Martha and Aaron Narveson have done their best to raise their 9-year-old Charlie the right way. He attends a good school, has eaten a healthy diet for the better part of his life and is an altar boy at one of the top rated churches in the country. They have followed all of the habits and rituals that should have resulted in a creating a well-adjusted, perfect 9-year-old. However, they were astonished last year when Charlie awoke with a severe case of equamanusitis, a rare condition where a person spontaneously grows hooves.
At first, they believed that environmental factors had led to their son’s horse-like transformation. They had a complete diagnostic workup done on the water in their home. They checked their basement for radon. They had Charlie checked for an additional thyroid gland. They even had a local priest perform an exorcism on Charlie and Irma, the family’s Yorkshire terrier. After all of the obvious possibilities had been exhausted, they began to realize the problem was right under their nose.
They had bought Charlie a copy of Vader’s 2006 record “Impressions in Blood” for his 8th birthday, mistakenly believing the album was music to one of the Star Wars films. Charlie immediately fell in love with the album, particularly the song “Field of Heads”, which he listened to everyday before going off to school. Once the parents started thinking about the album, all the pieces fell into place. “Charlie started listening to Vader, then he grew hooves. Cause and effect. It’s obvious what happened to him. We should have known it was the problem all along,” said Martha in an exclusive interview with Tyranny of Tradition.
The parents immediately stopped Charlie from listening to Vader and rushed him to Dr. Clint Murphy, an expert in the field of Vader related illnesses. According to Dr. Murphy, Vader’s crushing rhythms and punishing vocals penetrated the inner walls of Charlie’s cerebellum and caused his body to have a strange and rare reaction. As odd as this condition seems to be, Dr. Murphy treats over 100 patients a year who have had physical problems caused by exposure to Vader albums. He’s seen Vader listeners have problems that run the gamut from minor respiratory issues to a woman from Muncie, Indiana who suddenly began growing scallions out of her back.
Charlie has stayed clear of Vader for three months, but his hooves are still with him. He no longer has the urge to whinny at passing cars or eat carrots out of his parents’ hands, but he certainly has a long way to go. According to Dr. Murphy, if he can stay Vader-free for the next year or so, he might return to his old self. If not, the parents are planning on entering him into the Belmont Stakes in 2014.
Last week, while I was at the Hot Topic in the North Dekalb Mall buying my four year old son a “Blessthefall” hoodie, the most improbable thing took place. I started talking about heavy metal music with the guy in front of me and he mentioned that he was Dave Mustaine from the band Megadeth. I was blown away! I’ve been a huge fan of them for years. I couldn’t let an opportunity of a lifetime go away, so I asked Mr. Mustaine if he was willing to do an interview with me. In exchange for a large Orange Julius, he agreed to sit down with me in the Food Court and answer some questions.
Tyranny: Mr. Mustaine, it’s an honor to meet you. Thanks so much for your time.
Mustaine: (slurping at his drink) It’s your dime, pal.
Tyranny: Well, first let’s get through the tough stuff. You were kicked out of Metallica a long time ago. Do you still have any anger towards them?
Mustaine: Don’t try to trip me up, buddy. I am in the band Megadeth. M-E-G-A-D-E-A-T-H! The Julius is going fast. Hurry up.
Tyranny: Okay, uhmm, well you have talked about aliens a lot in your music. Do you really believe the government is hiding their existence from us?
Mustaine: Look bro (looking around suspiciously and lowering his voice). I can tell you for sure they are real. And not just in that Hangar 13 in Arkansas. I see a guy in here all the time. He always pretends he’s going to buy a Build-A-Bear. Everyday he’s in here. You know why, man? He’s studying us. Sizing us up. Looking to make his move. One day, he’s gonna bug out and start eating mall goths and babies and stuff.
Know what? I’m not afraid of him. Know why? I drink half a bottle of hand sanitizer everyday. Stings a bit going down but he can’t see my heat trails because of that. So, when things get crazy, Old Dave will be just fine. Don’t worry about me, bro.
Tyranny: Sounds like you know too much….
Tyranny: So, you’re Christian?
Mustaine: No dude, I told you. I’m Dave. What is this….a test?
Tyranny: Have you recovered fully from your injury yet?
Mustaine: Oh, you mean that thing that happened during the war. Yeah, I’m mostly better. The spine eating lizards put a device in my head that causes me to feel burning sensations whenever someone turns on a microwave, but beyond that, I’m totally cool.
