Count Me Out
January 31, 2016 12:26 AM   Subscribe

 
Nicely done.
posted by bongo_x at 12:42 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nicely done indeed especially in light of the cowardice of almost anyone else in metal of commenting on this. I haven't heard metal this quiet since, well, forever.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 1:21 AM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Great response.
posted by Pendragon at 1:22 AM on January 31, 2016


I have no idea who that phil-mofo is. Apparently he's the lead singer of that pantera shit i had heard in the 90's coming out of camaros and I-Roc Z's...

So whats the big deal?

I just looked up "phil anselmo " and youtube filled it in with "phil anselmo white pride speech". And that video was posted 7 years ago.

The fact that this video is being presented as "whoa...we didn't know the lead singer of this popular metal band was racist" is total bullshit. This is not an isolated incident.

Pantera is fucking racist.

Ugh...my curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked it. The video was taken in 1995. And although he pre-empts his shit with "well i have friends of all races"...he continues on with "all these rappers are pissing all over white culture"...and it gets worse. A LOT worse.

Get over it. this popular dude in METAL is a fucking racist. No he doesn't do racist things by accident, he is a fucking racist. His apologists will be all over the place saying "well that was taken out of context...what he was trying to say was that..."

Whatever, racists.

On a positive note, thanks for reinforcing in me that behind Metal, is a culture of racism.

Also, Henry Rollins is an exception, and not the standard in metal.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:24 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


The fact that this video is being presented as "whoa...we didn't know the lead singer of this popular metal band was racist" is total bullshit. This is not an isolated incident.

Which Robb addresses in the video:

No, I was only on stage when we were playing 'A New Level' and you were 'sieg heiling' after 'and power' — like you've done forever now. Like you've done forever now. And nobody calls you on it. No bands call you on it.
posted by Pendragon at 1:33 AM on January 31, 2016 [12 favorites]


Metal has a racism problem. This should be news to nobody. Not that there isn't great metal by POC (and women, and WOC) but it's hardly mainstream. Pantera were never a shining example of progressivism, and anyone arguing that this somehow debases their or Dimebag's legacy overlooks the fact that Anselmo was making these rants from stage while Dimebag stood next to him, grinning, as part of the same band.

Also, Henry Rollins is an exception, and not the standard in metal.

Rollins isn't metal at all, though? He was much more in and from a punk subculture...
posted by Dysk at 2:18 AM on January 31, 2016 [11 favorites]


Don't really see how this is a surprise. Metal is mostly* a lower-middle-class to working class to outright trashy white form of music. Whites in those cultural and economic categories often have objectionable views on race, so that those views should find their way into music made by and for them is not shocking.

*Obviously not everyone, but look especially at its early days.
posted by resurrexit at 2:47 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Metal, as it is, is not a single subculture. It would not be divisive to say that Metal was, and is, the most fractured of subcultures. Calling an entire genre of music racist is simply narrow minded at best and ignorant at worst. It's like equating all of electronica with drug use, or all of R&B with domestic violence. There are always bad actors in any given situation. By this measure, my listening to metal means I surely must be out burning churches to the ground. This, obviously, is not the case. These douchebags have always been known in the community for what they were. Some chose to ignore their racism, others took it as simply posturing. Very few chose to call it out, and yeah, that is a shame on all of us.

I don't like their music, I don't go to their shows. Please don't lump all of us into this miasma of racial hatred.
posted by gideonswann at 2:59 AM on January 31, 2016 [45 favorites]


Metal is indeed many things, but there is undeniably something you can call mainstream metal (a scene Pantera is very much part of) which is often denigrated by people involved with our fans of more niche metal subcultures. Obviously not everyone involved in a given scene thinks the same, and not everyone who listens to the music has those opinions or is necessarily even involved in our part of the culture of it, but it is very much a denial of reality to insist that there is not an overall problem of racism (and sexism and queerphobia) in metal, especially mainstream, but very much also in extreme metal of various kinds.

I say this as a trans woman metalhead. I don't mean to say every person who listens to the music shares the objectionable opinions, but the scene as a whole very much does have these issues.
posted by Dysk at 3:16 AM on January 31, 2016 [12 favorites]


I am so disappointed. Dimebag inspired me. When I was a young thrasher I wondered how does he make that sound with a guitar. The only explanation was magic. He was a wizard, a sorcerer, a shaman. No earthly power could explain how he did it.

Phil. Thanks for ruining his legacy. Now I can't listen to Pantera without being reminded that you're a bigot. Really, just give me five minutes alone. I mean it. Leave me alone for five minutes while I listen to Dizzee or something.
posted by adept256 at 3:17 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Phil is sorry if you were offended. Dick.
posted by soi-disant at 3:29 AM on January 31, 2016


Shouwld this conversation be about the "metal community"? Whatever that is. Racism exists everywhere, that should not be a surprise.

This conversation should be about the responsibility we all have to call out people for being bullies, racists and bigots. If we want to have free speech, and I believe strongly that we do, then with that comes the responsibility to speak out against ignorant views.

My respect to Robb for his comments, and particularly to the person who posted the video. We all should have the courage to speak the truth, and we should give thanks for those that actually do.
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:30 AM on January 31, 2016 [9 favorites]


I mean, I played 'cowboys from hell' at my school man. We practiced for months. We were never going to win the battle of the bands contest, because it was a catholic school, and Pantera wasn't much liked. They preferred hymns, I suppose.

WE LOVED IT! It always had problems, it was crude and fighty and shouty and violent and yes, vulgar. That's exactly what we were like though. This white power thing. Nope. We weren't like that.

Damn. I wish tonight I could wonder 'whatever happened to Phil'? The last I heard from him he invited a terminally ill kid on stage to play 'walk'. I guess for a hard rocker, he's a nice guy.

It's too late. Count me out.
posted by adept256 at 3:40 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Shouwld this conversation be about the "metal community"? Whatever that is. Racism exists everywhere, that should not be a surprise.

As Flynn points out, this shit - which Anselmo has been up to four decades - would just not fly and would've been called out a long long time ago if he were operating in any other genre. Instead it's been denied, ignored, excused, and swept under the carpet by everyone (including Flynn himself, until now). Racism is everywhere indeed, but it is more blatantly expressed and tolerated in metal than in most other scenes.

So yes, some focus on the metal community would probably be in order. The problem is bigger than just Anselmo and his bands.
posted by Dysk at 3:46 AM on January 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


I don't twat or blogstorm or anything like that. I know about them though. Can we get #countmeout trending whenever some moron does something so racist? If logic doesn't work maybe shame will.
posted by adept256 at 3:51 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


*slow clap*
posted by SansPoint at 5:24 AM on January 31, 2016


Metal is mostly* a lower-middle-class to working class to outright trashy white form of music

Metal was certainly big in my privileged upper-middle-class circle of friends in high school and college and I continue to know high pay professionals that listen to it. A huge part of the scene caters to teenage rebellion against parental norms.
posted by Candleman at 7:29 AM on January 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


I haven't heard metal this quiet since, well, forever.

Hmm, you're right. It's not like Invisible Oranges condemned it. Or Metalsucks. Or Metal Hammer. Robb Flynn obviously has kept his mouth shut. So has All Shall Perish.

