When Lyrics Go Too Far. Or Do They?
Man, oh man, what a horrible tragedy. A guy heavily into our metal scene recently committed suicide while listening to a few local bands and now the chit has hit the fan at high speed. First, I want to send out my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. Suicide is a horrible thing and only causes serious emotional scars to those involved. My sympathies go out to you.
A person in his family contacted me with high hopes of me contacting the three bands cited to get their response from this tragedy and to discuss and print the topic of "when bands go too far with their lyrics." This is the most difficult topic I have ever written.
While I cannot possibly feel the pain that this family is going through, I have to follow my heart on this one. Does anyone remember when metal legends Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne almost got sued because a few young kids committed suicide while listening to their music? I do. You all know me, that I'm a straightforward mofo. The truth is:
I felt that the bands weren't responsible at all. After all, it's a free country and we do have that thing called "freedom of speech." It's how I feel.
In that incident, the family wanted answers that no one had. They wanted to know why and apparently wanted to put the blame on the musicians. While I feel the family of the Louisville guy doesn't wish to press charges or do anything of that nature. I do think they wish to question the motives behind the lyrics of these three bands.
I originally planned to not list the band names, because I thought the bands would feel bad enough without bringing it out into the open for thousands to see. BUT... the bands involved WANT to set the record straight and to put their two cents in.
So that is what we shall do.
Tim "Stem" Holder of local metal veteran band Incursion502 had a bit to say about lyrics, life and such. "I am definitely an advocate of free speech, especially since a lot of our songs bear a violent theme. I have always believed that music is a perfect medium through which to vent frustration and live life vicariously, to a certain extent. In saying this I mean it can become a type of therapy that creates a reservoir for negative emotion.
The artist empties that reservoir into a song. The performance of the song, for the artist and all those who can relate to his plight, becomes a continual release for that particular emotion. Therefore, we write the music and lyrics we write so we that we DO NOT act upon these base emotions that lead to violence and suicide. We also wish our audience this release so that they do not have to bottle these things up until they explode in such a manner as this. This being said, we cannot be expected to avoid exposing the darker side of mankind on the premise that someone will take what we say too literally or be misguided into thinking that we are encouraging this behavior.
To the family and friends of the deceased, Incursion and I offer our deepest condolences. May his troubled soul rest in peace."
Jerry Barksdale of new industrial metal band Empyrean Asunder and the demented songwriter who penned the song "I Suicide" responds.
A problematic ill of America is that the notion of personal obligation is in decline. No longer are we held accountable for our own actions. It seems everywhere I turn some major corporation or company is taking the fall for an individual's poor decision. In most cases these companies simply provide a service that is available for use at the individual's personal discretion. A service, mind you, that is often abused or misused. The same holds true in this situation, except in our case it isn't just a service we are providing. We take an emotive investment in our products. As musicians, our creations are direct manifestations of our own afflictions. Straightforward or metaphorical, the rhymes we pen are reflections of our personal lives and no one else's and that must never be confused.
That being said, I do not believe that it is possible to take the written word too far. "Please excuse me while I kill myself," or "You put this noose around my neck, you watched as I took my last step, I thought I heard you laughing as I choked for my last breath, I didn't see you struggle, I didn't see you plead, you watched wide eyed as my world came crashing down on me.," no matter what my words they are nothing more then just that...MY WORDS. It is not my responsibility, as a songwriter, to police the actions of the impressionable. In my opinion, that is the responsibility of the parents. Sure, this is a utopian notion, that there are actually responsible parents capable of rearing responsible offspring, but we help nothing by candy coating cultural necessity. We must take responsibility for the decisions we make. The bands involved have became a whipping post for this kid's actions. The hypersensitivity of our politically correct culture will have you believe otherwise, but I will not accept even minimal blame for the interpretation of my music and I hope all those involved feel the same way.
However, I do offer my sincerest condolences to the family and friends and am truly sorry that you've had to experience this tragedy.
There you have it. The gauntlet has been breached and the bands have been very helpful and unafraid in getting to the bottom of this very touchy topic. And I have to say that I agree with them 100%. This world is not a fair place of unending happiness. A lot of it is pure misery. And some people simply can't wait to be rid of it. Hell...I have even had these feelings once or twice in my life. But I realized that life is too precious and too short to go focusing on all the bad stuff. Instead, I keep the good things close to my heart and try to deal with the bad, day by day.
