Neglected, disrespected, shunned, mocked, overlooked, belittled scoffed at; Heavy Metal acts have always been derided by mainstream as second class. In spite of the genius creatives in our ranks, their conventional wisdom sees us as unintelligent, uncouth, unsophisticated, maladjusted, scary. . . Paradoxically, we in the Metal world simultaneously resent and embrace our classification as outsiders. We’ve seen the pop royals with their artificial pretensions, their desperate fashions, their disposable products, and we’ve said, “No thanks.” We’d rather be in the parking lot with our true peers in black t-shirts and denim, where the music’s loud.
To the trendy crowd, I can only say: It’s a Metal thing; you wouldn’t understand.
So it’s fitting that the Metal Hall of Fame was born partially of frustration with the status quo.
All of the other major pop culture awards institutions had seemingly scorned Heavy Metal as policy. A guy named Pat Gesualdo got fed up with this and decided to take action. In 2017, he launched the MHOF on behalf of all of his loudest musical heroes.
For all of our internal debates and gatekeeping, this is a community of strength in unity and shared passion. We disagree a LOT*, but we’re here together because we love the music. I write these articles for the Hall because I love the music; I love to discuss and celebrate Heavy Metal, drawing from my decades of accumulated expertise.**
This is fun.
This is fulfilling.
This is meaningful.
This is important.
There’s a major internal, personal component to music listening, but there’s also a great communal aspect . Music connects us in millions of ways: live performances, mixtapes, subjecting people to your cranked stereo, debates/discussions, articles – – and of course – – institutions of honor and accolades.
Like the Metal Hall of Fame. Thank you, Pat!
But as much as The Metal Hall of Fame is about the legendary people and groups who machete’ed Metal’s path through history, the Hall is really about all of us. The listeners, the concertgoers, the community. In Pat’s words, “it’s about the fans.” You. You are the heroes tonight.***
So let’s keep the eternal conversation/mosh pit going. Together, we can honor and acknowledge the great Heavy Metal artists who aren’t getting seen in the larger Pop culture lens. We can trade stories, info, and bask in their legendary persons and music. We’ll etch their constellations into the heavens, so that generations of the present and future who care to look skyward can learn. Or the ones already in the know can get vindication that this thing that has meant so much to us for so long is legitimate. Fandom rookies and veterans alike: we’re outsiders, but we’re never on our own in our love of Metal.
Jack Mangan is best known in the Metal world as lead author/project runner for the “Am I Evil?” graphic novel (set to release in early 2023) as a journalist with MetalAsylum.net and the official Metal Hall of Fame. and also as co-host of the popular (sporadic these days) Metal Hall of Fame and MetalAsylum.net livestreams with Rich Catino. He’s made a few guest appearances as a panelist on The Metal Voice. In an adjacent life, he was a podcast pioneer, with numerous appearances on Technorama, Dragon Page, Escape Pod/Pseudopod, and many others, including his own productions: Jack Mangan’s Deadpan, and the Podcast novel, “Spherical Tomi.” Friend him on Facebook if you can find him, but be warned: he’s not great about checking Facebook Messenger.
**Yes, after a lifetime of study and dedication, I do consider myself an expert. But most of you are Heavy Metal experts, too. Many of you know even more than me about this stuff.
I love learning cool new facts about my favorite artists and songs and albums. I love discovering great new music – – aged or recent – – from you. I don’t want to hole up with my ten favorite cassette tapes from 1985; I want to always expand my musical knowledge and horizons. Tell me about that NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) band that I missed. Send me links to check out this young band who are pushing the boundaries and rewriting the rules. Give me all the stories behind the making of that classic Metal album. Clue me in about that can’t-miss tour that’s coming to my city. Metal is a wonderful community of knowledge and give-and-take. Even if/when we piss each other off with the bands we like and dislike, we must always keep that conversation going.
***M! Zed! A! . . . Whatever the hell that means. . . (Loudness – Crazy Nights)