Here is the collection of articles that the Weekly
in response to the Albuquerque Journal articles about Death Metal.
VomitRadio Defends Death Metal
In reply to the Albuquerque Journal article of April 30 and May 1.
To Mr. Thomas J. Cole and his band of cronies,
I'd like to thank the Albuquerque Journal for their articles about the Death Metal Scene! (www.abqjournal.com/news/death/default.htm) I just have one question: where were you idiots about four years ago when I played this music in protest on a certain major radio station in this town? Or about 14 years ago when I was playing this music over the airwaves on a certain college station in this town? What a bunch of journalistic slackasses! I could have used the press!
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Eric Egenes, founder and president of VomitRadio.com. I also went by the name of Johnny Kilgore on a certain nameless dredge of a radio station a few years ago. I took over that station and played Death Metal for a couple of hours in disgust with management. Needless to say they were flooded with calls in support of my actions, and I was of course fired and boycotted from commercial radio in this town. No big loss, because the stations all suck here anyway. Now I'm back with my own station (vomitradio.com).
That article gave me the biggest laugh! Don't you idiots realize you're just going to make Death Metal bigger and stronger? I'd just like to point out the obvious, because history hasn't taught you boneheads a lesson: Bad publicity = big profits. Does 2 Live Crew ring a bell? Does Gangsta Rap ring a bell? Does the PMRC ring a bell? Probably not. Sounds like yer ringer is a lil' bit rusty.
Haven't you figured out that Junior will eat up what Mommy and Daddy hates? Death Metal was pretty much ignored by the mainstream media ... until now. Thanks for the press, it'll make stations like mine more famous.
Kids rebel against parents. There isn't enough Ritalin or Prozac in the world to stop that. It's how the parents raise their children, not the music or TV, that makes the kids go psycho. Haven't you watched Jerry Springer or any of the TV talk shows lately? The parents of these "bad kids" are usually whack-jobs themselves. They're letting the media raise their kids. They put Junior in front of the TV and go off to party the night away, avoid responsibility and turn a blind eye to the real problem. They may just want to talk to them like individuals and not down to them like a house pet. Maybe intelligent conversations instead of bitching and whining about everything in their lives may make a better impact on the kids. And if all else fails, the fear of having the crap kicked out of me from my parents for doing something really bad usually worked when I was a kid. There were no "time-outs" in my household. "Fear of the belt" was good enough. It kept my ass out of trouble!
From that article, it seems like most of the kids see this as entertainment in a dull society. When you're force-fed candy canes and kool-aid, you start to crave a little meat now and then. It's articles like that and that sugary, mindless pap that comes out for entertainment nowadays that make the kids crave the carnage. At least Death Metal is interesting!
I've been a fan of metal for almost 20 years. I've watched horror and gore films. I've been to an endless amount of Death Metal concerts. I've never killed anyone or sacrificed anything. It's entertainment, nothing more. Something to make the wheels of life grease up a little bit better. It's a release from the everyday hassles that this world can put upon people. Country music causes bar fights, wife beatings, and sheep fornication. ... I suggest you go after that also. Teenie-Bopper music causes brain death. ... I suggest you also really attack that. It's a major problem in this country: teenage brain-death. It's caused by listening to mindless corporate pap like the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, or Britney Spears. Has any of them put an intelligent thought on disc yet? I think not. Oh yeah, don't forget that Classical music has caused narcolepsy in children for years. Blues causes depression. Jazz causes reefer and heroin usage. Folk music causes people to not bathe properly. Disco causes bad fashion sense, etc., etc.
Please print more articles slamming Death Metal! Also look into Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Goth Metal, Punk, and anything else that makes you and your cronies cringe with terror and disgust. I'll just play those songs on my lil' Internet radio station and laugh at the articles when my listenership goes up and I'm riding in the limo to the bank in the near future, doing what corporate America has done best for years: capitalizing on the stupidity of people like you. And if you don't like it, tough cookies, it's called freedom of speech. Read the Constitution sometime. It's a written document that has caused dissension for many years.
