While any time of year is good for giving gifts to those you love, the holiday season provides an excuse to overindulge. With that in mind, the best types of gifts are those that are personalized, and us metalheads are big on that. We don’t really care about the commercialization of our beloved genre — no, we’re more about the feelings that result from the music.
From Pantera Chuck Taylors to a metal-spiked bra to a vintage Slayer concert tee, I’ve received quite a few heavy metal gifts in my day. They all made me feel amazing. Music lovers all agree that music is what feelings sound like — so make that heavy metal music lover, whether it’s a child, friend, spouse or sibling, in your life all smiles with one of these killer holiday gifts.
Rock Science Trivia Game
Board game nights are the best. My usual is a bottle of whiskey, a group of friends, and a few rounds of Metallica Monopoly. But there’s a new board game that’s a great challenge for rock music lovers. This trivia game has fun facts and more than 2,500 questions about songs, rock myths and legends, and bands from AC/DC to ZZ Top. The game begins with the player who last attended a concert, and choose a category: Poser (the rock beginner), fan (the enthusiast), or scientist (die-hard fan). The rest of the other players bet on whether or not the player knows his shit, and correct answers and bets move the players onward. Uncommon Goods, $39.95
There’s a wealth of amazing heavy metal art out there, but these cymbals are my current obsession. London drummer and artist Josh Stadlen takes a unique approach to portraiture by painting musicians in unique angles on drum cymbals. While he paints across all musical genres, from rock legends to jazz greats, he also takes commissions on any type of design you want.
The trend of metal-infused booze is one you gotta love, and the website Metal and Wine has compiled everything you need to drink. Over the past decade an array of heavy metal bands and artists have decided to design and create vodka, whiskey, wine and beer. Motorhead, Slayer, Mastodon, Sepultura, Rammstein, Nightwish, Amon Amarth, Kreator — they all are dipping into the liquor cabinet. Slayer’s Reign in Red Wine comes in a cute lil' coffin box, shown here. Another one close to my heart is The Headbanger brand, endorsed by artists like Sevendust, Digital Summer, Adelita's Way and Chris Kael.
GoPro Hero4 Black/Music
For the musician who likes to record from a unique angle, GoPro’s music mounts are money. This provides the best point-of-view around, and attaches to a guitar, drums or mic stand. Waterproof casing is sold separately, so no worries about incoming crowd beers.
Go Pro, $500
Memoirs are constantly released from the industry, and it can be daunting deciding whose is worth the read. There are currently two standouts for me though, and neither is a memoir.
First is Keith Richard’s debut children’s book, Gus & Me. It tells the story of his jazz musician grandfather in a format that his own grandchildren will be able to enjoy. Richards' daughter, Theodora Dupree, drew the captivating and cute illustrations. $10
The second is Louder Than Hell, by renowned music journalists Katherine Turman and Jon Wiederhorn. This book came out a few years ago, but it is truly the definitive oral history of heavy metal. It’s a huge book, but worth the read. It includes hundreds of interviews with the most influential metal musicians around from the past 25 years — but past that, it’s about the lifestyle and evolution of heavy metal, and an examination of a cultural phenomenon.
A Morning Fix
Barware and shot glasses with various band names have often graced my cabinets, but somehow these mugs seem perfect for those who aren’t big drinkers, and really do provide quite the morning boost. Some favorites include this Megadeth mug, or the Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze Mug.
Definitely a splurge on that rock god or goddess in your life, but we promise they’ll love you forever. Whether it’s a bass, guitar, drum set, microphone—there’s some amazing equipment on the market right now, and technology is better than ever.
A note here: Most musicians are pretty picky about their equipment, and if you’re gifting a new guitar, it would be wise to consult with them first on what they want. On the other hand, if you’re purchasing for maybe say, a young budding pre-teen rocker who idolizes Lzzy Hale, then you can rock her world with the Gibson Lzzy Hale Explorer, the musician’s first signature guitar.
Deck the Halls with Nostalgia
The website classicposters.com has an archive of vintage band and venue posters. Just enter the name of an artist (or even a favorite concert venue), and you can unearth some pretty amazing gems—like this gorgeous poster for a Black Sabbath, Pantera and Incubus gig in San Jose in 1999. The gift is not only infused with history, but you can pick from a range of posters that reflect your music lover’s personal style.
Heavy Metal Rock Band
For the metalhead in your life that’s constantly rocking their world from a desk, this is a cool distraction away from the daily grind—and a reminder that you can always turn on your favorite heavy metal playlist on Spotify. Sculptor Fred Conlon welds and bends old pieces of metal into new life and personality. Uncommon Goods, $45
Donate in the Name of Rock
Heavy metal truly has a big heart, and there are a ton of charities in the name of rock that stand to make the world a better place. If your fav metalhead is all about the love, donate in their name to a cause. There's the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Dio's widow Wendy Dio, and the Solid Rock Foundation, a Phoenix-area effort put forth by Alice Cooper, which provides a way for kids to nourish their creative skills in free after school programs. And speaking of keeping the music spark alive in kids, The Fender Music Foundation is dedicated to keeping music education alive and well for all those future Syd Barrets and John 5s. The Ride for Dime and Dime Scholarship supports the charities that Dimebag Darrell donated to when he was alive. And Metal of Honor hones in on some very deserving charities, including Pathway Home, which is a PTSD rehabilitation facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Obsidian Guitar Pick
Give your songs a bit of added spark with handmade guitar picks by Seth Maranuk. There’s the obsidian arrowhead guitar pick, crafted with a volcanic rock formed by the rapid cooling of lava. The material lends a interesting sound to your strumming, and has superior grip. He also has agate guitar picks, with beautiful craftsmanship and colors. Ucommon Goods, $20
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.