Metalheads may often be outnumbered, but they’re never outgunned. When it’s time to defend the music we love, it’s off to the battlefield to crush some dummies who have no idea what they’ve started.
Whether it’s a hapless pop star saying that no hot chicks listen to metal, a wannabe country bumpkin who turned his back on the genre that made him famous, or legitimate attacks from high levels of government, these public figures made a huge mistake in pissing off metalheads everywhere.
You don’t publicly diss Slipknot and get away with it. At Riot Fest 2021, rapper-turned-pop-punk star Machine Gun Kelly threw shade at the masked Nine onstage, saying, “Hey, you wanna know what I’m really happy that I’m not doing? Being 50 years old wearing a fucking weird mask on a fucking stage.” The backlash was immense, even though MGK was responding to an indirect diss Corey Taylor made in a prior interview. Festival crowds began booing MGK to hell and even throwing stuff at the musician. The feud went on and on, but thankfully, both MGK and Taylor have buried the hatchet.
The Maroon 5 singer turned stomachs in 2018 when he said, “Rock is nowhere, really,” just months before performing one of the worst Super Bowl Halftime Shows in history. He would later say “there are no bands anymore” and (in a leaked message) that “no hot chicks” listen to metal. Needless to say, the reaction he got from metal fans promises he won’t be welcomed at an underground show anytime soon. Also, Levine reportedly wanted to name one of his unborn children after one of his mistresses, but that’s none of our business.
Gene Simmons is a master of media manipulation. No publicity is bad publicity for the ‘Demon’ of KISS, even when he’s trying to copyright a universal hand gesture he didn’t invent. The “love” sign isn’t quite the “devil horns,” but Simmons‘ greed was enough to get metalheads riled up, especially since Ronnie James Dio never attempted to trademark the his signature horns. Simmons eventually dropped his trademark attempt, getting nothing but ill will in the end.
In the days of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), founder Tipper Gore was metalheads’ Public Enemy No. 1. In an unprecedented attack again against popular music, the PMRC singled out Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, W.A.S.P., Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath and Venom on their Filthy Fifteen list, which spotlit “objectionable” songs seemingly at random. The PMRC failed to get a rating system (similar to film) placed onto music releases, but they did give America the dreaded “Parental Advisory” label. Public testimonies from Dee Snider, Frank Zappa and John Denver helped greatly in swinging public favor away from the PMRC, and the group ultimately folded in the ‘90s.
When Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole was making his run toward the White House, he attempted to slaughter Cannibal Corpse on the way there. He claimed the band, along with Geto Boys and 2 Live Crew, was contributing toward “the mainstreaming of deviancy” in America. Dole also called out Hollywood for their portrayals of violence and sex, but the mention of Cannibal Corpse in a campaign speech was both surreal and incendiary. Of course, Cannibal Corpse won in the end, and you can catch them playing packed houses in a city near you.
Kid Rock has pissed off a lot of people for political reasons, but metalheads really had it when the musician publicly turned his back on nü-metal, the genre which launched Kid Rock into superstardom. In a reflection on his career, Kid Rock recalled, “I was like, ‘This has gotta work.’ So what’s popular? Korn. I knew I can do that shit in my sleep. But let me throw in ‘Only God Knows Why‘ and ‘Cowboy‘ so I can have a career … That fucking nu-metal shit? I think rock radio missed the boat … [nü-metal bands have] stick with heavy shit that’s not melodic and doesn’t stand the test of time.” Say it ain’t so, Kid.
Gary Holt‘s shirt remains an iconic piece of metal subculture (iykyk) but the Kardashians pissed off many metalheads due to their fashion choices. Kourtney Kardashian was spotted wearing a Cannibal Corpse shirt, Kendall Jenner was caught wearing a Slayer shirt, and Kim herself has been photographed in Morbid Angel and Metallica tees. This causes a massive and heated “poser” debate amongst metalheads. Should you wear a shirt if you’re not a fan of the band? If you’re a Kardashian, it’s gonna rub a lot of fans the wrong way.
Lars wasn’t wrong about illegal downloading — he was wrong about being a snitch. Though the Metallica drummer rightfully fought for artists’ royalties during the height of Napster and illegal downloading, when he delivered a list of over 300,000 Napster users who’d downloaded Metallica songs, Ulrich pissed off millions. He became the most hated metal musician on earth for several years, but he’s mostly been forgiven over time. In yet another strange twist, Ulrich would become one of the most vocal supporters of Spotify.
HBO’s Woodstock ’99 documentary was kind of trash, painting a few false narratives that pointed blame on artists like Limp Bizkit and Red Hot Chili Peppers for the riots and instances of sexual assault which took place at the ill-fated festival. Who came off particularly ghoulish was Woodstock ’99 organizer John Scher, who not only blamed Limp Bizkit for the riots, but blamed the assaults on topless women. Neither Scher or original Woodstock producer Michael Lang seemed to accept any blame for the festival’s failure, despite a myriad of logistical and staffing issues, pissing off any metalhead who watched the fiery documentary.
This guy is a real piece of shit. Extremist Christian pastor Steven Anderson made headlines after delivering a sermon on a tragic massacre which took place at a 2015 Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris. 90 concertgoers were killed in a coordinated terrorist attack at Le Bataclan, with over 200 more wounded. Though Eagles of Death Metal is not a death metal band, Anderson preached, “When you go to a concert of death metal, somebody might get killed! You know, you’re worshiping death! And then, all of a sudden, people start dying!… Well, you love death so much, you bought the ticket, you love worshiping Satan! Well, let’s have some of Satan’s religion come in and shoot you! I mean, that’s what these people should think about before they go into such a wicked concert.” Anderson‘s preachings have reportedly gotten him banned from over 30 countries — a karmic bit of justice for this piece of human filth.
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