Friday, February 11, 2011

Metal Up Your Rear

This is a piece I just wrote that will be going on Stay Thirsty very soon. Hope you like it:

When I was either in my God awful sophomore or junior year of high school, I don’t know which because they blended into one collective shitty experience, I wanted to off myself one night while listening to “Fade To Black” by Metallica. It could be that the song moved me to want to end it all or it could be that it saved me from it, but either way, it had an effect on me. That type of music was just about all I liked back then. Sure, I liked some rap every now and again, but only if there were loads of references to shooting people – I was a pretty dark dude back then.

The metal phased its way out of my regular rotation as the years went on, revealing itself again here and there during the occasional metal renaissance, but still, it is the genre of music that got me passionate about rock to begin with – and for that I have Anthrax and the others to thank. Lately, that sound has been getting more and more play as I have been getting into marathons, weights, and the pressure of a looming weakening metabolism. I’m very much a mind-over-matter guy, for better or for worse, in that my brain can quite effectively talk me into quitting something, so sometimes there is no other type of music to keep me going but the likes of Phil Anselmo scowling and yelling at me, reminding me that “no one can piss on this determination.”

I thought for sure that I was the indie rocker type for good, and that metal was all but in the past. As it turns out, in the right situation, something like the drum fills on “Seasons in the Abyss” by Slayer can still move me in any way I thought was no longer possible. When someone hates all heavy music, there is still that little part of me, perhaps that dormant teen angst in me from all those years ago, which says to myself, “What a pussy!” One has to admit that it’s true that people either like that sludgy, distortion, drop-D sound or they don’t, and it’s sort of an exclusive club for those of us who get it. Indeed, when I get a few “pops” in me, there are still times when I’m all about old school Metallica, and even tanked, I can unearth just about every one of the lyrics from the first four classic discs. And I kind of feel a kinship to anyone who knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Sure, if you asked me my favorite bands, I’d likely tell you Pink Floyd, Built To Spill, and Grandaddy, but I will forever be in debt to Megadeth, Testament, and especially Metallica, for saving me from offing myself, or making me want to do it; I still don’t recall which.


Gorilla Bananas said...

You have opened my eyes to the therapeutic possibilities of heavy metal, which I had hitherto only appreciated for exploring the fuzzy zone between music and noise. Is “Seasons in the Abyss” a spoof of "Seasons in the Sun"?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Gorilla: Hahahaahaa! I never thought about that song having anything to do with "Seasons in the Sun." It's actually the heaviest, scariest song ever made. Like Scott Ian from Anthrax said, "Slayer is like the soundtrack to hell. If you go there, that's what it sounds like."

Scott Oglesby said...

Great post and I’m glad that you didn’t kill yourself. Everything seems so serious and ever lasting at that age. But it’s not.

I loved metal and especially Metallica back then as well. I also loved rap. I pretty much liked everything that was hard and angry as well.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Scott: You're a man after my own heart with your music choice and you're level of angriness back then. You're so right about everything seeming so permanent back then. I can actually remember the day when I said, "High school will be over some day," and then I was a little better off. A little.

radioactive girl said...

I was never all angry or anything but I LOVED slayer, metallica, danzig, and tons of others. A friend I went to college with has a death metal band and he gave me their new cd. When I listened to it, all I heard was noise. I thought maybe it would be better in person so I went to see them play. Still sounded like noise. They have a record deal so clearly they are good and the problem is that I am old and can't hear the music in it anymore or something. I'll have to listen to Slayer sometime and see if I can hear music in that anymore or if I am just too old.

Anthrax was/is one of my favorites. I always say "a fes-ti-val" anytime I can work it in and have it make any kind of sense at all and didn't even realize my kids had no idea why I said it. One day one of them asked me so I played the song for them. I'm sure you know this but it is not at all kid friendly. After it wsa too late to turn it off I realized what I was having them listen to. At least they now laugh when I say that though.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Radio: "I'm the Man!!"

I used to love those guys. I love that cover for Spreading the Disease.

b.burjan said...

i really dug this entry, dude. and yeah, we always seem to go back to our first love of whatever music genre it is. for me it was classic rock. don't really listen to it anymore, but goddamn, every once in a while i'll nonstop to the doors or hendrix and of course pink floyed....nice write, doc.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Thanks, Burjan! This thing was supposed to get published online and they're dragging their feet. : (