Editorials

OTEP COMMITS CAREER SUICIDE; ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER HANDS HER THE LOADED GUN

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Otep Shamaya and her kind-of-but-not-really band Otep, are out there right now proving their relevance by following in the footsteps as such totally-still-in-their-prime bands as Faster Pussycat, and dressing up like citizens of the Weimar Republic for their new video “Ghost Flowers” from the upcoming album Ascension.

Now Shamaya has virtually guaranteed backlash from the metal community by giving a pretty damning interview to (of all places) the Illinois Entertainer… sort of. See, I hate to sound like Phil Anselmo, but read the interview carefully and you’ll quickly realize: Otep’s quotes are being taken out of context to sound more inflammatory than they really are.

Here’s the rub: Otep allegedly takes potshots at Opeth in the interview and declares that her band is alternative, not metal. Needless to say, Blabbermouth picked up on the story immediately (and actually changed some of the language to make the growler’s statements seem even more controversial) and the whole thing is now primed to explode.

Except here’s the thing: Otep doesn’t say any of that. The writer of the article specifically mentions Opeth, but Shamaya doesn’t name them anywhere in her quote (she just calls metal “a boys club”‘ and declares that “all they have is the illusion that they’re superior [to me]”); furthermore, she never utters the words “we’re not metal” and never declares her band “alternative,” but, rather, says Otep are “the alternative” (emphasis added) before continuing, “metal lives in this bubble that is very restrictive and exclusive, even though it’s now supposed to be the outlaw music.” Which, unfortunately, is kind of true (think of how many bands have taken shit over the years for not showing any signs of artistic growth, ever).

Now, maybe you agree with Otep’s assessment of things and maybe you don’t; maybe you like Otep’s music, and maybe you hate it. I’ve heard two of the band’s new songs and didn’t like either of them, but in this instance, the music is actually kind of beside the point. Otep is a lot of things, but she is most definitely not CKY’s Deron Miller, and the odds that she would actively antagonize the metal fanbase that has supported her these past years seems kinda slim to me. Her quotes here are taken completely out of context, and we really have no idea what she was talking about when she made these comments. Only time will tell for sure, but, to paraphrase Mr. Anselmo, this seems like a case of “the goddamn heavy metal media” stirring shit up to make headlines.

-AR