Oct 9, 2009

Metal Gives Your Emotions a Voice

This great column just appeared in the New York Times:


Not only does it highlight how one man has found metal to be a saving grace during a difficult time, but it also shows us how many people are unaware of what metal music can offer.

I liked the fact that this writer was previously a non-metal fan, and suddenly he "gets it".

The emotions in metal music span rage, anger, aggression, hedonism, determination, desire, power, chaos, sorrow, joy, and innumerable other words. Until you tap into the emotional power of metal music, you won't understand its appeal. And once you do - there's no going back!

Sep 16, 2009

"Headbanger's Journey" not my journey

I was so excited when The Lady of Loudness loaned me her copy of "A Headbanger's Journey" last week. I had visions of watching the film and saying, "Yes! That is what I'm talking about! I can relate to this so much." I had an evil plan that I would loan the movie to my mom. After seeing it she would better understand what her kid was going through in high-school years ago. She would apologize for making my music such a big deal. She would feel awful about thinking I was signing up to join Satan's army.

Boy, was I shocked when I saw this film! This movie depicts everything that is negative about metal culture. After seeing this I am embarrassed to call myself a "metal head". The problem is that too many genres fall under the category of "heavy metal". To me metal is the stuff I love, ie hard rock, power metal and progressive metal, even a bit of glam is fine. But to lump death, dark, and black metal into the same category is plain wrong. This really bugs me. I hate going into a music store, hitting up the Heavy Metal section and seeing all the death stuff in it's weird un-readable fonts right next to my Judas Priest. Or even worse... the Priest stuff is now in the "Rock" section. What the heck?? My genre has been hi-jacked by this ridiculous zero-talent noise.

The hardest stuff I ever got into was Megadeth and Anthrax, so I never cared for the death/growling stuff. After seeing this film I am reminded why. If I was a parent and my kid was into that stuff I would be scared too. Wow... now this is a strange turn of events. After all this time I am now seeing things from my mom's point of view. Maybe she wasn't so wrong after all. If I had gotten into the harder stuff who knows? Maybe I would be living in Norway burning down churches and listening to really crappy music.

Sep 11, 2009

Expensive Tickets and the Metal Soul

If you want to find out what has happened to the concert industry, take a look at radio. The consolidation craze of the late 90's killed radio's heart and soul. The corporation I will refer to as the "Evil Empire" (CC) is the 800-pound gorilla in the music industry - radio, of course, but also concert venues and a number of advertising channels.

The Evil Empire took over the concert industry after they were well on their way to ruining radio. Ticketmaster and LiveNation are the two main heads of this corporate hydra.

I've enjoyed seeing many of my favorite 80's-era metal bands lately. Most of them have been reasonably priced, although I was willing to shell out more dollars to see Judas Priest since they are my favorite band. But especially with the "has-been" 80's bands, it makes more sense to price the tickets low so more fans will support the band and enjoy the nostalgia trip. I saw Slaughter a couple weeks ago at the Grizzly Rose, and the $20 price was perfect - two great opening bands, plus a super show by Slaughter. It was an awesome night.

However, other 80's bands aren't as kind to their fans. The case in point is Tesla. $40 for a ticket to see them at a second-tier venue in Denver is outrageous. I mean, they have some good songs, but they're certainly not on the level of Judas Priest or other top-name bands. Slaughter was a bigger name than Tesla back in the day, and a ticket to their show last month cost half as much.

I think overpriced tickets are an affront to the soul of metal. Metal is all about going against the norm, "sticking it to the man", and appreciating your fans. Charging fans too much for a show is just another form of selling out and broadcasting to the world that you're really only in it for the money, not the music. I would think LiveNation takes most of the blame for high prices, but you have to wonder if the band is involved too. Unless you're a top-level act, charging a high price for a ticket makes you look like a poser.

We need more independent music venues and metal bands who care about the music and their fans, not the money!