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Friday, 25 February 2011

O Mentalists, where art thou?

I finished reading Dave Mustaine's autobiography A Life In Metal this week, and I still can't decide if he's an under appreciated genius or a complete tit.

In between talking about how hard he is and how much of a arsemonkey Lars Ulrich is, Mustaine is pretty honest about the superficiality of the scene back in the day; you had to dress a certain way, act a certain way...and by 'certain way' I mean Megadave's way.

I joined the Megadeth party pretty late in the day after Shithouse lent me So Far So Good So What in 2003. Since then I've respected what they've done and it's fair to say Endgame was one of the finest musical moments of 2009. I also listened to their greatest hits for about four straight hours on a 10-hour drive and didn't get bored once.

The thing that irked me about Mustaine's autobiography is that I could have been reading Slash's, or Nikki Sixx's, or one of any other rock legends. Tough youth, into drugs, major commercial success, hump a load of women, descent into life threatening addiction, band and marriage dissolve, artist continues, more drugs and bands, get sober, write a book. The rock star blueprint. It becomes a teeny bit predictable after a while.

But amidst all the massive hair and almost-deaths, these autobiographies show one thing; metallers ain't what they used to be. I don't know whether it's a result of more education (highly unlikely) or the fact that being a musician is less lucrative than it was, but the drug-fuelled alcoholic excess of the 80s and 90s seems to have disappeared from rock music. I'm not suggesting bands should go back to being wasted 24/7 and destroying their organs with prescription meds but it seems that the whole scene has mellowed out a bit. You hear the odd story about Oli Sykes and other young upstarts getting in a bit of trouble, but what happened to inserting phones/fish into groupies and driving Rolls Royce into swimming pools? Are there any genuine, bona fide rock and roll legends coming up through the ranks nowadays? I'm not sure. And based on the difference between rockers in the 1980s and metallers today, what does the future hold? Will the 2020 headlines be restricted to *STOP PRESS: Member of A Day To Remember Farts In Church*?

I'm not condoning drugs and debauchery; I've never done anything other than smoked a bit of weed as I'm a pussy and am far too scared. But it does seem to me that the golden era of obscene headlines about ridiculous excess has well and truly passed.

Farewell mofos.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Baby, baby, baby, oooh fuck...

Justin Bieber is the best thing to happen to heavy metal in years. Thanks to the Lego-haired Hilary Swank-a-like, the ridiculously banal crusade by Tipper Gore and the PMRC to censor music has yet again been rendered completely pointless and hideously flawed.

Gore's beef back in the 1980s was that albums marketed towards children should have a warning on them. Call me an overweight big-nosed skinhead but I never really saw the likes of Twisted Sister as something for the kiddies, hence Dee "The Fucking Metal Hero" Snider's stance against ol' Gorey (incidentally, I'm not going into masses of detail about the Parents Music Resource Centre as it's boring and I'm no expert. Google it for more info if you want). Now, music that is categorically marketed to children is the likes of Justin Bieber (and thus the circle completes).

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, the high-bollocked paedo dream suggested that, homosexuality was a lifestyle choice, America (his main source of fans and revenue) is evil and my personal favourite, abortion is wrong, even in cases of rape, as "everything happens for a reason".

Let me pose this question to parents; would you rather have your kids listen to heavy metal music and admire the likes of Scott Ian of Anthrax, a brutal shredder in a genre-defining thrash metal band and a dedicated family man with many years of marriage under his belt. Or Cradle of Filth's Dani Filth, well-documented as being a loving husband and father. Or a plethora of other decent men? No? Perhaps you'd you prefer them to have pictures of an uneducated, teenage imbecile adorning their walls whilst they subscribed to his embarrassingly incorrect right-wing ideals? Well? Tipper? You're a Democrat, what do you think?

I'm not suggesting metal is the wholesome breeding ground of perfect role models; I certainly wouldn't send my kids on a long weekend with Varg Vikernes. But whilst the ongoing debate about what kids should or shouldn't listen to rages on, look behind the music.

How about chart-topping R'n'B star Chris Brown, who enjoys using his martial art skills to kick the shit out of his girlfriend Rhianna?

There are arseholes in every genre, this is undeniable. Bieber is still young and there will no doubt be PR teams worldwide working to correct his monumental fuck up. But unfortunately his opinions are out there now and they matter to millions of tweens worldwide. Rather than being concerned that your kid is listening to Tomb of the Mutilated, which is pure theatre, be concerned that their high-profile role models are in the press attacking women and answering questions like a Fox News stalwart.

Up the Irons.


Friday, 4 February 2011

Set it off

I keep announcing my retirement from the pit at gigs but sure as there's a hole in my arse as soon as the next band comes to town, there I am at the front thrashing around like a total tit. Si-KO and I went to see Terror a couple of weekends back, supported by First Blood; I'd promised myself (and my other half) no pit action but alas, after First Blood warmed the crowd up with beauties such as Next Time I See You, You're Fucking Dead, I couldn't resist getting into the shit.

Terror frontman Scott Vogel is well known for his onstage banter and this gig was no exception. His constant encouragement kicked off a total fucking riot (including a bloke jumping off stage and hanging onto the aircon unit in the ceiling), which resulted in me taking a couple of windmills and a sizable foot to the face...try going into an office on a Monday morning, suited and booted, with eyes that look like Frank Bruno's bollocks. Not ideal but by the beard of Kerry King it was worth it. This gig was the definition of hardcore, pure and simple.

I bumped fists with the chaps from Pay No Respect at the Terror gig and the next weekend, there they were onstage supporting Lower Than Atlantis and Your Demise. There's something epic about seeing true legends of the genre and the new breed of hardcore in a single week. Pay No Respect are authentic and well deserving of the recollection they're starting to get outside the South East of England. Go to their MySpace when you've finished here or they'll stamp on your face.

LTA frontman Mike Duce, with his daft public school hair and padded Barbour jacket, looked completely out of place but when they got on stage all was forgiven. I'd heard nothing but good things about their live prowess and every bit of it is justified. They sounded like a speeded up, more pissed off version of 90s British alt-punks China Drum, and as me and Keef The Yeti stood at the bar pounding bottles of Newcastle Brown like we were about to enter a period of prohibition, LTA tore the venue a new one. Our ability to get served so quickly was primarily due to the fact that we we're clearly the oldest two people there, perhaps with exception of the chap in the Bruce Springsteen denim jacket.

Your Demise kept up the momentum but despite vocalist Ed McRae trying to fire the crowd up, the pit was never more than a bit of a swell. I was comparing it to Terror's crowd the previous week though, which is a bit harsh on a bunch of pubescent teenagers. But nevertheless, the stage got invaded, a couple of lads took their first foray into stage diving, and the theft of McRae's microphone marked the end of a fucking top quality gig.

So after seeing First Blood, Terror, Pay No Respect, Lower Than Atlantis and Your Demise in the space of a week I got hold of the new Agnostic Front album, My Life My Way, (awesomely mixed by Freddy Cricien of Madball) which hits the shelves in March. And it is Fuck. King. Awesome.

All in all, it's been a good couple of weeks for hardcore.