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Maiden for Peace
March 6, 2011 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Can Metal, specifically Iron Maiden, cross cultural boundaries and help build world peace? So asks Mark LeVine in AlJazeera. When some of the biggest names in Metal during the 80s performed at the Moscow Peace Festival in 1989 lots of critics gave a shrug. Iron Maiden, which has a following the world over, could be part of an unsung musical movement that is providing home for a community that crosses national and cultural lines.
posted by kmartino (38 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Iron Maiden? No.
Motörhead? Hell yes.
posted by rocket88 at 3:48 PM on March 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of video game scores performed by live symphony, a sort of legitimization of pop culture as high(er) art, art that transcends for a mature and serious audience ie. not just kids stuff
posted by stbalbach at 3:48 PM on March 6, 2011


If waterboarding didn't work I don't see why the Iron Maiden would.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:56 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


So The Hold Steady have this idea they always bring up - The Unified Scene. The idea that all the fans and all the rock fans are part of one collective. It's a really great thought, and one that works pretty well when the band is small and the fans all kinda know each other.

Last Sunday I saw Iron Maiden headlining a massive festival. They were playing in an Olympic Stadium. I wasn't a massive fan, but I thought I'd check out their show. It was so good I ended up seeing the whole thing. Bruce Dickinson talked about the brotherhood of Iron Maiden fans. He played Blood Brothers and dedicated it to the NZ earthquake victims. Hearing that in the middle of thousands of people wearing Iron Maiden shirts I actually FELT that brotherhood. I wasn't part of it. I was kinda an outsider. But despite the aggression in the lyrics that collective mood was so powerful. And I didn't feel excluded at all. I was enjoying the songs and singing along to the hits. I felt like part of it, for a second.

Iron Maiden means my Warhammer loving little brother has something in common with a 30 year old Saudi. I honestly, truly believe in the power of music to unite people, so I don't see that article as a joke at all.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:21 PM on March 6, 2011 [15 favorites]


Cos noting says world peace, like big hair, eyeline, trashy metal babes and screaming heavy metal guitars.

One can only hope that the Death Metal acts also do their part.
posted by Skygazer at 4:21 PM on March 6, 2011


Cos noting says world peace, like big hair, eyeline, trashy metal babes and screaming heavy metal guitars.

Maiden have big hair and trashy metal babes?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:26 PM on March 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


LiB: some folks think all metal is the same. (although babes and loud music can help in bringing people together).

Anyway, just look at this and you can see what's up.
posted by jonmc at 4:35 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just like saying Matthias Jabs.

Bruce is pretty cool.
posted by clavdivs at 4:38 PM on March 6, 2011


apparently 'Run for the Hills' is now a text in some history classes
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:40 PM on March 6, 2011


clav, the Scorpions (with Bon Jovi opening) was my first show back in '85. jabs got off some nice licks. (Anyway, metal, like punk, hip-hop, and garage rock back in the day, travels well, which means it can do a lot for people in rough places).
posted by jonmc at 4:41 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Iron Maiden? No.

I don't see no muhajababes sportin' Motörhead t-shirts.
posted by NoMich at 4:42 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I'm a fan of Levine's book, Heavy Metal Islam.
posted by NoMich at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]




Could Iron Maiden's philosophy inspire an alternative economic system in the Middle East?
posted by jason's_planet at 5:05 PM on March 6, 2011


FWIW: Motörhead doesn't really have a global following, at least nowhere near what Maiden does.
posted by signal at 5:13 PM on March 6, 2011


Maiden have big hair and trashy metal babes?

My bad. Maiden really didn't get into the spandex hair metal thing did they?

Anyhow, here's a peace offering.
posted by Skygazer at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2011


FWIW: Motörhead doesn't really have a global following, at least nowhere near what Maiden does.

This is totally a thing in real life and I think it is awesome. I know this will probably say something totally shitty about me and the cultural assumptions that most Americans have, but: Six or seven years back, when I still lived in Cleveland, I often shopped at a deli in my then-neighborhood that was run by Middle Eastern guys in late middle age, and when someone's son/nephew/grandson starting working there (he was about 20), I was stunned to see him frequently wear Maiden and Metallica shirts -- like, happily stunned, because those are my people since high school days, but stunned because...really? Really. It makes perfect sense to me that metal would speak to young people in intense situations, because metal has always spoken to young people in intense situations. I was just surprised that it got to them. I love that it has.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:28 PM on March 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Up the irons!
posted by Ber at 5:31 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How could the article not mention Wyld Stallyns?
posted by hammurderer at 5:45 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It makes perfect sense to me that metal would speak to young people in intense situations, because metal has always spoken to young people in intense situations.