A lot of dumbass opinions in this thread expressing some pretty objectionable views against people in poverty, working class whites, etc. Maybe examine your own prejudices before you sound like just as big an idiot as Phil Anselmo
posted by Existential Dread at 7:33 AM on January 31, 2016 [47 favorites]




Metafilter has this habit of being classist as hell. And yes you are right, that makes them/us look bad. Especially because they/we should know better.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:39 AM on January 31, 2016 [30 favorites]


I'm not surprised to see this happening in the metal scene, and I'm glad someone is calling Anselmo out.

Interestingly, the track "No Good (Attack the Radical)" from Pantera's breakthrough album (Vulgar Display of Power, 1992), is an explicitly anti-racist rant, sung (like all of the album) by Anselmo. (I'm not sure how closely Anselmo was involved in writing the lyrics.)

I haven't really listened to metal for years, but this is part of what attracted me to Pantera as a teenager—they were obviously metal, yes, but something about their groove-based guitar work, vocal delivery, declamatory anti-authoritarian lyrics, and overall imagery also aligned them with the anti-racist hardcore scene that was around at the time. Or at least it's always seemed that way to me.

To be clear, this is no kind of defense for Anselmo's stunt in the video—just an observation. I think a lot of people in the metal / hardcore scenes who take defiant stances are simply attracted to defiant stances, and the actual content of the stance is sometimes incidental to them. How else to explain the dizzying array of contradictory political beliefs espoused by various factions within the hardcore scene? The only thing they have in common is that they're all, hardcore—absolutist and uncompromising. The tough-guy posturing is the ultimate point of it all, and just about any cause will do equally well for that. Even if it's noxious and repellent. (Especially if it's noxious and repellent, as far as some of the people doing the posturing seem to be concerned.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:41 AM on January 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


Metal is mostly* a lower-middle-class to working class to outright trashy white form of music.

Please tell us about people who listen to rap/hip-hop. Mostly ghetto hood rats (especially in it's early days)? I guess I'll just swap my metal for Adele or The National or whatever it is non-trashy white people listen to. Anyway, Anselmo is a dick, he's always been a dick and everyone has always known it. Color me unsurprised by this "revelation".
posted by MikeMc at 7:43 AM on January 31, 2016 [21 favorites]


Oh my god, we really just went straight to calling metal and everyone who listens to it white trash? I guess we found another one of those topics, like the south, that Metafilter really doesn't do well.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:04 AM on January 31, 2016 [21 favorites]


It's just one specific poster who is not doing it well. I suggest not allowing his poorly considered post to dominate the thread.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:06 AM on January 31, 2016 [24 favorites]


Metal definitely has a problem with racists. White power bands seem to exclusively play hardcore or metal, likely because the aesthetic fits with the hatred they espouse and the power they desire. Black metal, particularly in the 90s Norwegian scene, had an issue with nativist and racist sentiment.

These are reflections of society as whole. The USA, as we have all seen, remains a deeply racist society, with the institutions of power coming down hardest on PoC. Scandinavia also has these problems.

But for every Anselmo, Varg, or Hellhammer, there are two or more like Suffocation, God Forbid, Napalm Death, or Cretin.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:07 AM on January 31, 2016


The dismissive "what's the big deal" and "who's surprised" comments early in this thread are really disappointing and unhelpful. The WHOLE POINT of Flynn's commentary is that there are factions of the metal scene that are racist or that overlook racist actions. No one's saying it's surprising that Anselmo did/has done this kind of stuff. What's surprising and heartening is that it's finally being called out and seeing the light of day.

It's only by pointing the stuff out, unsurprising though it may be, that it will change from being accepted or ignored to being condemned.
posted by misskaz at 8:09 AM on January 31, 2016 [11 favorites]


CVLT Nation (which is run by mixed race couple) has also weighed in

And as a guy with a master's degree sitting in front of his computer wearing a Slayer t-shirt I take issue with statements like this:

Metal is mostly* a lower-middle-class to working class to outright trashy white form of music.

Replace "metal" with "gangster rap" and "white" with "black," and this sort of statement would be unacceptable. And, while a lot of metal bands have been formed by and found their audience with disenfranchised white kids, that doesn't make them trash, and it doesn't make a lot of what they have to say irrelevant. Heavy Metal has been political since forever. Who hasn't heard Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" or Slayer's "War Ensemble?" And those are just two "mainstream examples. The point is, there are a lot of people who like metal, and they're not all like Phil Anselmo, and they don't support his bullshit.
posted by dortmunder at 8:11 AM on January 31, 2016 [12 favorites]


White power bands seem to exclusively play hardcore or metal

If white power music has to be a thing, I'd at least like to hear some white power skiffle, white power showtunes, white power chamber pop, white power New Jack Swing, or white power happy hardcore.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:13 AM on January 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


escape from the potato planet: "It's just one specific poster who is not doing it well. I suggest not allowing his poorly considered post to dominate the thread."

Yes, it had already been well- and thoughtfully-answered by the time I got to the thread in response to a flag, so I decided to let it stand so thoroughly refuted rather than delete it and the thoughtful responses. Definitely continue the excellent and on-topic parts of the conversation and feel free to let that nasty bit go, it's been well-killed (to my outsider, non-metal eyes).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:14 AM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know of metal uniquely has a problem with racism -- I mean, punk has had its Swastika-wearing, goose stepping goons as well, and lord knows country has had its share (Johnny Rebel being the most notorious example.)

But metal is a community, inasmuch as any group linked by common tastes in music is a community, and so this post seems to be addressing itself to the way this community responds to a prevalent racist in their midst. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I can't specifically fault metal for at the moment being not much better than Hollywood's self-serving, oblivious, privileged response to their own racism, and I can credit those that speak out in the metal community just as I do, say, Danny DeVito, who unequivocally pointed out that Hollywood has a long legacy of racism that still goes ignored.
posted by maxsparber at 8:22 AM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Heavy Metal has been political since forever. Who hasn't heard Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" or Slayer's "War Ensemble?"

And Sabbath's "Faeries Wear Boots" is specifically having a go at neo-Nazi skinheads (by calling them gay, but nevertheless). However, the culture around metal has had quite a white dudebro feel for a long time now, and while those elements are far from universal, they are definitely widely tolerated. I also feel like the culture around Sabbath and Slayer is a little different to what we have today. While both are also mainstream, they also have a legitimacy in the eyes of many a self-professed "true metalhead" that Pantera et al, being just mainstream bands for posers, do not. I've never really understood the attitude, but it is clear to me that the two examples you mention occupy a rather different position in the culture to Pantera or Sepultura or Machine Head, for example. Part of it is their position in history

I play in a bunch of bands, mostly in metal and punk contexts, and my experience from the gigs that I play and help run (and this experience is mirrored by the POC and other minorities that I speak to about the same) is that you get far more of an expectation that overt racism, sexism, and queerphobia is acceptable in metal circles than in any other music scene I have moved in. The more mainstream (and the less "proper metal") the scene is, the more this is the case (and Pantera and related bands have always fallen firmly into the mainstream "not proper" category in my experience).

I love the music, but I do not on the whole love the scene.
posted by Dysk at 8:28 AM on January 31, 2016 [9 favorites]


I was always under the impression that that (Respect) Walk song was about specifically fighting with random people in "other" groups. I figured they were a bunch of skinheads back then too, just with the good business sense to disguise what they were all about with dogwhistles instead of literally screaming White Power from a stage.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:29 AM on January 31, 2016


I was always under the impression that that (Respect) Walk song was about specifically fighting with random people in "other" groups.

