Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"You guys are like family to me" (a.k.a. Chapter 1 in my verbose memoirs)

This post is the best example I can give our Human Resources department as to why we need a full-time editor. Just look at this damn thing, it's long. Also, if ever there was clear proof that I can suffer from severe verbal diarrhea, you are reading it right now. This whole post came out of me in a single push, simply as a result of having seen one short YouTube video. Please excuse it's length, and (perhaps) lack of quality.

Earlier this year, my wife and I decided to, for the first time in years, go see some bands play live. Back in the day, my calendar was filled with the likes of Deicide, Malevolent Creation, and other groundbreaking bands like Demolition Hammer and Paradise Lost. Not so these days, which probably comes as a huge surprise to our beloved readers. See, I know that all of you think of me, and the entire Metal Inquisition staff, as the guys who are the first to get to a show, and the first ones to take their shirts of in order to "rule the pit". In my case, at least, nothing could be further from the truth these days. Actually, even back in my metal prime, I would have never been spotted sans-shirt at any metal festivity. So if you're trying to figure out who I am by checking out pictures of the Entombed show in Fort Lauderdale from 1991 in someone's Flickr account, I'll give you a hint: I was the guy with a shirt on. There was only like two of us, and the other guy was in a wheelchair. That dude was such a scenester too.

Anyway...that was then, but little has changed. If anything, thing have gotten a bit worse. See, as I've stated before, my metal tank (if you will) is running on fumes. I largely write about metal in the past tense, and I'm largely interested (if at all) in bands that peaked nearly 20 years ago. As such, seeing live music is not a priority in my life these days. Most of the bands I liked as a kid completely suck now, and most new bands merely sound like third-rate versions of bands I liked earlier in my life. I know that this point of view is dead giveaway of someone who is aging, and thus completely out of it....but I'm telling you the truth. This is how I've always been, prematurely old from the time I was a little kid. Just ask my brother. One time, when I was little (he's four years older than me) he started to tickle me, to the point where I could hardly breathe. I told him to stop, that he HAD to stop. Why? I claimed to have a "heart condition", and I was only four years old...but already concerned about my ailing health. With this in mind, I should tell you that if and when I do see live music (this whole post started with me telling you that my wife and I decided to see some live music...remember?), I constantly find myself wishing the shows would go a little something like this:

- Take public transportation, or drive my car to a safe and walkable neighborhood.
- If driving, park car in a well lit, free and safe parking lot
- Before the show, eat at a reasonably priced restaurant (cloth napkins are a plus)
- Without waiting in line, I walk right in at 7:55pm.
- Band I'm there to see, starts playing at 8:00 pm promptly. No opening bands.
- Songs from the latest record are not played. Songs are played just as on the old records.
- In a smoke free, and climate controlled environment, I enjoy the music without being bothered by sweaty people, and without being touched by strangers who are gross and probably have fleas and bad breath.
- At 9:00 pm to 9:30 pm, I leave the venue and head back home.
- Before 10:00 pm, I get back home and call it a night as I read a fine periodical or book.


Now that I've told you all this, you probably get a sense for how un-fun of a human being I am, and how rare indeed it would be for me to go see a bunch of bands play in what the youngsters call a "fest", which is exactly what I did. The particular event that my wife and I chose to go to was more of "hardcore fest" variety, where bands that barely anyone cared about back then, got back together to play for a small-ish number of people, who still somehow manage to remember their badly-produced musical output. Was it a horrible idea for us to go? Perhaps, but see...we took it as a chance to travel for a weekend, and see friends in a different city for a couple of days. I wont go into details about the bands or this particular show in general, as it was (at best) a shrug-inducing affair. All of it, that is, except for one detail. This one detail I'm referring to is something I noticed that night, and something I also remember having seen within the world of metal and other horrible subcultures I have been affiliated with. From the stage, aging band members who were once as thin as the mic stands they used as stage props (but now were...well, more like the size of the drum risers), proclaimed that "Everyone in this room is like family to me. All of you. I never had anyone or anything." Over and over again, we heard this general sentiment throughout the night, each band's singer saying it in a more profound manner than the last. Often citing a lack of stability or family life at home, a musical scene had become a family environment for all these angry tattooed fellows on stage. Though metal bands had never actually voiced this feeling in such a straightforward manner, choosing instead to talk about weed, evil, evil weed, or skulls that were evil and smoking weed. Nevertheless, I had heard this from friends many times. Metal was their life, and held a deeper and higher meaning than anything. In absence of religion, many had taken up metal...or punk, or hardcore, or whatever.

As my wife and I left the venue, we both realized that we had enjoyed ourselves, but that we were also greatly at odds (even this many years later) with the people who surrounded us in that venue. I suddenly understood why. Never in my life, had I ever considered members of a certain musical scene or subculture my family. Not once in my life, had I ever thought of everyone who was simply aware of a certain kind of music as my best friend...only because they happened to own the same records as me. Metal, as much as it was a part of my life, and as much as I was involved in it, had never encompassed my entire life. Look, I still have a stack of letters from Richard C of Wild Rags to prove it....I was down. How else would I have yet another stack of letters to me from video trader-extraordinaire Pat (from Hellwitch) dating back to 1990? Wait, are these things I'm telling you to prove I was cool? Hmm, perhaps it will get the reverse effect, so...never mind that. Anyay, I as down...but somehow managed to keep things in check. I don't say this to show I'm somehow superior (if you saw the child-like torso that god granted me, I think you'd quickly see how inferior I am)..I merely bring this up because it strikes me as odd. Why didn't I think of metal as my life, my family, my everything?

