Morbid Angel Frontman: Metal Has Succumbed to Clickbait Culture, And It Breaks My Heart

"We're metalheads. I really honestly thought that we were better than this."

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Morbid Angel Frontman: Metal Has Succumbed to Clickbait Culture, And It Breaks My Heart

Morbid Angel frontman Steve Tucker talked about the current state of metal and its community, telling Metal Rules:

"In America, one of the big problems is the fact that the news has now become part of the entertainment business. There's so many competing news organizations that are just looking for ratings.

"So, everything is so sensationalized and even metal. Metal has become so sensationalized. There's so many metal web sites and metal magazines that are really just about gossip and not about metal.

"And, really, I have to say, personally, man, it breaks my fucking heart, because metal was always a different culture, man.

"Metal didn't have anything to do with pop culture whatsoever. It was about people that want the same as everyone else and they didn't just want to listen to candy-ass music. People were little bit different, a little bit of a counterculture.

"For ratings online and things like that, magazines are doing it for gossip, and doing it for that big headline, and to make so many people click on it and read it and just like most everything else in all our planet right now, the truth isn't what's important.

"The truth isn't what's important, it's just the headline that makes people come and look at it... It becomes sensationalized and the real story isn't interesting. What's only interesting is if there was a conflict with another person and we can sensationalize it.

"We're metalheads. I really honestly thought that we were better than this.

"I really thought metalheads were not just another extension of pop culture, but, really, honestly, by being a headline-grabbing entity and by being a person that just wants to see the headline and only wants to go read about something for gossip - you're just like the rest of pop culture.

"You might as well just start listening to Kanye West, and, actually, that's probably on me, because I don't fucking know. I don't know a lot about pop, but you might as well just start listening to that, watching TV ten hours a day and just buy the stuff they're selling you, because you're not really as different as you kind of thought you were.

"I really wish that the metal journalists - and I don't mean any offense for any individual whatever - I really wish that metal would see it for what it truly is, a counterculture and, I mean, to do things the same way the rest of the pop world does things makes absolutely no sense to me."