Hmm. I never thought that at the time, and I don't see anything in the lyrics to justify that interpretation. It's just about conflict and tension between the singer and some unspecified other person, which is a bog-standard lyrical concern in hardcore. In fact, the lyrics suggest that the person in question is part of Monsieur Anselmo's general social circle: "You cry to weak friends that sympathize / ... Those same friends tell me your every word".

These could just as well be lyrics from Biohazard or Sick of it All (who have admittedly both had their own laudable and regrettable moments concerning race). Hardcore lyrics position the singer (aka audience surrogate) as a person who is assailed from all sides by bullshit and attacks from his (perceived) moral inferiors (i.e., everyone), and who refuses to submit to those attacks. Sometimes the "inferiors" (as imagined by the lyricist) are racial minorities, but they're often racists, or simply some generic, unspecified adversary. Absent any mention of race or otherness in the lyrics to Walk, I don't think it's fair to say that it's a racist song.

In addition to the aforementioned lyrics to "No Good (Attack the Radical)" (from the same album as "Walk"), we have these lines from "Rise":
Mass prediction, unification
Breathing life into our lungs
Every creed and every kind
To give us depth for strength

Taught when we're young to hate one another
It's time to have a new reign of power
Make pride universal so no one gives in
Turn our backs on those who oppose
...which I always took as a more-or-less explicit rejection of racist ideologies (especially when considered alongside "No Good", and Pantera's musical and aesthetic nods toward hip-hop, at a time when that was uncommon).

But it's been a quarter of a century since that album came out, and to be honest I don't see Phil Anselmo as a person with a nuanced and carefully considered worldview. Whatever sensible ideas he may have endorsed over the years, he's also been a hella racist fuckboi, so fuck him.

I figured they were a bunch of skinheads back then too

Please don't conflate "skinhead" with "racist".

</beancore>
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:09 AM on January 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't know of metal uniquely has a problem with racism -- I mean, punk has had its Swastika-wearing, goose stepping goons as well, and lord knows country has had its share (Johnny Rebel being the most notorious example.)

I spent a pretty long time actively involved in the punk scene and am a fan of metal and country music as well, and there are definitely differences in what racism looks like in the three cultures, though all have problems with it.

In punk, the racist bands and the nazi-punk subculture have essentially been segregated from the main punk scene. The nazi-punk bands play exclusively to their specific racist audience and you essentially never hear someone in the main punk scene trying to defend or apologize for those bands. In fact, the punk community has a long history of loosely organized Anti-Racist Action where punks will, among other things, police their own gatherings and concerts and kick the shit out of any nazi-punks they find hanging around. This response has its own problems, but I think it shows pretty strongly that the mainline punk culture wants nothing to do with the racist fringe that tries to attach itself to the music and the aesthetic. (cf. Nazi Punks Fuck Off)

In metal, on the other hand, while the vast majority of the bands and the fans are awesome non-racist people, the white power bands are largely accepted as being part of the scene. When you bring up a neo-nazi metal band like Skrewdriver, most metalheads will make a sour face and tell you they don't listen to that shit. But someone showing up to a metal concert in a Skrewdriver t-shirt is not treated like a pariah, whereas that same person is VERY likely to end up in the hospital if they show up to a punk show in the same shirt. Basically, the metal culture seems to treat it's racist fringe like you treat your racist uncle: You don't agree with him; you're embarrassed by him; but he's still part of the family.

Finally, in the country scene, you don't see nearly as much overt racism, where you have bands or performers that essentially define themselves as white power acts. That's not to say there isn't a racism problem, though. Especially as you get away from mainstream New Country and start exploring alt country and outlaw country, you do start to find a troubling amount of what you might call "problematic" content. You pretty much never hear people dropping the N-bomb or such, but you will encounter "The South Will Rise Again" themes as well as sentiments tied up in a sort of "we're not racists, we just prefer our own kind" unexamined racism.

I guess, of the three. I feel like the country scene is the most racist just because it largely doesn't seem to recognize that it has a problem, even if their racists are "less" racist than the punk and metal white power set. The metal culture on the whole recognizes that it's got a racist problem, they just have generally shown very little gumption in doing anything about it the way the punks have. Hopefully this Rob Flynn video is a sign that that's finally starting to change.

That would be really awesome.
posted by 256 at 9:14 AM on January 31, 2016 [21 favorites]




Replace "metal" with "gangster rap" and "white" with "black," and this sort of statement would be unacceptable.

I'm not sure it would be unacceptable as much as it'd be inaccurate.

Also, gangster rap? What is this, 1989?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:34 AM on January 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


There's a real good reason why so many people, myself included, felt punk died around 85-86. The "crossover" period of punk and metal was taking place and it wasn't uncommon to see idiots like Phil Anselmo going to punk shows and thinking that racism was funny and acceptable. A good case in point was Stormtroopers of Death, a band comprised of members of Anthrax who were playing crossover songs with such catchy titles as Speak English or Die. There was some backlash of course. I once saw Kirk Hammett from Metallica get spit on at a CBGBs matinee. I liked a lot of the harder thrash metal during that time but a lot of their fans were assholes. They co-opted the speed and fury of punk without any of the intelligence.
posted by cazoo at 9:53 AM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


A lot of good dialogue in this thread, and it really is an interesting subject for me, although I'm a bit disconnected from it these days.

I was a big metalhead growing up. (Although my band didn't play Pantera at the talent show, we did the solidly political and weird Primus - Too Many Puppies. I wanted to do John the Fisherman, but I wasn't as adept a guitar player as my friends were bassist and drummer.) It's strange to me to look back on, because I still enjoy a good deal of metal, but I'm pretty much disconnected from the scene in the same way Devin Townsend of Strapping Young Lad fame is, which is that I'm too weird and while I enjoy metal, I have a hard time with people who take themselves too seriously. (The Melvins being another example of a metal band who seems to love what they do, but not be too especially heavily involved in the larger metal community.) Pantera was, from the get go in my youth, far too serious for my tastes, and definitely pushed far too much I didn't agree with. I mean, shit, I was a pacifist even as a teen, so "Vulgar Display of Power" didn't exactly appeal to my nature. (The one time I was in a fistfight was essentially me, a towering, bulky, teenager, against a skinny kid half my size, and it was basically me taking a bunch of punches until my nose bled and he gave up and walked away because I wasn't going down.)

I'll agree with others in this thread, as my music tastes opened up, it was far more obvious that the punk community didn't take racism lying down. The punk community never takes much of anything lying down. They are survivors, man. (Crustpunks, like roaches, are about the only things that can survive a nuclear blast (this is a fact.).) Punk also has the weird distinction that potentially one of the earliest "punk" bands was three black dudes from Detroit who were influenced by The Who, a band called Death. (Which I'm sure in itself is a "previously, on MetaFilter") And Dysk, I know you say you're a metalhead, but perhaps you'd give some hardcore punk a try? I found this feminist punk band G.L.O.S.S. that "are just actual outcasts of society — queers, trans women, women of color, gender queer femmes, feminists, etc., and we love hardcore and are sick of being sidelined and misrepresented, so we are representing ourselves."

