The 25 Most Important People in Metal, #23: Rob Scallon
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
Someday, long after you and I have become a feast for worms, someone will write a new history of heavy metal — Sound of the Beast 3016 or whatever — and that history will be forced to consider the impact the internet has had on extreme music. And that consideration will necessarily have to include an analysis of YouTube stars. As of this writing, the idea of the YouTube star is a new phenonemon with no real old-timey counterpart; twenty or thirty years ago, Sirius XM’s Jose Mangin would have DJ’d on terrestrial radio, and the staff of MetalSucks might have written for RIP or Metal Maniacs or Metal Edge*, but there was no version of the DIY viral sensation. (The closest equivalent probably would have been tape trading, but that comparison suffers from a number of glaring differences.) Along with computer production software, the YouTube star is a distinctly twenty-first century phenomenon.
And more than simply one of the earliest examples of this uniquely-now occupation, Rob Scallon is arguably the absolute most creatively engaging as well.
Scallon’s videos certainly meet the foremost requirement for amassing a loyal audience of YouTube subcribers — i.e., they’re funny — but unlike some of Scallon’s peers, the clips are more than just schtick. They’re highly inventive, they were clearly produced by someone with genuine affection for the genre and they are able to artfully walk the line between mockery and homage, demonstrating a genuine mastery of both musicianship and the short-form video. And the fact that they’re so goddamn good becomes all the more impressive when you consider both Scallon’s prolificacy (277 videos and counting) and budgetary restraints. In a genre that so values the DIY work ethic, Scallon is a shining example of motivation and self-reliance.
Thus, no discussion of changes in the modern metal world can be complete without a discussion about Rob Scallon, and what Rob Scallon represents. If that’s not important, we don’t know what is.
*Just kidding, we’d never work for Metal Edge.