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    Not only America, the world's become a big grotesque theater. People aren't capable already of telling propaganda apart from information.  On the other hand, the metal community is an inbred party like any other, you've to be really naïve to think because you listen to fast music you're one step over the rest of the herd, it takes much more than that. . 
    I do not see how the act of headline grabbing at its core is any different now than it was 20-30 or 40 years ago. The sensationalisation of news to draw readers or viewers has been everpresent in journalism since time immemorial. The only thing different now from 30 years ago is the medium, before it was only TV and newspapers and magazines, now it is the internet predominantly. Steve Tucker makes it seem like metal journalism was always squeaky clean and full of integrity and suddenly now has deteriorated, when the fact is that its always been this way, but the medium of news has changed. 
    There are so many people online (particularly on cruddy time-wasting sites) who act like they're automatically special and smart because they listen to metal. I doubt a lot of them even love the music that much, just listen to it since it's the 'cool' thing to do.
    Absolutely, they take undue pride in being a Metalhead. I mean I like my music fast and heavy, doesn't make me a better human being than others. They've got that superiority complex, and that is exactly what metal is against. It's about humility and passion and love for the craft, IMHO
    The only thing wrong with the metal community online is that it let a few neckbeardy, nerdy elitists become the gatekeepers. If you talk down to kids for liking new bands and dictating that so-and-so bands are the only ones that are 'true metal,' then metal will stagnate and with just a few bands on a pedestal, will develop its own Kardashians, gossip and clickbait culture.
    Where exactly do you see that happening? As far as I see most of the metal press is constantly jumping at the current "trendy" band (whether that's Trivium, Amon Amarth or Babymetal), because the very concept of metal press is a very transparent circle of vested interests.
    When did I specify it was just the press? I meant the entire community. Go on any metal website; heck, even check out a large portion of the comments section on UG. You're only allowed to like certain bands outright (crappy obscure black metal bands, some thrash metal bands, 'old' Metallica, Iron Maiden - I love these except the black metal bands, just using this as an example). Ever tried commenting that you love Bring Me the Horizon, Black Veil Brides or Babymetal? You'll get made fun of, downvoted and told that you're not listening to 'true' metal bla bla, it's just such sick gatekeeping. Even saying you liked Avenged Sevenfold was a no-no until late 2016, because The Stage had 20-minute songs so all the elitist gatekeepers accepted them because they correlate inaccessibility with metalness. I actually applaud the press when they cover new bands extensively because these bands deserve to be covered for the hard work they put in. But the press doesn't jump on them just because they're 'trendy', they only really get coverage when they're about to release an album and are doing the press rounds. Tell me honestly, which do you think will get more clicks? 'Coldrain streaming new song' or 'Lars Ulrich tells us colour boxers he wears?'
    Sorry for the separate comment here, UG is derping on my phone: the reason I mentioned number 3 is that sometimes when someone says something isn't metal, it's not necessarily elitism, it can simply be pointing out that it's a different genre.
    Slightly over the top reaction 1) yes there are some people in metal who get a bit arsey about old or new Metallica, and the same can be said for some of your other examples. I don't however see it as an epidemic, nor do these people have any 'gatekeeping' power, at least not in the UK or in mainland Europe. 2) I mentioned the metal press because they actually do have gatekeeping power, indisputably. 3) whilst of course arguing about what metal counts as "true" or "kvlt" enough is silly, you must accept that the genre is not boundary free. Core is not metal. There is of course crossover, especially specifically in the subgenre of metalcore, but metal and core have fundamental differences in tone, song structure and other things too. Deathcore is probably the easiest area where you can see how far it diverges from metal. 4) You seem to be forgetting all the mid-tier bands putting in tonnes of hard work but getting overlooked because they aren't the "in" thing. 5) not sure what you're actually trying to say there other than moaning about UG posting useless articles, which I agree With, but UG isn't really part of the metal press as such
    Yeah the avenged sevenfold thing is crap. How can you get told off for “ripping off” Pantera and Metallica and not be true metal?
    Second Rate