Metal was certainly big in my privileged upper-middle-class circle of friends in high school and college and I continue to know high pay professionals that listen to it. A huge part of the scene caters to teenage rebellion against parental norms.

Oh man, abso-fucking-lutely. It reminds me of a time in like 2007-ish, I was in my girlfriends car with her at the time, and it was a hot summer day in Tacoma. We had the windows down, and up next to us pulls this brand new bright blue Audi. Two young men are in it, neatly trimmed bears, short cropped hair, backwars baseball caps, fancy, likely expensive Oakley sunglasses on both.

On their stereo, super loud is System of a Down. I'm not super familiar with SoaD, they're okay in my book, but nothing to write home about. I forget the name of this song, but I know it has a lot of repetitive "Fuck the system!" in it. So me, a poor, ugly, white shlub, is sitting next to these two rich white twats, who absolutely benefit from the nature of "the system". It always just struck me, because of how disconnected they likely were from what the lyrics actually meant. (Not that SoaD lyrics aren't at least a bit vague, and not exactly keen on specifics of which system might be in need of fucking, which means interpretation differences are easily forgivable.)

Frankly, it makes me wonder if it's a similar type of attitude that allows Anselmo to get away with his horseshit. That the music is loud and angry, so you're not really too worried about the lyrical content (not trying to pigeon-hole metalheads, as a fan myself)? I don't know, but I guess I am glad that the metal community as finally beginning to call it out.

This kind of gives me a whole new view on Robb FLynn and Machine Head, a band I was never particularly fond of. Not that I will go back and "give them another listen," (no thanks, I'm sure I still probably won't suddenly love their music.) but rather that while I never knew much about Flynn to begin with, I suppose it feels good to know that there's people in the metal community who have grown, and changed, and learned to be better people, and to not let people like Anselmo bring them and the community down. Maybe it took him far longer to approach the issue than it should have taken, but some people just do take a long time to learn the ugly reality of racism and how it can seep into everything. I still wish he and others had taken up this subject long ago, but for a subject long-time coming, I absolutely hope the community opens up and begins to have a serious conversation about it.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:21 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess we found another one of those topics, like the south, that Metafilter really doesn't do well.

Lets call it like it is, rather than "metafilter doesn't do well". I mean shit, people can say:

"well race is one of those things Pantera doesn't do well".
"Homosexuality is one of those things fred phelps doesn't do well"
posted by hal_c_on at 10:37 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Judging metal by Phil Anselmo is like judging punk by GG Allin.
posted by jonmc at 10:39 AM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, here in NYC, most of the young metalfans I run into are Latino and Asian, and there more black people than you'd expect as well.
posted by jonmc at 10:45 AM on January 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is exactly the sort of bullshit condoning of shitty behavior that basically makes me sick to my stomach to be a metalhead. My friends basically "don't want to talk about it" the same way they don't want to talk about the sort of fucked up behavior that goes on in their own scene. As if metal didn't have a trashy enough reputation, all it takes is one moron with a reputation to give "outsiders" the idea that we're all secretly fascist and racist.
posted by Young Kullervo at 10:46 AM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Enough with the revisionist history of punk at the expense of metal. Screwdriver is a neo-Nazi punk band. The most progressive voice of the hard-core punk generation wrote a song called "Guilty of Being White" Some people change, some don't. Screwdriver is still a racist band. Ian MacKaye disavowed that early song and went on to fight racism, sexism, and homophobia for his entire career.

Which brings me to Phil Anselmo. Man. As soon as I saw that sieg heil my heart sunk. I loved Pantera back in the day. There were always some grumblings about his maybe having neo-Nazi tendencies because he was a metal guy who shaved his head (I know it sounds absurd, but in the pre-internet days, us teenage metalheads had never heard of Minor Threat-- scenes were much more insular) but then there were songs like "Rise" and "Attack the Radical" that were clearly anti-racist.

So I watch the Robb Flynn video and my Internet Rage Is On. But having now read a bit more about the incident and other claims from folks who were backstage, it seems somewhat plausible that is was meant to be a joke. If so, it would make Phil a moron and an asshole, but not a Nazi. And yet... sorry Phil, you're 47 fucking years old. You're out of excuses, and I think I'm done with you.

Will I stop listening to Panera, though? I love Slayer and although they've stated time again how their fascination with Nazism and Nazi iconography has nothing to do with Nazi ideology, sometimes I have to wonder. I sure do love Motorhead, but boy did Lemmy like those Iron Crosses. Ezra Pound, Heidegger, and on and on. Where does the person end and the art begin?

Sometimes it feels like the amount of bullshit in art you are willing to accept is proportional to the amount that you already love that art.
posted by gwint at 10:49 AM on January 31, 2016 [7 favorites]


Lets call it like it is, rather than "metafilter doesn't do well".

Seems appropriate, considering the tone set by your comment early in the thread.

The "crossover" period of punk and metal was taking place and it wasn't uncommon to see idiots like Phil Anselmo going to punk shows and thinking that racism was funny and acceptable. A good case in point was Stormtroopers of Death, a band comprised of members of Anthrax who were playing crossover songs with such catchy titles as Speak English or Die. There was some backlash of course. I once saw Kirk Hammett from Metallica get spit on at a CBGBs matinee. I liked a lot of the harder thrash metal during that time but a lot of their fans were assholes. They co-opted the speed and fury of punk without any of the intelligence.

I have to disagree. Stormtroopers of Death was a (stupid) joke band; trading on offensiveness is a time-honored tradition in both metal and punk. And read any interview with Barney Greenway and you'll find that articulate intelligence can coexist with nihilistic grinding death metal.

Metal crowds seem to get infinitely worse the larger the following. See the meatheads that follow Slayer, Pantera, SoaD; see Tool's rather antagonistic relationship with their fans. Condemning this as a metal-specific problem is a neat way to offload responsibility from the greater society. Jerks like Phil might be more visible in metal, but they exist all across this country, and the greatest proportion of them can't be easily identified by their clothes/music/public-facing persona.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:50 AM on January 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have to disagree. Stormtroopers of Death was a (stupid) joke band; trading on offensiveness is a time-honored tradition in both metal and punk

Not to mention, Scott Ian and the rest of the guys in Anthrax worked with Public Enemy , who are not the type of guys to to tolerate racists in their midst. Also, bringing up the metal audience's "trashiness," is a classic example of wealthy, educated whites passing the buck on racism to those 'beneath,' them.
posted by jonmc at 10:53 AM on January 31, 2016 [12 favorites]


Yes, around the time of Vulgar Display of Power, Phil had been on-board with the wave of anti-racist sentiment espoused by bands like Sepultura and Machine Head. However, like a lot of what we call "allies" today, he hadn't thought it through that well and hadn't changed a lot of his unconscious assumptions.

By the time of Far Beyond Driven, he'd gotten resentful and drifted into "reverse racism" rants. He was also really into drugs, and – though talented – has always been a huge mess, always chasing validation. A few years later, he seemed to be getting into black metal. He resented Pantera being a groove metal band lumped in with bands like Fear Factory or Prong or, gasp, Static X or any number of proto-nu-metal bands. He wanted to be kvlt. He wanted the respect that, say, Slayer got or even that Darkthrone got.

