Yes, please. And thanks, Marcia! Ask her if she wants to join ARSC List and stage-dive into the
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marcia Segal" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2016 4:55 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Heavy metal as world music?
With your permission I’d like to forward your thoughts to a friend (not on-list), who has followed
heavy metal music for 30+ years and, like you, has wide-ranging tastes in music. If she (and you)
are interested, I could post her comments on-list, or to you directly. Either way, I think she might
be able to respond in an informed way.
= = = = =
My opinions are my own.
> On Feb 19, 2016, at 1:16 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> One topic I'm interested in is the debate about the beginning of heavy metal. As I said, I peg it
> to England, Birmingham, Black Sabbath. The change from hard rock such as was practiced by Led
> Zeppelin to heavy metal was Tony Iommi's guitar tuning and tone, necessitated because he damaged
> his fingers in a metal press (Spinal Tappish now, because things turned out alright, but sad at
> the time). Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin both formed around the same time. Zeppelin was a natural
> outgrowth of blues, rock 'n' roll and psychedelic rock, founded by experienced studio musicians
> (Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) who had evolved forward from skiffle music. Black Sabbath was
> formed by younger, less experienced musicians, from poor working class backgrounds in a grim
> industrial city. They definitely had blues-rock elements, but the darker tuning of the guitar and
> the occult themes in their songs were a different thing at the time. In my opinion, this was the
> beginning of heavy metal (which wasn't called that until several years later). The Rhino box set
> pegs it to the U.S., with harder-rocking psychedelic and garage bands. I think this is more the
> roots of punk music, which I believe sprang out of the industrial Midwest of the U.S. in the late
> 60's and caught on very late in England, but is often associated with London in the Thatcher era.
> At the risk of getting too academic (and always keeping in mind the "mock-umentary" aspect of
> waxing too seriously about any of this), some of the themes in heavy metal lyrics and its staging
> harkens back to Viking culture and rituals. So, to my thinking, it's very natural that hotbeds of
> metal would be the U.K., Scandinavia and Russia, all places where Vikings roamed. In the U.S.,
> pure heavy metal bands happened later, and the biggest "contribution" was hair-metal in the early
> days of MTV. Also in the U.S., there's an interesting blurring and broadening of the genre. For
> instance, is Van Halen a heavy metal band? Due to a variety of musical elements, staging and
> solo-playing mastery and flash, I'd argue yes. But David Lee Roth's lyrics, stage persona and
> general outlook are somewhat Vaudeville, definitely not very occult or ominous. Probably the
> purest metal forward-movers from the U.S. were Ronnie James Dio and then, a few years later,
> Metallica (the members of which were heavily influenced by punk and garage rock rather than
> older-school heavy metal). The other interesting thing to come out of the U.S. is the metal-rap
> blurring, for instance Anthrax "I'm The Man," the collaboration between Aerosmith (another band on
> the metal-hard rock borderline; I put early Aerosmith more in the metal camp than "Love In An
> Elevator" Aerosmith) and Run-DMC, etc. And where does American glam-metal-rock stuff like Kiss and
> Twisted Sister fit in? In the U.K., there are characters like the late great Lemmy, who connect
> metal to punk. There, where does a band like Arctic Monkeys, early version, fit in? Was it a metal
> Caveat -- I'm not trying to pigeon-hole or categorize music for any sort of divisive reason, just
> interested in drilling down to what musical, lyrical and cultural elements define heavy metal
> music. Personally, I like a wide variety of music so how something is described or categorized
> isn't going to effect whether I like it or not, so I don't want to put any great music out of the
> earshot of any listener based on labels and categories.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Brandon Michael Fess" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2016 11:17 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Heavy metal as world music?
> There's actually a growing musicological literature on metal, in all its forms. I've seen an
> ever-growing number of journal articles being published in recent years, and there are now several
> small conferences dedicated to the academic study of metal. Check out the "Metal Music Librarians"
> Facebook page if you're interested in this topic - it does a great job of aggregating information
> regarding metal in academia.
> Brandon Fess
> MLIS, Syracuse University 2015
> (585) 703-0739
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Adam
> Jazairi <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, February 19, 2016 10:23 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> 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
> [log in to unmask]