In honor of my 666th subscriber (welcome, Stacie Chadwick! Thanks for coming by!), I – naturally – immediately began humming Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” to myself. This, of course, made want to do two things: One, rock. Two, take a moment and explore 6(66) reasons to love 80’s Heavy Metal!
1. For satanic, violence-inducing music that was bringing about the downfall of society, it’s surprisingly fun and upbeat. In the 1980’s, in the US, Satanic cults and Satanists were EVERYWHERE. It was an epidemic just waiting to drag the nation to hell in a black cloak and eyeliner. I mean, no one had ever actually seen a Satanist, but everyone had a friend who knew a guy who had these friends who were, like, hiking in the woods? And the came to a clearing? And there were these, like, rocks forming a pentagram and a bunch of black candles that were still smoking? So they ran back to the car and when they got there someone had hung a dead rabbit over their car. I’m totally serious, dude.
Anyway, the actual music, with some distance, is mostly pretty upbeat and rockin’. The satanic stuff is so obviously rock ‘n roll posturing and just kind of, well, silly.
2. You can look at photos of Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford and contemplate that people were shocked when he revealed that he was gay.
3. There’s this great moment when Tipper Gore was testifying about the dangers of heavy metal to Congress, and she holds up Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and says, in this scrunchy, squirrelly voice, that looking at it tells young people, “Burn the building! Burn the building!” And that‘s just fun to say. Try it! See?
4. Seriously, have you heard the pipes on the singer from Iron Maiden? Wow. You could give yourself a hernia trying to sing along.
They, as a band, have also started recently putting together theme concerts based on their early albums. A kind of thematic Cirque Du Maiden with less gymnasts and more zombies.
5. Listening to the first two minutes to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” feels what I imagine it would feel like to emerge from the smoke and haze of a battlefield to see that you’d, personally, conquered the invading hordes and saved your people. (If you’re unfamiliar with the song, it’s particularly the point after about 1:20, so hang in there)
6. There are a lot of really cool things out there about heavy metal (even for someone who wouldn’t otherwise care) that aren’t woefully incomplete and haphazardly thought-out like certain blog entries I could mention, and which are quite interesting; Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo, Rock City (originally, and far more rockin’ly, titled Appetite For Deconstruction) for example; Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization part II; or Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. There’s also supposed to be this really interesting historical survey, but I forget the name of it and I’m too busy a-rockin’ to do any a-researchin’.
So, in conclusion, to my subscribers both recent and long-standing: you rock. But Stacie Chadwick, subscriber 666, you rock just a little harder. You’re rockin’ like Dokken.
Unless you hate rock music and think metal is exclusively the legerdemain of smelly morons, and are appalled to be mentioned in the same blog and think I should be flogged until purified. Then… sorry.