I don't believe Phil isn't a Sieg Heil white power guy, but he does like flirting with that stuff because it makes him seem dangerous, and probably thinks that's a way to be seen as someone with real underground metal cred instead of a guy in band that refined Exhorder's sound. His kind of racism is more the "every day privileged white guy" kind that you see all over the place, including here on MetaFilter dot com.

Basically, yes, Phil is probably a racist, but not a special kind of racist. He should be called out, just like the typical kind.

And sure, a lot of metal bands are problematic in one way or another, but while there are Phils around, there's also Scott Ians, Dave Suzukis, Terence Hobbses, Barney Greenways, Max Cavaleras, Robb Flynns, and I'm sure plenty of musicians that showed up after the turn of the century that aren't racist in this way.
posted by ignignokt at 10:53 AM on January 31, 2016 [10 favorites]


The major difference between punk and metal scenes to me is how tolerated the racist element is. You don't see Skrewdriver at punk festivals (other than the explicitly racist ones) but you do see a bunch of the church-burning odalist Norwegian black metal and blackened death metal bands at metal festivals.

(And people calling Machine Head anti-racist campaigners back in the day? Flynn has rather a history of dropping the n-word for a white guy. Great that he's changing his tune, but Machine Head were not unproblematic in their early days. Nor was Pantera - Phil has always vacillated between racist and anti-racist rants, depending largely in my opinion on what he reckoned would rile up an audience more, and how inebriated he was.)

And Dysk, I know you say you're a metalhead, but perhaps you'd give some hardcore punk a try?

I play in some hardcore punk and noiserock bands (amongst others) - bandcamp links can be found on my profile. GLOSS are awesome - we actually have a whole scene of queer punk in a similar vein over here, it's where I play most of my gigs, and host bands most regularly.
posted by Dysk at 11:21 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oddly, the other day I was thumbing through Pantera bassist Rex Brown's 'tell-all' book about the band. The introduction is by (black and gay) metal bass player Doug Pinnick.

FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 11:32 AM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


That Phil Anselmo (and others) are comfortable shouting 'white power' and sieg heil-ing and whatever should tell us that he has absolute confidence that the room agrees with him, which means his behavior is not an outlier within that sub-culture. White supremacy as a thing has unfortunately been on the rise in the U.S. for a while now, and what is visible in the culture of metal music is only the tip of an iceberg: there are bands and catalogs of recordings with fanbases that are scrupulously hidden from view, and used to spread their message of hate, an entire sub-culture of white power music that we don't know about. Anselmo (and his band, by association) is just the visible, "mainstream" tip of this particular iceberg of hate.

If you're interested in reading about what's hidden, and the ways that music is used to foster hate and division more generally, I highly recommend the fantastic, recently published book Radicalism and Music: An Introduction to the Music Cultures of al-Qa'ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants, by Jonathan Pieslak.

I happen to know Jonathan personally, and know what he had to do to investigate and reveal this sub-culture, and wow do I have a lot more respect for the tremendous personal risk some scholars are willing to take to document and reveal such things. If you love metal music but hate racists and hate-mongers, you should be very alarmed that the music you love has been so deeply co-opted by a culture of hate and violence.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:55 AM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Enough with the revisionist history of punk at the expense of metal. Screwdriver is a neo-Nazi punk band. The most progressive voice of the hard-core punk generation wrote a song called "Guilty of Being White" Some people change, some don't. Screwdriver is still a racist band. Ian MacKaye disavowed that early song and went on to fight racism, sexism, and homophobia for his entire career.

You're right. I had to grit my teeth and listen to 1/4 a Skrewdriver song, but you're right. I had misremembered them as being more metal than punk. That said, it doesn't change anything in my argument. Just substitute Absurd or NYOGTHAEBLISZ or any other racist heavy metal band of your choice.

I agree that both punk rock and heavy metal have their share of horrible racist bands, my point is that there has been a notable difference in the way that majority of the scene has reacted to them. You don't see roving gangs of anti-racist skinheads patrolling metal shows looking for neo-nazis to beat up the way you do at punk shows.

And I mean, it's not that I think the lynch mob approach is the best one for dealing with racists, it's just that it shows a pretty substantial difference in the dominant ideology within the scenes.
posted by 256 at 11:58 AM on January 31, 2016


That Phil Anselmo (and others) are comfortable shouting 'white power' and sieg heil-ing and whatever should tell us that he has absolute confidence that the room agrees with him,

From what I’ve seen the room didn’t agree with him. ANd that’s a weird point to try and make anyway, the Fox News watching patriots are confident the American people are going to rise up and support them at some point. It’s called delusion.
posted by bongo_x at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


The major difference between punk and metal scenes to me is how tolerated the racist element is. You don't see Skrewdriver at punk festivals (other than the explicitly racist ones)

Heh.

I checked out of music cultures, I dunno, around 1983. Because of bullshit like this. Where I grew up, metal was the music of poor white (mostly) males. Racist by default. Don't tell me Sabbath had anti-war songs or that metal was progressive. These kids simply weren't that sophisticated.

Upper middle class whites had some punk and England pop music inspired factions. Some of the ska(?!?!) fans were overtly racist.

At this time, I was living in a region that had few non whites. It was a weird place then.

I was never much of a joiner. My love of music had nothing to do with community. I had no interest in wearing a uniform, whether it was Doc Martens or long hair. And if hanging with you meant I had to listen to some shitty band, well, later. Fuck you and your musical sub-cultures.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2016


He was pretty confident nobody would beat him up for it. That's not the same as agreeing, but it's also not an expectation he could've had in many other scenes.
posted by Dysk at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


bringing up the metal audience's "trashiness," is a classic example of wealthy, educated whites passing the buck on racism to those 'beneath,' them.

They just don't like it. Which is fine, it's loud and furious when it's done well. Yes, it's not for everyone.

I want to remark about who the audience is. I have a few coins in my pocket. I wouldn't say wealthy, but I get by. I am educated. I also teach. I happen to be white, but I think everyone will agree the problem with that is that it's a problem at all.

While I do teach, pantera is off the curriculum for now. I don't know how Dimebag felt about it. Which is a pity.

And well this happened. A giant spider crept across the wall while I was typing. I showed it the outside. (yes I am australian)
posted by adept256 at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2016


Pretty sure all the bands we all listen to are problematic. Even goddamn David Bowie is problematic.

Even people who say they're anti-racist are sometimes, surprise, racist! Re: Robb Flynn dropping the "n-word": The n-word here is "nigga." That is problematic. He felt he could say it because lived in a slum in Oakland. That's very different, however, from just yelling "nigger" at people.
posted by ignignokt at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


Will I stop listening to Panera, though? I love Slayer and although they've stated time again how their fascination with Nazism and Nazi iconography has nothing to do with Nazi ideology, sometimes I have to wonder. I sure do love Motorhead, but boy did Lemmy like those Iron Crosses. Ezra Pound, Heidegger, and on and on. Where does the person end and the art begin?

Sometimes it feels like the amount of bullshit in art you are willing to accept is proportional to the amount that you already love that art.


Also, for what it's worth, I think this is exactly the milquetoast attitude that I'm hoping will change in the metal scene. There is enough good art that you don't need to celebrate the stuff that comes from such a shitty place. I have, happily removed the few Pantera songs I really liked from rotation over this. Because there's no way that I like them more than I like not supporting racist shitheads.