Tyranny: What is the thing that you have written that you are most proud of?
Mustaine: About 30 years ago, when I was Jane Austen, I wrote a book called Persuasion. It’s your basic story of love lost and love found. In many ways, it’s a metaphor for the sadness at the root of the human condition. There is a passage in the book where Captain Wentworth takes a hammer and beats a squirrel to death. When I wrote that, I understood truly what it means to be a woman.
Tyranny: Uhm, okay….
Mustaine: SHHHHHHHH!!!! You see that.
Mustaine: Shhhhh…shut up! Pretend we are not talking. You don’t know me and my name is Marvin.
(A horrifically awkward silence of about two minutes)
Mustaine: Okay…it’s cool.
Tyranny: What just happened?
Mustaine: Did you ever see that movie “They Live”?
(Mustaine stares at me nodding with a knowing smile)
Tyranny: Where do you see your music progressing over the last 10 years?
Mustaine: You know how bands always say their music is either going to get heavier or that they are going to begin to hold strangers down and pour mouthwash in their eyes until the demons in their soul are vanquished to the Land of The Mog or that they are sorry that they randomly kicked and beat that vagrant on the side of the road in Phoenix all those years ago or that time I started cutting pictures of men with mustaches out of fashion magazines and pasting them up on the front door of local daycare centers or that they should know better and that they should beg forgiveness from a gila monster that won’t get off my front porch…..
Tyranny: (waiting for the thought to be completed) Uhmmmmm…….uh-huh.
Mustaine: (snapping back from a brief moment of staring staring blankly into space) Did I turn my iron off at home? It’s important. I don’t want there to be a fire.
Tyranny: I’m not really sure what….
Mustaine: (suddenly filled with rage) Look, I need to let you know that the world is going to end on February 29th, 2017. I need you to understand that. Because we are all fragile beings. Because we are delicate people. Dreamers. Dreaming. Alone. Bewildered. Facing demons of our own creation and of the creation of so many others. Facing eternalness. Everywhere we look. Besieged by creatures that call our names but disappear when we turn around.
Tyranny: But…2017 isn’t a leap year?!?!
Mustaine: Exactly! See what I’m saying. You see!!!
Mustaine: Nah! That’s it. I’m on to you, Gropius. I see you in there! You can’t fool me. My Julius is finished! You’ve nibbled at the toes of eternal truth long enough. Peace!
And with a flash of light, he was gone…..
The first thing you need to know about seeing a metal show in the American South, Atlanta in particular, is that almost every person in the audience is going to look nearly identical. It’s beyond bizarre. Standing there in the middle of the ballroom floor at The Masquerade, my wife and I could have easily been at a casting call for actors looking to play Slayer’s Kerry King in a movie. Short, squat, bald with scruffy beards, tattoos and black shirts. How do the police ever tell them apart?
The evening started promisingly enough. My wife and I were accosted by some inebriated, bearded lunatic in a panel van who slowed up to tell us his motor was dying, then drove off when he noticed the can of mace my wife was clutching tightly in her right hand. The van, which had an ominous Mothers For Palin sticker emblazoned on the back, had clearly been used in some sort of white slavery ring that we collectively wanted no part of. But these things happen from time to time.
We were there to see In Solitude, but most of the throngs of concertgoers were there to see Down. We had no such plans. We are two middle-aged adults who have learned to value a good night’s sleep over the wild excesses of staying out past 10 to see a band. The original plan had us dipping out by 9 o’clock after the In Solitude set so that we could collapse into an orgy of Chinese food and Friday night re-runs. Unfortunately, The Masquerade pulled the old bait and switch on us and put some highly talented but unfortunately named band called “Pony Killer” on before In Solitude. My wife and I retreated to the benches outside where I was given a Nobel worthy dissertation on the entire life history Jeff Loomis, formerly of the band Nevermore, by some complete stranger with a broken leg wearing a shirt featuring Jesus smoking a cigarette.
