Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Metalheads Unite!

So I'm at the pharmacy today. As I go to the checkout counter there's a young man (probably in his early 20s) behind the cash register.  As I step up in line, he notices my Van Halen t-shirt and says to me, "Van Halen is not cool."  So I reply, "Oh yeah?"  He says, "No they're not cool, but at least they're not as bad as Dragonforce."  I didn't feel the need to get into a musical debate at the checkout counter, so I just smiled and got my change.  As I was walking out, I thought what would prompt someone to say something like that out of the blue? Then it hit me. This guy is obviously passionate about heavy metal.  When he's not wearing his blue apron with the white name-tag, he probably sports a variety of black t-shirts with detailed illustrations of dragons, demons, skulls, and the name of some obscure metal band that only plays in Sweden written on top to look like the words are bleeding.  He saw me with a metal t-shirt (or hard rock...whatever) and thought, "Hey there's a guy who likes metal! I want to share my enthusiasm with him.  What's the best way to do that? I know!  I'll tell him the band he likes sucks!"

My point is not that metal fans are argumentative morons.  My point is that there's a large group of people who are passionate about hard rock and heavy metal, and instead of banding together, they spend most of the time bickering. I can't tell you how many times I've heard students tell me they can't form a band with their friends because they don't like the same type of metal. "Well, I like power metal, but the singer likes death metal, and the drummer only plays hardcore."  I hear this sort of thing over and over.  Instead of refusing to cross sub-sub-genres (that's not a typo), why don't you just start a fucking metal band?

I went to see Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden, and you know what?  It was a sold out show!  They've never had a hit song, they never get played on MTV, and I almost never hear them on the radio, but right in front of me we're 20,000 heavy metal fans! There is an army of metal fans out there, but they're so determined to argue with each other that it makes the genre of heavy metal seem so small when compared to pop or r&b.  Aren't you tired of hearing auto-tuned garbage everywhere? We should unite and show people that we are a huge community of people that appreciate real bands with real singers and good musicianship.

Do I think a simple blog post will change people's thinking?  No. But just imagine how things would be if it did.

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