The Embodiment Of All That Is Metal

Diddy Wishingwell figure in top of Weebles Bar...
This photo will make some kind of sense if you read the blog post (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mentioned in the recent Shinedown review that some comments at the gig had got my head ticking. I also said that it would result in another blog post.

This is that blog post. The events posted within don’t occur at any point near the California Presidential Primary.

Shinedown’s singer Brent took a pause between songs to “converse” with the crowd. By which I mean he asked some questions and imagined he heard the responses he wanted. Most likely unbeknownst to him, a rather light-headed person at the back of the room (horrific diarrhoea, no food in 24 hours then 1/4 pint of cider will do this to a man) actually engaged in the conversation. It went like this:

Brent: What’s one thing that’s certain in life?

Me: Taxes

Brent: Rock and roll! There is nothing in life that can’t be made simpler with drums, guitars, a bass and some kick-ass vocals. Rock and roll has been there for each and every one of you. How many times has rock and roll been there for you in your life?

Me: Three. Maybe four. No. Three.

And then I actually started thinking. Which is dangerous territory when your blood sugar only exists because of rehydration salts and 150ml of Strongbow.

Rock and roll had been there for me a few times. Seriously. It had. During some severe downtimes, I’ve turned to the likes of Hatebreed whose lyrics basically tell you (OK yell, loudly) that you shouldn’t be weak, that nobody can get you down but yourself and that you should fight back. I’m actually going to come back to that line of thought in yet another post shortly.

That would have been a sensible place to stop. But no. My mind meandered further down the wibbly-wobbly barely-focussed road it could barely see and the words “Weebles Wobble But They Never Fall Down” erupted from my lips. Much to the amusement, annoyance and/or bemusement of my lovely wife and our friend Wendi who had joined us for the gig.

Why? Because Lawnmower Deth have a song by that name. And it’s silly. And because when I’m upset or want to take my mind off stuff, I think of silly things. It cheers me up. It also cheers up my baby daughter as I sing some of their songs to her. Mainly because I’m a bit strange, but also because I know all the words. After all, it’s not difficult to remember the words to “Thermonuclear War Is Good For Your Complexion” when they’re:

Thermonuclear war… is good for your complexion,

Thermonuclear war… is good for your complexion,

Thermonuclear war… is good for your complexion,

Thermonuclear war… is good for your complexion.

I do not have a great memory.

Anyway, this got me thinking further. The lyrics for “Weebles…” are as follows and are lifted from the TV commercial for the little toys from way back when I was a kid. I think you can still get them these days, but they won’t be as good. Oh, no.

Weebles wobble, but they never fall down,

Weebles wobble, but they never fall down,

Weebles are round!

Don’t fall down!

Weebles are round!

Don’t fall down!


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the embodiment of rock and metal. It’s been pushed off the airwaves, banned by religious movements, used as a prosecution tool by useless parents when their kids go tonto, vilified in the press… but it keeps coming back. Simply, you cannot keep a good thing down. Not unless you keep your finger pressed on it permanently. And every kid eventually got fed up doing that and the Weeble just popped right back up again.

We are the people of rock! And we are Weebles!

Don’t worry. I’m off to get some sleep now.

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Why I love heavy metal. By Mosh, aged 37 (just)

I got dragged out to Ivory Black’s in Glasgow after the Taste of Chaos tour on Saturday night. I gather it’s cheaper than the Classic Grand and full of less kiddies than the Cathouse. It was also flipping near empty! A shame as the music was excellent.

The point of this post, though. As I sat, helping drink the bar dry of tequila (why? I hate the stuff) there were two TVs on the wall in front of me. One was showing Penelope SpheerisThe Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. The other had last year’s Sonisphere “Big 4” video recorded in Sophia, Bulgaria.

The girls in our group seemed focussed on what Poison looked like in 1988. I was wishing the sound was up so I could hear Anthrax’ set.

However, as the older film approached its end, the final band featured playing live was Megadeth – featuring a very baby-faced and sneary Dave Mustaine. The band were on a small stage with no security. Fans were clambering up and launching themselves off with wild abandon – I can’t remember the last time I saw a stagediver at a gig. Seriously.

At the exact same moment on the other screen, Megadeth were finishing their set (in the lashing rain) in an arena or football ground in Bulgaria. A huge pit in front of them keeping them maybe 10m from the nearest fan. A huge sound setup. A crowd of maybe 50,000 or more.

It was just one of those coincidental moments, and it made me wonder… back in that first video did Mustaine have even the slightest inkling he’d be playing such a different environment around twenty years later? And who else would have believed that such a niche band would go on to such things.

Not just them, obviously. Metallica were also featured in both films. It just so happened that both Megadeths finished their songs/sets at the same time in front of me.

I can’t recall who, but apparently some tosspot on Radio 1 recently said that rock and metal is dead. Again. People like that obviously have no clue what they’re talking about and live in an little world of their own. All it takes is one glance at the gig listings in a magazine, or a check online to find the countless tours and festivals taking place.

The Download festival has arisen from the ashes of the old Donington Monsters of Rock. It now runs for four days. Sonisphere has appeared from nowhere and is adding new countries to its touring festival each year. Bloodstock. Hard Rock Hell. Damnation. High Voltage. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – and that’s only the UK.

Bands that didn’t even hit the heights of the likes of Metallica are still touring. Some are making comebacks, some never went away. In the last few weeks I’ve seen Annihilator and Exodus, to name but two.

Despite a continued lack of radio support (come on, Radio 1 – one show a week… at midnight?) heavy metal has continued to live and breathe for decades. It’s constantly being written off, but it has the most dedicated fans of any genre of music.

The internet has definitely helped – as it has with other types of music – allowing new bands a cheap outlet for their demos. This has without a doubt made a huge difference, especially around the late 90’s when thing were a little sparce in the metal field.

But now we have bands like Poison selling out arenas in the US. Lawnmower Deth, at the other end of the scale, are playing a couple of gigs a year after 15 years or so in retirement. Judas Priest are still going despite the band being old enough to have grandfathered a huge proportion of their fans.

You can have your own opinions about the music, but there’s no denying it. Heavy metal is here to stay.

Just deal with it.

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