Let’s get one thing straight (no pun intended)…Freddie Mercury is the greatest frontman ever besides maybe, I dunno, GG Allin and H.R., haha. Do you guys remember when Marilyn Manson allegedly had a rib removed so he could give himself head? Yeah, that was a good one. Seriously, most people would kill to have even an iota of the power Freddie Mercury let loose on a regular basis, complete command of audience and material…a true rock God. Was it because he was homosexual? Haha, maybe…but that’s silly. The truth is that it was raw talent. Even his song from the first Highlander movie is like the most epic fuckin’ shit I ever heard in my life and puts most metalcore bands to shame. And remember the George Michael “Freedom” video where every babe in the world was in it?
I haven’t wanted to comment on the recent Attila/Senses Fail feud, because I just got a new Sonata Arctica promo of Ecliptica – Revisited (their early record recut by the current line-up) and it is pretty awesome and attention grabbing. Still, the cavalier use of the word “faggot” by Fronz of Attila and the beef it caused with respected emo/hard rock vets Senses Fail should be discussed, though Metal Injection’s Shayne Mathis did an awesome job in this feature.
Can we all agree that no one likes to be picked on?
Click HERE for more.
SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE METALCORE:
Some people want metal and hard rock/punk culture to thrive. Others prefer it exist on the fringes, relegated to Saint Vitus Bar cvlt status, more about underground concentric circles (though I’d point out that Nirvana played there, the most underground band to ever hit so huge and change the WIDER world, with a pro-gay and feminist message).Let’s not get so insular we all end up in bands that sound the same, another security patch.
Ian Svenonius of the great Nation Of Ulysses (arguably the prototype band for Refused), wrote once in some issue of BB Gun about how punk adopted most of it’s tropes from gay culture. Johnny Rotten often mentioned as well how in the early days those were the cool clubs where you could be accepted as an outcast. We all want to rage, get our kicks, be accepted for dyed hair or wearing fucking clown masks and jumpsuits, right?
Look, metal and hard rock are everywhere now. In football games (where the struggle to be openly gay is frighteningly relevant). In commercials. We have the power, however, as the ambassadors of the scene to help control how it is perceived. Granted, I like a lot of thrash bands who live to bite open beer cans and yell about the devil’s armpits or a band like Steel Panther who are funny and just chase vagina all day and night. Cool. Atilla are essentially the metalcore version of 2 Live Crew right now, which I get. It’s a button pushing, shock value thing. Fronz insists he loves lots of people and is a nice guy and when I saw the band open for Asking Alexandria in Poughkeepsie recently, I was pleased that they put on a funny and high energy show that was a guilty pleasure for someone who usually is listening to more snobby metal like, I dunno, The Atlas Moth (or whatever). I’d also add that the Atlas Moth, who I adore and think are genius, regularly draw dicks on things at venues but are still considered very cerebral because of the quality of their art.
I like Atilla’s current PR person (Argh, i keep spelling Attila wrong because I am a much bigger fan of the band Mayhem), so I am torn to take the goofy Attila to task, but it also is really time to party for your right to fight, as Public Enemy once said. We are all being pushed down to some extent. Where does the party end and the real world begin? An endless party is how people get taken advantage of by liquor companies, escapism fantasy marketing and chasing the never ending hope of an American “dream” instead of making it a reality through personal growth or DIY activism, the way punk and metal can really change the world. It was much more righteous when Marilyn Manson was scaring the Christian Right or when Elton John and Eminem hugged it out on stage than when Marilyn and My Chemical Romance or Eminem and countless others were feuding, for example.
In the 80’s it was macho to wear eyeliner. People might tease the look of The 69 Eyes today, for example, but that band will kick your ass! In gay culture, what is more macho than loving and appreciating the unbridled testosterone of other dudes? I am so sick of the insecurity of guys who love the cliche of objectifying lesbians or bi-girls making out but can’t fathom the opposite. Then they will have the most homo-erotic mosh pit styles and bro pat each other on the back or slap each other’s asses with towels in the football locker rooms, ahahaha!!!! Or bands who think EVERY song needs to be a revenge fantasy on some girl who cheated on them because they couldn’t treat her right. I mean, I love Glassjaw songs where the lyrics and way over the top and granted, I know there are ALSO a lot of skeevy chics out there who have real issues that are self-esteem related but who nonetheless do some real shady shit, but it’s often stuff that dudes who wrack up notches in their bedposts would be applauded for by “the bros”. Really”? How about fostering an environment for social growth and understanding? It was way cooler when Sebadoh’s members left the hardcore scene behind to write sensitive indie rock showing guys can be insecure.