The broken homes and awful family circumstances that were talked about endlessly on stage by these performers were foreign to me. Yes, like so many others, during my teenage years I dressed and acted in a manner that made me feel at odds with my parents' views of my future. I unknowingly relished being different, whether that meant wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt at 11 years old, or going to see Deicide at 14 years old while dressing like an extra in a Cypress Hill video. For whatever reason, we all enjoyed this sort of thing (perhaps the friction it created within our tiny universes was satisfying)...but what I never felt was the kind of bond that others speak about when referencing their allegiance to any kind of subculture. I was not above that sort of thing, I just never knew how to make it happen. I loved metal, but somehow the passion others had was always kept at arm's length. Some of those passionate feelings were usually expressed in foolish ways by those around me. One kid in my school took a small eraser and rubbed the Slayer pentagram on his forearm until it was raw. He did this for months, until heavy shoestring-like scar tissue built up around it. He had branded himself for life, and he was merely 15 years old. Another kid around me, after having heard a rumor that Phil Anselmo had died (circa 1991), wore a black armband to school for a solid week. At the time, I'm almost ashamed to admit, I rather liked Pantera. I was even one of those kids that thought Phil Anselmo looked buff and cool in his shirtless pictures (homoerotic, I know..and to top it off, Phil had the muscle definition of a melted bag of marshmellows.) Still, I couldn't bring myself to care all THAT much about the guy having supposedly died. Similarly, many years later I met a woman who told me she had cried uncontrollably for hours upon finding out that the singer Elliot Smith had died. I was amazed. While I completely understand someone's music, or creative output of any kind touching in a profound manner, I can't think of a single person who I don't know personally whose death would make me "cry uncontrolably for hours." These, I thought, were the wackos who cry outside Neverland ranch, the ones who sat outside Kurt Cobain's house after he killed himself. Wacky, half-undone people who are okay to be around for short periods of time...but the type that you would never, ever want to be close to. Why? If that's the reaction they have to someone like Cliff Burton dying, can you imagine what will happen with their uncle or their goldfish die? These are the people who will set themselves on fire (Buddhist monk style) over their second cousin in Iowa getting a cold. Okay, I mean..I get it. They only do it for people who touched them they'll only do it for their uncle Earl who touched them in a funny place as kids. I kid, I kid. But seriously folks, what drives people to feel so insanely connected to music? Am I not in touch with my feelings? I don't think I am, not that I'd be a good judge. I've been moved by music and art, architecture and many other stupid things that human beings have created. Music in particular has the ability to change my mood, just like anyone else. To this day, listening to Bloodlet makes me want to physically harm others...just like Agnostic Front used to make me want to lift weights when I was 14. Silly, yes...but this is the human mind we're talking about. Still, I guess I never felt the type of elation that others have experienced. Am I missing out?

Is it just me, or is the mom phoning in her "holding an evil grapefruit" pose?

We were all teenagers once

Did I perhaps have those strong feelings when I was younger? Why didn't I hate my family, and think of the audience at a Malevolent Creation show as my family? This is where the blog turns into a self-help book, so hold on to your balls and your vajay-jays.

Allow me to reminisce (insert harp sounds here). Like any other idiotic teenager, I had mood swings, and subsequently became a complete pain in the ass to be around for some time. I deeply regret my actions during that time, but have slowly come to terms with the fact that I was too stupid to know what I was really doing. Maybe that's just a coping mechanism, something to make me feel better about having hurt those around me...but so be it. Sure, things were tense at home from time to time, and like other families, there was stress for all kinds of reasons at home. I wanted to dress a certain way, for the last few years of the 80s, my wanting to have a mullet alone created huge friction between my mom and me. I mention this to let you know that my family life was perhaps not totally perfect, but how could a teenager (involved in metal or not) be completely at ease with everything in his/her life? As a teenager, you're not supposed to. Like all comming-of-age stories (the real ones, not like the first two seasons of Dawson's Creek or Felicity), that time is supposed to be filled with small bits of conflict, horrible fashion choices and bumps on the road. Being involved in a subculture like metal, however, complicates things a bit since you are expected to completely uphold every decision you made as a young child. People "sell out", "drop out of the scene" or magically become something else. Remember the metal kid who got into hip-hop? The goth kid who suddenly discovered the Grateful Dead? These things happen in life, but are greatly penalized among such subcultures.

So where was I? Oh stuff. (cue slow, pensive piano music)

So aside from the usual minor bits of conflict...I think I come from a generally stable and sane family. At least for a South American one. In retrospect, I now see that youth is defined by conflict, and in becoming involved within subcultures (musical or not) we were actually able to shape what those conflicts were. We were, in a sense, picking our own poison. What a rare treat, odd as it may sound, to get to partially control one big aspect of your life. Like babies, crying for attention, we all begged for conflict by wearing a certain shirt from a certain band home...or whatever it was that drove our parents crazy. It's for this reason that I feel a bit sad when I still see men in the late thirties or even forties, wearing those horrible bondage pants and Craddle Of Filth shirts. I see them standing there, grown toddlers asking the world to look their way. Sorry if that sounds extremely judgmental on my part, but that's what I see.