Feel free to send your hate mail to: VomitRadio, PO Box 93006, Albuquerque, NM 87199-3006. Voicemail/fax: (800) 856-1902. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heavy Metal Summons the Beast
My name is Reiner, and everyone knows me as being the (former) DJ of the heaviest radio show in the Wild West, Tombstone Rock, which still airs Wednesday nights 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on KUNM 89.9FM. I was single-handedly responsible for corrupting your kids with devil music and calling upon them to summon the beasts of the underworld into their bedrooms once a week for nearly eight years. Of course I am being facetious, but this is the level of illogical exaggeration which I experienced while reading Mr. Cole's recent articles in the Albuquerque Journal addressing listening to "death metal" as a precursor to rape, torture, and murder. Yet again, even after I have retired from my radio show, I am called upon to step up to the plate in the name of heavy metal music. This will be the fourth time that I have spoken out in print for this righteous and just cause (two Daily Lobo interviews and an essay in Rockets Away Magazine).
Once again, I feel I must prove once again what kind of ignorant, fanatical fools are in control of what spoon-fed lard is being forced down the throats of the oblivious public. The CIA (a.k.a. Christians In Action) has been known to spread this sort of rabble-rousing propaganda all the time, especially when the boat is being rocked too hard. Of course, the worst known example [of Death Metal bands] is chosen for this extremist propaganda, never mind the other bands who do not sing about gory subjects. Other themes include, but are not limited to, dark winter forests (mostly addressed by "black metal" artists, who will be Mr. Cole's subject three years from now when he gets up to speed and realizes the threat of death metal is as harmless as "Sesame Street"), cold wind, the "North," wrath, worshipping false idols, and yes, even God. Did you know that there are Christian metal bands who sound similar to Cannibal Corpse as far as the growling and fast beats are concerned? You who have never heard this genre of music before and are quick to be brainwashed by the Savage Sounds articles would never know the difference.
My friend Scott of the Albuquerque (Christian) metal band Ultimatum had this to say in response when I mass-emailed Mr. Cole's articles: "Leave it to Albuquerque to jump on a trend that reached its peak years ago. Maybe in a few years they can do an article on how Marilyn Manson is causing people to kill, maim and destroy. Blame the music! It can't possibly be the lame school system who is telling our kids that they are worthless accidents of life, or the divorced, alcoholic parents, or even the drugs. It's gotta be that darn devil music."
Speaking of major musicians "causing" people to do irrational things, I picked up right away on the mentioning of Ozzy Osbourne's supposed "role" in the suicide of a few teens. What was never mentioned, of course, because this was a propaganda article, was that the musician was acquitted. If you have some sense, you already know that musicians can't possibly be responsible for the weak constitutions of others. Every metalhead who read Mr. Cole's articles balked and/or laughed in disbelief of the extremist stance that Cole decided to take, and Matt, another fan of my radio show, got back to me after a letter was written to Mr. Cole: "He knows his story is for shock value and does not represent the metal community."
Perhaps Mr. Cole should have included this disclaimer in his article, but no--that would detract from his supposed credibility and scholarly command of the death metal genre.
I could go on and on about how positive heavy metal is to listen to for many people in many ways, in many countries all over the world, but the high school students really summed it up well for me in the first installation of Mr. Cole's articles. Although I think I have been somewhat of a heavy metal hero for quite a few high school students, Joe Mitchell, David Christy, Chris Conland, and Cassandra Locke are my heroes for telling it how it is by expressing themselves so righteously. Even while reading the article, I was thankful that Cole's alarmist strategy blew up in his face when my friends/fans Todd Humelsine, Gabe Garcia, JJ Michelitch, and others spoke the honest truth about what heavy metal means to them.
I had to wonder about the nature of Mr. Cole's article when I saw him interviewing Michelitch for over 30 minutes at the Launchpad on the night of the Cannibal Corpse show. He took scant notes and no shorthand. How are accurate quotes to be gotten? Are these the kind of journalists the Albuquerque Journal employs, or is Mr. Cole a freelance amateur CIA propagandist like he seems to be? At least I would like to thank Mr. Cole for providing a healthy amount of column inches to Brian Stagel of Metal Blade and the high school kids who helped to even the score. From this end it seems like a "Dewey Wins!" headline has been printed on the Journal.
Regarding the parental advisory labels, I myself am a former employee of Hastings in Rio Rancho. It was store policy to ask for ID when a youth wanted to purchase a CD with such a label, and I enforced that rule, and I didn't care how uncool it made me seem; however it was mostly for those pesky Master P CDs. As far as violence goes with us metalheads, I will tell you here and now that, unlike rappers and their fans, we don't carry guns, and the worst it ever gets is a good old-fashioned fistfight, where both parties live and often forgive and forget. I guess rap music is a tired subject, so I'm glad to see that heavy metal is getting attention, because I've been trying to wake everyone up for eight years. However, you might as well give up on reporting about it because it's too late to nip this in the bud. Heavy metal is here to stay!
