"Music is the brandy of the damned." --George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes that brandy comes in a very cheap and sleazy container. Sometimes it tastes bitter but ohhhh so good going down the throat. Sometimes it arrives wrapped in spandex and tastes more like Jack Daniels. Sometimes when you pop its cap, pyro shoots into the sky and naked women writhe.
Sometimes it's heavy metal.
Check that out. Motley Crue, shouting at the devil. There are moments when life has kicked you so hard in the gonads that you have no choice left but to kick it back. Even a rat when cornered will bite. Shout back at the devil. "In a season of wither, stand and deliver, be strong, and laugh and...shout at the devil."
Music can take any form to soothe your savage mood. I know this may come as quite a surprise to you if you've been reading my blog for a while, but there was a time when I was quite the metalhead. I know, I know, me...the guy who loves Duran Duran, The Smiths, and The Cure. But I was. Hair down past my shoulders, black leather and concert t-shirts, spikes around my wrists, and a real "fuck you" attitude. Like this...
It was about survival at that time. The meaner and uglier I seemed, the further I was from harm. Or so I thought. This quote from Joseph Campbell by way of Nietzsche spoke volumes to me:
“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
"Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
That's Anthrax. "Take me to the black lodge where you live." They are making an homage to David Lynch and Twin Peaks, thereby proving that they are among the more intelligent heavy metal bands. Many Anthrax songs are about equality for all people and other liberal issues.
But I hear you. You're listening to metal because you're hurting and you're angry. Then my friend, it gets no better than Slayer:
Ahhhh, I can feel the hate swelling within you.
Metal, however, spread its ugly bat wings further and deeper into culture, rendering it into a state of diglossia because it...let's face it...eventually appealed to women. The bands that did so were known as "hair bands." To wit:
You may not have heard of Shotgun Messiah, but they were one of my favorites from back in the day. Talk about a song of heartbreak, "Living Without You" is certainly that. Just listen to that line: "If there's a tear in my eye, it's not for you."
It is at once hard-hitting and juvenile. I say "juvenile" because it reminds me of getting into a fight on a playground as a kid. You get decked and no matter how hard you got hit, you always got back up and taunted, "didn't hurt." Even if you might be praying for death inside your soul.
I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.
Oh why must it be so persistent a part of life? I don't know why. In truth, I've been wondering why for over 30 years. Still don't have an answer.
I just know that I want it to stop.
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