As we walked into the club, I noticed Crowbar singer and Charles Addams cartoon character Kirk Windstein standing about 15 feet away from me. I have always loved Crowbar and I thought strongly about getting a picture with him, but I had some concerns. I had met Windstedt once before in Albany, New York when they were opening for Sacred Reich in the mid-90s. Our brief meeting took place as we stood next to each other at a urinal before their band went on. I excitedly stammered, “YOU’RE The GUY from CROWBAR!!!!!” Windstein silently looked straight ahead at the wall and tried to escape my glowing gaze. When I reached my hand out to try to pat him on the back, he sprinted out of the restroom with a terrified look on his face. It was a highly awkward moment that I had repeated over and over in my mind for the last 15 years. Out of sheer concern he might have remembered my poorly timed outburst, I put my head down and kept walking.
I was horribly bored standing in the audience before the set. The thing you forget about shows when you are not there is the pure tedium between bands. Standing on your left foot, then your right, smelling the guy next to you who hasn’t washed his Watain shirt in about five concerts, watching the one lonely guy in the Incantation shirt pace and talk to himself, randomly thinking about how your 401K performed last week. You get a brief rush when the guitar tech comes out to check the levels, then, nothing. Ten more minutes of overhearing conversations about what the real meaning of Black Metal is. Sheer mind-numbing misery.
All of a sudden, I felt my head snap backwards. In a wild rush of incense and power, In Solitude appeared on stage and launched into a violently surging version of “The World, The Flesh, The Devil”. Adrenaline shot through my veins. My pulse went from a calm, resting 60 to an unrestrained, thumping 180 in a fleeting span of seconds. I felt like a had been sleeping in the middle of a highway and raised my head up only to see an 18 wheel tractor trailer bearing down on me. IT had begun.
The way they started out was pure magic. The first thing you notice about In Solitude is presence. Some bands act like they plan to spend the entire show apologizing to you for being up there. Other bands act like they completely and unquestionably belong where they are. They command your attention and hold it unreservedly for the duration of their set. In Solitude falls squarely into the latter camp. They are there for a reason and you WILL understand that reason before they are finished. The stage was simply too small for them. They were hooked uncompromisingly into the Master Cylinder, bringing a message that transcended all other thoughts and ideas that had existed in me up till the moment of their arrival. They demanded complete and total connection and, with their every action, settled for nothing less.
Their set covered most of the critical material from their two albums. The crowd, which was clearly more inclined to listen to slow, lurching southern metal riffs, was won over by the third song. Wild-eyed singer Pelle “Hornper” Ahman managed to work the crowd into a bloodthirsty frenzy through a series of high-pitched shrieks and animalistic antics that ran the gamut from spasmodically shaking his thin frame to ramming the microphone into his head. The only thing I could possibly compare his energy level to are the few live recordings I’ve seen of Paul Di’Anno fronting Iron Maiden at The Ruskin Arms around the time Killers was out. Ahman simply hemorrhages sweat and intensity to the point where you are concerned for his well-being. By the time Down front man and metal legend Phil Anselmo strode out on stage in a Ghost shirt to bellow a few bars of “To Her Darkness” with the band, their was no doubt that this was an act on the precipice of greatness.
There is simply something unique and memorable about In Solitude. They are cut out for greater things. Even my wife, who finds the B-52s to be a bit on the heavy side, seemed deeply impressed with how they carried it. We witnessed something arrestingly powerful last night at The Masquerade and everyone there knew it. The performance seemed to be part of an elaborate first act in a career that will have a lot to say about the direction metal music is going in.
Have you ever found yourself singing the chorus from a King Diamond song at an inappropriate time like in church or at a funeral? Do you ever wake up with your face covered with strange painted designs without knowing how they got there? Do you ever find yourself having bizarre urges, like making furniture out of the leg bone of your neighbor? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be one of the nearly 2 million Americans who suffer from King Diamond’s disease. You are not alone.
King Diamond’s Disease, known to doctors as Bendixitis, claims nearly a thousand new victims a week. You may see many of these poor souls on the streets, covered in backwards crosses, wandering aimlessly while singing the falsetto chorus to Abigail. They often struggle to maintain normal lives. They are your doctors, your teachers, your lawyers and your children’s crossing guards. I know their pain, because, you see, I am one of them.
My story isn’t different from most KDD survivors. It started innocently enough. I’d be in the car on my way to pick up the children from their Tae-Bo class and catch myself howling “Sleeeeeeeplesssss Niiiiiiiightssss” for no reason in particular. I’d find myself thinking about the King more and more each day. When I was eating dinner, I wondered what The King might be eating. When picking out clothing at a shopping mall, my mind would drift to what The King might think about the sweater I was trying on.
