CRASH COURSE IN METAL: MY HEAVY METAL JOURNEY

     For most of you that know me…Metal Music is a passion for me.  As a 37 Year Old, I have pretty much lived through every Heavy Metal genre besides the very beginning.  Its funny because in my current career…I see many young kids that have once again chose Metal as their passion.  For awhile, it may have seemed that Metal was on its decline…but any sort of thought has been blown up like a bomb in Baghdad.  Heavy Metal is once again on a DRAMATIC rise and there is no sign of this phenomenon going away.  In Fact, although Metal may never reach the peak that it did during the mid eighties to early nineties when different forms of the music grew offspring.

     During the mid seventies to the early eighties, Heavy Metal began to form a pillar of Iron.  Beginning with Black Sabbath, the “God Father’s of Metal” in just about anyone’s opinion…Heavy Metal began to branch out with light speed.  During the late seventies and early eighties…the British wave of Heavy Metal was taking the world by storm.  I was only four years old in 1980…but I can still remember when AC/DC released “Back in Black.”  My father made such a big deal about buying that album.  It marked the return of the band, after parting ways with Bon Scott and the emergence of Brian Johnson as it’s frontman.  At that time, I didn’t know what Heavy Metal was or even had a clue what the different styles of music were.  Bands such as Iron Maiden, KISS, Judas Priest, DIO Motorhead,Van Halen, Def Leppard and many more began to make waves in America as well as Europe.  

     For the sake of not making this a boring drawn out history lesson, I am not going to get anymore into the definition or roots of metal.  All that I know is, my first Metal album was “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N Roses in 1987.  I was merely an eleven year old kid trying to find my way through this ever changing world.  Guns N Roses quickly became my first “favorite” band.  I quickly began to build a collection of audio cassette tapes, as CD’s were not out yet.  My catalog spread like a disease and I soon had over Forty Tapes.  At that time, I was still in Christian School, so this type of music was frowned upon.  Pretty soon, my mom stumbled upon my collection, and soon my set morphed into a measly five tapes, as my mom threw the other thirty-five out.  I couldn’t believe it…it was like I lost my new best friend.  I would liken it to someone today being an avid face book junkie and then having it stripped away from them like a tornado.

     Anyways, as the years went by, CD’s were invented and became the popular choice for music fans.  Not only did my CD Catalog increase, my tastes in Metal Music filtered out and I was finding all of the traditional sub-genres of metal…British Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Metal, Stoner Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, ETC.  The Sub-Genres continue to evolve to this day and I would not be able to tell you every one nor do I care.  I just know what I like.

     My first love was Glam Rock…beginning with Motley Crue, Poison, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Warrant, RATT, Cinderella, Queensryche, WASP, Winger, Autograph, White Snake, Bon Jovi…the list is too long.  These were the bands that I could not get enough of.  I was mostly a Motley Crue and Poison fan but I developed a natural love for all of these bands as well as their CD’s.  During the same time, I was heavy into Van Halen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC, Skid Row.  

     Then it happened…my neighborhood buddy introduced me to a band that I had never heard of and from there it was all over.  The band was Anthrax.  The CD was an EP “I’m the Man.”  And the song was “Im the Man”.  I can remember it like it was yesterday in his back yard.  We blared that CD over and over again.  After this, I became a THRASH METAL MANIAC.  I went out and bought every CD I could get my hands on.  I started with Megadeth “Countdown to Extinction.” and Metallica “Black Album.”  After this it was every Thrash Band…Testament, Slayer, Metal Church, OverKill, and like wise this list began to grow.  Then as the music continued to evolve…so did I.  Now I was listening to Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Slipknot, Seven Dust.  I loved “everything” metal.  YES… I am and always will be a METAL HEAD as my friend Cheryl always reminds me.  However, this does not mean that I do not like other music.  I enjoy all types, including RAP, Classic, Blues, Country, basically anything that I can jam to.  But it always goes back to Metal.