THE METAL GRAPEVINE
Southend Jinx Reviewed: I finally got to see the heralded Southend Jinx DVD and was quite impressed with the sheer stupidity and cleverness of the concept.
Several guys in local metal bands have put together a DVD with insane stunts, violence, and nudity in public, self-maiming and basic full-blown chaos. Some of it its pretty funny.
Like JD getting kicked out of PHT, for dancing! 10 security guards escorted him and he danced all the way to the back door.
Here is what's in the Southend Jinx DVD: Dudes riding bicycles nude alongside a major highway, dudes punching each other in the face, a guy who sticks his penis in a washing machine door and bangs it with a hammer, taping and lighting firecrackers on their bodies, really fat naked guys tackling snowmen, bottles getting smashed over heads, puke fest, mega-moshing, swimming in human waste at the derby, annoying your favorite rock stars, guys walking into restaurants wearing nothing but thongs and a cowboy hat, quite a few hot chick titty-shots, diving 15 feet into a mosh pit and tons of other goofy chit. The Dimebag segment was cool. Yes, he was a super cool mofo. And the local band footage was very cool also. The False, Luther and Incursion segments sounded especially good. But I coulda done without that Haunted Hotel nonsense. Lo and behold, I hear that there may be a "Southend Jinx 2" in the works. So get ready for more nuttiness and chaos.
Motley Crue, Reunited and Coming Here! On September 20, the madness will return! I have been to many a concert, but Motley Crue concerts were always way memorable.
Hell...I even saw "Shout at the Devil Tour!"
Tons of hot, slutty chicks, plenty of buddies of mine and alcohol flowing like rivers. Sounds like a good time to me. After much complaining because Louisville wasn't originally in their tour dates, the guys have decided to come here as well.
We've managed to weasel a show date on September 20 at Freedom Hall.
I'll be there to review the mofo. Tickets went on sale in early March for a show several months away. Who cares though. They are coming!
Props to Michael Lee at Clear Channel for using some of that corporate power to successfully bring the bad boys of metal in our general direction.
New Judas Priest CD Rocks! Fans of old school metal will be pleased to hear that Judas Priest has finally put out the new CD, Angel Of Retribution, with former vocalist Rob Halford and the reviews are out of this world. I just purchased it today and I am more than happy seeing one of my favorite bands back in action, creating such fine music, despite their age. The songwriting and musicianship on this CD is amazing and would even impress nu-metal and hardcore kids I think. This CD combines all the elements of their history. From Sad Wings Of Destiny to Painkiller, it's all here!
I saw them at Ozzfest last year and I was blown away. If they come anywhere within 200 miles. I'm there.
Vent To Record In MAY: New Louisville top dogs Vent will be recording some new material in May with Chris Cassetta, with a scheduled fall release. Drummer Ivan Arnold tells me the band has gotten over 20, 000 hits/downloads on their website and are thrilled about it. And word from the street is, there may well be a record deal in the near future for the Vent guys.
Also, the band will be changing their name in the near future. I'll keep you informed.
Korn Guitarist Finds God, Quits Band! Korn Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch has had a spiritual awakening and has decided to leave the incredibly successful band. "Welch said. I'm good friends with Korn. I love those guys and they love me and they're very happy for me."
Addressing the aggressive tone of the music he made with Korn, Welch said, "Anger is a good thing and if kids want to listen to Korn, good, but there's happiness after the anger. I'm going to show it through my actions how much I love my fans."
Meanwhile, the group is in the studio working on a new album, due in September, which will be its first since fulfilling its contract with Epic last year.
New Band Alert, Seven: Rahul, the guitarist for Breckinridge, has a new band out called Seven. It features former members of Christiansen and Seven Ten Split. These guys are currently in the studio recording a demo. You can see them Friday, May 13 at PHT with Ugly (formerly Outspoken.)
S.O.L To Ugly: The band formerly known as Outspoken, minus David Frazier, has changed its name from S.O.L to Ugly. Ed: I like that name much better anyway.
Guitarist Kevin Mcreery explains " We couldn't agree on a band name for nothing, so I threw it out there and everyone agreed unanimously. It was perfect."