Then, one day, I woke up for a critical job interview for the position of Chief Tagalog Translator at The United Nations. As I was putting the finishing touches on my outfit, I looked in the mirror and staring back at me was a 6 foot 2 stranger in a suit and tie with his face painted just like King Diamond on the Conspiracy album. I know that I hadn’t painted it myself! The paint would not wash off no matter what I tried. Imagine my pain and sadness, sitting in the most important job interview in my entire life, knowing that no employer in their right mind would hire a guy who showed up for a job interview dressed like a demented ghoul. They laughed at me. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” they sneered. They simply didn’t understand.
The face paint has never come off. It’s been three years now. I’m still unemployed, although I had a brief part time job as a greeter at Wal-Mart until I was fired for supposedly causing the store to be attacked by evil spirits. My children try their best to understand, but when the other kids make fun of them because their daddy is dressed up for Halloween everyday it hurts their feelings. The community has shunned me. I stopped going to church because they kept dousing me with holy water. Everywhere I go I am an outcast.
There is no known cure for King Diamond’s Disease. A diet low in orange sherbet can lessen many of the symptoms, but Bendixitis is a lifetime ailment that will never leave you once you have it. I have found strength in my support group Survivors of An Unmercyful Fate. We meet once a week and discuss how to live life one day at a time. I have met a lot of great people in the Atlanta area who suffer like me including my sponsor Joann, a kindergarten teacher who has lived with King Diamond’s disease since she saw the King on The Spider’s Lullabye Tour back in 1995. Her strength in going through her day trying to teach the alphabet to screaming, crying, terrified children is an inspiration to us all.
With research and time, a cure might be found. Until that day comes, I will wear my face paint proudly knowing that my “disorder” allows me to have something in common with the greatest vocalist ever to walk the earth. But still, I long for a day when I can walk down the street without old women cringing and middle aged men asking me to sing them a song about my grandmother.
Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past: A Psychological Review Of Gentlemans Pistols “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure”
I wish I could go back to 1972, listen to Gentlemans Pistols new record “At Her Majesties Pleasure” in the era it was meant to be recorded and stab Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman in the skull with an ice pick. Okay, maybe not the last part. Haldeman wasn’t such a bad guy. He rocked that weird flat top hairdo that became the style in mid-90s rap music and became the best chemist Lompoc Federal Prison ever saw. He would have dug the new Gentlemans Pistols record for it’s pure grit and bile-ridden effluence. He was as malevolent a man as ever walked the earth. Supposedly, he tried to have Jim Nabors killed because he wouldn’t play Julie Nixon’s wedding. I heard that once from a guy in a sauna in Davenport, Iowa.
Gentlemans Pistols is a collection of outstanding British musicians including Mr. William Steer, who gave my life meaning by writing riffs for Carcass that would have made Ed Gein recite Walt Whitman poems to a crowd of smiling 3rd graders. Steer hasn’t lost a step. The riffs that he and James Atkinson put on this album are pure roll around-in-the-gutter filth. They buckle your knees like a 3-2 curveball and do not ask for your permission to continue.
Backwards in time to another place. Transported to all that was seedy and repugnantly gorgeous about 70’s bar room rock’n’roll. You are in a pool hall swilling cheap, half-flat beer being stared down by two menacing looking Hell’s Angels. Not the modern Sons of Anarchy watching yuppies who go cycling between trading soybean futures, but the old school Sonny Barger led head-mangling, spleen eater types. “Midnight Crawler” bellows in the background and you are completely there. Everything is in its place.
At some point the whole retrofitted 1970s rock thing is going to get old. The formula is, in fact, criminally simple. However, put in the hands of poets like these a 3-minute-song can feel like a shimmering vacation into the dark heart of all that is ugly and cruel. Something in their tone screams for your undying allegiance. You would crawl through glass just to hear “Into The Haze” once more. They are on the mainline, hooked into the Universal Generator and driving ceaselessly into the storm. This is the purpose for which rock’n’roll was intended. Not to be background music in the local Target or to be recited soullessly by an army of never-ending American Idol contestants, but to remind us of what visceral chaos lives just below the surface of our pristine, orderly world.