    It's happening in his head. I've been listening to metal for 20 years, I write for a metal website, I've played heavy metal (technical death metal no less, the most elite of the elite) and I've yet to encounter any of these cartoonish elitist gatekeepers. In fact, most of the so-called "elitists" I've met were always quick to recommend new bands to me, even when I was an annoying young whelp. The only people I have ever seen attempting to play the role of gatekeeper are the poseur try hards. People like the preening sissies that run MetalSucks and Metal Injection. The types that will have a full blown, spittle spewing tantrum if you dare to say something as innocuous as "I don't care for Baby Metal" or "try covering some new bands instead of spamming Jared Dines videos." This is happening across pretty much all pop culture subgroups these days unfortunately. Interminable scolds cry about "muh evil neckbeards" playing the role of gatekeeper whilst simultaneously attempting to play the role of gatekeeper, and oddly enough often sporting some pretty impressive neckbeards. Best to just ignore them, they'll tire themselves out and go away... or they'll end up like Wil Wheaton, spending all day on Twitter screaming into the void. 
    Honestly, I don't even consider myself to be part of the metal community anymore despite the fact that metal makes up a large amount of what I listen to. It's already been said, but you can't listen to anything that's being played on the radio without being called a "poser" or something along those lines, even when something on the radio is good. I myself go from listening to Deftones to Alcest, from Alcest to Royal Blood, from Royal Blood to Machine Head (yes even the Burning Red), from Machine Head to Arctic Monkeys. You get my point. Elitism is something I despise and when I was a teenager, I was too dumb to realize that the things I was saying and the things I was doing such as dressing in black and all of that were statements in hypocrisy in themselves. Once I grew up a bit, that's when I realized just how snobby I came off and appeared. At the end of the day, I've learned not to hold one genre over another, just listen to what I like even if it falls outside rock/metal even if it does mean liking some of the bubble gum stuff on the radio. It's catchy as hell and I'm sorry, not sorry, if I like it, I'm listening to it.
    I write for a physical magazine from the 80's here in Scandinavia, and got to talk with Steve Tucker last week, and we seemed to have pretty good talk. The problem about this 'new' era of music journalism is that obviously you need to attract people to your magazine somehow, and when it comes to online magazines, clickbaiting, gossip and the sensational news are sadly the ones that earn your magazine the most. The magazine I work for are scraping the bottom of the barrel, because we focus on the physical magazine, and don't really use clickbaiting tactics as means to attract people online.  I agree with Steve Tucker, it's a problem. But it's a problem in all media today. Everything has to be entertaining rather than delivering factual news. Just look at ridiculous news networks like CNN, BBC etc.
    You said “ridiculous news networks” and Fox News wasn’t the first example? They’re far worse at all distortion and sensationalism than CNN or BBC.
    Naaah. They were, man, they were. Back in the Bush junior years, and throughout Obama's first term (During Clinton too, now that i think about it).  They're definitely not the worst anymore. And let's be honest, the main reason they WERE bad, was at least 50% Bill O'Reilly. He's not around anymore. In fact, i'd say that all the other news-networks kinda jumped on Fox News' whole opinion thing. Now they're all doing it, and doing it MUCH harder than Fox News does, perhaps harder than they ever did. Which makes them double idiots. At least Fox News did it in the 90ies and early 2000's where the internet hadn't really become the huge thing it is now. That means that people often didn't have any other choice but believe them. Nowdays you can fact-check everything that is being said. So if you're full of shit now, you get called on it.  And thus, now alternative, homegrown media has better numbers than TV-news does. And in their defense, Fox News has NOT tried attacking the alternative media to anywhere near the degree that everyone else has. I mean, shit, remember that thing with Pewdiepie and the Wall Street Journal? Motherfucker doesn't even do news or politics. But it's such an obvious lashing out. They are goddamn horrified that alternative media is killing them. It's pathetic. Fox News actually seems to be one of the only outlets that kinda embraces it, to a certain extent. I mean, look at the whole Tucker Carlsson (If that's how you spell it) phenomena. Man has become a meme, and rather well liked, mainly because of new media. I mean, sure, Fox News can be full of shit. I don't watch Fox News. But at least they're not the fuckers running around trying to destroy people's lives on a whim, stoking up racial division (which funny enough, wasn't much of a problem when Fox was the propaganda machine), and so forth.
    I agree with him on the state of things with news organizations...  they're all employing tactics to get you to watch THEIRS over the other guys, even using fake news to reel you in. 
    "In America, one of the big problems is the fact that the news has now become part of the entertainment business."  Exactly.  Anytime I hear news from CNN, Fox, NBC, Yahoo, HuffPost, Breitbart, etc...I only have to look at who controls the corporation to know what slant I'll receive.  You want Trump-hating-BLM-friendly news, just go to any liberal owned media outlet.  You want pro-Trump-anti-illegal-immigrant news, just go to any conservative controlled media outlet.  American's don't seem to want a true objective news source, they just want to hear stories that line up with their predetermined points of view so they can feel good about themselves.    It's a challenging time to be a citizen of this country just trying to learn what the hell is really going on...where can you go?  Maybe a foreign service like the BBC or Al Jezeera?