I still listen to Slayer and Motorhead, but that's only because I don't think they are/were racist shitheads. I think that they made fundamentally the same mistake that people who decide to love Pantera despite the racism make. It seems to me that they think that Nazi iconography is cool because it is very good art as both fashion and graphic design. I mean they're not wrong, but there is a lot of equally good fashion and graphic design to get excited about that isn't tied up with the fucking holocaust.

I'm willing to forgive that level of ideological mistake though in a way that I'm not willing to forgive the actually-sieg-heiling-and-shouting-white-power level of ideological mistake. If I found out that Slayer or Motorhead were as ideologically compromised as Pantera seems to be, I would stop listening to them in a second, no matter how much I love Reign in Blood and Ace of Spafes.
posted by 256 at 12:22 PM on January 31, 2016


If I found out that Slayer or Motorhead were as ideologically compromised as Pantera seems to be, I would stop listening to them in a second, no matter how much I love Reign in Blood and Ace of Spafes.

Ace of Spafes.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:30 PM on January 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't know how Dimebag felt about it. Which is a pity.

According to Rex's book, there was a lot of tension between the Abbot brothers and Anselmo. I wouldn't be surprised if this shit was a factor. I do remember a TV interview where Dime referred to Phil Lynott as "God." FWIW.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Slayer chose to cover "Guilty of Being White"-- in 1996. Don't be a milquetoast 256! Delete delete delete...
posted by gwint at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Phil has been flirting with this shit for a long time I really don't know how people are gonna keep saying aww he doesn't mean it. I will point out that Pantera is a band that has its own audience kind of distinct from metal as a whole at this point. I don't think Joe-not-Phil-Anselmo-at-a-random-metal-show would be able to do the same thing with the same confidence. But there is a different issue with the metal cool kids letting, say, Nazi black metal bands slide a long ways because they are so true and grim.
posted by atoxyl at 1:14 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is not a black-and-white thing to decide to listen to problematic music. I feel it depends on: A) how strongly the music connects with you and B) how problematic the music is.

I don't think anyone is going to listen to shitty music that has lyrics or imagery counter to their ideals. Similarly, no one has a problem listening to great music that aligns perfectly with their ideals. It's the other cases that are tough.

The bars are different for everyone, but it's very rare to find music so great that it is compelling despite shitty intentions, but it does happen. Like, the Slayer song Dittohead is one of three songs I like on a fairly mediocre album, and its lyrics come from Kerry King's newfound interest in Rush Limbaugh during that time. But the riffs are so good, despite "put 'em all in jail" lyrics and kinda crappy production. On the other end, I really wanted to like Public Enemy's 2001 album (was it called Son of a Bush?) because I had been loving Chuck D's blog around that time, but it was terrible.

I don't think listening to music is necessarily an endorsement of verbal ideas connected to it for that reason.

The case of Barenboim playing Wagner in Israel is an interesting exploration of this. The people who walked out did not feel the music was enough to overcome the association. They were right to do so. The people who stayed did feel it was good enough. They were right to stay.
posted by ignignokt at 1:22 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Or I should say letting them slide because they like the music. I mean when I was a kid I would listen to Burzum and Dissection which are both bands led by pretty reprehensible people but their ideology is not that explicit in the music even if you have the lyrics sheet. Which makes them easy to appreciate as an artifact of something distant. But now that Varg is out of prison and commending Anders Breivik it's just... ugh. Anyway people in metal have a hard time drawing a line until you get to guys who *are* shouting white power. And sometimes not even then!
posted by atoxyl at 1:24 PM on January 31, 2016


Oh you were writing on the same subject while I was. Personally I don't care who listens
to what but I take seriously who I will or won't promote or bring into a community of which I am part.
posted by atoxyl at 1:29 PM on January 31, 2016


Jesus, arguments about whether punk or metal is more racist (with the unchallenged assumption that naturally country music is the worst) brings me all the way back to high school. Check it out, I got this sweet Charles Bronson shirt.

This, this is why I have no interest in arguments about music scenes. I can think of a million examples of shitty stuff that people in the punk and metal scenes have done. There's plenty of reason to want nothing to do with either of them if you get close enough.

I would love it if everyone would quit trying to pass the buck and own up to the racism/misogyny/awfulness in their own group instead of pretending their side is marginally better.
posted by teponaztli at 1:30 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also back in the day, I made a quiz on one of those quiz websites called "Are you an annoying punk scenester?" The questions were all about stuff like whether punk is better than metal, whether Crass is more legit than the Sex Pistols, and so on. No matter what your responses were, the result would be that "you are an annoying punk scenester (well, that's not entirely true - the questions were multiple-choice, and each one had the option of something like "everywhere I go, people laugh when I'm not looking," and if you selected those you could also get the result of "irrationally paranoid").

For years after I made it, until I changed my email address, I'd get angry messages about how I didn't know shit about punk, and I still consider this one of my greatest achievements.

posted by teponaztli at 1:39 PM on January 31, 2016 [10 favorites]


gwint: "I love Slayer and although they've stated time again how their fascination with Nazism and Nazi iconography has nothing to do with Nazi ideology, sometimes I have to wonder. I sure do love Motorhead, but boy did Lemmy like those Iron Crosses. Ezra Pound, Heidegger, and on and on. Where does the person end and the art begin?"
Wait until somebody tells you about Laibach.
posted by brokkr at 1:59 PM on January 31, 2016 [8 favorites]


Jesus, arguments about whether punk or metal is more racist (with the unchallenged assumption that naturally country music is the worst) brings me all the way back to high school. Check it out, I got this sweet Charles Bronson shirt.

Look, I regret my comment saying that country music is the "most racist." What I meant was that all three subcultures are having to deal with racist tumours within them and they are dealing with them in very different ways. And all three methods are less than ideal, but I like the punk method the most and the country method the least. Which is not meant to be an indictment of the fans and certainly not an indictment of the music.

In the greater view, of course, what music someone listens to makes no difference as to how good of a person someone is. Likewise, how shitty the people are has basically no bearing on how good the music is.

All the same, there are notably different cultural traditions within the different scenes regarding how exactly the distaste for explicitly racist/homophobic/sexist bands/songs are dealt with, and I think different scenes fall at different points on the laudable/terrible spectrum regarding their default reaction. I think all of the scenes mentioned could do with a lot of improvement though.
posted by 256 at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2016


Notably, if this thread were about misogyny, I think the punk scene would have a lot more to answer for...
posted by 256 at 2:39 PM on January 31, 2016 [5 favorites]


That Phil Anselmo (and others) are comfortable shouting 'white power' and sieg heil-ing and whatever should tell us that he has absolute confidence that the room agrees with him, which means his behavior is not an outlier within that sub-culture.

Doesn't the fact that this has become a huge deal suggest that he was wrong in feeling comfortable doing those things? It seems to be a fairly common assumption among racists that everyone is actually on the same page as them. The "I'm just saying what everybody's thinking!" effect.
posted by brundlefly at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brief derail: I love when people leave the T out of Pantera. #vulgardisplayofflour
posted by pxe2000 at 2:59 PM on January 31, 2016 [17 favorites]


(As an aside, those are the YouTubiest YouTube comments I've seen in a long time.)
posted by brundlefly at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2016


This, this is why I have no interest in arguments about music scenes. I can think of a million examples of shitty stuff that people in the punk and metal scenes have done. There's plenty of reason to want nothing to do with either of them if you get close enough.

