9 Public Figures Who Famously Hate Heavy Metal
Heavy metal is one of popular music’s original villains. Because of its obsession with dark subject matter, its flamboyance in the face of decency, its appeal to society’s fringe, and the sheer volume at which it’s played, heavy metal quickly became the musical subculture that most people turned up their noses at. That said, in recent years it’s become obvious that most people actually dig metal’s attitude and bombast, and recognize the parts of their lives where its extremity applies. There’s a metalhead in all of us, it seems.
Then again, maybe not. There are several public figures who have made it clear that they don’t care for heavy metal, or that they outright hate the people who like it. Whether they think we’re ugly, stupid, a detriment to society or an affront to God, these clown-shoes individuals are the “enemies of metal” you hear about in songs like 3 Inches of Blood’s “Deadly Sinners.”
Here are 9 public figures who hate us…
No name is as synonymous with the persecution of heavy metal as Tipper Gore. The wife of Senator and former Vice President Al Gore was the leader of the Parents Music Resource Center, or PMRC, a coalition formed in 1985 to basically save American parents from having to talk to their kids about edgy media. Tipper went after everyone from King Diamond to Twisted Sister, with Twisted frontman Dee Snider sending her up at a hearing that will live in infamy. Even if she’s settled her beef now, Ms. Gore will forever be heavy metal’s Public Enemy #1.
Most people know Irish comedian Dylan Moran as Simon Pegg’s nemesis in the 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead. But Moran is also a stand-up comedian, and during his 2011 special Yeah, Yeah took a moment to drop this gem: “[Heavy metal] an argument against Darwinism, because what the people who’re involved are saying… is that attraction is not necessary for reproduction…Heavy Metal is what happens when a group of people with competitively disgusting appearances come together to try to kill air.” Sounds like someone got rejected by a chick in a spiked leather jacket once upon a time.
Cream drummer Ginger Baker making shitty comments about something is a rock and roll tradition, and metal wasn’t spared his salty wrath. As quoted in Forbes, Baker once famously said, “I’ve seen where Cream is held responsible for the birth of that sort of thing. Well, I would definitely go for aborting [laughs]. I loathe and detest heavy metal. I think it is an abortion. When songs like that come on the radio, they immediately go off.” What can you do but empty the bedpan, put on some Jeopardy!, and leave him to his thoughts.
The difference between Kevin Lyman’s regard for his original baby, Warped Tour, and his rambunctious second child, Mayhem Fest, are telling. While Lyman has always treated Warped Tour as this community-born expression of musical honesty, Mayhem Fest was a celebration of the “gray, fat, and bald”, which he then clarified by saying he wasn’t just referring to Mayhem Fest, but to metal as a whole. Lyman is one of many older punks who see that scene as a beautiful force of scrappy togetherness and metal as something shitty and selfish. Let’s prove him wrong, we guess.
This one’s pretty obvious, but he nevertheless remains a glaring and relevant inclusion on this list. When you think of a gleaming-eyed preacher unfairly pursuing heavy metal in the 1980s, you’re thinking of Bob Larson, who even toured with Slayer to debunk the myth that they were satanic maniacs (because apparently metalheads can’t grasp the concept of shtick?). Larson would later spat with a wasted Glenn Benton on his radio show and yell insane comments like, “COWARD!” when the Deicide frontman hung up on him. The Joan of Arc of being mad about Blackie Lawless.
No one’s terribly surprised that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards dislikes heavy metal, given that every father is in some way disappointed with their children. But Keith doesn’t violently hate the genre the way some other people on this list do – instead, he sees it as a gag. Speaking to the New York Daily News, Richards said, “Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath…I just thought they were great jokes.” Of course, Richards went on to describe all of rap as “so many words, so little said,” so it’s obvious that the old man made of melting heroin just isn’t a fan of kids today.
A novel addition to this list is Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who only recently did a New York Times interview in which he came out saying he “despised” Mötley Crüe. He also hated on metal fashion, saying, “The only person who wore a bustier in the ’90s that I could appreciate was Perry Farrell.” Of course, Vedder says kind things about Guns N’ Roses, and might argue that he’s a fan of some metal, but his recent toned-down shows and shit-talking about Tommy Lee’s drum kit suggests he just doesn’t care for the whole thing.
Whether or not Kendall Jenner’s distaste for heavy metal is organic or vengeful isn’t clear. Obviously, Slayer guitarist Gary Holt has taken repeated shots at her family, leading Jenner to don Slayer merch seemingly in retaliation, as though to say, Cool, but I can just buy and wear your shit whenever I feel like it. Then again, that plus the tweet above makes one wonder if Kendall really loves or hates anything other than being rich as fuck. Go figure.
Never forget, even metal musicians can hate metal! In 2015, Mastodon guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds famously said, “I’ve been trying to get Mastodon to not be such a heavy metal band, because I fucking hate heavy metal, and I don’t want to be in a heavy metal band.” This led his bandmate Brann Dailor to comment that the quote was “taken out of context” (similar to how Brann had to apologize for Brent’s use of a homophobic slur). When it comes to Brent, we go with that quote often attributed to Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”