Ethan Sacks of the Columbia News Service has published
the following article in the Naples Daily News:
Discordant heavy metal music struck a chord with many
teenagers during the late '70s and '80s. The loud,
fast, guitar-driven music has since languished
commercially as successive generations have chosen
newer soundtracks to fuel their rebellion against the
establishment. Many of the original fans, however,
never moved on, even as they aged, started careers,
got married and had children of their own.
"If you're seeing a 40-year-old at a concert, you're
quite sure at 18 you know what kind of music he was
into," said Deena Weinstein, author of "Heavy Metal:
The Music and Its Culture".
"For so many people the music of the most emotional
point of their lives is a touchstone that they return
to for the rest of their lives," said Weinstein, who
is also a sociology professor at DePaul University.
"They're keeping their own youth alive."
Eddie Trunk, 40, a disc jockey who hosts a nationally
syndicated heavy metal show, said fans of other music,
like pop or new wave, don't lose their love of music
with age any more than rockers.
"But I think the difference is the audience is not as
vocal and passionate about those groups, and doesn't
wear it on their sleeve as much as a hard rock or
heavy metal fan," Trunk said.
Heavy metal fans wear their passion on more than just
the sleeves of skull T-shirts and black leather
jackets. For many of them, the music — louder and
faster than anything heard before — became a way of
life. The mostly white, mostly male and mostly
middle-class listeners found a feeling of power over
their parents, over their teachers, over the jocks at
school that treated them as outcasts.
Metalheads, or headbangers, as they called themselves,
built up a community linked through underground tape
swapping networks and conversations about METALLICA
lyrics while camping out online for concert tickets.
Scott Ian, guitarist for ANTHRAX, asked to explain why
so many of the same fans have stuck around for the
band's entire 20-year history, used a typical comment,
the words "metal" and "rules" with an unprintable word
between. "It gets under your skin, it gets in your
That has kept bands like ANTHRAX in the studio and on
The band MEGADETH's latest album, "The System Has
Failed", sold a respectable 250,000 copies with none
of the MTV airplay that the band enjoyed in the late
'80s and early '90s.
Similarly, acts like JUDAS PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD may
not be headlining stadiums anymore, but they still
grossed more in ticket sales last month than big-name
mainstream acts like ELTON JOHN, TOBY KEITH and ALICIA
KEYS, according to Pollstar, the industry's main
ticket sales tracking service.
"I just saw IRON MAIDEN with Bruce Dickinson last
year, the first time I've seen them back together
since the old days. It was like a geriatric ward,"
said 34-year-old metal fan Joe Bottiglieri, who added
that he wished he would see more young fans at shows.