But back to make-shift teenage rebellion. In controlling the points where we would encounter friction, we had control over at least one thing, at a time when it felt like we controlled nothing (wah, wah, wah.) Perhaps as a result, some start to feel even more attachment to a certain type of music or artist. The world is against them, no one understands, so on and so forth. This is how it starts, and next thing you know, you're crying because Vinny Daze from Demolition Hammer died.

As kids, we often found ourselves testing new ground, and largely sniffing around trying to find our way through life. Such an adventure, at such a young age, is bound to have conflict and some light turmoil. In retrospect, most of that conflict and turmoil seems silly now...but at that age, they were some of the biggest issues we had dealt with in life. Still, although life wasn't perfect, I never hated my family...and I never felt such allegiance to a group (one largely made up of strangers) as a result. From a young age, I loved metal and went on to love and devote most of my life and energy into other musical "scenes" (typing that makes me dry-heave, as I'm still weary of "scenes" and "cultures"). Yes, I played in bands, booked shows, I put out horrible zines, did awful one-man side projects. Through all of that, however, I still knew that this was just something that I loved doing, but it was never my whole life. Music was never my family, nor was it my entire existence. Somehow, things were always in focus for me, a substantial accomplishment when you consider that so few things were ever in focus for me through those years. In a way, these groups of people became huge influences in my life, largely for the better. Through music, I began to shape my political views...hell, it even helped me shape ideas regarding what I eat and don't eat (which is downright insane). But through all this, somehow, in the back of my mind things were kept in check. My family and my close friends were just that...and those involved with music who I was not close to, were just people who were also into the same music I was into. No more, no less.

When I think about this general subject, a certain person from my past comes to mind, his name was Bob. Bob was an elderly and very kind man. Bob, although clearly not well-off monetarily, dressed in an impeccable manner for someone his age. His dark pants were always perfectly pressed, as were his white dress shirts, which he always covered partially with similarly well cared-for cardigan sweaters. Bob's hair was perfectly white, as were his large and orderly fake teeth. We both worked at a suburban telemarketing company in the mid 90s, and often spent our breaks talking in order to pass the time. Bob had never fully retired, and continued to work in order to help his pregnant grandaughter who was now living with him and wife. Everyday after work, a beat-up Impala would pull up while creating a large cloud of smoke. Behind the wheel was a tiny young girl, the grandaughter, who looked to be thirteen at most. The girl sported oversized doorknocker earrings, and constantly kept her lips puckered as a clear sign of anger. While tugging at the drawstrings of her San Jose Sharks jacket, the young girl would bark out, "Well, get in already!" Tough words for an elderly grandfather, who had just finished another seven hour shift for her benefit. Bob would kindly shrug as he looked at us, as to say "Kids these days... you know how they are". He would then head into the car, and the Impala would drive off in another cloud of smoke. It made me sad to see how a man his age, who was working to help this girl, was being treated. Bob wanted to retire, he often told me so. He didn't want to keep making calls to strangers, none of us did, but he had to. He would keep working in this nondescript suburban office park until the end of his days, and that made me sad to no end. During one of our break-room conversations, Bob once asked me if I had thought about getting my own headset for work. The headset being perhaps the most crucial and necessary accoutrement in a telemarketer's arsenal. Bob had noticed how fastidiously I cleaned the headset I was given by our shift manager each day, using any and all anti-bacterial substances I could get my hands on. "You should think about it" Bob said, "I got mine thirteen years ago, and I'm always happy I have it with me". Something suddenly occurred to me...I hadn't bought myself my very own Plantronics headset, as others had, simply because I was broke at the time, which I certainly was. There was another reason. I had not bought my own, because I knew that once I bought one, I would be there, doing that job for thirteen years...just as Bob had. This, I told myself, was a job...not a career. If you'll excuse the vapid and cheesy wording...the thin wire on that headset would surely serve as a noose, and would keep me tethered to that damn building for life. Soon, an angry teenager would be picking me up, as my fake teeth rattled in anger. So I realized, we were different, Bob and I, and not just because of our age. Whereas Bob bought small gifts for our shift managers around Christmas, and aimed to make his workstation feel a bit more like home, I tried as hard as possible to do the opposite. I needed that job, I needed the money...but I was not there for life. My relationship with musical scenes was a bit similar. I was getting my share of entertainment, friendships and fun out of it ...but at the same time, seeing old timers who would often crow about having seen Metallica "back in 83", and had no other accomplishments in their life since, scared me. I didn't want to be that guy, in the same way that I really didn't want to buy the headset. I didn't want the Slayer pentagram in my arm, I never wanted to invest too heavily...all in fear of that Impala and the angry teenage bitch behind the wheel.

As the years go by, and I no longer earn a living as a telemarketer, but I have come to realize that many of my close friends today are people I met (in one way or another) through music. So, there is no doubt that music, and the culture around it, has played a large role in my life. A huge one, actually. And yet, to look out at an audience of one or ten thousand people (as so many have) and proudly say "you are all my family", sounds like one of the most whacked out, unstable things anyone can say out loud to me. What I hear in those words are the feelings of unstable adults, adults with sizable issues that will probably make them a real chore to be around. I hear the words of an adult tantruming, unable to see which way is up. I say this, knowing that all of us have difficulties in life, from time to time. But voicing it in such a way, is simply astounding due to it's revelatory nature.