If you have listened to any thrash metal there is no doubt you have heard the band Kreator. They are legends. Their lead singer Mille Petrozza practically defined the German thrash sound. What many people do not know about Petrozza is that before he was writing classic songs like “Betrayer” and “Riot of Violence” he was a remarkable basketball player who won an NCAA championship ring with Michigan State.
Petrozza was a high school phenom in Germany. Standing 6 foot 3, Petrozza was an average sized guard with extremely quick feet. Although he lacked an imposing physical stature he made up for it with a jump shot that could find net from nearly anywhere on the floor. Petrozza was recruited heavily by several major colleges, but eventually chose to play at Michigan State. As a sophomore, Petrozza was the second leading scorer for a team that featured future Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Magic remembers his time playing with Mille fondly. “Mille was a pure jump shooter. One of the best I’ve ever seen. I knew when I dished it off to him, I was pretty much guaranteed an assist.”
Petrozza was averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds a game going into the NCAA tournament when disaster struck. His knee gave out driving to the basket in a late season game against Indiana. Doctors said he might never play again. Michigan coach Jud Heathcote called a team meeting after the injury and remembered telling Magic “Mille’s down for the count. We might not get him back for the rest of the year. You are going to have to carry us.”
Magic stepped up and had a tournament for the ages. He carried the team to an improbable championship defeating the Larry Bird led Indiana State Sycamores 75-64. Mille got his ring, but was deeply disheartened by not being able to play. He never recovered his 1979 pre-injury form during his final two unexceptional seasons at Michigan State.
In the 1981 NBA Draft, Petrozza, who had once been projected a high first round pick, slipped to the 2nd round where he was nabbed by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland was terrible that year but Petrozza began to emerge as a budding star. He averaged 12 points a game and wowed other teams with his speed and intensity. His most memorable moment was when he scored 39 points in the Boston Garden in a January game against the Celtics. Kevin McHale, the power forward for Boston remembers the performance well. “I thought to myself, I can’t believe we are going to have to play this guy every year. He’s unstoppable.”
Robert Parrish, the Celtics Center, remembers Petrozza as well. “Man, I had never seen anything like that guy. He dunked over me in the third quarter and he actually yelled out ‘PLEASURE……TO KILL!!!!!’ I was like ‘WHAT?!?!?’”
Just when Petrozza seemed to be getting things together he was struck with another terrible injury. While guarding Julius Erving in a game at Philadelphia he slipped on a wet spot on the floor and his surgically repaired knee gave out. “I just felt the thing buckle,” recalls Petrozza. “I knew I was done.”
Petrozza retired nine months later after an unsuccessful attempt to return after surgery. He decided to devote his life to his other passion, music. He took the money he had saved from his NBA contract and used it to pay for the recording of the first Kreator record “Endless Pain”, a title he came up with to describe his knee troubles. He never lost his love for the game. In fact, many of the Kreator songs and album titles have subtle basketball references in them. According to Petrozza, the album “Extreme Aggression” is actually a tribute to the press defense he ran at Michigan State.
Life has a funny way of moving people to where they are supposed to go. If Petrozza hadn’t had knee troubles he easily could have had a long successful career in the NBA, but then thrash as we know it would have been changed forever. “I’m glad things turned out the way they did. I love playing thrash metal for thousands of screaming lunatics,” remarked Petrozza. “But sometimes when I’m alone at night in my study having a brandy I remember my old playing days. When I think of my basketball career, I can’t help but recall a quote from my favorite poet John Greenleaf Whittier “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, “It might have been’.”
There is one Brit who is still waiting for his invitation to tomorrow’s wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Cronos (Conrad Lant), the bass player and singer from the band Venom, has checked his mailbox everyday patiently waiting for a message that may never come. Why would the lead singer of a band that recorded songs like “Sons of Satan” expect an invite to one of the most sacred and important events in Britain this century? Cronos is, in fact, Kate Middleton’s uncle.
As hard as this may be to believe for many metalheads, Cronos is the brother of Kate’s mom Mary Lant. In an exclusive interview with The Tyranny of Tradition, Cronos revealed that he had a close relationship with Kate from the time she was a baby. “We were on tour supporting the Welcome to Hell album when I got the call. Little Katy was about to be born. The band and I cancelled the show and rushed to the hospital. I’ll never forget when I held her for the first time. Abaddon and I broke down in tears. It was beautiful,” recalled Cronos.
