they will come and get you so never make contact to them.

3. Emotional attachment to a person should be the last thing you should think of in these events. Survival should be your priority. If you are surviving alone, don’t trust strangers or people who are not infected because they might take advantage of you. If you are in a group, chances are not everyone will make it alive. So, if you do care for one another, make sure no one gets infected.

These scenarios are never easy if it happens in real life. But think of it this way, you have to make sure that you as an individual is safe before you think of others. Surviving in a zombie apocalypse should eliminate the emotional aspect of your being, sometimes it can be the one who who kills you in the end.

 

So, this Valentine’s Day, if you see the person you love as a zombie, KILL THEM BEFORE THEY EAT YOUR BRAINS.

BrainDead: The Past

Published November 28, 2012 by gigiadamantopoulos

The past Halloween season has been one of the most terrifying for me. I was browsing for good Halloween specials and came across the History channel which features a documentary called Zombies: A Living History.

This documentary gave me creeps because not only that it presented some historical and scientific facts that can verify that there is a huge amount of possibility that zombies can exist.

The Past

According to some researchers and experts, they traced back the origins of zombies using the ancient literatures. The first is the Epic of Gilgamesh which came from Mesopotamia (which is now called Iraq)  that records one of the early literary proof of the idea of something dead that is coming back to life. From this point, different cultures produce their own kind of zombies.

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For China, they have Jiang Shi which is a female ghost-like zombie.

 

For Arabia, they have the ghouls which are female demons.

 

 

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For Scandinavia, they have a draugr which means unstoppable machines in which until death, they still haunts.

 

 

For England, they have the revenant, in which they have the first zombie hunter named William of Newburgh. He documented many stories about ivfdvdfvt. “It would not be easy to believe that the corpses of the dead should sally (I know not by what agency) from their graves, and should wander about to the terror or destruction of the living, and again return to the tomb, which of its own accord spontaneously opened to receive them, did not frequent examples, occurring in our own times, suffice to establish this fact, to the truth of which there is abundant testimony”.

These cultures had the idea that the dead can turn back to life, so they decided to make their burials slightly different to avoid the haunting of the dead.

The English people places a brick in the mouth of the dead so that they can’t bite if ever that they will return back to life.

The Greeks practiced Maschalismos in which they burn the body of the dead so that there will be no chance of them going back to life.

In China, they tie up the corpse so that they can’t get out their urns.

In Norse myths, they move the dead out of the house feet first so that they can’t look back where they came from. Sometimes they even open another door and shut it if the corpse are already out. They do this so that if they come back to life, they wouldn’t know where to go inside the house.

Today, we still give a precaution to avoid the dead coming back to life. We seal the coffin shut.

So in conclusion, ancient traditions have a pretty good idea of the concept of the dead coming back to life

How to survive the Romero Zombies… (Night of the Living Dead)

Published October 29, 2012 by gigiadamantopoulos

One thing a zombie addict should know about the Romero Zombies is that they vary depending on the movie. Having to know 1 George Romero masterpiece isn’t enough because we cannot predict what kind of zombie will eat our brains and internals. So how will you survive them? A closer look to the movies!

As a zombie addict, I usually look at the zombies more rather than focusing at the story of the movie. I look for 5 qualities in a zombie:

  1. How fast they walk
  2. Skin deterioration
  3. Distractions
  4. Aggressiveness
  5. Ability to think

Using this 5 qualities, we can know how to survive if they attack us.

WARNING: THIS BLOG MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ABOUT THE MOVIE. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THEM YET, BETTER START NOW. WHO KNOWS, ZOMBIES MIGHT BE WALKING NOW TO GET TO YOUR BRAINS….

1. Night of the Living Dead (1968 and 1990)

Night_of_the_Living_Dead_affiche “They’re going to get you Barbra!” This is probably the reason why people are scared of going to cemeteries because the dead might walk out of their graves and start eating our brains and intestines. If you watched the 1968 black and white version, you will see that the zombies don’t really look like zombies because make-up and special effects are not really high end at that time, but I believe that the portrayal of the actors that plays the zombies played the part well in those times.

What kind of zombies are they? Well, the typical ones. Using the zombie meter, we can know how to avoid them.

How fast they walk Notld1990

  • Super slow! Zombies like these zombies are really slow and they can’t run so if you ever you saw them walking, just pass thru them, just make sure that they can’t touch or grab anything from you.

Skin Deterioration

    • 50/50! Skin deterioration is really important to look at because this can determine how strong the virus that made them like that. Based on the 1968 version, their skin is not that deteriorated so I assumed that the virus is not that strong in terms of the physical effects. But then if you look at the 1990 remake, the skin deterioration of the zombies are more detailed that you can see more flesh and more deteriorated body parts. So I assumed that the virus in this version is stronger than the original because it projects that the effects of the virus is greater and assuming that the virus can turn you into a zombie faster than the 1968 version.

Distractions

  • None! If they see something move and someone made noise, they WILL come after you.

Aggressiveness

  • Hungry! If they see you, they WILL eat you. Their aggressiveness is the typical zombie hunger.

Ability to think

  • Smart enough to go after food. Because of their hunger, they will do everything to eat, including getting a brick to break-in your car (1990 version).

Surviving Night of the Living Dead Zombie

If you happen to have this kind of zombies in your area, I suggest you better stay at home. Lock everything and keep quiet. If in case that your supplies have run out, make a plan. The plan should cover where the nearest zombie is, where will you go, who will you be bringing, what will you bring as a defense tool, back up plans, and of course, what supplies will you prioritize in getting and how many. In terms of defending yourself with these kinds of zombies, it’s gonna be easy. Just make sure that you don’t ever make physical contact with you. And since they’re slow, walk faster and if ever that you run, make sure that you’re really quiet.Remember, they see you as food, so if you ever see someone you know that is already infected, don’t think twice, kill them in the head and destroy their brains because only this can kill them (though they are already dead).

 

HOPE EVERYONE SURVIVES THESE ZOMBIES! Check out the trailers of the original and the remake of the Night of the Living Dead!

1968 trailer

 

1990 trailer

More survival tips from other Romero Zombies!

-Gigi