Don't Blame the Music
Hi. I got word of your willingness to print a response to Mr. Thomas Cole's "exposť " of death metal in the Albuquerque Journal and wrote an e-mail to him myself. This is a copy of that e-mail, which you can print if you like.
To Mr. Cole: After receiving a link to your investigative reports into death metal and reading every word in every article in the series, I have to say that, taking the article as its own frame of reference, your report was fairly balanced--although you did cite only one lyricist, Chris Barnes,as being indicative of an entire industry. It talked about the kids who listen to metal and also happen to kill people and it talked about the normal kids who also happen to listen to metal.
It's too bad, however, that you took such an ignorant and uninformed approach to dealing with the myriad problems of our crumbling society. You realize, of course, that Charles Manson blamed his lunacy on the Beatles' white album. That was before the term "heavy metal" even entered the vernacular. That is beside the current point, however.
Here's the problem: People are killing people. OK. People have been killing people for a long time. Since there have been people, we've been killing each other. Damn shame. Honestly.
Here's a corollary: Kids are killing kids. I do not have words to express how frightening this phenomenon is. Had I children, I would worry to no end each and every time they went to school. Not that I'd be afraid my kids were going to be the ones squeezing the triggers, but rather that they'd be on the other end of those squeezing said triggers. The reason I would fear the latter rather than the former is that I would have raised my children. I would have done it. I would have taught my children right from wrong and not left them to glean truth on their own from Aaron Spelling or even Big Bird. In our American society, we have the stunning ability to blame everyone other than ourselves for everything. It's incredible, nothing is our fault. Trace its origins to what you will, it is an ability we exercise with stunning frequency nowadays.
We will never solve our problems if we do not place blame where blame is due. In the late 1980s and early 1990s we picked on rap because it was new and small and defenseless. Now we pick on metal because, while old, it is still small and not politically correct. Mr. Cole, your article is simply feeding a fire that must be stopped--passing the blame.
I might add that I am the drummer for the death metal band Black Spiral. Our lyrics are about zombies and vampires and mythology and dreams my bass player had. Those lyrics on our album which have most often been construed as encouraging violence are actually an allegory for how the media manipulates audiences who refuse to think critically about the messages they receive. In short, our lyrics are misunderstood by the very people we had hoped to enlighten. I should also point out that I am the owner of Broken Image Entertainment, a media company that promotes, among other things, death metal in the vein of Black Spiral. I might further note that I belong to a church in both cities where I claim residence and am an active Bible Study member. I, like Mr. Egenes of VomitRadio [Letters, May 18-24] (whose editorial reply you [Albuquerque Journal] did not run), am an active member of the "metal community" and refuse to be labeled as a psychopath or promoter of psychopaths because of the type of music I listen to/create.
In the same batch of e-mails where I was informed of your article, I also received a petition to stop the violence against women in Afghanistan, which I signed and passed on. This petition was sent to me by way of a metal mailing list.
If you want to expose the rottenness in society, please press on, for the task is long and arduous. Make sure, however, that you don't mistake effects and symptoms for causes.
The Death Metal/Big Bird Connection
I feel compelled to respond to Vance Kotrla's recent letter regarding "death metal" music and violence. He seems intelligent and articulate, and I probably wouldn't mind if he lived next door so my kids and I could listen to his music, but I am confounded by several of his pronouncements and most of his logic.
It's nice to know what he would do if he had kids, but for me, that is ultimately meaningless. As a parent of two kids and as a middle school teacher, I am called on to act and respond to real children with real needs. Surely, Vance understands that his words are just that and don't really mean much (at least to me).
Vance says he wouldn't abandon his children "to glean truth on their own from Aaron Spelling or even Big Bird." I'm probably just an old fogey, but from my perspective Vance and his band are right in there with Aaron and Big Bird as parts of what I think of as "pop culture." Vance said it himself: "Our lyrics are misunderstood by the very people we had hoped to enlighten." If his message isn't getting through to the people who need it most, then it seems to me he's acting more as an entertainer than as an agent of real change.
Finally, Vance cautions us to not "mistake effects and symptoms for causes." Does this mean he thinks of his band as nothing more than a "symptom" of "the rottenness in society"? The same way a child who is abused will likely grow into being an abuser? Does this make it OK? Sounds like what he calls our "stunning ability to blame everyone other than ourselves." My knee jerks when the doctor taps it, but so what? If his band is only an outcome of, or a reaction to, its environment, and not much else, then that's not saying a whole lot. And there ya have it.