Surviving Thalia's New CD: Surviving Thalia is currently working on their first studio album. You can listen to "Sheep To The Slaughter," a demo track, on their website (http://www.survivingthalia.com).
East 146's New CD: East 146's debut album 'Serendipity' will be released nationally in April through Cherry Pop Records. They will be touring in support of the release the rest of the year. You can pre-order your copy for $10 (includes shipping) and you will receive before the national release date. All pre-orders will receive an autographed copy and be entered to win 1 of 3 iPod shuffles from the band. You can order your copy via check/money order or credit card at http://www.cherrypoprecords.com
Artificial Zero To Record DVD on April 8: A special event is about to take place on Friday, April 8 - LouisvilleGoth.com, Main Street Lounge and AvriaStudios is proud to present one of Louisville's Industrial Rock bands and this night Artificial Zero will be recording "Live" video and audio for a special Live DVD to be released later on this summer. Come join them and be immortalized.
New Mesuggah CD Avilable in April: Fans of the experimental Swedish metal outfit Mesuggah will be pleased to know that their new CD, entitled catch 33, will be released sometime in April.
Phil Offended? Phil Anselmo, former Pantera vocalist, has possibly gone into reclusion. He was quoted as saying "You won't be seeing me for a long time, I hope you're happy, heavy metal music magazines!" Apparently he was treated harsh because of his constant negative comments aimed at Dime leading up to Dime's death. I'll be honest. It made me angry. Even before Dime was murdered!
Tesla Show: I finally got to see Tesla in concert. And what a great show it was!
There were tons of people. It was way packed! I've never been a Tesla fan, but I tell you, they sounded great, much better than I thought they would. I thought they'd be all crusty and old and musically slacking, but I was wrong. They looked youthful and their playing sounded as good, or better, than their videos and CDs. The vocals really shone, as did the guitars, as they played every darn hit from their career. The lead guitars were smokin'! I decided to go at the last minute and I'm glad I did. I had a blast checking out some old school `80's rock. And everyone there had a wonderful time!
Oh.....and there was a plethora of hot chicks there. Thanks to Jillian's, Bobby Burke, and Spotlight Productions for another good show.
Dude, Do The Right Thing: I have been polite, patient and willing to work around things. But I am tired of being nice and ignored. Some months back some guy started a monthly rock showcase on the same MF'ing day I have mine. So I politely asked him to move it to another date, for the bands in this scene's benefit. So both shows have a chance to do better. Hell, I even offered to help in anyway I can.
Alas, this guy has completely ignored the fact that I started this monthly original rock concert stuff and ignored the fact that it's on the same day as mine! I don't mind competition , but this is just plain wrong. I mean, have a little respect for the mofo who got the ball rolling. There are numerous days in a month. It makes no sense!
He is even implementing a titty-fest contest to try to draw people in to the club.
To clone a man's ideas is not bad, but to pick the same fargin day in a whole month is just plain BS. And refusing to move to another date, any date, is not very nice.
People in the scene have told me they think it's wrong and have totally gotten behind me on this topic. I'll give you an actual comment from one of the bands.
"Hey Eddy I have a question. Why is ***** trying to put on a show at ********** the first Friday in each month? Seems they could do just as well putting on shows the second Friday or something. I don't really like the idea of going to a rock show where the main draw is "titty-fest." We're even dropping off of the show that we had lined up with him mostly because one of our members will be out of town but secondly is that we strongly believe that if you go to a rock show ... it should be about the bands and not the smut. If it IS competition, you can count on our support."
So you see, I'm not the only one bewildered about this. The messed up part is, I like this guy and believe he is good for the scene. But to stoop to these unreasonable actions is beginning to get to me. I don't want a medal for what I've done. All I want is a little respect. Not to be ignored AND disrespected all at once.
All I ask is, please move your showcase to another date.
Purty please with sugar on top:)
It's not too late to do the right thing and save a friendship/mutual respect in this music scene.
Phearus Opening For Overkill: On April 18 at The Madison Theater in Covington, some our local boys will be opening for metal legends Overkill. Phearus goes on at 9 P.M. Ed: I've had the pleasure of opening for Overkill twice and Overkill always put on a great show! It would be worth the drive. Congrats to Phearus.
