He tells ET Canada: “We don’t wear that crown. I mean, we haven’t picked it up and said, ‘We’re gonna fly the flag for heavy metal.’ Number one, number 10, whatever it may be, I’m grateful for it – but the fact is that people have kind of put us on a sort of pedestal.
“We’ll gladly run with it for as long as we can. But I’m a music fan – I would love someone else to try and grab that flag and run with it too. The more rock the better, I say.”
<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-1791" src="http://www.theblacksiren.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/James_Hetfield_2004 website here.jpg” alt=”james_hetfield_2004″ width=”200″ height=”272″ />Dear James,
That is an awesome sentiment! It is so cool of you to put that out there. I can’t see how anyone could not be in complete agreement and would love nothing more than to see the scene move forward, expand, and progress.
But, apparently, sentiment is all we have. The current industry climate is working against making more bands because it’s starving for revenue.
However, I think there’s hope. All we need to do is:
1 – Stop encouraging tribute bands – including yours.
Promoters no longer wish to gamble on ‘the next best thing.’ Why chance it when they can guarantee ticket sales for acts that are tried and true? Tributes are great for special occasions or for bands that are no longer with us. But we don’t need 100 ‘Iron Maidens’ when the real one is alive and kicking.
2 – Get the media to talk about the lesser-knowns.
Maybe instead of another tiresome list of “best” or “worst” songs from a champion band, or another “Top 10” of anything — which is just based on familiarity and popularity, anyway — how about a feature on a someone worth introducing to the world?
We, the media, are the bridge between fan, industry, and artist. Why not use it for everyone’s benefit instead of just our own?
And besides, the underdogs are usually awesome about sharing and promoting their media, so no clicks lost…
3 – Encourage women to rock.
I have personally spoken with Lita Ford, Leather Leone, and other ladies of the genre and they all tell the same, sad story that women are simply made to feel unwelcome in the boys’ club. Sexual objectification, degrading language against genders, and being left out from that collection of ‘Top Lists,’ ‘Cage Matches,’ and other competitions still happen, unfortunately.
It’s a circular curse: Women aren’t encouraged to play, so they don’t. Then people say they’re not included because they can’t play or there aren’t any talented women to include in the first place.
However, I’m happy to say that things are getting better. Look at Ghost, who always has a talented leading lady of some sort as a warm-up act on tour and has fearlessly added a killer female Nameless Ghoul. In the media, the precursor “female” is being used less and less, which helps tremendously. But, the problem still remains: So long as women remain objectified and considered ‘outsiders,’ they are less likely to pick up an instrument.
After all, let’s not forget that Rock and Roll, itself, has a matriarch…
4 – Discourage larger bands from charging other bands to tour with them. Because that’s just bullshit.
5 – Encourage fans to watch the opening acts and listen to new tracks.
Remind the community that everyone started in a garage. And if they see something promising, nothing will help them more than using their wallets.
Maybe instead of focusing on what’s wrong with pirating music, harp on what’s right about paying for it.
It takes a whole village to raise a child, but it takes a worldwide community to maintain it. Metal is exactly that.
Times are changing and it takes a hell of a lot more than just record sales to raise a band. Everybody’s got to pitch in: the promoters, the fans, the managers, the other bands, the labels, and yes, even the legends such as yourself.
I hold you and Metallica’s legacy in the highest respect and thank you so much for opening this discussion. Let’s hope it keeps going until the message finally gets through our thick, iron heads.