November. Time to wind down the year with some upcoming holidays and become unshaven for an entire month. Apparently if you choose the “Movember” option (solo mustache) you choose to look like a moron for a noble cause; however I think I’ll take the No Shave November approach and try to get a head start on a Mark Morton-esque beard.
Halloween just passed as well. Maybe it’s because of the holiday, but I’ve been in an extremely metal mood as of late. Got my metal shuffle on the iPod, drinking black coffee, going outside on my lunch break to singe ants with a magnifying glass…this metal month calls for metal living.
But as much as I’ve been headbanging away at my desk, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to feeling a tad out of place in my new office, mostly because I’m not only the new guy, but I’m the lone “music guy.”
With the exception of maybe three people that I’ve had pseudo-music chats with, nobody seems to be into music in the same way that I am. What makes it so apparently shocking is because I’ve never been surrounded by people who aren’t music fans. Music has always been around me and it’s always been valued by my immediate company.
I honestly don’t understand how music could not play such an important role in someone’s life. The fact that some people are content with hearing “whatever’s on the radio” or just have a go-to genre to fill background airspace and go clubbing to astounds me. To me, that’s like having a boring, uninspired soundtrack to your life. I’m sure more people in the office are into music, and I just have to make an effort to get to know them better. But that requires me to be friendly and nice to them…which is completely not metal.
Anyway. For now I retreat to the comfort of my company-provided noise canceling headphones (hey, there’s perks) and let Lamb Of God take hold of my neck muscles and push them around.
Jam For The Lamb
I’ve rekindled my love for Lamb Of God this week by listening to some old albums and songs I hadn’t heard in a while, all with the luxury of closely hearing the musical nuances through the intimacy created by a good pair of headphones. What. A. Band. They just rip.
With that in mind (and due to a glowing and out-of-breath concert review from some dear LA friends who attended LOG’s show at the Hollywood Palladium this week), I’m confused as to why LOG gets so much flack in certain areas of the metal community, and even here on UG. Seriously. Why?
Let’s stir up a debate. Why do people sh-t on Lamb Of God so much? You hear arguments like: “Meh, LOG are just Pantera rip offs who only write 'generic' riffs. They’re not heavy and Chris Adler sucks. It’s stupid white trash metal.”
While I wouldn’t deny that Pantera’s influence is clearly present in many LOG songs, I’d have to wholeheartedly disagree that their riffs are generic in any way. Sure, many riffs are derivative of older thrash bands, but I’d liken LOG to a bastard child of Megadeth and Pantera who started abusing copious amounts of steroids, which not only fueled a high speed mix of dexterous riffs and infectious rhythms, but also kickstarted a hyper hair growth that makes them look like a more bada-s version of ZZ Top.
I think a part of what makes LOG successful is what they give to their fans – heavy energetic music that satisfies a wide range of listeners’ interests; a pit starter like “Black Label” is basic but brutal, whereas songs like “Hourglass” or “Visitation” offer high speed complexity that satisfies geeky musicians like myself. Come to think of it, you could argue that most successful metal bands strike that balance between being complex enough to be highly impressive, and basic enough to achieve an overall heaviness that you can’t help bang your head along to, such as the case with Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Pantera, and Black Sabbath to an extent.
Anywho, that’s my little hard on for LOG this week. Any non-fans who’d like to chime in with why the band sucks are welcome to the comment floor.
Continuing on with this more-metal-than-most weeks, I’ve got to give some love to Bruce. After stumbling on the following video on Blabbermouth, my respect for Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson continued to grow. Not only is he the lead singer of one of the biggest metal bands that have ever existed, he’s also an airline pilot, a world-class fencer, and has his hands in many other creative professions, such as writing and film. I mean, hell, the dude personally flew his own band’s own Boeing 747 (“Ed Force One”) to their international gigs. Doesn’t get more metal than that.
But take a look at the video below. Notice that he’s not pulling a Phil Collins and singing through the headset mic, but rather he’s giving a lecture on business, creativity and entrepreneurship. Metal, right?
Overall the guy makes a ton of sense, and seems to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the ever-changing music business we like to debate about so much:
“...the music business has gone through hard times. The Digital Revolution. What revolution? People still love music. What’s changed? All that’s changed is that now music is free and the t-shirt costs you $100.”
“When you’re in this music business world, people say, ‘Everything’s different now; it’s all digital.’ Take a step back and say ‘Who are our customers?’ They’re human beings. Have they changed? What are their needs? Have they changed? No. What do they want? They want to be entertained. Has that changed? Nope. So the only thing that’s changed then is how we deliver the bits that entertain them. Is that a problem? Well no, not really. The problem is when you deliver them rubbish.”
The attitude here notes that in essence, nothing really has changed except the way people consume music; they still want it and as a business (your band, you as an artist), you can still deliver what they want and make them feel good about listening to your music. Just don’t give them crap.
Overall, Dickinson is speaking in simple terms, but simple philosophies are sometimes the ones that are the most powerful to live by. Clearly he’s applied that philosophy to his music and business ventures, and has obviously been mega successful in his life.
I have much to learn from Dickinson. Next team meeting in the office, I’m going to adopt a Bruce Dickinson attitude, wear an Iron Maiden t-shirt and start running the place.
It becomes rumored that the recently released concert film, Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day”, is a hot contender for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards.
Fred Durst comments on the new Rihanna-like single from Limp Bizkit, stating that the band decided to make such a dramatic style change because this time they were actually trying to make a sh-tty record.