Rarely, I feel the urge to write something a little more positive about our scene. Yesterday, as virtually the whole world knows, was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Regardless of what you believe or think of that day, 3,000 people died needlessly. To that I pay respects, and also to those who did so trying to help. The “heroes” we always hear of. Rest in peace, all of you.
This event always gets me thinking of the concept of what a “hero” is, and yesterday was no different. It was hit even harder after a relative asked, “you’re such an amazing musician, but you’ve been doing this for so long. How come you haven’t been able to make it big yet?”. Of course, we’ve probably all learned that people outside of the music industry don’t really know that talent just doesn’t cut it anymore. That and I know damn well there are a million other musicians that can put me to great shame, a lot in this state alone.
It did make me think though, not of myself, but others like me. Yes, we live in an age of a genre over saturated with guitarists, let alone metal bands altogether. It goes without saying that it’s extremely difficult to get noticed and “make it” than it was say 10-15 years ago. Then the real thought occurred to me. We are all chasing the same pipe dream. Every last one of us. There may be different corners of it, but in one way, shape, or form we are all playing to say something and to be heard saying it. Whether it be to a dive bar, a concert hall, stadium, or just with the friends in our respective bands we all want to share something through our music. Alas, more often than not, a lot of what is said goes entirely unheard.
They chase and chase and chase this dream, break off from what “normal” people are supposed to be doing, call into work, lie to their girlfriends to get to practice, get dumped by countless said girlfriends over their passion, sneak out of their parents house, save for months to buy instruments better than their own with money they can’t afford, garner police noise complaints like collecting stamps, constantly try to figure out why the van keeps dying on tour, deal with asshole venue owners who just see green, learn social skills they never knew by interacting with strangers known as their fans, play to a full house or simply 5 people, deal with the public view that all metal is about “the devil” or “Why are you so angry?” or “I can’t understand the singer”, spend years if not decades perfecting their talent, record no matter what even if it’s just a karaoke mic and yet…the world has no idea who they are and probably never will.
Always waiting to be inspired by that “perfect riff” or searching endlessly for “the right people” who will get them one step closer to fulfilling that dream. As disconcerting as it is, rarely do they get the opportunities to find these things. These are the people who help to define what being a human being is all about. Devotion, commitment, passion, humility, and talent. To the ones who are up front leading the metal scene in the mainstream, I commend you. For the ones who could do so much better than them yet remain silenced, I applaud you.
These are my heroes. Us.