     Then it was Nirvana, Pantera, God Smack, Hate Breed, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Typonegative, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Disturbed, Death Angel, and Linkin Park.  Every year, I have developed new likes and dislikes as far as Metal Music.  However, I still traditionally am pulled to the Eighties/Nineties Glam/Speed/Thrash/Alternative categories.  Like today, I really enjoy the band VOLBEAT.  I also like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Hell Yeah, Lacuna Coil, Black Label Society and many others.  However, its not a secret that “Early” metal is back on the rise.  I mean, Black Sabbath just released a brand new studio album “Thirteen” with three of the original members Ozzy, Geezer, and Iommi.  WOW!!! In case you have not heard this album…go get it now!  AWESOME!  KICK ASS!  BAD ASS!  These would be the adjectives I use to describe this new album.

     As of today, my CD collection stands at 545 CD’s and Counting.  I have another 3,000 songs on my IPOD/IPHONE.  Yes, I am a music junkie.  Although music is available at the touch of a button, I still enjoy purchasing CD’s because I like the artwork and reading the lyrics and credits…call me old fashioned.  I have started sets consisting of my favorite bands.  Right now, today I own every CD for the following bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Slipknot, Testament, Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Lamb of God.  I am always continuing to build on my sets.  The next set that I will have complete is Black Sabbath including all Ozzy and Dio releases.  I always forget bands when mentioning my favorites.  My all time favorite band is Megadeth for my own personal reasons.  However, I am a huge fan of all The Big Four Bands, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Guns N Roses.  I hold these bands at my highest standard.  The next would be on a step down.  I am loving all of these comeback tours and new studio albums.  Metal is alive and well Folks!  I see it out in the neighborhood.  I see it in the workplace.  Its showing in the schools.  Its everywhere!!!!!!  I also attribute the re emergence to Guitar Hero…the popular video game…MTV, VH1, Facebook, Pandora and all of the other music social media outlets.  Well, this was a quick path through my Heavy Metal journey.  I am sure we all have our own tales and war stories.  All of the albums, concerts, tours, festivals, etc.  Heavy Metal will always be one of my passions and music is one of my defining attributes.  Besides listening to music, I have this blog which I write about metal, I read all kinds of books, and I am even currently taking Guitar lessons.  I also write Lyrics.  Maybe I did miss my passion……..ImageImageImage

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Who would win a Fight:Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie

According to a Music Live report…Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie got into a heated war of words on Friday Night during their ninth night of the “Twins of Evil” Tour in Michigan at the DTE Energy Stadium. Marilyn Manson accused Rob of cutting their set short and said that he would “Kick Rob’s Ass!”. When Rob got on stage he began to blast Marilyn saying that he is tired of his “$&&&&” rockstar attitude! Then during a cover of the Alice Cooper classic “School’s out For Summer,” he shouted “#%^*€>” you Marilyn Manson after every chorus and then changed the verbal attack to “Suck It” Marilyn. Then Zombie went on to call Marilyn “Brian” after Marilyn’s birth name Brian Warner. The fight verbal assault began after Marilyn reportedly wrote on Twitter that Rob had purposely cut their set short…apologizing to fans for not getting to play “The Beautiful People.”. Rob fired back that this is a Co-Headliner set and there was no plan to cut Manson short…this was utter nonsense. Rob said that he has never experienced any type of animosity like this with any other bands that he had Co-Headlined with in the past including Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer, Alice Cooper or KORN! He said when Marilyn said he would kick “his” ass when he gets off stage,” that it crossed the line. He went on to apologize to the fans for both his behavior and Manson’s actions. So far…there has been no comment from the Manson corner. This brings us to the debate…who would win a fight between these 2 Crazy Rockerz?!!! Well…in my opinion it would not even be close…Rob Zombie would trump Marilyn Manson in a fight unless Marilyn called upon his spirits to protect him. I could just see these two now on “Celebrity Death Match.”. The mascot would be Satan. The anthem would be a mixture of Sweet Dreams and Hellbilly Deluxe lol. Well one thing is for sure…both of these RockStars are definitely not “Beautiful People.”. One would have to say that they are two of the craziest entertainers today. One thing is for sure…they acted like fools on Friday Night and made a fool out of themselves. Stay Tuned it may get nastier.

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Violence and Heavy Metal Music…Is there a Connection?