It's great that this is all academic to you, but as a gigging musician, gig-goer, and someone promoter, how various scenes treat minority members has a direct impact on my life. I'm white, so the racism doesn't directly affect me, but I'm visibly trans, so the misogyny and queerphobia very much do, and I'm empathetic with people who are marginalised in ways I am not, even if my experiences will only ever inform a partial understanding of the issues. To some people, this isn't just an argument about whose tribe is better - it's a question of which events and crowds we can feel comfortable and safe in.
posted by Dysk at 3:53 PM on January 31, 2016 [11 favorites]


Doesn't the fact that this has become a huge deal suggest that he was wrong in feeling comfortable doing those things?

The huge deal happened after the fact, because a video was posted online. He's been saying things like this for years, and Pantera's fans have either accepted it or given it a pass.

But my point is that Anselmo's behavior is just a peek into a much larger white supremacy movement hiding inside of specific musical subcultures, and this is thoroughly documented in the recently published book I linked to above. His behavior on stage is very troubling on its own, but as a symptom of a much worse and more widespread sickness, it's alarming.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:11 PM on January 31, 2016


LooseFilter But my point is that Anselmo's behavior is just a peek into a much larger white supremacy movement hiding inside of specific musical subcultures

Yup. And it's not just metal and punk. A friend of mine is in the electronic/industrial/post-punk revival scene and you'll find plenty of 'em there. She had a boyfriend who was a legit Neo-Nazi for a while, though that thankfully ended. (Her current boyfriend is one of the nicest people I know, also in that scene, and decidedly not a Neo-Nazi.)

One reason I have trouble getting into some of the related music scenes, like both industrial noise and neofolk, is because I can't tell where the fascination with fascist and militarist imagery is aesthetic, and where it's serious. Not comfortable at all.
posted by SansPoint at 5:22 PM on January 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's great that this is all academic to you

I'm sorry if I came across as insensitive, but frankly you have no idea what my relationship to any of this is, and I resent the way you're characterizing me as somehow lacking in empathy for marginalized people. I mean, Jesus Christ. That's absolutely 100% not at all where I was coming from. The reason I'm not a part of any of these scenes anymore is because I got sick to death of having to deal with peoples' shitty behavior and sick attitudes - about gender, about sexuality, about race - which came out every time there was some sort of controversy in (or out of) whatever crowd I was a part of at the time. I'm pissed that people are talking about how "punk handles it better," because it sure hasn't in my experience, except everyone always thought it did and ended up totally overlooking how shitty they were being. Yeah, the metal scene is full of absolute jerks, and if other peoples' experience have shown that its measurably worse than the other scenes where they are then I'll totally buy it, because metalheads can be total douches. But at the very least give me a tiny bit of credit and don't assume that it's all just some academic bullshit to me. It really isn't.
posted by teponaztli at 6:08 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK, the punk fans have convinced me- Metal is irredeemable.

The question is, what to do? Well for a start, Nightwish is playing at the Civic National Auditorium locally, in March. It's not much time, but we could organize a campaign to get the city to ban them, or at the least, if we all contact and protest at the venue, they may drop them.

This would just be a start of course; the longer-term goal would be to have a completely metal-free San Jose, and then get regulations and bans on the statewide level. That should have a wide-ranging effect, especially if we can get Pandora and Spotify to drop anything with the metal designation. Ideally, we can have the music services guide youth toward more wholesome punk bands like Babes in Toyland or The Dead Milkmen.

So whose with me on this? This seems like the sort of bottom-up activism Punk was made for, and something an ambitious, up and coming politician could build their name on. Any suggestions for a backer? Maybe one of the surviving Ramones?
posted by happyroach at 6:37 PM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


I know you're likely being facetious, but: Metal is not irredeemable. Dudebros might be, but might also conform to new norms if established. Nightwish aren't my cup of tea, but maybe we could all get tickets and then take any racist or queerphobic or ableist or misogynist fuckers there to task instead of letting their shitty attitudes be the dominant ones, the accepted norm?

I would even be willing to sit through A Nightwish concert for this. That is how important this shit is to me.
posted by Dysk at 9:04 PM on January 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


The reason I'm not a part of any of these scenes anymore is because I got sick to death of having to deal with peoples' shitty behavior and sick attitudes - about gender, about sexuality, about race - which came out every time there was some sort of controversy in (or out of) whatever crowd I was a part of at the time. I'm pissed that people are talking about how "punk handles it better," because it sure hasn't in my experience, except everyone always thought it did and ended up totally overlooking how shitty they were being.

With respect, if you've checked out of these scenes a while ago, you may not be best placed to know about or comment on the current state of them.
posted by Dysk at 9:06 PM on January 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's not like I'm totally cut off from people I knew back then, but whatever, clearly I've got nothing of substance to add to the conversation here.
posted by teponaztli at 9:20 PM on January 31, 2016


Like, I'm sorry to be so pissy, and I get that I'm being pissy, but the way you're talking about my engagement here just reminds me of the kind of gatekeeping that makes scenes so off-putting to me now. If what I'm saying doesn't mesh with your experiences, that's fine, and I can't pretend to be as involved as you are, but you're making comments about how this is academic to me and I've been out of things too long to have anything useful to add, and it's kind of hard not to be offended.
posted by teponaztli at 9:28 PM on January 31, 2016


Yeah, while gigging is hard, and I respect the dedication, comments like "I am active in the Scene so my comments about metal are more important" aren't useful here. People who go to concerts or don't support or do support Phil or Robb Flynn are also not necessarily gigging, either.
posted by ignignokt at 7:15 AM on February 1, 2016


1. Just because most metal fans and metal bands consist of white members, this does not constitute a 'racism problem.' There are examples of pretty cool collaborations between metal bands and artists of color.

2. Been a huge metal fan since the 8th grade (1982) and this is the first I've heard of Phil Anselmo spewing racist propaganda at a show or anywhere else. Could really care less about Anselmo, but was a big Dimebag Darrell fan and listened to Pantera, but today's Metafilter article was the first I've heard of Anselmo being a racist.

3. That said, it is certainly not the first time Anselmo has said something stupid. He has a craptastically bad habit of doing that.

Regardless, good on Robb Flynn for calling him out on it.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


comments like "I am active in the Scene so my comments about metal are more important" aren't useful here.

It's more like "my friends and I have actual lived experience of metal - particularly at a DIY/grassroots level - being incomparably more hostile to us than any other genre" and a bunch of people writing it off like it's high school clique posturing or being all "yeah but other genes have problems too!" in response. Racist dudebros are welcome and accepted (though not widely endorsed) in metal circles in ways they just aren't elsewhere. This is not me parading some scene cred - this is me saying that there is an actual problem, please listen and take it seriously. I get the instinct to get defensive, what with the way metal is so often a cultural punching bag, but the problem is real. I'm just trying to demonstrate that a) I am a metalhead too, I am not looking to call anyone white trash or lower class and poor and b) I have enough wide experience to make actual comparisons and the problem is of a unique character and scale in metal, and it is harmful to it as a cultural phenomenon and musical gerne because of how it leads to people being excluded or turned away.
posted by Dysk at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm communicating badly - by "the scene" I mean the people who are at gigs - fans, promoters, bands - and the norms they collectively enact and embody. How you can have an informed opinion on this if you're not going to gigs in some capacity I don't quite understand. If you ARE going to gigs, then congratulations, you are part of that genre's scene, whatever capacity you're there in.