Remember in Decade Of Aggression, when Tom Araya says "if you see someone go down, help them back up. That's what we're here to each other out...okay?" When I heard that, I just want to turn to the speaker and say, "Tom, you stupid idiot...have you met your fans? Do you really think the toothless meth head is helping anyone? It's a nice sentiment and all...but the only thing that unites us all is listening to Slayer...which is a pretty thin and pathetic unifying bond when you get down to it." Even as a young teenager, I had this mindset. Honestly. Look, I was not then, nor am I now, the most self-aware human being...and yet, I could smell that pile of nasty doo-doo from miles away. Metal, Slayer, Pantera, Kiss, Flotsam and Jetsam, Prong, Nocturnus....none of these things were ever and will never by "my whole life dude." My life, is my that I try to live as happily as I can, devoid of "metal running through my veins."

So don't feel offended when I tell you that all of you are not my family (I'm sure you're all in tears as a result of that statement, since you're ALL such huge fans) a matter of fact I know I would dislike most of you in person...much like you'd dislike me as well. And that's cool. Perhaps we share some points of view, we both know about Forbidden's live EP and how stupid that Judas Priest cover was...these are very general commonalities. So, regardless of what Madball songs may say about how we're all "brothers." We're not. Sorry Roger Miret, but how can we be not only "united" but also "strong", when I can't stand 90% of the people who share my musical taste?

So why on earth did I write this long (unfunny) post about this subject? Why did I suddenly turn this blog into a self-help forum? Why am I willingly setting myself up to get made fun of and/or ridiculed by our readers? Really, it's all because of the video below...which I found to be pretty funny. I know that the "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" angle has now been done to death...but there are some funny gems within this one. The part that got my attention the most, is the first interview, which features two shirtless drunks. Aside from sounding a bit like wanna-be wrestlers, they begin to express the "this is my family", and "metal runs in my blood" sentiment I'm referring to. I know this is merely the mumblings of two drunks, but its the thing that got me thinking about all this. Oh, and note the bearded guy with the Morbid Angel shirt who may or may not be dead during the taping of this video. After having seen Weekend At Bernies, you can never be too sure. Is this video Exhibit C in the trial against white America? Perhaps. Enjoy.

Could this be the post that made the blog jump the shark? Hope not. But like one BSNYC wisely says "that shark is not going to jump itself".


  1. Sheesh no comments yet?

    Lucho were you brought up in a Roman Catholic environment? So much guilt man? Loosen up, jesus never asked you in person to take the blame for him getting nailed.

  2. good post if not a little self indulgent lucho
    but i liek what you say...i'v never related to the idea of the'metal family'
    but i do think its bad form to refer to yourself as wise (in that you are BSNYC)

  3. i agree with a vast majority of this post, in that most people into metal (good or bad) are totally retarded or headfucked in some manner and that i don't identify with a large majority of them, but seriously...get an editor.

  4. Hey Gramps cheer up. Everyone has that moment when they find their best years are behind them. Brew up some tea, tune into NPR, and treat yourself to a new pair of khakis. A nice bran muffin to top things off and you'll be ready to tackle the world.

  5. Stevhan.ti:

    Guilt? Maybe, I was brought up in a very catholic country, but in a non-religious family. I think I merely mention those things to not sound tooooo self-rightous.

    Self-indulgent? Eh...probably. But then again, is writing in a blog not all about being self-indulgent? Maybe it's not supposed to be, and I have it all wrong.

    Anonymous 2: Far from the truth, I didn't much care for my teenage years, and very much look forward to the rest of my life. I enjoy things now more than I ever did. Khakis? Nah....NPR, sure. Crank it up.

    I have to say that I've never cringed as I pressed the "publish" button before. I did for this post, and perhaps rightfully so. Oh well.

  6. Good post, lotta truth in there.

  7. "Most of the bands I liked as a kid completely suck now, and most new bands merely sound like third-rate versions of bands I liked earlier in my life."


  8. OK Lucho, here's how to break out of the blahs. Get liquored up, crank Fabulous Disaster, and beast fuck the old lady. I'm not talking the gentle lovemaking session every Saturday where you lock eyes and take it slow. Put in a nasty porno and doggy the shit out of that woman. Blow a load, kick the dog, and pass out in a puddle of puke. I'd like you to use "fuck" more often in your entries along with a few exclamation marks. Let's get that pulse rate up you comfortable, sensible, middle of the road, self satisfied, yuppie immigrant. I heard that drawn out sigh fucker! Fight, damn you, fight!

  9. Anonymous 9.23,
    I don't have the blahs, really. I don't. Still,you made me laugh. Good stuff. Problem is, I don't even drink.

    Pass the bran muffins!

  10. Aug 5, 2009 - the day Lucho threw in the towel. The fun machine has shit the bed and died.

  11. I think all the "you're my family" sentiment just reflects the dysfunction (eek!) that a lot of people drawn to various subcultures (ack!) grew up with. If these were the hippie days, a lot of these people would have ended up in the People's Temple or the Manson Family. That alone is reason to thank god for Slayer.

  12. Matt, I think you're totally right.

  13. good post bro, not the light funny stuff I usually come to the blog for, but enjoyably introspective nevertheless

    Had a similar epiphany last summer when i was at a festival with a friend, and we realized how we couldn't stand most of the people around us, and just how superficial the "bond" between us really was.

    If you think about it the ones who keep a distance are the ones who take the music the most seriously, instead of the ones who just want to feel like they belong.

