In today’s world of limited boundaries and maximum ability to tap into anything the world has to offer, arguments abound about what is metal and what is not. Right now on Facebook, there are seventeen year olds who have never been in a pit, yet they are experts. Just ask them: they will tell you. Adding to the confusion are an increasing number of genres. It’s no longer Rock, Hard rock and metal. Now there’s thrash, metalcore, death metal, black metal, progressive metal, power metal, symphonic metal, doom metal, blah, blah, blah. But, what’s funny is that most of these bands won’t say they play metal.
AC/DC is a band that is loved across the board, even if only for one song (but, you gotta admit, that one song will put a smile on your face). Angus Young reinvented Chuck Berry licks and made them his own, convincing three generations of aspiring rockers to strap on a Gibson SG and ride the highway to Hell. Many current metal acts look to AC/DC for guidance on how to make it and maintain longevity (basically do one thing, do it well and never change). But, the boys from Down Under aren’t quick to own the metal moniker. They are rock and rollers (fell free to ask them). They still crank Little Richard up in their Caddies as they cruise the strip.
Motorhead is another band that is metal royalty, but flies the rock and roll flag. Lemmy starts every concert with,”We are Motorhead. And we play rock and roll.” Motorhead (arguably) invented thrash metal (Lars Ulrich has no problem giving them credit for this). Their current incarnation with Phillip “The Beast” Campbell on guitar, Mikkey Dee on drums and the one and only Lemmy on bass and vocals, produces some of the heaviest music on the planet. Even heart problems and the devastating hand of old age can’t remove the thunder from the Warpig. Just don’t call it metal. It’s rock and roll.
The list goes on. Some bands still cry out for the metal label, only to be derided as hard rock (there is nothing wrong with hard rock, nothing at all). Hair metal bands from the late 1980’s continue to scream out for respect. Bands like Ratt, Motley Crue, Cinderella and my personal fave, Twisted Sister, all beg to be taken seriously as metal artists. The reality is that they haven’t been metal for over twenty years (and in some cases, never were metal). I’m willing to fight for Dee Snider and the boys, and while I want to call them metal, they stopped being metal after STAY HUNGRY sold several million copies. Quiet Riot and Motley Crue kicked open the door with metal boots, but quickly turned it down a notch (selling ten million more copies as a result). Hard rock wins girls and sells records.
The argument will thunder on. After you finish perusing this blog, click over to G+ or Facebook and check out some of the metal pages. Wedged between kids screaming,”Slayer rules!” and old men still bowing to the altar of Dio, you will find arguments about which metal band is best. That’s all good and fun. Just remember: It’s all still rock and roll.