Cronos was always a big part of the future princesses life. She grew up going to Venom concerts and was even in the studio when the band recorded their third album “At War With Satan”. “Mantas had this great idea to have her voice mixed into the background of the song “Aaaaaarrghh” but it we were never able to get it to sound right.”
As Kate got older she got more involved with the band. “She started playing drums at age 7 and even sat in with us a few times during concerts. She played Buried Alive with us at a show in Coventry back during the reunion in 1995 and was amazing. She reminded me a lot of Dave Lombardo.”
When the royal couple first started dating Kate promised Cronos that they might play at the wedding if the two ever decided to tie the knot. “She had this whole idea about us playing Countess Bathory during the part of the service where she walked up to the altar. I thought it was crazy, but she kept bringing the idea up. I’d have been honored to play her wedding.”
Cronos was in touch with Kate as recently as seven months ago, but since the wedding announcement she has not returned any of his phone calls. “She used to call me her favorite uncle. She loved singing songs with me when she was a little girl. We used to sing the song “Black Metal” together. She loved doing the growling part at the end. Now she won’t even talk to me.”
There have been few mentions of Cronos’ relationship with Kate in the British press. He believes the royal family has conspired to keep the Kate Middleton/Venom connection out of the media. “There used to be video of her playing with us up on YouTube, but that was mysteriously taken down months ago. I feel like they are embarrassed by my career as one of the founding fathers of Satan influenced thrash metal. I’m not trying to get famous out of this or make money. I just want my Little Katy back.”
Metalheads, as a lot, tend to be some the most cynical people on the planet, but we are often willing to believe some amazingly suspect information. Get a roomful of bangers together and most of them will agree that the government, in league with a group of rancorous aliens who crashed in New Mexico, are conspiring to enslave the human race and force us to listen to Black Eyed Peas records until our ears bleed. What can be said of a group that seems to have a universal distrust Christianity but believe strongly in the existence of Satan? We tend to be suspicious of any sort of authority structure, but have complete faith in strangers who happen to arrange a series of musical notes in a way that makes us want to run into each other screaming “KILL!!!!”. In short, we are a group that is susceptible to getting caught up in some bizarre rumors.
Over the years there have been a some I particularly enjoyed. Here are a few of them…
Paging Dr. Goregrind
The story goes something like this…A bunch of frustrated med students dropped out of college moments away from becoming doctors. They took their wealth of medical training and used it to write a series of revolting metal albums in the late 80s and early 90s. These albums, which featured songs with catchy titles like “Swarming Vulgar Mass of Infected Virulency” and “Cadaveric Incubator of Endoparasites”, must have been penned by people with an acute understanding of human anatomy, the type of understanding that could only be gained by hours of study at a medical college. It’s a great story and it actually makes some sense but it is completely untrue. Carcass are, in fact, brilliant musicians with highly overdeveloped vocabularies and no medical training whatsoever. This didn’t stop a friend of mine, years back, from sending a letter to the band offering to allow them to remove his spleen onstage.
The saga of Phil Fasciana, guitarist from the band Malevolent Creation, and his heroic killing of a “80-pound homeless crackhead” Kwik E Mart robber gripped the metal world back in 2009. Apparently, Phil stumbled in looking to buy some chocolate milk and was shot at by the thief. In a scene that seems right out of a bad Don “The Dragon” Wilson action flick (because it probably was), Phil tackled the bad guy and wrestled his gun away. But this cagey crackhead reached for his hideout piece located, in of all places, his sock. Phil was forced to fire on the guy and kill him. There were more holes in the story than in the USS Bismarck. The poor, desperate homeless guy with enough money for two guns. The lack of a murder weapon, a dead body or a witness. Days afterwards, the police confirmed the story was complete nonsense. This didn’t stop a good number of metalheads, myself in particular, from running wild with this fable.
The Parable of The Cave
Wolves in the Throne Room are just your average Rudolph Steiner reading, eco-anarchist black metal band. Over the years, they have rightfully gained a reputation for being somewhat eclectic. This, however, does not mean they live in a cave. Nearly every description I heard about the band went like this “They sound like ____________________ and they remind me of ______________________ and, get this, they live in a cave.” In fairness, they do look like they live in a cave, but so do 2/3rds of the metalheads under the age of 25. They live on an organic farm. There are clear structural differences between a cave and a farm that I shouldn’t have to explain.
