I don't think heavy metal music should be taken too seriously, although study and discussion of the
larger associated trends is always interesting. I've been banging my head to this great music since
I was a Gen-X teen in 1980s suburbia. I always keep "Spinal Tap" in mind before making too serious a
statement about it. In my opinion, the perfect expression of the metal attitude was Rhino's
short-lived "Heavy Metal" box set. The packaging was modeled after a Marshall head amp, with the
knobs going to 11, in homage to Spinal Tap. The booklet lovingly detailed the music and its artists
(although I think way too much weight was given to alleged U.S. roots of the genre, which I consider
invented in the UK and specifically by Black Sabbath, whereas the Rhino box views
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as the root, which by the way was lovingly mocked by The Simpsons, ala Spinal
Tap). My favorite sidebar in booklet is Ronnie James Dio's recounting of how he invented the now
ubiquitous "hook-horns" gesture, adapting an Italian gesture related to Omarta. RIP Ronnie James, in
my opinion the penultimate heavy metal vocalist. Unfortunately, too much modern metal forsakes the
vocals, reducing them to unintelligible growling. One of the great things about "classic" metal is
the singing and the crazy lyrics, which veer from downright laughable (sometimes intended to be) to
run-for-the-hills scary. When I was in college, a nonsensical non-rhyme was known as a "David Lee
Roth lyric," said more as a loving mock than a mean-spirited putdown. So, any potentially
over-serious statements about heavy metal music must be taken with a pinch of salt and a shot of
tequila (or can of beer).
The Simpson take on "I. Ron Butterfly"
"Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and/or roll!"
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Adam Jazairi" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2016 10:23 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Heavy metal as world music?
> Well put, Tom. In my view, metal music has endless potential as a subject
> of ethnomusicological study. Folk metal, which the blog post touches on,
> just scratches the surface.
> On Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 9:51 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Interesting blog post from the WSJ yesterday:
>> Here is the related article:
>> I don't find it "weird" that heavy metal music, attitude and culture have
>> a global appeal today. Metal is related to punk, but probably more widely
>> acceptable because it is less overtly political. Both deal with rage,
>> alienation, injustice, the same theme of fighting a perceived "machine"
>> that goes back to Bartleby the Scrivener and back. There are many millions,
>> perhaps billions, of people in this world who feel alienated, disempowered
>> to varying degrees and chaffed if not enraged by it. Some music soothes the
>> soul, some stokes the fires. Metal is more the latter.
>> -- Tom Fine
> Adam Jazairi
> Digital Collections & Preservation Librarian
> Boston College University Libraries
> (617) 552-1404
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