11 Metal Artists We Rip On Mercilessly But Will Always Love
If you truly love something, you can laugh at it. Many people have a tendency to portray the things they love as perfect, because to do so frames their appreciation, and therefore their lives, as equally flawless. But at the end of the day, perfection is a myth, and being unable to pick at the cracks in your passion’s facade just shows that you’re too fragile to admit that you, too, are a mess. By snickering at something’s shortcomings, we can recognize it for what it is, and love it even more than we might otherwise.
This can be especially tough with rock music, and with heavy metal in particular. So much of metal’s image is that of imperviousness and godlike stature. But while we adore plenty of musicians for what their music means for us, the truth is that, well, you’re allowed to laugh at a clown. When these guys do something dumb, or silly, or selfish, or just dress like some sort of bejeweled satanic ringmaster, we’re going to poke fun at it. That doesn’t mean we don’t love or respect them any less (obviously, it depends on how bad they’ve played themselves), but it means that we can acknowledge that even our musical champions are fucking dumbasses on occasion.
Here are 11 musicians we rip on constantly, but who will always hold a special place in our hearts…
There is no one funnier and more ripe for mockery than a dude who doesn’t have a sense of humor. Such is the case with Glenn Danzig, who seems to have made a career out of refusing to laugh at himself. Of course, we’re all Misfits diehards, and this author loves the dude’s solo albums (even the ones people dislike, like 6:66 Satan’s Child and Deth Red Sabaoth), so we’ll always take a moment to acknowledge that Danzig fucking rules, and that he will always scratch a very specific, very morbid itch. That said, if he can’t chuckle at the dude in the mirror, we’re gonna do it for him. I mean, has he seen Verotika?
Look, Axl Rose is a fucking badass. In fact, it’d be fair to argue that he is the king of rock star badasses. And that’s why we give him shit like it’s our job – because he behaves like a total rock star. Axl is a massive diva, making fans wait hours, taking forever to write an album, and basically letting the world know that we’re all lucky to breathe the same air as him. He’s the perfect example of a common situation: the thing that makes him awesome is also what makes him a joke. We’ll chortle at him until our dying day, then get someone to play “Mr. Brownstone” at our fucking funeral.
The difference between Kerry King and many of the other people on this list is that he’d probably laugh with us — he seems to have a wicked sense of humor. That said, the dude wears a chain as an accessory! Just a fucking chain! Kerry has written some of our favorite riffs of all time, and he’s always been brutally honest about his opinions on metal, Slayer, and everything else. But the dude has put himself out there in the form of his tattooed scalp, bed-of-nails armbands, and generally salty demeanor, and he’s said some regrettable shit in the past. He’s made it sort of impossible to not crack a joke at his expense here and there.
GRRR, HARDCORE FRONTMAN — OPINIONATED! One only needs to check out Jamey Jasta’s Twitter, with its impassioned dunks on Neil Young and bickering with classic metal stars, to understand why we’d crack wise about him here and there. But he’s also a true defender of the faith, rabidly supporting and promoting metal while making some of the genre’s most influential albums. He’s made a career out of making metal and hardcore happen. We only take the occasional piss out of the dude because he really lives for this, even if he also has super cereal feelings about his DraftKings picks.
Hell yeah, brother, Old Man Ozzy gonna get me paid in the shade with my bullseye geetar! You get the idea. Zakk Wylde has come to embody the salty metal biker identity, and his good ol’ boy routine makes him easy to snicker at and poorly imitate. But he also writes guitar licks that make us pretend like we’re playing those same guitar licks, and he’s never swapped his iconic identity out for some trendy bullshit when his MO became unfashionable. He’s one of the real ones, the lifers, and that commands respect, even if we think he’s probably consumed gasoline for several nonconsecutive dares. Zakk’s an easy target, but he’ll always get our vote.
All of Tool
How can you really hate Tool? The band just do things their own way, and aren’t here to play the game by our rules. Oh, sure, they’re all a bunch of far-out rock stars who take forever to release anything, and charge insane amounts for their records, and have a fanbase that is seemingly made up entirely of dudes who did shrooms twice and talk a lot about it. But they also live by their personal standard and consistently deliver what their fans want. If you’re going to be Tool, you better go as hard as you possibly can, and these guys do just that. All the respect in the world to these longwinded wackjobs.
The truth is that without Cradle of Filth, a lot of us wouldn’t be into black metal at all. Dani Filth provided us with a creepy, cinematic gateway drug into metal’s most mysterious subgenre. But the dude is also king of the Hot Topic vampires, so of course we’re going to fire off a wisecrack or two when he, say, makes tea or writes some song about taking an angel’s virginity or whatever the fuck. No matter what we say for the other 11 months of the year, we come around every October.
We get the feeling Matt Pike knows he’s kind of ludicrous, like Nicolas Cage. If you make a career of taking your shirt off and playing weed music while talking about how you love Bigfoot, you’ve gotta be aware of how you’re perceived. That said, no one does what Matt Pike does as well as Matt Pike, and he’s been doing it that well for ages now. The guy is a master of his craft, and has always stuck to his guns. We can only hope he stays out of the clutches of the Reptilian High Council.
Who’s an angry Satanist from Florida? Glen fucking Benton, that’s who. Who has written some of the best death metal songs of all time? Glen fuckin’ Benton, ya slack-jawed dickhole. Who branded an inverted cross in his forehead, yelled at Bob Larson while on shrooms, and called Dave Mustaine a “prolapsed rectum?” Glen Benton. Dude’s hilarious and insane, so of course we’re going to laugh at his ultra-evil expense. Doesn’t mean we don’t love the shit out of Deicide.
These days, Pete Steele has become sanctified in his memory. But the guy was also a spooky parks worker from Brooklyn whose brand of feminism had a real milady kind of vibe (look at this shit — Provide, Protect, Procreate? Dude, you’ll never get metal legs). And we’re not alone in giving Pete shit – Steele himself was epically self-deprecating, the kind of guy who named his best-of album The Least-Worst of. He redefined metal for a generation, and taught us all what a metal frontman could be, but he’s also a Playgirl-posing frowny-face muscle goth, and that’s never not funny.
David Lee Roth
Come on, when you imagine David Lee Roth buying a sandwich or a bottle of water, you always picture him trying to pay for it with loose cocaine and someone else’s cufflinks, right? That’s because Diamond Dave has worked his ass off making us think of him as some hairy-chested party god. That dude’s the real-life Dr. Rockzo, even if his party-rock songs are the foundation of everything we find awesome and sexy about music. A Van Halen track will never not excite us when it comes on, even if the singer sounds and looks like he has too many goddamn teeth.