Lucky 7: In Defense of Metal

Me and Morgan Rose, Sevendust at Architekt Music.

Me and Morgan Rose, Sevendust  (LDO Photography)

The intention of this article is to serve as an Op Ed to Ethan Fixell’s article on MTV’s Guy Code.

Just kidding. I’m looking to shred this misogynistic, piece of shit, piece of “writing” like John Petrucci shreds a the end of To Live Forever live. I don’t know what’s been in the water lately, but I’ve been experiencing a lot of attacks on metal as a genre, especially as female fan and venue manager. In true metal fashion, here’s me telling them to f*ck off.

I didn’t grow up a metalhead. I didn’t really have the chance to. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY, which was tragically victimized by Top 40 radio. A repeat offender was the restricted radio dial. Music outside of “The Radio” didn’t really exist then. The digital revolution wasn’t even on our radar. Nickelback and Creed were reason enough to head bang.

Then I left for college.

By sophomore year, I was swept up into Seton Hall’s WSOU family, quickly christening me as a full on metalhead. I walked in on three of my friends air drumming to Strapping Young Lad’s “Shit Storm,” which for those of you who don’t know is one HELL of a baptism. I’d never had an emotional reaction like that to music or really anything before. I was appalled. I was intrigued. I was addicted.

Before metal, which feels like such a dark age now, I had only focused on lyrics. Artists who really understood me, maaaan. WSOU and my knucklehead friends that be introduced me to a whole other world of musicianship. I found myself pestering my friends (some now co-workers) about Meshuggah’s polyrhythmic genius and how Sevendust can create something so heavy yet so sing-a-long-a-ble. The emotional catharsis and freedom to be unapologetically myself was also a welcomed discovery. Though I’m sure my parents were somewhat alarmed when I returned home that summer with tales of Starland Ballroom’s mosh pits and Lamb of God blaring out my speakers.

So, in defense of metal and it’s fans, Let me annihilate the filth spewed in this article.

“Death metal events are known to be…how do I put this…’vaginally-challenged.’”

What groundbreaking literature Fixell has blessed us with. Finally someone has the courage to write about the challenges facing vaginas today and always. Too long vaginas have been oppressed. Vaginas themselves have been fighting a silent civil rights movement that buried from main stream until the monumental, historical moment. The leaders of the vagina movement will not be ignored. Our vagina voices will be heard!

Oh wait, that’s this steaming pile of bull shit way to identify women. I’m no gynecologist, but I’m pretty sure vaginas aren’t “challenged” by metal, or any genre of music. Because you see, it’s a body part. A woman’s body part. Not synonymous with women. I’m not even a hardened feminist, but I am offended.

Assuming that his pathetic excuse for clever phrasing was trying to say that death metal concerts don’t cater to “cute girls” (as he referred to us in his headline) or dolls, or broads, or even women, I can give him plenty of names to prove him wrong. (See: a shit load of my female friends). We’ve come out in droves to these shows for years. Maybe we just avoid this asshole because he uses phrases like “vaginally-challenged.” Because let me tell you, there’s nothing sexier than a guy who insinuates that you can’t handle a metal show because it’s too challenging specifically for the very body part that makes you a woman. Meeeeoww. It brings us back to the days of frat boys hopped up on Natty light and steroids trying to “hit it” by the time the keg strikes midnight. And kudos to Fixell’s journalistic integrity, tracking down that John Jarvis “side boob” quote and eloquently conveying the bouncer’s desire to get laid. Compelling stuff. Really indicative that he’s asking the tough questions. Furthermore, thanks for combining hardcore and metal into the same genre. Who needs genre distinctions when you’re cruising for chicks?

Truthfully, the number of women at metal shows is on the rise, but let’s consider that it may have nothing to do with a new found vaginal accommodation. It’s an increase in exposure to music that’s a little left to z100 on the dial. iTunes? Spotify? Pandora? Any of this ringing a bell? Hell, even Guitar Hero and Rock Band have Killswitch Engage and Rage Against the Machine on them.  I was floored when my then 12 year old cousin could crush My Curse on expert.

While it’s true that metal shows are still “male dominant”, so is ALL of music, with the exception of your packs of Bieber tweens or Taylor Swift loyalists of course. The rise of women at metal shows is not a gender thing. It’s an accessibility thing. Furthermore, with record sales becoming even less relevant in the music landscape, live performances have had to step up their game, which is something that has always been in the metal wheelhouse because metal bands could NEVER rely on the radio to cultivate their fan base. The game is shifting, and metal is gaining exposure and looking more attractive in this new context. In fact, a female fronted band, Halestorm, won the 2013 Grammy for best Hard Rock/Metal performance of the year. Not that they respected it enough to televise. I don’t expect Fixell to reach this level of analysis. It would get in the way of writing other gems like The Best Concerts To Hook Up At in 2014, which some how includes Susan Boyle? So that’s a thing. Nothing puts me in the mood like a heartwarming edition of I Dreamed A Dream…

Fixell then weighs in on how to hook a “hot girl” at a metal show. We all know that if you want to hook anything, you throw up the damn horns. But truly in my experience, there a two conflicting cultures that women encounter at metal shows. The first, which thankfully is the majority of my show going, is the unwritten chivalry around mosh pits and crowd-surfing. While it is true that people sustain injuries this way, most metal heads are very protective of women while skirting mosh pits, AND respecting women that choose to participate in them. I’ve had friends walk away with bloody lips and black eyes, but women remain unscathed. The one incident I did witness was by complete accident and the pit stopped immediately. They also understand that crowd surfing isn’t an excuse to grope someone. If this rule is abused, there is hell to pay from other protective fans and/or security. It may not be the most romantic form of chivalry, but it’s taken extremely seriously. To the true female metalhead, that’s about as sexy as it can get. The conflicting culture is creeps who are on the prowl because they’re super attracted to eyeliner and anger I guess? Shout out to Fixell for cultivating the creep culture. It’s great that he encourages you to fake your knowledge/interest and play certain games to land a dame. Truly doesn’t go against everything metal stands for.

This isn’t to say that every guy who approaches a woman at a metal show is a creep. In fact, you should talk to women at metal shows. Not because we’re “hot,” but because we’re fierce enough to be at a damn metal show. You don’t need Fixell’s tips. You can just talk to us like we’re normal people who love kick ass music. Because we are. You know, other than the vaginal challenges.

Out of all of the valuable coverage someone could provide about the state of metal music in today’s music world, this is the best the MTV could give us? Step it up. Guy code is neither music nor television, MTV. At least require it to have integrity.

One thought on “Lucky 7: In Defense of Metal

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