    I've said this many times, but I think this, and so many other things is really just a symptom of one thing. The stagnation of culture. Most likely because of the internet. Everything has to be available everywhere now, so you can gain the max amount of traction, thus everything has to be available to everyone - that means everything has to be inclusive and cannot discriminate, if you want to play along on the international stage. I mean, think about this. There's never ever again (at least not the in the enlightened world) gonna be a group of people able to sit around and do their own thing, develop their own mythos, an create their own atmosphere. EVER again. It can't be done. Cause how do you get it out there? Well, you put something on the internet, and once you do, essentially, it's not really yours anymore. I mean, why do you think there's no subcultures anymore? Why do you think that if you go to an Indie gig you're gonna see the same people as if you go to a metal gig now? You'll know'em by their faggy-ass tribal tattoos and the g'damn stretch-plugs in their ears. It's total androgyny. Not sexual androgyny, but cultural.  Now, call me a cynic, but I don't think there is any coming back from this. I think culture is dead. I think actual identity is dead. I mean, why do you think there's such huge movements of people now, who basically make their race, sexuality or gender their entire identity?  Sure, they're complete idiots - but also, I don't think there IS that much else to belong to by now. I mean, for hells sake, people nowdays give a gasp when i say that i don't own, nor like smartphones. Because appearently we all have to be plugged into the same goddamn matrix.  And NOW we're at a place where the only big social thing there is, the big outlet of culture now, is the internet. We're at a place where the biggest internet corporations, are starting to grow political, and modify and censor what goes on in culture, according to their whims. There is no way, that all this, put together, is NOT heading somewhere very dark and horrible. /rant over
    Thoughtful read.  I can see elements in this comments thread: these rants against so-called "metal gatekeepers" and how "they" gatekeep metal on behalf of the rest of us.  I'm not an elitist but I take "metal" more seriously than most people and it's just pisses me off a tiny bit that there is no exclusivitity to it anymore. I never felt a need to subjugate other sub-cultures and there's a realisation that it won't ever be 'pure' again because anyone is free to join. Not that anyone wasn't free to join beforehand. It's just that beforehand you had to be like that guy in Fight Club and stand outside in the rain. You had to want it. There were no weekend warriors in metal.  I don't know. True cultude has been replaced by a race to the bottom via celebrity degeneracy, greed and nekrocannibalism.
    The guy makes a good point. Everything is sensationalized, marketing and media is a disgusting business. Even UG is doing it now, with nearly every headline being "what"..."why"...."how". They're becoming just like news sites like Yahoo.
    Realistically, as long as the media was involved, it was vulnerable to sensationalism; regardless of whatever theme it held, be it Heavy Metal or something else. People are going to put their own spin on things, push their own biases and purport their views as the one-and-only truth. Why? Because money and notoriety are huge.
    "Morbid Angel Frontman:  10 Reasons Metal Has Succumbed to Clickbait Culture. Number 7 Breaks My Heart"
    i've read so many comments like 'yeah you think your music taste makes you smart and blablabla sh#t'. well, NO.that has nothing to do with makes you different, thats all!and the guy stays his ground, not comprising and not giving a single fak about others 'feelings'.and first off all, who are those others???hardcore genres like metal, never gave a damn answearing those questions, AND THAT IS your thing pop-culture, metal will do his own.and of story. the fact itself shows how low the metal community really is at this seems being cool and polite, and gossipp OF COURSE(what Corey thinks ha?) and get along with everyone is the new thing here..instead of 'The Haunted and Paradise Lost got some great new albums out' is not headline news anymore. actually what Steve says lies behind this issue. metal sites-with metalsucks ofcourse being the frontrunners on this-fell into this trap along time ago.and now we're here..
    It's been a while since I took any notice of Morbid Angel, but I was expecting to see David Vincent...
    While he's right on all accounts regarding sensationalism and what not, I find it a bit dramatic with the whole "We're metalheads! We're a counterculture! We're better than this!" rhetoric. Really wish people would give it a rest with that kinda shit already. Metal is just a genre of music that also happens to have a particular type of fashion and concert behaviors associated with or derived from it, so stop referring to it like the fans are this entity that has some code to live up to.  Just listen to the music and stfu. This collective "we" really have no moral standard to uphold so that we may remain righteous and pure, unlike those pop-loving heathens beneath us.  
    The hard hitting coming of age realization that metal in the end, is just another thing to consume and capitalize in the world...