Letters From the Issue of Thursday, May 11, 2006

Heavy Meddle

Metal is as metal does: Kudos on your column ("Heavy Issues," Stiletto, Michele Laudig, April 27). It is simple-minded people in the local scene and even the national and international scenes that place a black mark on metal with their ignorant rants of what is deserved in their eyes.

To me, metal and the metal my bandmates and I create has always been about personal self-interests. If someone happens to dig it on the way, hell, yeah -- thanks for the support. If they have a need to be worshiped and constantly noticed, they should probably jump right over to the pop world, 'cause they are definitely in the wrong style.

Just a personal thanks for holding your ground; that is one thing metal has always shown me how to do.
Fran Scianna, Tempe

Media relations: As a metal-head myself, and a metal concert promoter in St. Paul/Minneapolis, my intent in writing is only to try to point out that not all in the metal community are jackasses. I can see you've locked horns with the ugly side of our genre. Sadly, there's way too many in our genre that lack in both intelligence and charity.

I hope that you haven't received too many nasty replies, but unfortunately, I suspect that you have. Marshall Beck does not seem to be the kind of person who knows how to properly develop a relationship with the local paper. This is not the way to do it. Try honey, not vinegar.
Name withheld by request

Name-dropper: Being in a metal-ish band, Toxic Knowledge, there is a bit of frustration out there about coverage of the heavy genres. Then I sit back and think about the huge following bands like Slayer have with virtually no airplay or mass media attention. (Well, aside from the suicide controversies and such.) Now, I do not know Rebirth, or their singer, but it sounds like they are using the old-school "no such thing as bad press" approach.

Anyway, as a member of a local heavy band, I thought I would drop a few names of locals I believe are some of the greatest live entertainment anywhere. My band Toxic Knowledge, of course. (Shameless self-promotion.) Our buddies Talk to Sheep. Crucio.

These bands range in styles between straight-up metal (TTS, some of our stuff, and Crucio) to heavily riffed stonerish grooves, and hard funk (my band). What sets the bands I mention apart is the absolute dedication to entertainment instead of talking shit. Another great band and scene supporter is Psychostick. Though somewhat of a humor-based band, they have the heavy feel I love. (Oh, and they bash every genre from metal to emo via spoof.)

So, while there is an abundance of hate out there, feel free to check around for those of us who are in it for the love, the music, and above all, to put on a high-energy, entertaining show.
James Ray, via the Internet

A legend in his own mind: When I first heard of Marshall Beck's short expository on your lack of attention to the local metal scene, I both laughed and extended a long-distance pat on the back.

I approved of his message because, even though I do not read New Times (and therefore had absolutely no clue whether he was being accurate), I praised his finger-wagging against what he perceived to be a slight of gigantic dimensions. I laughed because I enjoy heavy metal almost exclusively (except for some Journey, of course, can't do without that), and never before have I heard someone convinced of heavy metal's greatness wish it to be thrown into the caldron of popular music. Indeed, the death blow of a metal band is when it becomes popular, whether its sound actually changed or not.

To be honest, I have seen Rebirth live and can tell you that they do very little for me. In fact, just between you and me (as if I actually know you), I think Marshall Beck is the problem. He has a massive ax to grind against so many things. Had he only put it in the lyrics, it would not be a big deal (then we wouldn't actually know his message unless we really wanted to), but he goes into long speeches beginning with "this next song goes out to all those people . . ." hastening nothing more than eye-rolling from me and anyone smart enough to see that people aren't actually out to get them at every opportunity.

And lastly, I laughed because Beck's somewhat decent (if rough around the edges) prose could not hope to be matched by the people that I see going to metal shows. (For example, I had a shoe hit me in the face just a couple weeks ago, and anyone who cannot keep their shoe with laces on their foot isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, not to mention the idiot who got hit, what was he thinking? Oh, wait.)

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