New Venue Alert, Petrus: I've been hearing of this club for a bit now, so I went to check the place out for an hour or two. This place is nice! Much nicer than I expected. It's got a brick, artsy, new age, contemporary look that is easy on the eyes. Big aquarium bars, ceiling high water filled glass decorations, crazy lights/lighting. I wouldn't want to "trip" in there, if you get my meaning.
There are three levels, with numerous rooms, bars and off rooms, poolrooms, VIP rooms, dance rooms and I'm sure quite a bit more than that too. It kinda reminds me of the Phoenix Hill Tavern.
The only bummer is there isn't a stage on either floor. Even a foot-high stage of wood, would be acceptable. I love the layout of the place and hope they start having local shows there, on a regular basis. But...they need to get the word out about the place a bit better. In my opinion. And I think they need someone to manage the shows there a little better. When I was there, the show didn't start till 12:30! By that time, I was already sleepy. Those people are some serious night owls. The working man that wants to party there may be out of luck.
4th Street Live Review: Ok. I finally went down there and checked it out. A friend called late one night and said "meet me at Red Cheetah." So I was like, okay. I got ready, drove there, and walked three blocks in cold wet weather, getting soaked in the process. I went in to Saddle Ridge first. It was kinda cool but I could tell I was out of my element right away. I had no cowboy hat. With my long arse, hair and trench coat, I stuck out like a sore thumb! Then I went to meet my friend at Red Cheetah and was denied entrance because I had on a tee shirt underneath my $400 leather jacket. They made a man feel like a scrub.
It was a nice Arizona jean tee shirt, not a rock shirt, or an evil slayer shirt. I was shocked. I purposely dressed nice to get in and was still denied! I can't win.
So I left, mad as a mofo, and got twice as wet walking back to my car.
I did get the feeling that it was a `pick and choose' environment. The dude at the door seemed like a little blong valley dude preppy pud if you ask me. I guess to him, I looked as if I couldn't afford several drinks. I have come to the conclusion that that place isn't for me, or true rockers in this town. It's for the upper echelon of Louisville society.
I'm takin' my arse back down to the bowels of the lowly rock/metal scene. It's much more fun.
Vocalist Needed: A vocalist is needed for the new hard hitting heavy metal band Caldera. Caldera features former members of 13th Level, Execrate and 16 Penny Nail. Must be reliable and totally down with the brutal stuff. Contact 957-6886.
Saturday, April 2 - Incursion502, 12Volt Negative Earth, Surviving Thalia, About The Fire, ChurchBomb and Ganthet. 7 P.M.
Saturday, April 8 - (National Act Alert) Zao, Still Remains and Sanai Beach.
Sunday, April 9 - Vent. 7 P.M.
Friday, April 15 - Hate Cast, Antikythera and Church Bomb. 8 P.M.
Saturday, April 16 - "Kentucky Rocks The Derby Fest" with MSD, Surviving Thalia, Incursion502, Violenza, Fivesecondzero + 35 more bands!
Saturday, April 2 - Vent, Breckinridge and Ugly.
Friday, April 15 - (National Act Alert) As I Lay Dying, Throwdown, All That Remains and Winter Solstice.
Phoenix Hill Tavern
The Original Rock Showcase Series.
Friday, April 1 - Intheclear, After The Fall, Artificial Zero and Becoming. 9 P.M.
Friday, May 13 - Ugly (formerly Outspoken), Seven (Rahul of Breckinridges new band), Unity Of Solz & Boozer. 9pm
Saturday, April 8 - Fivesecondzero.
Friday, April 1 - Fivesecondzero.
Twice Told Cafe
Saturday, April 2 - Fivesecondzero.
Outtatownerz and Otherz
Sunday, April 3 - @ the Short Street Lounge in Lexington KY: Surviving Thalia, Lucid Grey, 12 Volt Negative Earth and TBA.
PROPS OF THE MONTH
This month's props go out to Petrus. They got some serious potential there. The place is huge and very nice indeed. Almost too nice!
With the mojo meetups and the Hugo thing going on. I think it may turn into something pretty big, if the word gets around properly. And a big band battle thing with Hugo from Tantric is in the works there! Petrus is on 116 east Main Street.
And Terry Harper gets a thumbs up for starting to bring in many national acts. Many heavy national acts.