a well-regulated metal militia

(Hoisted from, of all things, a discussion of the cultural significance of Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”, and slightly expanded for clarity.  Reposted here mostly because I’m amused by the idea of a deep metaphysical similarity between Bret Michels and Camille Paglia.)

On the one hand, there may be no argument in the world more intrinsically tiresome than “who is/is not metal?” On the other hand, props to UMD [another commentor] for making the case against Def Leppard without being a douche about it.

My 2 cents: if you don’t have an original manifesto to calibrate subsequent adherents against, you’re pretty much screwed when you talk about a “true” heritage of any cultural movement. This is why you can sometimes talk at least semi-intelligently about whether so-and-so is a Marxist or not, since Marx laid out his philosophy in a nice easy-to-digest way. Do you support worldwide revolution leading to control of the means of production by the class of industrial workers, a dictatorship of the proletariate and an eventual fading away of the state?  If yes, congratulations, you’re a Marxist. If no, you may well be influenced by Marx’s ideas, but a Marxist not so much. 

But much like feminism, metal didn’t have one single initial starting point, it had many overlapping ones: as a result, Andrea Dworkin and Sasha Grey could both credibly claim a legacy of “feminism”, and like it or not a whole bunch of wildly popular bands with ripped jeans and glossy production values could legitimately lay claim to a poppier “metal” sensibility that had its roots in Alice Cooper, AC/DC and Blue Oyster Cult in just the same way that Metallica grabbed the legacy of Sabbath, Accept and Motorhead and pummelled the mainstream into liking it…

Crossposted from: blahg.blank.org

Comments

Wow.
I like to think I have a fair amount of metal cred, and even I can't be bothered to get into this argument. The comment is hysterical, and even correct, but someone has too much time on their hands.
It was just pointed out to me that Nathan made that comment. I totally missed that bit. Ah. I see. It is very funny, and accurate. I would expect nothing less from you, dear. But really, do you have that much time on your hands?

These two comments are far and away the funniest thing I've read all week

You two crack me up. I want to hear about your metal cred!
Dude, you are totally bringing on the heartbreak, here...

Catching up on the important stuff....

Aaaaand this is the point where I actually guffawed.

::hearts you guys::
Yikes, don't get me started on the tangents here. Oops, too late...

There's a whole separate line of argument where, for instance, AC/DC isn't metal but is rather an Australian-accented reinterpretation of the Stones' influences and is more appropriately thought of as a parallel to Aerosmith, Nugent, etc. (Definitely don't get me started on BOC.)

For metal's starting points you've got to look at what guys like Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi were doing and listening to in the mid-'60s. There are serious lines of argument insisting that Vanilla Fudge is the key to the whole thing, but of course there are others. Jeff Beck fits in here somewhere too. Jimmy Page was doing something else, but of course he wasn't -- just playing blues forms in the same loud stompy spirit as Blackmore was riffing on classical forms and Iommi was grabbing modal jazz bits, really. (The early Sabbath sound = Dorian mode. Way cool.)

These are the guys, though. Lots of fun to trace the threads from there. The Deep Purple family tree in particular is *immense* and connects to amazing numbers of people who were key to all this.

But is DL metal? They definitely were in 1983, but might not be now. But at the same time, "Paranoid" and "In Rock" are still metal albums, and will be 100 yrs from now. Brain-bending.