Death Metal Only Fantasizes About Killing
To the Albuquerque Journal: In reading your recent articles about death metal I'm left wondering how you can actually believe what you've printed. The media always wants to blame violent music or movies or video games for youth violence, but that's simply a scapegoat. Death metal is not a cause but an effect of what our society has become. Until I can sit down after a hard day at work and watch the 10 o'clock news without hearing about vicious rapes and drive-by shootings, you can't tell me death metal is corrupting our youth. Our youth is corrupt, has been corrupt and will be corrupt until we as a whole society decide to do something about it. When you have teenage parents leaving their children to be raised by a television set and, in turn, themselves become teenage parents, you're asking for trouble. In too many high schools across America drugs are more readily available then knowledge, and yet everyday we turn our heads and say "it's not my problem." Every 25 seconds a woman is raped in America, yet we turn our heads and say "it's not my problem." Wake up! It is your problem, it is my problem, it's everyone's problem, and until we realize that, nothing will get done, and we will continue in a downward spiral towards our own destruction.
My heart goes out to the family of Elyse Pahler, but to put Chris Barnes and Brian Slagel on trial as a contributing factor to her murder is insane. The three boys involved were obviously very disturbed people regardless of what music they were listening to. By your own statistics, each Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under album sold about 150,000 copies worldwide, but how many murders can you tie to them? Two was it? There has to be something inherently wrong with a person to make them commit crimes of this nature, and if a person is that demented they will commit those crimes whether they listen to Cannibal Corpse or the Backstreet Boys. Society made them do it, not death metal.
Death metal, like almost all other music, is about fantasy. Your pop supergroups may sing about their fantasy of finding the perfect boy/girl, whereas a death metal group may sing of fantasies of killing, raping, and pillaging. The fact is these screwed up young people are the ones out killing, not the musicians. Their lyrics are a dark fantasy created by our society, a society founded on violence, and now you're upset with what we've created? You're all looking at a symptom, but the only way to alleviate the symptom is to cure the disease. Parents: Pay attention to your children so they don't have to get that attention elsewhere. We are the world, and only we control the future.
Thanks for listening,
Park Ridge, IL
Adults Are Responsible for Kids' Crimes
I am responding to the letters defending death metal ["Heavy Metal Summons the Beast," "Vomit Radio Defends Death Metal," May 18-24]. Many adults get rich off poisoning kids' bodies and minds. Many churchgoers are horrified that kids kill kids and old people, but these same churchgoers have no conscience against paying the U.S. empire tax dollars to kill kids and old people in other nations. Many kids are damned as no-good hoodlums for stealing cars and VCRs while politicians and corporation presidents are praised as fabulously successful Americans for stealing billions in natural resources and dirt-cheap labor from poor nations.
Some kids commit atrocious crimes and they need to change their ways, but the number one responsibility for kids' crimes is on adults.
Kids do not own the gun factories and gun stores. Kids do not sell and advertise booze. Kids do not make the movies glamorizing war, rape, greed, guns, booze, cigarettes, revenge, robbery and money addiction. Kids do not import heroin and cocaine from abroad. Kids do not create the TV commercials brain-poisoning people to crave expensive crap we do not need and to do anything to get it. Kids do not run McDonald's, Hollywood, Coca-Cola, Coors, Philip Morris, Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Vatican, the CIA, Sandia Weapons Lab, General Motors, Baskin-Robbins, Wal-Mart...
Imagine if we adults refused to work at any job that harms people and destroys the earth. Imagine if we devoted ourselves daily to creating a world where it is easier for us all to be good and to do the wise thing.
Parents, if you want your children to be open and honest, are you always open and honest with them? Do you ever ask them to lie for you about anything? If you want your children to be dependable, do you keep your promises to them and to others? If you want your children to apologize and ask forgiveness when they wrong you, do you apologize and ask forgiveness when you wrong them? If you want them to be warm and affectionate, do you hug them often with deep feeling? How can you lecture them not to use street drugs if you are hooked on booze, Valium, cigarettes or junk food?
Never demand your children obey you and other authorities without questioning. When parents teach kids to follow orders and obey authorities without questioning, those kids often become soldiers who murder on command with no conscience in Auschwitz, the West Bank, Vietnam, Iraq, Kosovo, Chechnya. Teach your kids by your own life to question everything deeply, to follow their consciences no matter the cost and to love and to do good to all people--including our enemies.