Metal music and culture has gone through a lot of changes throughout the decades, perhaps that’s one of the things that makes it and has always made it so appealing for me. That said, where is the delineation between art and fashion, rebellion and conformity- and is there one?
Well for me, yes there is.
When I first started listening to music all I had to go on was bootleg cassette tapes handed down from my siblings and what style and image clues would I get from this cornucopia of magic music streaming into my ears? Well none, only what my imagination could conjur up. Even when I did find out what the band looked like it didn’t matter, it was the music that spoke to me not their dress sense, if anything the music made WHATEVER they looked like cool.
Point is- music talks, bullshit walks.
Don’t get me wrong though, as I got older and I listened voraciously to more and more music, the anti-culture aspects (fused nicely with my teenage years by this point) spoke volumes to me- tattoos, piercings, dyed hair, long hair, dirtbag clothes, metal shirts cos believe me it wasn’t about fitting in back then- being into metal was probably about the uncoolest and physically dangerous thing you could do walking down the high street at 1am on a Friday in our home towns! And to know that we were soldiers of metal, and better world of cooler, open minded people and sounds were out there sticking their middle fingers up to the dickheads is something treasured in my heart forever and synonymous with what metal means to me still to this day.
But when did they cross the line and make themselves the gatekeepers?
I remember once we’d just played a squat party in Toulouse, and we were hanging out watching the other bands and having a few beers, when a French lass in full leather kit, gothed up to the nines (No beef with goths btw- or the French for that matter!) comes up to my buddy from one of the bands and proudly stipulates that ‘he’s not metal’ because he’s wearing a green t shirt- errr what?
Anyway, pretty dumb as I’m sure you can agree.
If anyone says that the condition of acceptance in any scene, ESPECIALLY metal music depends on the way you look, then they can fuck off! Music is one of the most borderless, non-judgemental, unifying and spiritually fulfilling things we have in this crazy world and however one wants to look or live as long as their not hurting anyone is fine by me- let the music and let the good times do the talking!
Love and music is the key.