And isn’t it funny how sometimes things can get so macho that some people think they go full circle back to Gay, like Manowar? They are, arguably, the greatest band of all time, but it takes a lot of self-confidence to rock loincloths.
BROTHERS (And sisters) OF METAL (we are fighting for power and steel!!!):
Here is an exchange I had awhile back with the fabulous Otep for this site about my own sexuality and her role as a voice in the LGBT community (seriously, she gets so much shit and keeps on kicking ass):
MYE: As far as your role as a voice in the LGBT community, can you talk about how it felt to interact with fans who may be struggling with gender or sexual identity who drew inspiration from you? I personally am 33 and have always been outspoken myself, but I only came out as bi last year! It is weird…I never felt like I deserved to claim that because I vastly prefer women, but it doesn’t mean the other aspects/shades of my sexuality don’t exist. I think people feel like they have to be in certain cookie cutter molds…but then with the war on gay marriage and being inspired myself by outspoken artists like yourself or my deceased friend Dean Johnson from a great NYC band Velvet Mafia, I realized that I have no reason to feel like I can’t own my own identity fully and to help promote solidarity. So, cheers.
Otep Shamaya: Right on. Fight on. I applaud you for your courage and desperately hope we someday find ourselves in an era when we no longer need to hide or congratulate anyone for coming out and instead it’s just part of our reality. Cheers to that. Personally, I believe that if we take the social stigmas away, the cultural bonds, that most people would identify themselves as bisexual. I think being a true heterosexual and a true homosexual are actually very rare. Every human being that has ever existed began from a female template. It’s the reason men have nipples. So why is it so difficult to believe that if we all began as the same gender we might be wired for omni-attraction? It seems reasonable to me and in fact most likely true. I don’t know why everyone has such an issue with who someone is in love with or who someone is attracted to. What’s next? Are we to legislate between the races again? Or this time hair color maybe? Blondes cannot date gingers! I mean, it’s absurd when you think about it.
Here is another talk I did with the fabulous Mina Caputo of Life Of Agony, one of my biggest vocal heroes, that explains her struggle as a transgender person in metal. If this doesn’t move you, nothing will: http://newnoisemagazine.com/featured-interview-mina-caputo/
Do you think it is cool to ostracize or that the Bible is compassionate if it supports hate?
I have been loving and enjoying Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways, a show that focuses on the sociology of each city in America and shows the roots and connections between people of different races, genders and backgrounds. There are many people in the LGBTQ community who are closeted because they have faced discrimination or have no suport network socially except for online, if they are lucky. Using Faggot in a hateful sense, it just makes things worse. Then again, I am a huge fan of Mindless Self Indulgence who de-power every offensive word by over using it to the point of ridiculousness, so I understand that side of things also.
Really, it is about growth, context and intent. Freedom of speech is also important. Let’s all hug it out and learn from one another. It was also silly of Fronz to tweet that Senses Fail are washed up because they are older than Attila or come from an earlier era. Good music never loses relevance. I hate when, in rap music for example, people only want “that new shit”, which is usually crap compared to, say, Tribe Called Quest or whatever.
Republican, Democrat, independant, off the grid or on…we are all human. I’ve called Republicans “Republitards” before and…that is counterproductive. Nowadays I don’t even like to generalize like that and claim no affiliation to a political party. Better to be “human” and just call and idea good or bad.
Jimi Hendrix wrote “Manic Depression” and wanted to fuck guitar riffs. I can relate to that.
ONE LESS BITCH:
I remember years ago I was cutting a track with G Pace of the late, great rap/rock crossover band Stealth. That group featured members of Dog Eat Dog and Daryl from Bad Brains and was the bomb. Used to open for them as well as see them gig with bands like Murphy’s Law and Goldfinger a decade ago. Man, time flies. Anyway, one time in my old 90’s band Fuse we had G Pace on a track and I asked him not to say the word Bitch. Now, in hindsight, I should have let him say whatever, I guess. A bitch can just as easily be a man (thinking of Ice T’s classic “some of you niggaz is bitches too”). It’s about being a weak ass whiny punk with no spine. But when we associate it with a word that also means gay or female or whatever, it certainly leaves room for the less civic minded types to abuse it (that N.W.A song I posted above is pretty fucked up, though I am a fan. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite. Isn’t it ironic Atilla’s new album is called Guilty Pleasure?). And let’s face it, how many super civic minded types are saying ‘bitch’ and ‘faggot’ anyway? I love N.W.A. who got real gnarly in some songs, but can also appreciate it as an honest depiction of the culture they came up in. It’s sociology, as long as no one gets hurt (but sadly, they do). That’s why discussions like this are important!!!!
