Mayhem Fest Co-Founder Thinks Metal Bands are Selfish, Bald, Old
The other night I caught the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest, and it was actually pretty solid. The Victory Records stage was kaput due to space limitations, but the bands were decent overall. Hellyeah wasn’t terrible (right?), King Diamond ruled, and Slayer were amazing as always. And the younger kids seemed to really enjoy bands like Thy Artis Murder and The Devil Wears Prada, so hey, good time all around, right? Good to see someone supporting metal.
Except apparently, it’s all bullshit in the eyes of Kevin Lyman, co-founder of Mayhem Fest. According to a recent interview Lyman gave, the tour is always on the brink of going under. Why? Well, it’s the metal scene’s fault.
“What happened was metal chased girls away because what happened was metal aged… Metal got gray, bald and fat. And metal was about danger. When you went to a metal show, it was dudes onstage; there was some danger in it.”
Charming, right? It gets better. When discussing this year’s line-up, Lyman basically made it sound like hiring Slayer and King Diamond was scraping the bottom of the barrel:
“It was the best available for what we had to work with. We had pressure to keep the package at a certain price and make that work, and we had pressure on headliner expenses… [Venues] don’t want to build a fence outside [the third and fourth stages] anymore. Those things cost money.”
Okay, to be fair, there’s a point to that. It’s easy to say, Why doesn’t Mayhem Fest feature all my favorite underground bands? when hosting said bands would cost them a fortune. Given how many resources need to be put into these things, big venues rarely want to host multi-stage concert experiences. That spreads their security and equipment very thin.
But here’s where Lyman loses my support:
“Unlike punk rock, metal never knows how to take a step back to move the whole scene forward. That’s how punk rock was. That’s how we nurtured punk rock. Bad Religion would take a little less than they could on their own to bring the whole scene forward, so we could make sure we had a good [touring] package around them. Metal doesn’t seem to have that concern, never has, never has since I was working in the clubs in the ’80s. It’s always about a ‘me, me, me’ thing.”
Lyman seems to ignore a) all the punk rock bands like, say, Green Day, who would never take part in a big package tour if it meant losing some money, b) that metal suffered severely at the hands of trends in the ’90s and therefore bands are acutely aware that their livelihood needs to be nurtured and protected, and c) that punk is currently as sedentary and convoluted as genres come. Which of the opportunistic incarnations of Black Flag are you going to see this year? Any interest in catching the Jerry Only-only incarnation of the Misfits?
More so, I’ve had this Punk is Better routine shoved down my throat my whole life. Punk rock has a real heart and ethos! Punk rock is how it should be done! Bullshit. Punk rock is a feeling inside you, yeah, but it’s also a marketable commodity. Don’t for a fucking second act like the punk guys are somehow nobler than the metal dudes, that Fat Mike is cutting his band’s touring fee to help out, say, Retching Red.
Punk rock was all about experimentation at its core. Blondie and The Pretenders were consider punk rock as much as Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys were. So why doesn’t Mayhem Fest take a chance on some interesting headliners? I’d totally come out for a Mayhem Fest with a Main Stage line-up of Cannibal Corpse, Watain, Opeth, The Atlas Moth, and then one big mainstream metal band — say, Rob Zombie. Would you? Tell us in the comments section.
Anyway, I had no idea I was taking part in a selfish, disappointing endeavor run by fat bald virgins the other night when I was cheering for King Diamond. Next time, I’ll just go to Warped Tour and give myself a pat on the back for being such a socially aware individual!