The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #6, Borivoj Krgin
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.
You may or may not know the name Borivoj Krgin, but you definitely know the website he created and continues to run: Blabbermouth.
I feel like I could stop writing right now and you’d understand why Krgin is on this list. But screw it, I’ll go on.
Even before he started the website that nearly every metal fan in the world checks on a daily or near-daily basis, Krgin’s metallic resumé was impressive: he signed bands like Strapping Young Lad and Nevermore. Nothing to sneeze at.
But then Krgin turned his attention to the Internet, and it was via this platform that he truly made history.
Sorry to sound like an old man, but you have to understand how hard it was to get metal news back in the day. Sure, big stories about a-list bands (e.g., James Hetfield gets injured during a Metallica concert, Vince Neil leaves Mötley Crüe, etc.) would appear on MTV News (or sometimes even “real” news programs) right away. But if, say, Death just went through its umpteenth line-up change, then either a) Riki Rachtman reported on it during Headbanger’s Ball, which only aired once a week, b) you learned about it in a zine, whenever the poor bastard putting that zine together had time to complete and mail out the latest issue, c) you learned about it via a metal magazine story (I remember learning that Zakk Wylde had left Ozzy’s band that way), or d) you learned about it via the “news brief” sections of magazines like Metal Edge and Hit Parader. And those sections were not very detailed; they had so much news to squeeze in there, most of it was limited to a single sentence. I distinctly remember reading about bands I loved losing members or breaking up altogether in these briefs. “Living Colour have called it quits… Rob Halford’s Fight planning new album… Skid Row to reunite without Sebastian Bach or Rob Affuso.” That’s literally how those sections were structured. They were the headline-and-only-the-headline version of the news, and they were often months behind because of the long lead time it takes to put together a full-color magazine. And forget about knowing tour dates months or even weeks in advance. You checked the listings in the local paper and hoped the show wasn’t sold out already. That changed a little with the rise of the web, which now allowed for message boards and e-mail groups focused on specific topics. But there was no single site you could go to in order to get everything all in one visit.
So weird as it sounds in 2016, Krgin’s concept of a news aggregate site for heavy metal music was revolutionary when Blabbermouth launched in 2001. I can’t remember when I personally became aware of Blabbermouth, but I do distinctly remember (for silly reasons I won’t bore you with) that by the summer of 2003, everyone was aware of the site. And since Blabbermouth consisted predominantly of reformatted press releases or samples of stories from other sources, the site was unbiased, and covered everything from hair metal to death metal to nu-metal to power metal. No important piece of metal news got past Blabbermouth, but no unimportant piece of news got past ’em, either. The site was basically the news brief section of the (by this point failing) metal magazines, only it was far more detailed, and it gave you the news as it happened, 24/7. And Krgin did all this — and continues to do all this nearly sixteen years later — by himself. He had some people who wrote reviews for him, but otherwise, it was, and is, all him. Talk about dedication.
Like most metal sites (and probably just most websites period), Blabbermouth often comes under fire from angry artists and fans. For the life of me, I’ve never been able to figure out why this is. Here at MetalSucks, we convey everything through our own personal filters; each article is, to some extent, an editorial. So I get why people hate us — we don’t just say “Your favorite band is touring,” we say “Your favorite band is touring but they’re so horrible we don’t even get why you like them.” Krgin has never done anything like this. Artists that look bad on Blabbermouth deserve that look. As Devin Townsend put it in 2009, writing for this very website:
“[Krgin] doesn’t make the stuff up. Any jackassery that I have been quoted as saying, I really did say. Blabbermouth changed the way we do interviews by making us accountable.”
The title of Townsend’s piece, by the way, was “Blabbermouth Changed Everything.” That’s not an understatement. Let’s all hope the site sticks around another sixteen years.
THE LIST SO FAR
#25: Mark Riddick
#24: Robb Flynn
#23: Rob Scallon
#22: Kim Kelly
#20: Rob Halford
#19: Ash Avildsen
#18: Steve Joh
#17: Karim Peter
#16: Misha Mansoor
#15: Dan Rozenblum
#14: Joey Sturgis
#13: Randy Blythe
#12: Amy Sciarretto
#11: Dimebag Darrell
#10: Corey Taylor
#9: Jose Mangin
#8: Monica Seide-Evenson
#7: Albert Mudrian