Music, My Stories

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My dad always said to me that “you learn outside the classroom”. The classroom to him (after Primary School), was a way to create robots for the degree factories. There was no learning happening there, just do as your told type of obedience.

“You would have to write an essay on a topic that’s been picked for you, a summary on a book that’s been picked for you and a book which you also had to read. You are taught a history that some faceless person decided you needed to know.” That’s what my Dad said.

“Where are the life skills about taxes, the share market and the property market?” my Dad would say. “And teachers are meant to plant the seed for expanding your mind. Not enclosing it.”

As my dad put it, he had to learn/figure out what to do. And when it came to money it was an expensive mistake, because he was financially illiterate. There was no one around to teach him or show him. Only people to get rich from selling debt.

And he would tell me, how many people learned to change a tyre for the first time was when they got a flat?

Its all trial and error.

Like when you pick up that hammer and chisel and decide to do some chiselling. When you start doing this, you realise that you are pretty crap at it, because you end up missing the chisel and hitting your hand with the hammer. It hurts like a MF, but you learn from it and suddenly, you are an expert at using a chisel with a hammer.

And the best form of learning is music. You know instantly if you are doing the right thing or not, by the sounds. If you hit a bum note, the feedback is instant, telling you, “hey, hang on for a second there, you hit a F# instead of an F”.

By learning it opens the doors to forming an identity.

Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music opened up my eyes to a lot of things and the songs opened up doors for my learning. The imagery of the album covers and the lyrics of bands, it more or less set the tone for the kind of movies I would also gravitate to.

And the community I grew up in, also assisted in my identity. Creating a metal and rock lifestyle. And then we grew up and got out of the town and now that community is so fragmented.

But it’s still a community.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Being a MetalHead

Heavy metal bands have the most loyal listeners. All of us metal heads know it, and Spotify recently proved it.

So where are all the metal heads when it comes to streaming service launches. Apple walked out Jimmy Iovine and Drake. Tidal walked out the Pop Stars. So, where the fuck are the metal heads?

If you want to look at sales of music, then look no further than metal and rock bands. In 1989, heavy metal and hard rock was the largest selling musical genre. In 2015, these genres are still selling. Even though the marketing budget of Breaking Benjamin was tiny compared to the bigger marketing campaigns the mainstream pop acts had, Breaking Benjamin still managed to beat other higher profile mainstream acts in sales recently.

Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Shinedown, Halestorm, In This Moment, Godsmack, Foo Fighters, Disturbed, Metallica, AC/DC and Of Mice and Men are consistent sellers these days.

I know it must sound strange to a lot of people. All of the music from the above bands is available for free on the internet, via streaming, illegal P2P, YouTube, etc. However they still manage to sell a lot of recorded music.

So what gives?

Which brings me back to the Metalhead and Rockhead loyalty.

Did you know that Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Night Ranger, Quiet Riot, Judas Priest, Europe, Bon Jovi, Poison and any Eighties metal band made me the great tax paying and law-abiding citizen I am today.

Who would have known that my degenerate adolescent mind and devil horn fingers would put me onto a road of happiness. If you don’t believe me, give the research a read.

The take away from the research is that being a metal head “served as a protective factor against negative outcomes.”

From Judas Priest, I learned about big brother watching (“Electric Eye”) and about life in a restrictive era (“Breaking the Law”).

From Twisted Sister, I learned about the brotherhood (“S.M.F”), the price of fame (“The Price”), standing up for yourself (“We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “I Wanna Rock”) and about looking out for yourself (“Lookin Out For Number 1”).

From Motley Crue, I learned about voicing your opinions against the establishment (“Shout At The Devil”), about premature ejaculation (“Too Fast For Love” and “Ten Seconds To Love”) , about being a pest at school (“Smokin In the Boys Room”) and just about everything else to do with drugs and sex.

From Iron Maiden, I learned about nuclear war (‘2 Minutes To Midnight”), World War II (“Aces High”, “Tailgunner”, “Where Eagles Dare”), ancient history (“Alexander The Great”, “Powerslave”), English literature (“Phantom Of The Opera”, “The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”), mythology (“Flight Of Icarus”), the meaning of deja vu (“Deja-Vu”), the bible (“Revelations”), the 666 number (“The Number of The Beast”), samurai (“Sun And Steel”) and the 1854 Crimean War (“The Trooper”).