  14. As someone who got into real metal "late" and at an older age (about ten years ago) I really appreciated this entry. One refreshing experience I had was about two years ago and it was my first black metal show (hey, I live in Utah so there's not much out here worth seeing.) The band was Crimson Moon and about 4 other bands that all incestuously shared members back and forth. I was there with my friend who had only recently found his own appreciation for black metal. Even though neither of us had heard Crimson Moon we couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out the spectacle, so we went. It was horrifying and hilarious and I basically felt like I was at a Dungeons and Dragons convention. The merch guy I talked to was neurotic and kind of an asshole in a standoffish chess club sort of way, various members of the crowd would throw Hitler heil salutes instead of clapping between songs, and we even had one of our beer pitchers stolen out from under our noses. It was really just a bizarre experience.

    Now, while I love black metal, I mainly appreciate the atmosphere and the noise it makes. However, I don't listen to it as often because it rarely fits my mood (unless it's winter time pretty much.) I've never cared about the theatrics or corpse paint or evil attitudes, and to see all this played out by grown men in their thirties was something I'll not soon forget. I often explain that I partially enjoy metal to non-metal people because it's hilarious and the bands are much like comic book heroes when it comes to levels of ridiculousness. But that show just put things into a whole new perspective. I could never ever see myself being friends with anyone who attended the show that night. Not to mention the Watain show I saw last fall where the crowd was basically skinheads, a few normal people, and myself.

    I'll stop rambling. Thanks for the post Lucho.

  15. "One time, when I was little (he's four years older than me) he started to tickle me, to the point where I could hardly breathe. I told him to stop, that he HAD to stop. Why? I claimed to have a "heart condition", and I was only four years old...but already concerned about my ailing health. "

    That is an absolutely 100% true story, but I think Lucho 5 or maybe 6 then.

    Here's the thing, tho. I did feel metal pretty deep and still do. Nothing makes me pedal harder on my bike than 'Fear of the Dark' on my iPod. But my connection was ALWAYS to the music itself and how it made me feel, not to the people who made it, listened to it or "lived for it", you know? For what it's worth and it ain't much...

  16. ah, leave it to my brother to complete my thoughts. yes, its the music...more than the "scene". true.

    smug, you just reminded me of those shows where ten bands play, and only six band members are needed. true magic.

  17. Fuck, I forgot to plug my twitter:

  18. Your "wish list for the show" is the same as mine: no mud, no sun, no rain, no wait, no fuckin' new songs played!

  19. Lucho don't worry, if anyone is going to make this blog jump the shark it's Sergeant D.

  20. Best post yet. I think about shit like this all the fucking time. I probably have a million times more to say about it than I feel like typing on the internet. If I ever meet you, which is unlikely, we'll have something to talk about. Maybe I'll even show you my "Straight Edge" tattoo.

  21. Dang Lucho, I knew you were smart and funny and super-knowledgeable, but now we find out you're self-actualized too? Rock on! Seriously, you guys kick ass on so many levels! Don't get too big a head though--I probably wouldn't cry or wear a black armband if you died.

  22. Lucho- first off i'm betting dollars to Doughnuts (ha! get it? a 90's Victory Records reference?) that the fest you're talking about in this post was one of the Burning Fight shows..just a guess.
    You'd be quite surprised at just how many people agree with you here, so in a sense our mutual distrust and dislike of one another would ironically make us "family" in real life. right f-ing on about shows- i went to the carcass reunion show in nyc last year, had to sit through 6 opening bands that all blurred together, and left in the middle of carcass at 1am to catch the train...seriously, what the frag ever happened to matinee shows? start 'em at like 5pm, nobody wants to have to negotiate a parking lot full of meth heads at 2am after a show...anyway, great post, this is why we love you guys like family. *pukes*

  23. see, we ARE all family...but for different reasons. Love it.

    I once drove two hours to see a matinee show in another city. It was a in a great venue. Hung out briefly after the show, drove all the way back, and was home before 8pm. So good.

    Robert, let's see that sXe ink!

  24. oh, and to the anonymous poster who made the Doughnuts reference, here's one for you. What's the quickest way to get a cream-filled doughnut? Send it on tour across the US with Snapcase.

  25. Is it a bad thing that I'm only 20 and yet I totally agree with this? Every metalhead I meet that's my age just seems like a total skid to me that isn't going anywhere, save for my best friend who kinda got into the music alongside me, and I can't stand the members of the "subculture" I'm apparently part of. Ah well, at least the bands I've chatted with have been less fucked in the far.

  26. Shit, talking about driving for a show... Lucho, remember driving 4 hours to see a band in horrible weather, just have them play 2 songs and get off stage because a guy in the front row kept giving them the finger!?!? the band: The Queers... BARF!

  27. Awesome post, and I couldn't agree more. The guy who kicked me in the eye at an Anthrax gig is not my "family." Neither are the guys drinking PBR and pretending they're in Mastodon, or the 400 pound guy with his shirt off in the pit at a Dying Fetus show. Just like the rest of the world, metal is made up of about 95% dumbasses. It's cool that we like the same music and all, but I'm grateful that those dudes are not my blood relatives.

    Band plug:

  28. You know metal is in a pathetic state when the only people in a documentary who keep some sort of dignity are Rasputin in a Morbid Angel t-shirt and Katon de Pena.