We all have masculine and feminine sides. More animals in nature are seemingly bi-sexual than not (go ask the Museum of Sex in NYC who covered this in their “Sex Lives Of Animals” exhibit a number of years back). Even the fuckin Pope a few days back said that evolution is an accepted truth, so let’s start studying the lessons of evolution, shall we? (Isn’t it cool that the Pope was, essentially, talkin’ about “banging” in church by acknowledging the Big Bang?) I also met Mattie from For Today at that Poughkeepsie show where I saw Atilla and thanked him for how he handled his own band’s homophobia controversy.
Montgomery let anyone affected by the remarks of his band’s former guitarist call him and talk to him personally. What a big act! It gave me a lot of respect for him and, while I am not as Orthodox in faith by any means as Mattie, I appreciate the humanity in Montgomery’s classy handling of things and think he is by far one of the better front men in the heavy music scene. That dude can whip up a crowd! When I met Montgomery, he asked me if I was a Christian. Umm, I faltered.
Well, my grandpa was a minister and I listen to black metal all the time (including the earlier mentioned Mayhem who had members who killed each other and burned down Churches- which is not really productive for making people agree with your point of view). That said, i LOVE the compassionate messages of Christ but fully support the social activism and skeptical message of the band I Am HERESY. I think their record THY WILL is the most important album in the scene in some ways for 2014, along with the band Sabbath Assembly who condone unifying the Christ and satan in us all to learn from light and shadow elements and become better, fully realized and compassionate people.
I’m bi-sexual (though I am not sure if many people in my family- even my sister Cambria or my parents- even know since I have not talked about it much except online as it was something I was exploring and coming to terms with. Not that I give a shit who knows).
Gotta Have Faith:
I believe in a prime mover pre-big bang and love quantum physics and Kurt Vonnegut novels. We all are part of a great network of energy and have free will. Every truly spiritual religion teaches us to take pride in ourselves but also to learn to reach beyond ego and have compassion. Any other message is just someone else pulling the strings to control castes or create class divides so they can keep power and wealth. Face it.
Doc from Bad Brains, the first rasta/hardcore punk band, is practically a family member (he dates my cousin) and I grew up in the open minded Woodstock, NY. I am pro gun freedom but believe in mental health reform and public option health care. One of my sister Barbara’s kids babysat some of the kids killed in Sandy Hook and I also heard a great song Joey Z from Life Of Agony played me about that tragedy’s senselessness that he wrote for a solo project that isn;t out yet. But yeah…That’s what happens when we ostracize people and don’t have discussions about mental illness, bullying, gender and sexuality issues or progressive theology, evolution, climate change, spirituality.People fuckin’ snap and can’t handle guns or metal or social pressures or life in general. Brain chemistry, pre-conditioning and brainwashing lead to one bad recipe for disaster and sometimes innocents die.
I don’t believe in the story of Genesis or certain passages from the Bible that seem tampered with by the hand of man for social control or contradictory (like stoning women or sacrificing kids for, pretty much, any reason!). I have, however, been drunk in bars and gone up to feminist chics I know and asked for “my rib back”, just to annoy and flirt with them, hahaha. I’d also like to add that my old band DIVEST was produced by Dr Know from the Bad Brains at one point, and the Brains were themselves responsible for really opening minds but also for a brief period their singer H.R. fell into a homophobia Rasta culture influenced discrimination mindest on the song “Don’t Blow Bubbles” from otherwise rad The Quickness album.
I don’t even like talking about that song anymore as the guys in Bad Brains have always been super loving, PMA-filled and open minded/caring about the community of Woodstock where some of them settled and had families and I grew up. They were mentors to myself and bands like Coheed and Cambria and Three who were my peers and friends growing up. It truly taught me to Rock For Light and I was even on a short lived record label FKM that Doc tried to start with the Applehead Studios guys (Coheed,Straylight Run) at one point. It’s not like Buju Banton’s unrepentant “Boom (bye bye)”, which I have sung sometimes (with guilt). We live and learn and grow…or not.
But the most important thing is to see that we are all human regardless of gender, orientation or even if we have terrible fuckin’ emo hair and style. And The Word Alive and other bands jumping down Senses Fail’s throats to defend Attila should also realize that while freedom of speech is important, words can be fuckin’ devastating.
That said, go Fronz yourself HERE. Have some fun, pop some champagne but try and look out for one another out there. We can accomplish much more if we aren’t feuding in this music community. I think I’m gonna go listen to some Dissection now and pray to Kali.
UPDATE: Fronz hit me up on Fbook and said “looks good, much love” – which I thought was cool of him to acknowledge that I’m trying to show more than one side here on a hot button subject. Otep retweeted it, which was also really cool of her. And Attila Csihar from Mayhem has two t’s also, I always fuck that up. hahaha. One love, y’all.