Informal Reader Poll: What Metalhead Cliché Should Be Retired?


Like many people of my generation, I was obsessed with Power Rangers as a kid, and two of the characters I’ve since found fascinating are Bulk and Skull, the bullies/idiots who went to school with the Power Rangers’s alter egos (pictured above). Bulk and Skull dressed in leather, made fun of anything wholesome, and hated authority (they were also bumbling cowards who usually ended up with some sort of side dish on their heads). But as I got older and began dressing in leather, mocking the wholesome, and hating authority, I realized that maybe we were only getting half of the story. Was Bulk overeating to combat his depression? Did Skull have a shitty home life that made him act out? Did they go on to become engineers, or social workers, or, dare I say it, metal bloggers?

There’s a list of clichés that is often applied when constructing a hypothetical headbanger: long hair, skull on the shirt, mean-spirited to the point of cruelty, heavy drinker, somewhat illiterate, super xenophobic, loves the Devil, maybe has a knife on them. From my experiences in metal, most of these are horseshit. I know more metalheads in IT than I do in street gangs or satanic cults. But because it’s hard to consider the many sides of a single person, people will forever rely on these simple blanket descriptions of metalheads to categorize us, and indeed metalheads will often revert to these traits when dealing with their own complexities becomes difficult.

So, which metalhead cliché needs to be retired? Which widely-perceived trait among headbangers is the most unfair or unfounded? Is it a hackneyed perception of the typical meatlhead’s appearance (hair, spikes, tattoos), or some out-of-date assumption about their behavior (stupid, bigoted, wasted)?Is there a famous metalhead character, like Bulk and Skull, who always pissed you off with their simplistic depiction of what a metal fans is? Meanwhile, what metalhead cliché has always proved depressingly true in your experience?

Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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