Air Guitar blog has one motto that is "Sin is the subject - metal is the teacher". Interpret that as you wish. For guest blogger, Matt Hinch, metal has taught many great things as he muses over Air Guitar Blog's latest feature series, Metal and Me.
METAL AND ME ~ by Matt Hinch
When I was first put to the task of writing a piece based on the theme "Metal and Me", I will admit it felt a little daunting. I mean, metal has been such a huge part of my life for so long that deciding just where to begin was a challenge. I might as well start back in my teen years. Compared to many of my peers, I was a late addition to metaldom. I was 19 before I was labelled a metalhead. In fact, my nickname in my first year of university was Metalhead Matt. (Sometimes Marilyn Matt. I was a big Manson fan.) But we can go back a little further than that. The first CD I ever bought was Pantera's Far Beyond Driven. I bought it before I even had a CD player. A friend bought it for the Black Sabbath cover ("Planet Caravan") and hated the rest of it. He sold it to me and that got the ball rolling. Slowly but steadily I moved away from grunge, alternative and rock until I basically adopted Dee Snider's mantra, "If it's not metal, it's CRAP!"
Between those formative years and now, my tastes in metal have changed and expanded as different sources exposed me to different genres. I'd go through phases and so on but it was all just fuel for the fire. Which brings us to the present, where that fire burns hotter than ever. When I was younger, people kept telling me I would grow out of metal. It's for kids they said. They couldn't have been more wrong. I love metal more and more with each passing day. It's become an integral part of who I am, of my identity. Especially online. My Twitter handle is MetalMatt_KofN. Forum usernames, MetalMatt. Blog comments, MetalMatt. Siri calls me MetalMatt. Everything. That's how I see myself. That's how I choose to be identified. I don't even put a space between the two words because that would separate them. I don't ever want to be separated from metal.
|A suitcase full of metal - Matt Hinch with his Metal belongings|
Photo credit: Becky Hinch
Even in the "real world" metal follows me. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a metalhead. Perhaps that's because I wear my passion on my sleeve. Literally. I wear a band shirt almost every day. I'm the guy with the headphones on in the grocery store. Everywhere I go, I take metal with me. As soon as I hit the bottom of the stairs every morning, I turn on the music and it stays on all day. Unless my wife asks me to turn it off. (Love you, Hunny!!) I guess that's basically how metal defines me. It's much easier for me to express that than it is for me to define metal itself. That is very much left to individual interpretation. I worked in a record store and before I got there they had AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Rick Derringer (!!) in the metal section! No, No, and NO! I fixed that in a hurry.
Ironically, the things that I love about metal are the polar opposite of how I see myself as a person. I love that metal is loud, but I'm quiet and soft-spoken. I love the intensity and aggression in metal, but I'm laid back and shy. I love how varied, experimental and diverse metal is but I'm a non-spontaneous creature of habit and routine. But I can relate to some of the things I love most about metal. That's the passion and commitment and sense of family. Most metal bands have to scrape and claw for everything that they get and you can't do that without passion and commitment. And in my opinion, metal fans are the most passionate of all. It's that passion that binds the greater metal community together. Bands, fans, labels, promoters, writers, we can all lean on each other and support each other. Like a family. All because of a deep shared passion.
Which brings us to the question of "What do I contribute to metal?" What's my role in this big metal family of ours? I see my contributions and my role as being very similar to my role as a father. My role as a father is to be a provider and educator, someone to turn to for advice and protection. I work hard to provide my family with everything they need (84 hours this week!). I teach them and offer all the advice I can. And I will defend them to my last dying breath. If we translate that to metal, as a fan and writer, I support the bands by buying as many records as I'm able (not nearly as many as I'd like), buying merch and always paying for shows. I try and educate the fans and offer my advice on what to spend their hard-earned money on through my writing. My actual contributions in that respect may be small but that's why I do it. Metal has given so much to me, enriched my life, been there for me to lean on, and so on that writing is really the least I could do. I can only hope that through my writing, the bands that I enjoy can somehow benefit from my time and effort. Hopefully monetarily, because we all have to make a buck. But even just through encouragement and advice, or just by making their day.We could all use a little pick me up now and again, especially if you've been living in a van for three weeks, surviving on free beer and $2 burritos and "showering" with baby wipes.
So it's because of all that makes metal what it is, the energy, the emotion, the passion, the commitment, the sense of family, that as I would my own family, I will defend metal to my last dying breath. That all might sound a little over-dramatic, and I know there are all kinds of people "more metal" than me, but that's who I am, that's what I do, and that's why I do it.
- Matt Hinch
Hinch is a Father. Husband. Metal freak and blogger. Bass player and singer (sort of). Bearded. Vegetarian since Apr. '10 Contributor at Hellbound.ca