The latest School Shooting which occurred in Baltimore has once resurrected the endless debate on Heavy Metal and wether it has a direct influence on teens and if this influence can be blamed on gun violence in America. On Monday, a teenager (15 years old) Bobby Gladden was arrested for allegedly opening fire with an automatic weapon in a crowded school lunchroom at Perry High School in Baltimore. The shooter critically wounded one fellow student before being tackled by a guidance counselor who disarmed Bobby. Of course…as soon as the media found out that Bobby considers himself a “metalhead” ….The New York Daily News claimed, “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was a heavy metal misfit.”. The relatively neutral NBC Network reported that Bobby was a huge fan of Slipknot and Rammstein….His Facebook page has Rammstein’s frontman Till Lindemann’s face posted on the front page. Here we go again folks…a green light for the Media to once again try to blame heavy metal music on teenage gun violence in America! What a joke…just because a kid listens to a certain kind of music…yes that is what possesses them to grab a weapon and go on an onslaught to try and slaughter a bunch of their fellow peers. How many times have we been down this road before?? I can remember after the Columbine Shootings in Colorado in April of 1999…the media was quick to jump all over the young shooters’ passion for heavy metal music, particularly Marilyn Manson and Rammstein. Eric Harris, one of the shooters had an extreme passion for German Heavy Metal bands, namely Rammstein. The media fed off this and played the ultimate blame game with the heavy metal community under the crosshairs. One would have to believe that politics also plays a major role on how and what the media reports so I definitely would not put it past the government for using this tactic to wave the war on gun control. It wasn’t till much later that Eric Harris was found to be a psychopath which would more logically explain the reasons for this violent behavior. As a line from one of Eminem’s (rapper/songwriter) popular song states…”Blame it on Marilyn” a reference to the shootings and the media’s pathetic use of heavy metal as a reason for such gun violence. Yes…these kids just happened to listen to this type of music and then go on a murder rampage!!! How many other billions of fans listen to this music and never shed an ounce of violence on anyone?!? C’MON….Use your head America. All of these incidents are isolated and the type of music they listen to has no bearing on this violent behavior. What if the killers had been fans of rap music…would the media then say that rap bands should be banned because they are a dangerous tool that directly influences teenage violence. This debate goes back even further and was cited in the 80’s when the PMRC hearings were being waged. Judas Priest was directly blamed for two teenagers who committed suicide. Rob Halford even had to go to court over this case. The prosecution tried to use the article that Priest used subliminal messages in their music that told kids to kill themselves. Then in later years the media tried to connect violence in video games to violence in real life. They tried to use evidence that teenage minds are like “sponges” and that the constant violence on the games they played directly led these teenagers to encompass violent tendencies and personalities. There has never been any scientific evidence linking either music or video games to violence…specifically gun violence.
Heavy Metal will always be a major target of stereotypical political ideologies and mainstream media criticism. But what these outlets fail to see is that there are a far number of fans who listen to this music that do not commit any violent acts. Therefore….I think it’s safe to say that there are other factors involved with these violent acts including economic status, cultural values, family values and upbringing, mental disorders, children of alcoholic or drug abusers, domestic violence and a multitude of other social breakdowns. After the Columbine shootings…Marilyn Manson was forced to cancel their tour due to the extreme backlash from government and media entities. This is just one more example of what is wrong in this country. We send our children overseas to fight wars for countries that do not give a damn about America. We spend millions on research for the space programs. We spend millions on programs that help people that either won’t help themselves or just uses the system in order to not have to work. We spend millions on programs to help foreign people enter our country and get handed jobs. We need to take a serious look at the problems that are faced by American society today and Heavy Metal music is one area that has nothing to do with the problems in question. Freedom of Speech was fought for by our forefathers and this is one right that should never be taken away or disparaged. We have the right to listen to whatever music we like and the music we listen to does not make
Us criminals. The person who gets into a car and drives after drinking and kills an innocent person is still responsible for their actions….did they necessarily mean to kill someone no. Did alcohol have any effect on this…maybe slightly. But ultimately that person made a choice to get behind the wheel after knowingly consuming more than the legal limit of alcohol. Likewise…the kid who goes into a school and murders innocent children knows beforehand what they are doing and what the consequences will be…that’s a fact. Let’s get it right and stop going back to the same whole over and Over again when it obvious that one has nothing to do with the other. Stop stigmatizing heavy metal in America. Do the right thing!!!!!

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