Heavy Metal Dreams
Way back in 1970, long before I was born, an album of music was released. Just one album, but this, relatively short, thirty eight minute, 7 track album, would forever change the world of music, how it was listened to, how it was viewed, even how it was played. The name of the album was Black Sabbath, the band who created the album was Black Sabbath.
Today in 2016 I find it really very saddening that I know names of “artists” that I never have listened to, nor do I ever plan to. And yet, the people who do regularly listen to those artists, have no idea whatsoever of the album that set music on the path to what it would become today.
Now I’m not saying that Black Sabbath were the sole contributors to this, there were many great artists before and after Black Sabbath that helped pave the way for great music. But almost all had been influenced by Sabbath, or at least knew of their music.
I’m also not trying to be like that one person who’s always complaining about how everything was better back in their day, I’m only 16, so I have no right to be complaining about the present, when I was never even around in the past. But the music I listen to, and the music that I play, was all created in the past, and the artists who created it usually went through alot of pain, and put all their emotion, all their effort into the songs they wrote, and they probably got jack shit for it. And then people like Justin Beiber, Taylor Swift, or whoever just pop up and are suddenly famous, that just isn’t right.
And yeah, I have know idea what any of them have been through, but I’d be willing to bet they’ve never had to be homeless, living off baloney and beer. Or ever had to cram all their gear into a small van and drive overnight to their next gig, which was in a small dingy club, and only get paid fifty bucks.
Now, going back to Sabbath, the album has been all but forgotten, except of course by fans of Heavy Metal like myself. But most people have a formatted opinion about Metal. They think of the stereotypical skinny Metal kid, with long, dirty hair, ripped jeans, a leather jacket, a bunch of metal pierced on his face, smoking something, or on some kind of drugs, (and to be fair, that one is a little more true) and usually uneducated.
Now I’m not saying that no Metal fan is like this, if you ever go to a rock concert those kinds of people will be around all over the place. But to put everyone who listens to Metal into that category, again, isn’t right. I for example only have the long dirty hair part of that. otherwise, I dress relatively normal. I don’t do drugs, I only have two piercings in my left ear, and I’m in highschool right now, I’m not planning to drop out or anything, and I’m working to get into the Berkeley College of music when I graduate.
Anyway, after Black Sabbath came out, Sabbath continued to make music. You’ve probably heard their song Iron man from the album Paranoid. It’s plastered all over the radio. And if you’ve seen Iron man (movie) that song was in the soundtrack.
So they continued to make music, and other bands coming from England started to spring up, creating a movement called the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (NWOBHM as it’s most commonly known) These included bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and most notably, Mötorhead, who are arguably the first band to use double bass in rock. (Something that is fundamental in Metal today)
But eleven years after Black Sabbath came out, a new band started to form. And after a few hiccups in their lineup, finally settled into a confident mold. They were from San Francisco, and, when they decided to start making their first album, traveled all the way to the other side of the country to New Jersey. Where they lived in a small, dirty room with a small fridge and a toaster oven. And they lived off of, you guessed it, baloney and beer.
They finished the album and released it. And this one too, changed music forever. Although not as much as Black Sabbath. The album certainly had the same impact on the Metal genre. In fact, it created a sub-genre of Metal called Thrash Metal, or Speed Metal if you prefer. But it didn’t have as big of an impact on changing other genres of music.
This album, released in 1983, was entitled Kill ’em All. And for those of you Heavy Metal aficionados, should know that the band Metallica made that album.
Metallica would go on to make one of the greatest Metal albums of all time, it not one of the greatest albums of all time, Master of Puppets. Which just recently was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. And, they also released their self titled album Metallica, or better known just as “the Black Album.” Which is one of only eighty-eight (I think. If I’m wrong about the number, just bare with me, I don’t know everything) albums to ever be diamond certified. Currently, it has sold sixteen million copies, and still, after twenty five years, manages to sell five thousand copies a week.
So, thirty years after Kill ’em All came out, was when I first heard Metallica. And I knew from that moment, that was what I wanted to do for a living.
To tell you a little about myself, the idea to play an instrument came to me when I was 9. A teacher at my school suggested it to me, and from then on I started getting more and more into drumming. But it would take another four years for me to actually follow through with that passion.
Once I had started, I found I wasn’t too shabby at it, and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. So I continued, practicing, whenever I could, I drove everyone in middle school crazy with my repetitive tapping. Of course everyone in my class were a bunch of over dramatic pussies, who’s whole world would apparently collapse if you tapped on your desk for a little bit. But whatever, I didn’t care that much anyway.
So anyway, after about maybe two years of practicing, I finally started looking for a band to play with, obviously metal was the priority. The first people I found, were actually interested in a lot of the same music and ideals I wanted. The problem was, they lived about an hour away from me, and weren’t very commited. I’m not saying they were completely lazy about it. There were a lot of obstacles that prevented us from being able to practice regularly. I was fully committed, prepared to do anything to make it happen, they were definitely committed, but also had many other things going on in their life, which is understable.
So after a while, I saw that it probably wasn’t going to work, and started looking for another band. And I did, completely by chance.
My high school takes trips every Friday, so one week we took a trip to a record store, which was to see how they operated and whatever, I just wanted to buy vinyl. Anyway, as I was walking around, the teacher who was accompanying us on the trip, saw a flyer for a grunge band looking for a drummer. He new that I was looking for a band, so he pointed it out to me.
I called the number listed and told them I had seen their flyer and that I was a drummer. So we set up a day for when I would “audition.” The day I was to audition, I was really fucking nervous. I get nervous about the stupidest things, I don’t know if it’s just me, but every year on the first day of school I feel like I’m going to throw up.
So I went and played for them, It went fairly well, I think they were more impressed with my drumming than I was. I pretty much just kept time the whole time. “Keeping time” is basically just playing a simple beat, that you can literally use for any genre of music. (except for classical, asian, and marching band music,and a few others, but you get the point, it can be used in most genres of music.)
So I was accepted into their band, and we started practicing regularly. We had some shows coming up, so we were getting prepared. They called themselves Silo. Now I think that if we ever make an album it should be entitled, “SILO, No, not the corn one, the missile one.” Because everybody thinks we named ourselves after the grain tower, but we didn’t, it’s referring to a missile silo.
The first show we played was the annual Battle of the Bands at their school. Which we surprisingly won. After that we only played three shows at some small clubs during the duration of the summer. And here is one of the first problems I am facing with this band.
Even though these guys are definitely committed, they have a lot of other things going on in their lives, and that causes many problems with scheduling practices and shows. I’m not saying they should drop everything they’re doing and focus on the band, but the only way to have a band work, is really to have it as your top priority. And for these guys, I feel like the band comes second to a lot.
On top of all this, they’re seniors in high school. (I’m a sophomore) And once they’re going off to college next year, there will be very little room to fit in a band. So really this band will probably last to about, I’d guess, June or July of 2017 before we fizzle away. So this is the dilemma I am stuck with at the moment.
At the moment, I am doing everything I can to find a band, who is near where I live, around my age, are committed, and who want to play Metal. And in this day and age, finding all that is extremely difficult. But I won’t stop looking, practicing, playing, whatever I need to do until I achieve that goal.