onsdag 4. november 2009


The Dodologist is listening to classical music. Judas Priest, to be precise. Something he is hard-pressed to do without being reminded of one of the great jokes of rock´n´roll couture. To quote Wikipedia:

"Distinct aspects of heavy metal fashion can be credited to various bands, but the band that takes the most credit for revolutionizing the look was Judas Priest, primarily with its singer, Rob Halford. Halford wore a leather costume on stage as early as 1978 to coincide with the promotion for the Hell Bent for Leather album. In a 1998 interview, Halford described the biker and leather subculture as the inspiration for this look."

Anyone who has seen pictures of the performers of that great Norwegian cultural export, Black Metal, knows where this would end: In sheer, ridiculous absurdity. The spiked leather gauntlets grew steadily spikier, until they were more than sufficiently long to spike their leather clad, vampiric looking wearers.

Now, you can say a lot about the Black Metal scene – most of it strongly sarcastic – but they do, like many of their metal cousins, tend to be more than a little bit homophobic.

And here’s the joke: Halford, who came out as gay in 1998, was rightly inspired by the “leather subculture”. And though that subculture was not exclusively homosexual, to a large extent it was. Which means that when the homophobic metal-heads of today prance around in leather and metal gauntlets, they are sporting a style largely taken from the homosexual leather scene.

Now, how is that for irony?

6 kommentarer:

  1. Three things:

    To begin with, Rob Halford first came out to the public in an 1998 MTV interview AFAIK, if you have sources indicating an earlier date, I'd appreciate seeing them.

    Secondly, Gaahl (Gorgoroth, Wardruna) was met with general acceptance and respect upon his coming out. The homophobic aspects of post-Burzum black metal, while still present, is in my view dwarfed by the corresponding aspects within rap and hiphop culture.

    Because even more so than the leather gayness, the fashion of pimping oneself up using bling and perfume is traditionally associated with (male) homosexuality. Rap artists, why don't you come out already!

  2. Holten: My source is Wikipedias article on Halford. But it is not entirely clear on the date. Further googling indicates that you are ritht. It is now corrected.

    As to the rest: Do you really want me to confuse a good story with facts?

    And I could just as well tell the story without refering to BM. Other parts of Metallia is probably more homophobic than BM, where indivudalism is after all the highest ideal.

    Rap culture is definetly a lot more homophobic than BM. As it is most bad things more than more or less anyone else.

  3. Metal should be enjoyed and mocked, it's not either/or.

    The animated series Metalocalypse is full of jokes about Norwegian black metal. Such as: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmpVPlwOpAg

  4. I agree, Bjørn. I was after all listening to Judas Priest ...

    I'm not much of an extreme metal fan, though. My love is for bands like Priest, Saxon, Magnum and the best of hair metal. That is to say, music that's as much hard rock as metal. I even like AOR at it's best (thus Magnum).

  5. You might like Dream Evil, deliberately silly Swedish retro hair metal.

    I listen more to black metal and related styles, but when I want something less extreme it's often folk and viking metal, another field Scandinavians dominate. Especially Finland, with bands such as Ensiferum, Finntroll, Turisas, Moonsorrow. Also pretty silly, of course. ;)

  6. My favourite hair metal bands are really closer to New York Dolls than to metal as such: Bands like Faster Pussycat and Vain. I like my hair metal on the grittier side. Subjectwise it is about sex, booze, sex, drugs, sex and more sex.

    As to Swedish bands, I have a soft spot for Hell'n'Diesel.


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