Death rumors are a favorite among metalheads. Back in 2005, Type O Negative pulled off the ultimate hoax when they convinced the world that singer Peter Steele had died. This became quite confusing when Steele actually died last year. Was he really dead this time? Would he rise on the second day as some sort of ironic, Easter-themed publicity stunt? The last album was named Dead Again for gosh sakes! And Rasputin was on the cover. That zany Russian died something like 28 times and kept coming back! This had to be some sick joke. Unfortunately, it was not and Steele has not risen…yet.
The 2005 Steele death was the most convincing death rumor I have heard, but far from the first. I’ll never forget spending an embarrassing evening back in 1993 mourning Pantera singer Phil Anselmo’s untimely death. The word was he had dove off of the stage and the crowd had parted, unwilling to take seriously their responsibilities as members of the metal community, allowing Phil to slam into the floor. His neck broke and he was pronounced dead in the pit. The injustice! I remember mournfully looking at the sky and shouting “I would have caught you, Phil! I would have caught you!”
One of the things you come to accept as a parent is that your life is going to be filled with a series of irrational fears. After a while you get used to it, but there are a few that never seem to go away. Sometimes they appear in the form of a nightmare that wakes you up every night in a cold sweat with your heart thumping at 185 beats per minute. For me, that nightmare is Glenn Danzig pinning a corsage to my teenage daughter’s dress as they leave for her high school prom.
It is certainly a preposterous thing to be afraid of, but most fear has an element of the absurd to it. About three days before the prom my daughter starts telling me about this great guy named “Glenn” who she met at the mall. Fast forward to the night of the prom, the doorbell rings and I walk over to it. She is upstairs getting ready. I open the door. There he is…Danzig. Of course, my daughter is two years old right now and Danzig is 56, so there is a bit of an age difference. By the time my daughter is ready for the prom Danzig will be 72. In the nightmare, he doesn’t appear that old. He looks like the snarling Lucifuge-era Danzig that could beat up four Marine battalions and the Dallas Cowboys without breaking a sweat. He is wearing one of those horrible rental tuxedos with the godawful ruffled shirt and yet he still looks menacing. He is polite at first. I ask him to come in and have a cold soda. He sits on my couch and stares blankly at nothing in particular. I am freaking out. I keep hearing that part of the song Mother where he says “I’m gonna take your daughter out tonight….Gonna show her my world…. Not about to see your light….If you want to find hell with me…I can show you what it’s like” Ehhhhh!
“So, Glenn, how did you meet my daughter?”
(Here’s the part that is kind of strange. During this section of the dream, he sings everything he says in a sinister, baritone voice)
“We were in…Hotttttt Topicccc…..and we started….talkkkkkkking…..She said she likes Gothic Roccckkkkk…..”
I puff out my chest and try to pull off the intimidating, “make sure and have my daughter home by midnight or else” dad act. This would work on most high schoolers, but it’s not going to put any sort of fear into Danzig. “Uhmmmmm. What are your plans for this evening, Glenn?”
“We’re going for a ride on my….Harrrrlllllleyyy. Then, we’re going to go out (drums start to pick up from out of nowhere) dannnnnciiiiinnnnngggg!!!!”
I try to change the subject to something less threatening. “So, any chance of a Misfits re-union?”
Danzig just laughs and stares off into the distance. The room is filled with three minutes of icy, uncomfortable silence.
The next fifteen minutes are a blur of horrible memories. My daughter dancing down the stairs and leaping into Danzig’s arms, taking pictures out on the front lawn with her, her friends and the dude who once sang the lyrics “I Want Your Skulls, I Need Your Skulls”, sneaking glances at my equally horrified wife. I wake up screaming.
How does a responsible parent deal with this? If we tell her she can’t see Danzig, that might drive her right into his arms. I could see it now….“Honey, you can never see that Danzig fellow again!”
“I hate you mom and dad!!!!! You are trying to ruin my life!!!!!!”
Next thing I know it I come home and there is a note on the refrigerator that says “Went to Vegas to marry Danzig. Back on Monday.”
We certainly cannot condone this sort of behavior. I’d much rather see her dating one of those brooding, introspective Echo and The Bunnymen poet-socialist types. However, so much is out of your control. You just try to do the best you can raising them and hope they make good decisions. Being a parent is hard enough without having to worry about your daughter dating Danzig.
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