Caught a piece of VH1’s The 100 Most Metal Moments last night. Lots of fun, especially since most of the moments came out of the 80s when yours truly spent a lot more time than can really be recommended ensconced in his bedroom listening to gnarly tunage like Accept, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Dio. Plus a whole lot of others whose names are mercifully lost in the mists of time. It was all about rocking. Rock rock rock.
It was also about the gnawing frustration of not having a girlfriend, which you tried to compensate for by hanging out with your similarly girlfriend-deficient friends talking about the girls in class and getting yourself into an unhealthy state, which all in all was a pretty pathetic coping mechanism. But if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Growing up in a small town in Sweden back then meant you had two major teams to which you could pledge allegiance: Metal or Synth. In my mostly blue-collar area, being Synth was a good way to get your ass kicked. Which was not my reason for being of the Metal persuasion–there was simply no other way to go. Synth guys were pussies. Couldn’t be one of them. Them getting their asses kicked on a regular basis was just The Order of Things. They were after all wimps. And in the logic of hormone-drenched young men, wimps should have their asses kicked. What else good are they?
One of the biggest monster acts that everybody loved and respected was Judas Priest. How could you not? Flying-V guitars, more leather than a whole platoon of huns, lyrics about riding motorcycles and breaking the law, hey, it’s on.
Rob Halford rode in on stage on a big goddamn Harley all decked out in leather and nails and wailed. He was a true Metal God.
Here’s where it gets interesting: The worst thing you could be back then was gay. Gayness was the worst thing possible. Remember those Synth guys? Gay! Gay! Gay! You use hair gel and refuse to wear a jean jacket, you must be gay. Us Metal dudes? Straighter than Mad Max barreling down a post-apocalypse freeway.
You all know where this is heading. Rob Halford came out and revealed that Judas Priest’s lyrics are full of semi-hidden gay topics. And those outfits … Kee-rist. It seems pretty darn obvious now, but back then there was absolutely no way in Hell somebody that cool could be gay. Unthinkable.
So here’s a toast to you, Rob, for creating some really great music and for coming out and showing a lot of cretinous teenage boys that sexual orientation is really incidental to who you are. Rock on.
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Did you know Las Vegas is kind of nutty?
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Nic has a retinal tear and has his vision is saved by a laser.
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What I wish I’d known when I started podcasting.