What gets me is that it's the same metal that spoke to me 20 years ago. You don't see kids in Avenged Sevenfold t-shirts or whatever. All the metal looking 15 year olds wear Iron Maiden, Metallica or AC/DC.
posted by signal at 5:51 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Avenged Sevenfold actually pulled out of that festival (Soundwave) because they didn't want to be on the same time as either Slayer or Maiden (can't remember which).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:05 PM on March 6, 2011


Having seen Maiden & Motorhead on the same bill back in 2004 (Dio rounded out the Trifecta of WIN! that night), I can say unequivocally that Maiden made Motorhead seem small and insignificant. No rock/metal band has had the global following that Maiden has since Queen. I have been to 6 Maiden concerts in my life, and no group of fans has the sense of unity and brotherhood that Maiden fans do, not even the jam bands that I see regularly.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:47 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was a big, big metalhead around 5th to 8th grade, mostly Ozzy and Iron Maiden and the ilk, but tried to fit in more in high school, then went to punk and goth after high school. I only recently picked up some older Maiden again, and was surprised how well it holds up over 20 years later, and has deeper lyrics than a lot of 80s bands did.
posted by usagizero at 7:05 PM on March 6, 2011


Despite the extreme differences in the two regions, this thought definitely occurred to me when I lived abroad in South America. Without trying to over-generalize, one of the things I missed the most was the stark cultural diversity that I was used to from NYC: punks and rappers and hippies and rastas all jam to different tunes on their iPods, dress very distinctively while standing inches from each other on the subway. By contrast, Argentina appeared 85-90% homogeneous in terms of style and music, but the 10-15% who stood out amongst the crowd, the only colorful and alternative kids, were the ones sporting Maiden, etc tees, had patches sewn on their backbacks, rocked tight jeans with converse with studded belts. This may sound a little Hot Topic-y for some, but these kids were pointedly going against the grain in a way that most Westerners probably take for granted. I guess what I'm trying to say is that for obvious reasons metal fans are comfortable standing out - and that type of balls/cojones/pelotas might come in handy when you're standing up against a militant, oppressive dictatorship.
posted by mexcellent at 7:44 PM on March 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Proof of concept
posted by klapaucius at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


FLIGHT OF ICARUS FTW! Your move, PS 22. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a wall I have to run through.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:08 PM on March 6, 2011


I hear Queef Huffer's position on unilateral nuclear disarmament is well balanced.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:14 PM on March 6, 2011


"What are we about?" asks manager Rod Smallwood, the seventh member of the group,

AKA the Sheriff of Huddersfield.
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on March 6, 2011


I was working on a silly little project awhile back that compared different countries by:

1. The number of bands native to that country classified as heavy metal (or any of its related subgenres). In the cases where a band had members of different nationality or citizenship, I just chose where the band was originally based.
2. Population
3. Population density
4. GDP per capita
5. Something else?

Never finished it, though. Wasn't sure what else to add to it. I think I originally wanted to see if there was a correlation between the number of metal bands in a country and the country's GDP and size. I also wanted to measure 'freedom' in some way, but had no idea how to do that. Literacy and life expectancy might be good ones to look at, or even a dummy variable for geographic region. Or maybe even number of musical acts of any genre of a certain popularity, or the country's music industry as a percentage of GDP or GNP.

Even though this article is talking about one band that has transcended national boundaries, I do feel that the number of metal bands in a given country could be some indicator of the inspirational effect of that one band.
posted by majonesing at 10:23 PM on March 6, 2011


Maybe you can use the Press Freedom Index?
posted by Harald74 at 12:15 AM on March 7, 2011


If you want to see Iron Maiden's international following in action, I highly recommend the tour documentary Flight 666 (oh look there is even a game!) You can juxtapose fan reaction to the band from around the world - their Central and South American following is truly NUTS.

Also, you will feel a strong urge to hang out with Nicko McBrain, because he is hilarious.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:57 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn thanks for the idea to post this here. This is a fun and and inspiring discussion.

klapaucius - that is awesome!
posted by kmartino at 3:38 AM on March 7, 2011


There's definitely more kinship in the rock/metal fan base than the mainstream pop music scene. Still remember seeing Faith no More in the early 90s and being blown away. I hope I'm as energetic as AC/DC were last year when I get to that age.
posted by arcticseal at 5:26 AM on March 7, 2011


Having seen Maiden & Motorhead on the same bill back in 2004 (Dio rounded out the Trifecta of WIN! that night), I can say unequivocally that Maiden made Motorhead seem small and insignificant.
posted by KingEdRa at 8:47 PM


Sure to someone who looks in the mirror before going onstage.

But really, metal doesn't have to be a penis measuring contest. The world is big enough for both Iron Maiden and Motörhead.

And last I checked, they just made a movie about Lemmy. Not about Bruce Dickinson.
posted by Sailormom at 5:54 AM on March 7, 2011


And last I checked, they just made a movie about Lemmy. Not about Bruce Dickinson.

They just made Bieber 3D, too.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:21 AM on March 7, 2011


But really, metal doesn't have to be a penis measuring contest. The world is big enough for both Iron Maiden and Motörhead.

And last I checked, they just made a movie about Lemmy. Not about Bruce Dickinson.


I see what you did there.
But yeah, point taken. I love me some Motörhead just as I love me some Maiden.
posted by NoMich at 6:35 AM on March 7, 2011


Never finished it, though.

Please please do.
posted by 7segment at 6:38 AM on March 7, 2011


No rock/metal band has had the global following that Maiden has since Queen.

As a huge fan of both Maiden and Queen, I have to say that I'm pretty sure AC/DC has a following that rivals that of both.

Which is good, because you need all three to have a well rounded world-view.
posted by quin at 8:08 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


SailorMom: I'm not pissing all over Motorhead-- I love Motorhead. And if you want to make the argument that Motorhead is a better band than Iron Maiden, I'm willing to entertain that notion. I'm just pointing out that on that particular night at Madison Square Garden, Motorhead sounded lost in an arena that size. Maiden, on the other hand , made MSG feel like a small club. The energy that was in the arena for Maiden was unlike anything I've ever experienced anywhere in 25 years of going to concerts and shows.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:13 AM on March 7, 2011


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