    I have the same opinions as you do towards the "metal family" and thought this was a well-written article; however, I'm disappointed not to see one mention of Manowar at all in your lengthy piece. I don't think they've ever written a song that didn't contain the phrase "brothers of metal".

  29. the thing that puzzles me is why one would even want to be part of a such a group in the first place. when you said "my life is my life", you hit the nail on the head -- music and other aesthetic interests will obviously inform who you are, but they should never define who you are.

    my relationship with music exists in the space between my speakers and my ears. i suppose some people feel validated or reinforced by having their enthusiasm shared by hundreds (thousands?) of other strangers, but to my mind this cheapens the individual bond one person forges with one record.

    i don't go to shows much anymore, either.

  30. Very well said. I am on the same boat, too.

    Still....Every so often (tends to happen less and less often nowadays), something happens - yesterday it was Dead Congregation's "Teeth into Red" track - which reminds me that under all the fanciness and escapism I am just a beer-drinking, Satan-worshiping, simple-minded heavy metal bastard.

  31. I don't think anyone should forget (and Lucho touches on this), that while I may not have seen other fans as "family", the "scene" had a huge influence on me. I met most of my friends because of it. I don't wanna just dismiss metal as "some shit I just listen to", 'cuz if it was none of us would be on this here blog. I've never posted anything on a hip-hop blog, for example, and I like a lot of hip-hop, but THAT is just music to me, it's just not as important to me as metal... I don't know I don't wanna just hate on something that was this important to me, I guess... Do I make any sense?
    Fuck me.

  32. Speaking of the metal community, I once wrote "Extreme Music for Extreme People" on my folder when I was 16 and in a matter of seconds scribbled over it with my pen. I don't think I've ever felt more embarrassed in my life.

    Thank you, Evil D, for inadvertently showing me the errors of living a life as a "true metal-head".

  33. Well, you DO need an editor, but there were just so many nuggets in there that the time reading it just flew by. Great post.

    Too much to comment on in detail, but it is always nice to see that there are more old "Bed, Bath, and Beyond"-compatible metal/HC dudes out there who care about the music, but could do without 95% of the "underground" culture that they are (were) a part of.

    Therefore I'll echo the sentiment of SxE Robert, who wanted to hang out with you just for this post alone to shoot the breeze (a place with cloth napkins would be splendid!).

    So maybe you are just more selective with respect to which members of the "family" (or "brotherhood" if we stay with the HC cliches) you hang out with...?

    I also liked this comment:
    "If you think about it the ones who keep a distance are the ones who take the music the most seriously, instead of the ones who just want to feel like they belong." Not sure whether that is true, but I wish it was. Sports, at all kinds of levels, is another sad example of this.

    Finally (and not surprisingly), your "wish list for the show" is the same as mine, although I still would have made 10 minutes to check out the merchandise. 'Cause otherwise, how would you stand out in the cocktail lounge if it wasn't for subtle rebellion in your hip DRI polo shirt?

  34. Oh, Lucho. When everyone else was eating pizza, they only got you a loaf of bread.

  35. Possibly the best post I've yet to read on MI. I feel quite similar a lot of the time, and I'm only 21! I don't only "live for the music" and metal is not "my life." .W. put it perfectly-- "music and other aesthetic interests will obviously inform who you are, but they should never define who you are." I could never have put it better myself.

    Part of MY discomfort is that I'm ultimately a pretty happy dude. I recognize that life isn't always a bed of roses, but when shit hits the fan I try to find my way back to good. And so what I get out of metal-- the rush of energy, the obscure subject matter, among other things-- isn't always similar to what a lot of other people do. There's a lot of nihilism going on, which I don't think I need to establish.

    But really, at SOME level, no matter your outlook-- isn't music FUN? Isn't it supposed to be enjoyable? Sometimes I feel like folks into heavy/extreme/hardcore/DIY music need to loosen up a bit and realize that even serious music has unserious fun quality.

  36. The reason that fat aging band members entreat the audience with the ‘you’re all like family to me’ bogus chit chat is exactly the same reason that fat aging members of your actual family do it. Because they’re on their arse, need to borrow money, get a ride home, cadge a free drink and sleep on your sofa. Or maybe it’s just my family. Anyway it’s a kind of charity that springs out of trying to have a good time that leaves everyone feeling sullied.

  37. Like someone else said, it has never been about the fans or the scene for me. It has always been the music. I'm in my mid 20's and my usual attire consists of jeans and a metal band shirt. It's not cause I want attention, it's what I like to wear.

    But you're right, I tend to not like most of the people who have the same records as me. Like at Mayhem Fest I loved the music, hated all the white trash Slayer fans throwing their beer around.

    Good post, but you need an editor badly

  38. jesus.. i've never seen someone use so many words words to say that they DON'T care. kind of undermining your own point here

  39. haha! true, barfly! but i think the point is that we all DO care, i guess! no?

  40. Twitter is for fucking pussies. I just added you. (positronicshell)

  41. I used to work as a cook in a restaurant. One day, when we were jamming some Sepultura, one of the waitresses asked me ," Gus, why do you listen to genocide music?” I told her, without thinking, that it was the “,music of my tribe.” Even in my late 30s I still kind of think this is true. While we may not be family, all of us Metal Heads are connected in some strange way by the love of the music. It’s like Phil Anselmo said,

    Live in a hole
    But stay close to my kind
    ‘Cuz they understand
    What burns in my mind

    While I agree with that statement, I am pretty sure that I would hate Phil,because he is probably an enormous douche.
    Also, we used to call guys like the two drunk asses in the video, “vomit heads.”

