Metalheads conquering the world
Because metal is an insular community, sometimes we forget that metal people have lives and are out there influencing the world around them — because when you think about it, if you tolerate stupidity, you’ll serve under it. So good people do things to make the world better not because it’s bad, but because without continual improvement, it will become a paradise for the stupid.
When Mike Strausbaugh gets in his car, he turns on Swedish death metal. Although the MU graduate student is studying classical guitar and music composition, he doesn’t always draw inspiration from classical music.
Strausbaugh, 38, is the latest winner of the Sinquefield Composition Prize for “Thermopylae,” a five-minute duet for guitar and cello.
Perhaps the biggest perk of winning the competition is the opportunity to write a separate work for one of MU’s musical ensembles. Strausbaugh is working on a one-movement guitar concerto for the University Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece, currently untitled, will debut at the annual Chancellor’s Concert on March 15, 2010.
This guy’s ruling the world. We have no word as of yet on whether a recording exists of his composition, but it sounds like we’ll have to wait until 2010 to get his latest opus.
It was cheering to read this defense of the metalhead fanaticism for etymology and genrology:
But for those of us silly enough to split hairs and mire ourselves in metal’s notoriously splintered set of sub-genres, the subtlest variations can send the biggest ripples. Most listeners probably couldn’t care less about the differences between death metal and black metal, let alone the nuances that distinguish blackened death metal, but for an insular community of heavy music enthusiasts, these labels are immediately recognizable.
If all this sounds nerdy, that’s because it is. While often dismissed as meat-headed jocks, metal fans over their heads in the trivialities of the style’s finer points rarely actually are. Instead we’re comic book dorks and ardent video gamers. (Yes, many of us even grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons; Some still do.) While our mosh-pitting contingent is certainly the most visible, our hermetic Internet-abusers are largely the gatekeepers.
He did just call us a bunch of nerds, but since most of the great musicians, writers, inventors, generals and leaders have been nerdy and introverted and studious, I find it hard to criticize that. In general, my experience in life is one nerdy person off doing something from which everyone benefits, while another 99 people stand around talking about how nerdy he or she looks for spending all their time trying to OMFG change things. WTF, dude, LOL.
For a slight downer, the world is also warning us that the much-maligned (and beloved) style of singing known as “cookie monster vocals” after the Sesame Street character may indeed wreck your voice:
Though death metal generally started in Florida, the genre has spread wide enough that a medical center in the Netherlands reported a couple years ago that it was treating several death metal singers for vocal problems caused by Cookie Monster technique. Polyps and edema on the vocal chords are most common ailments.
“As the popularity continues to grow, I expect an influx of new patients,” a speech therapist at Nijmegen Radboud Hospital told the Netherlands newspaper Nederland Dagblad in 2007
While we’re hoping they find that pizza, beer, marijuana and listening to the quality Gothenburg bands eliminates that effect, it’s probable that modern science is just going to be a bore again and immediately classify everything fun as unhealthy.
There’s your metal news for today. Hope it inspires, enrages, emboldens… heck, anything but stagnation!