From Metallica, I learned about banging my head super-fast (“Whiplash”), about capital punishment (“Ride The Lightning”), about drug abuse (“Master Of Puppets”), about literature (“For Whom The Bells Toll”, “The Thing That Should Not Be”), about war (“Fight Fire With Fire”, “One”, “Disposable Heroes”) and about corruption (“Justice For All”, “Eye Of The Beholder”, “Leper Messiah”).

Remember the hysterics about subliminal messages. Court cases followed from parents who lost children tragically to suicide. Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest both had to front the courts over subliminal messages. It was easy to blame the music.

I guess in the end, those subliminal messages told me to study hard, read a lot, be critical, be sociable, have an opinion, be a good citizen and earn my way in life. It sure goes against all of the mainstream media’s comments and Tipper Gore’s stupid Parents Group burning albums and screaming that “metalheads” are bad for society and at risk of poor development.

In the end, Metalheads and hard rockers have proven to be resilient and diverse. We wear our skins proud and we are loyal to the end.

 

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Alternate Reality, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Metal Manifesto

I can’t recall how many times I have been in a conversation about music and then when I am asked what styles of music I am into, I reply back with “hard rock and metal”. Then I get a smug look and an “Oh”.

In most cases, the people respond back with, “I didn’t picture you as a metal fan” or “You don’t suit the stereotype of a metal fan.” You see to those outsiders, us metal heads are still seen as misfits, criminals, drug takers, mentally unstable, satanic and people who in general do not conform to any standards that society wants them to conform to.

However, if you look into it, the metal heads are the ones that assist society the most. We are the tax payers. We are consumers. We spend the money we earn, in the areas we live and we keep people employed. We spend the money we earn on the bands we like, showing them a devotion like no other, which in turn keeps those bands employed and making music.

Look at the history of metal and rock bands. They don’t seem to disappear like all of the manufactured pop crap that comes and goes. The only metal and rock bands that disappear are the ones that got into the business for the wrong reasons (which for them was pure cash).

And then I started thinking about the quote “metal as a lifestyle”. It is a lifestyle with a million unwritten laws that somehow all of us metal heads abide by.

So without further delay, here is The Metal Manifesto;

Metal music is a way to belong. We wear the patches/colours of our favourite bands on black t-shirts.

Metal heads are rebels. We are the ones that question everything put in front of us, as we strive to find our own place in society and our own road to walk on. It’s okay to be “weird” in the eyes of society. What people see on the outside is just skin. What is on the inside is what matters.

Metal heads are knowledgeable.
A study from 2007, showed that a large number of members in the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth list heavy metal – or “metal”, as their favourite kind of music. Look at other famous people in other industries like Jack Black, Javier Bardem, Jim Carrey, the South Park guys (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) and the current Russian PM who is a Deep Purple fan.

Metal music allows us to make sense of the chaotic and corrupt society that we live in. It is for the outsiders. The underdog. It isn’t about getting rich quick. It is a lifestyle. We live it and we breathe it.

Metal music is empowerment. It is freedom. It is release. The live show is the rally. While generations of children are turned into generations of links and cogs on the factory floors, metal fans are the ones that stand out. The unique ones. While others were brainwashed to fit in, metal music lives on the fringes, as an outlier ready to change the world.

Metal music has its own heavy metal salute, a call to arms, in which the pinkie and forefinger are raised over a clenched fist. Credit Ronnie James Dio for the salute.

Metal music has its own code of conduct when it comes to circular mosh pits. Those who fall, will be helped back up. Those who are violent will be forced to leave. The aim is to vent our aggression and have a good time doing it.

Metal music is confrontational. Deal with it. From listening to our heroes suffering, it provides us with redemption. From listening to our heroes views on the world and their views on governments, it provides us with purpose. We embrace change, while others litigate. From confrontation, innovation is born.

Metal music is diversity. It doesn’t matter what colour, religion or country you are from. We are all one.

Metal will never fade into obscurity. It is always there, a survivor of the times and the mega corporations that tried to kill it after they raped it and abused it and made billions from it.

Metal is derivative. We wear our influences on our hearts.

Metal music is more than just the term of “Heavy Metal”. It is Hard Rock, Heavy Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Technical Metal, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Death Metal, Metalcore, Emo, Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Metal, Punk Rock, Pop Metal, Industrial, Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal and many others. There is no room for elitists.

As Robb Flynn screams out “This Is Who We Are”. Instead of saying the word divided, I will say UNITED WE WILL STAND.

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