Slayer Visited Disneyland With Jackass and Big Brother in the 90s
Before Vice, The Hard Times, Eric Andre, and Odd Future, there was Big Brother Magazine.
Now, I’m a tad too young to have been a follower of this iconic, often X-rated skateboarding/punk rag, which was founded in 1992 and ran through the early 2000s — and chances are you were too. But like many 90s-baby MetalSucks readers, my childhood reaped one of its key offspring, because Big Brother was where the roots of Jackass were laid.
There’s a hilarious new documentary, Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine, highly recommended by myself and Sergeant D., which chronicles the disgusting, pioneering travails of Big Brother and its influence on pop culture. Most of the senior brass at the publications you probably frequent now — Noisey, BrooklynVegan, Pitchfork, etc — were weaned on Big Brother, but nobody really has the guts or twisted imaginations to concoct the sort of content they produced en masse. The magazine was ultimately pretty absurd (the movie is called Dumb, after all), but the creative industriousness of the whole affair is something to be marveled at. Not only could no modern publication get away with what Big Brother did, but also, who would even try?
In many ways, Big Brother laid the groundwork for what was to happen in subculture during the Internet age: they covered anything and everything that had a semblance of a tie to skateboarding, producing mixed-media gross-out articles, bizzaro cartoons, early clips directed by Spike Jonze, and skate videos with twisted stunts performed by names you’re familiar with, including Johnny Knoxville, Wee-Man, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, and others.
One of the most surreal escapades Big Brother produced was inviting Slayer and Danzig to Disneyland along with Wee Man, Chris Pontius, and a host of their key editors and videographers (including Sean Cliver, Dave Carnie, Rick Kosick, and others). This was shortly after the release of Undisputed Attitude, so its smack-dab in the middle of metal’s late-90s lull, when Metallica cut their hair and corporate-tinged grunge ruled the charts.
Big Brother‘s pitch to the artists’ publicist was elegant: “Drive to Disneyland. Conduct interview while riding ‘It’s a Small World.’ Also, we will ride ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean.'” Slayer immediately agreed, while Danzig, of course, said no.
The article itself, written by Marc McKee and Carnie, is hilarious — highlights include Araya saying he preferred the Paul Di’Anno era of Iron Maiden and Kerry King lightening up about the whole affair once he met Wee Man — but what’s amazing about the Dumb documentary is that they managed to uncover tons of old, thought-lost footage from the trip. Jeff Hanneman waltzing through the happiest place on earth, Wee Man taking off his pants on the monorail, Chris Pontius talking about his dick… what more could you ask for?
Taking one of the world’s darkest bands to the Happiest Place on Earth is the sort of ridiculous, silly escapade that was Big Brother‘s trademark. It’s a reminder of a time when skateboarding was still an underground phenomenon, while “music journalism” could be unflinchingly fun (as opposed to the often snooty, over-thought, elitist style purveyed these days). Its also probably one of the magazine’s most enduring legacies — you can certainly see its influence on this website, as well as Metal Injection, who did their own trip to a theme park with Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste.
So if you want to see Slayer — along with a lot of other cool stuff — watch Dumb, which is streaming now on Hulu.