  42. I was going to type out something long and deep and then I realized (similar to this post) I dont really give a fuck enough to tell a bunch of strangers (that my only bond with is music) this stuff. In fact, the reason that I started reading this blog in the first place was because it was hilarious to celebrate how stupid metalheads typically are.

    Love the music, hate the kids.

  43. @ Uncle Gus,

    "Phil Anselmo's pain burns in the heart of my younger brother".

  44. good post, a bit long for my tastes ha, but needed to be said...

    the other end of this that i myself hate as well is the elitist(s) of scenes...when you go to a show but don't fit in because you're wearing a color other than black, a collared shirt, or god forbid, have taken a bath or groomed yourself for the day. All of the sudden you're getting looks like you're "beneath" the "true fans" there or whatever...

    so i can understand both sides of it...hell, i've rarely had friends who were actually "into" metal or anything heavy "for real" if only i get older it almost becomes like a taboo thing...i actually go to shows alone now LOL..

  45. catatonic_disassembly:

    I had a hilarious interaction happen in early 2008. There's a black metal show (or... 'fest'...) that happens once a year in my neighbor state of Colorado. Sometimes some black metal bands I like play on the bill, so I thought it would be worth checking out. Basically you have to 'apply' to be invited, and my guess is they look into you to see if you're grim and frostbitten enough. So I sent a message requesting an invite from my personal email address. My guess is they scoped me out on Myspace or something and found that I wasn't trve enough for them. So I received this reply:

    Unfortunately, you cannot come to the Gathering of Shadows, because it would blow your fragile mind to pieces. You are obviously weak, and weak people are not allowed at GoS. I suggest that you stop listening to Black Metal.


    I'm actually glad I WASN'T invited because I would have missed out on reading something as hilarious as this. I love me some metal, and I love black metal, but black metal fans are a bunch of numbskulls.

  46. @savage

    Thanks for the reference. Never heard that song before, but yeah, that pretty much says it all.

  47. @ Smug

    "I suggest that you stop listening to Black Metal."

    I laughed so loud I almost Jame Sharted.

  48. Smug, I'm so thankful for the introduction to something as hilarious as the Gathering of Shadows.

    "The intention and purpose of the Gathering of Shadows is to take this form of art away from the irreverence of bars and nightclubs in order for the music to somewhat transcend entertainment."

    Black metal is comedy gold.

  49. Yea I think the whole subculture "family" is hilarious. The worst being the hippes saying "Brother this, Family That" then proceding to steal your weed!
    It is always good to have good friends into the same music you are. My friends have turned me onto so many bands I would never have heard of. But I don't say there my "family".
    That GOS post is hilarious!
    On another subject anyone ever notice the guys who scream "poser" "sellout" "not true" etc. etc. seem to be the ones who "sell out" the most abandoning anything they ever had to do with metal or any subculture they were a part of?

  50. an invite only black metal fest? holy god, i've now heard it all.

  51. Zachary: It is saved and starred in my gmail box. Every few months I have to pull it up to tell someone about it, or just read it again for myself. Another great part I failed to mention about it is this:

    So when the grim and frost bitten headmaster of Gathering of Shadows answered me, he signed his name as the esteemed and mysterious "Myrddraal" ... (which sounds like a cold medicine to me if I say it out loud.)

    BUT he also CC'd three other guys in his response:

    Joe, Joe, and Kyle

    If he was so dark and frosty to me, why does he have friends with such boring names? He's killing the illusion for me! It's like traveling back in time and forcing KISS fans to watch the recent Gene Simmons' sex tape where he is without makeup and looks like Elvis in his dying years.

  52. Anon Old School Metal GuyAugust 5, 2009 at 11:15 PM

    Anyone who actually has metal pumping through their veins is probably eating way too much canned tuna.

    Entertainment business rule no. 1: you're "family" until you stop buying tickets and merch.

    For me the scariest thing about "HM Parking Lot" isn't that most of those dudes look like the people I used to hang out with, it's that I used to think girls who had that horrible feathered hair were hot.

  53. Smug, I'm so happy to hear about pretentious black metalheads in my state. Which city was the "gathering" to take place? Please tell me Colorado Springs or Highlands Ranch...

  54. "Tom, you stupid idiot...have you met your fans? Do you really think the toothless meth head is helping anyone?

    In defense of Araya: he said this at an English Slayer show (DoA was recored @ Wembley.) European metal heads are not white trash, but mainly D&D nerds who study engineering. Euro white trash aka hooligans listen to gabber or happy hardcore or whatever its current incarnation is called.

  55. Forgive this long and rambling comment, but...

    I think this is where punk differs from metal.

    Even if you're not a part of the scene or whatever, there's an unspoken bond sometimes when I see another punk at the grocery store or whatever... I (sometimes wrongly) assume that we have similar reference points regarding the culture in general or at least could have a fun conversation about whatever band's on their shirt... Sometimes that's great, other times it's not, but whatever... I have more in common with them I'm sure than I do with someone who listens to adult contemporary music and is fulfilled by their office work...
    I'm not even knocking that, I'm just saying...

    Having grown up in a really small town, when I randomly see people who are into the same stuff I feel a little less alone...