And the norms for different scenes do differ enormously. The inevitable asshat in the GG Alin top gets told why it's a problem, and asked to take it off or gets thrown out at punk gigs. The inevitable asshat in the Burzum hoodie at a metal gig will go entirely unchallenged - he's probably in one of the bands, or working as part of the promotion team, in fact. The idiot who sieg heils at the indie gig gets thrown out, whereas the idiot who does the same at a metal gig gets maybe some side-eye, and a few laughs ("he's just drunk, he doesn't REALLY mean it, can't you take a joke?"). There is a real and marked difference in how these crowds operate.
posted by Dysk at 9:03 AM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


And the norms for different scenes do differ enormously. The inevitable asshat in the GG Alin top gets told why it's a problem, and asked to take it off or gets thrown out at punk gigs. The inevitable asshat in the Burzum hoodie at a metal gig will go entirely unchallenged - he's probably in one of the bands, or working as part of the promotion team, in fact.

GG Allin was a self-destructive wreck. Is that actually true that someone would get called out for wearing a GG Allin shirt at a punk gig? (I listen to some of his music now and then but I wouldn't call myself a serious fan.)

Also, is Nightwish actually racist also? I googled around but I couldn't find any links.
posted by theorique at 11:38 AM on February 1, 2016


I was thinking the same thing about GG Allin. I've known punks who wouldn't approve of him for sure - he went to prison for assaulting a woman - but also some who still think he was a patron saint of rock. Which I think is pretty juvenile (I think he was occasionally interesting but hardly admirable) but what I think is beside the point. Anyway I don't think of him as, like Skrewdriver status. But maybe Dysk meant the guy in the GG Allin shirt is likely to be the asshole who gets thrown out for other reasons. Or maybe we're talking about more explicitly political punks than I knew.
posted by atoxyl at 1:15 PM on February 1, 2016


And no, Nightwish being racist was a joke. I think that comment is a meta-meta-joke actually? A parody of the guy who comes in all "if there's such a problem with metal why don't we just ban it huh that's what you want?"
posted by atoxyl at 1:18 PM on February 1, 2016


Also Burzum is an odd case because Varg is indisputably one of the most influential musicians in metal while also being one of the worst human beings I am even aware of. Fuck people who buy Burzum merch but I think it's actually pretty great that his style has been appropriated by anarchist hippies from the Pacific Northwest.
posted by atoxyl at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2016


When I lived in New Orleans in the late 90s, I ended up hanging out a bit with a couple dudes who claimed to have grown up with Phil Anselmo. According to them, he was always a racist dick. I have found nothing in the public record to contradict that impression and much to reinforce it.

I'm not saying it's happening in this thread, but honestly, the extent to which people go out of their way to wonder if Phil Anselmo is "really" a Sieg Heil white power guy when he is on video throwing a Sieg Heil and screaming "white power" is just baffling to me. This is why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism. So many will literally question or ignore the most overt bullshit happening directly in front of their face. This is not a complex issue. If you throw a Nazi salute while screaming "white power", you are a Nazi, the end.

I grew up with metal and punk and hardcore, and I know what those scenes are like. Is everyone horrible? Of course not. But you only have to read the comments on one of these well-meaning editorials to know that the authors most definitely do not speak for the community, and I can tell you from personal experience that while the racists aren't totally representative, neither are the anti-racists.
posted by Errant at 2:24 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is that actually true that someone would get called out for wearing a GG Allin shirt at a punk gig?

Thrown out, more often than not.
posted by Dysk at 2:48 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]




Hey Dysk - I get what you're saying, and I appreciate it. And I totally didn't mean to compare stuff to high school cliques, which would reasonably piss anyone off. I just brought up high school because that's the time of my life that I was most involved with this kind of stuff - which yeah, sorry, totally sent the wrong message there. I think this is one of those things where we're like a millimeter apart in our positions and I totally miscommunicated.

You're totally right about the Burzum hoodies vs. the GG Allin stuff. I don't know, part of the baggage I bring to conversations about punk is that I still know people who are all "GG Allin is trash" but then bend over backwards to defend the guy from the Casualties. It's just... ugh. But yeah, that whole "if it's not NSBM then it's shit" is a ridiculous attitude.
posted by teponaztli at 6:32 PM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


And no, Nightwish being racist was a joke. I think that comment is a meta-meta-joke actually? A parody of the guy who comes in all "if there's such a problem with metal why don't we just ban it huh that's what you want?"

Ah, make sense. Joke went swoosh over my head. (Guilty pleasure: I actually kind of like Nightwish. So I wanted to make sure I knew of the political implications of confessing such a taste before talking about them with metal fans who are more informed than me.)
posted by theorique at 6:51 PM on February 1, 2016


Will I stop listening to Panera, though? I love Slayer and although they've stated time again how their fascination with Nazism and Nazi iconography has nothing to do with Nazi ideology, sometimes I have to wonder. I sure do love Motorhead, but boy did Lemmy like those Iron Crosses. Ezra Pound, Heidegger, and on and on. Where does the person end and the art begin?

Early punk aesthetic had a fascination with iron crosses and swastikas and other iconography that was intended to shock the squares. Especially squares in the UK in the 1970s, just a generation or so after a brutal war in which those icons were the banners of a despised enemy. I mean, if they wanted to say "f' you Dad" (whether to a metaphorical "patriarch" or literally, to their own fathers) in the most decisive way possible, they probably selected the right aesthetic.
posted by theorique at 7:14 PM on February 1, 2016




Just found this thread. What an embarassment. There's probably no more fractured sub-sub-genre of music than metal. Pantera hasn't released an album in two decades. Yet according to metafilter, metal is irredeemable white trash. Can we talk about current metal bands? No? Guess not. Nightwish? Do they play MDF? Metafilter talks about metal like my mom did in the 90s.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:25 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yet according to metafilter, metal is irredeemable white trash.

I really think that's been an extremely minority viewpoint in this thread.
posted by 256 at 1:31 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Literally one person has said that. And Anselmo is and has been active in a bunch of other bands, some of them current (Down, for example, are both current and a big deal).

And all of what I have talked about, for one, is to do with what things are like at metal events today, whether mainstream, more nichey, or just downright small-time.
posted by Dysk at 1:48 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


On a positive note, thanks for reinforcing in me that behind Metal, is a culture of racism.

Crass, sweeping generalization from the same poster who once asserted that New Zealanders all hate women. Act shocked!!
posted by Broseph at 4:09 AM on February 3, 2016


More phallout for Phil:

Down Kicked Off Bill for Dutch Festival

Phil Anselmo tells Down they should 'move on' without him

Down show in New Orleans cancelled over Phil Anselmo

Hopefully Pepper Keenan will spend more time working with Corrosion of Conformity after all this.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:26 PM on February 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


That’s a pretty serious apology there. I’m surprised. Maybe he should get shit together now, he’s not a kid.
posted by bongo_x at 7:34 PM on February 5, 2016


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