    So in most cicumstances I'll have to advocate for that general feeling of tribe or brotherhood or whatever... It just feels good to me to be around other people who really like music... Probably even jazz people... I just love music...
    But anyway- even if brotherhood is just a concept or an ideal I like it...

    and even though I'm old and I don't really fit in with alot of people at shows it kills me when I stop myself from going BECAUSE of that, you know? It sucks going to shows alone sometimes, but I usually end up having a good time just enjoying music at ridiculous volumes... But even if I'm not actively participating, I know that I share something bigger with a lot of other people and that feels pretty good to me... even if some of them are fucking idiots, posers, whatever...

    but as I said before, metal is a bit dicier... Punk rock parking lot would probably be funny, but I'm sure it would be for different reasons...


  57. Great post. I totally agree with your sentiments. Invisible oranges did a somewhat similar post about loving certain bands but hating their fans. I can echo my same experiences. When I went to see Overkill they had two shit opening local bands and then they played. The whole night I had some shirtless drunk fuck standing behind me yelling out nice day for a funeral the whole night. I have always felt that this is music. Not a lifestyle. Not a dress code. Certainly not a family. If you consider these people your family it's only showing how empty your real family life is.


  58. Matt from Denver: Hi neighbor! I'm honestly not sure. I know it's somewhere in a forest. I'm not sure if it changes every year or what but I know they keep it unannounced so the weak minded uninvited dudes like me don't show up all desperate haha

  59. After spending many hours of my life reading this blog over the years this is the first time my reaction was just, "wow".

    The reason those aging musicians stand on stage to proclaim "family" to a nameless crowd is because that is the only audience they have left. I see it as a general sign of aging, like when grandparents start their "back in my day" stories. They get a hard-on for any audience they may have. They do what all people, who have realized that their best days have long gone, are doing. Who doesn't like to talk about their old record collection, incredible shows that the newcomers will never get to experience, and feel smug about themselves because "kids these days don't get it"? All the while desperately fighting against the death of their relevance in the scene that they claim to not have any sentimental ties to. Some do it from a stage in a loving manner, some do it by talking down to to the same crowd through a faceless medium. Still, it has the same effect. These old bags can get away with it because these young kids really "just don't get it". They weren't there to see these guys grow bitter because they didn't get enough attention from their scene when they were growing up so now they're getting it from the young ones. They can't let go.

    I have to say that I have on many drunken occasions seen this "scene" as a brotherhood but I think that it's been my experience while travelling that made it this way. I don't talk to anyone, anywhere, unless I see that killer shirt that I have to drool over, usually I'll be lucky and that shirt is on someone who will show me to the underground because we have that lowest common denominator. From the South American "scene" to the European "scene", I've been welcomed in many homes thanks to some of those shirts. Metal has been my way out of my social inadequacies. I can understand that drunk talk is all exagerration, but that's just common sense, not something to get all excited about. Relax, we're all in it for the music right?

  60. Anonymous, I can attest to similar sentiments being expressed at 80s hardcore shows, usually but not exclusively straight edge ones. Anyone who was punk before it was cool feels it a little bit just because we were all outsiders who found our niche, and still encountered a lot of hostility from the general public. So when these old bands start calling their audience "family," it rings true; especially knowing how broken the homes a lot of them came from.

    I feel more like Lucho does, but I also still feel a kinship with the oldschool guys and girls who were around then. In fact, in recent years the old Denver punks have been getting together once a year to hang out and catch up. For some people, we *are* all the family they have. (Which is sad; since most are past 40, you can foresee their future as lonesome shut-ins 20-30 years from now.)

  61. The truth of the matter is that if you no longer 'belong to the tribe' then of course you don't 'need' to be a part of anything other than your wifey(cue the whip)& the kids, or perhaps your new tribe goes drinking and plays golf on sundays when you get tired of going drinking and fishing and you all talk about what scheme to come up with to make better investments in your retirement funds or whatever is relevant to cash-money and sports. Most Metalheads mature and forget their humble metal place in the world, others come back, some never leave. While you're in it and you know it, there's nothing better out there because let's face it... this world is bullshit but metal keeps you grounded, if you're not grounded you simply go on floating in a haze of routine, car-repairs, family vacations, work deadlines, dentist appointments and sitcoms that really have nothing to offer your creative thirst like Metal (or atleast vintage Metal) does. Thanks for re-inforcing my faith in the Metal Health Lucho, hope you realize that you were part of something real & special once, now you're just another number waiting for your turn to exit planet motherfuker but hey atleast this post kicks ass.

  62. the manifesto of that invite-only black metal show makes a point that they want to keep the scene out of bars... dead giveaway that they're teens. The show probably took place in dad's basement, and the background check is probably to reject people who look like trouble, or who are old enough to intimidate them.

    and theres already a band called Myrddraal so Mr. brutal grim needs a new name

  63. Hoo boy...I kept waiting for this post to break into "...and that's when Jesus Christ saved my life."

    Metal is terrible music for drug addicts and Europeans. Nonetheless, 5% of fans are normal people who realize that the music they like attracts retards like flies and wish to avoid them like the plague. You are one of them. I am one of them. I have friends like them. I have a friend who listens to almost NOTHING but old school death metal, and still refers to half of the "metal heads" he knows as retards or bogans (the New Zealand term for trailer trash). Theres nothing wrong with liking metal and not being a stupid hillbilly.

  64. that is an awesome post man. good analysys

  65. Like and admire your nice post , thanks .