Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kill with Power!



Ahhh, Jalometalli! Experiences were had, musical performance was witnessed, memories were burned in.

And upon returning, I had over 250 emails waiting for me. Most of those were subscribed responses to the latest hot thing to argue about. My opinion: If this guy infringed upon trademark or copyright, I hope Wizards Takes Steps, just because I do think such things are important. If he didn't, I hope they don't. Either way, I don't see how it impacts me one little bit. (for the record, if I ever get a nastygram from Wizards, I will review the letter with the aid of a lawyer to determine its merits. If I've fucked up, I'll bend over backwards to make it right by WotC. If I haven't fucked up according to legal counsel, I will fight. Finland's a loser-pays-winner's-expenses kinda place.)

So then, Jalometalli. There were lessons to be learned concerning role-playing. Metal's great that way.

First thing: Shirts. I need to do up shirts. Everybody there was wearing a band shirt. Or had a denim vest covered in band patches. We need to get in on this action. The shirts I make will be short-run prints so doing the full color cover image would be too expensive, but some cool line drawings with maybe a little red is doable for a decent selling price. But they need to be cool. Nobody's going to pay for a shirt if it's just an advertisement. But if it's wicked in its own right? People will wear those. So I am going to do two. One you could wear out, and one you couldn't. ;)

But I need cool ideas and little slogans. Tell me. If I use yours, you get one, of course.

Second thing: Manowar. No, they didn't play, but Ross the Boss did. The crowd enjoyed the new songs played, as did I. But when Scott Columbus came on stage to play drums, the entire mood of the room changed. We weren't enjoying some cool metal with a nod to the old days, suddenly we were in church. It seriously turned into a religious experience as Blood of My Enemies, Hail and Kill, Kill with Power and more were played. Chills ran up and down my spine for the first time in a damn long time at a concert.

There were new bands that played old styles at the fest, but they seemed to have this self-aware kind of sarcasm going on. When Ross the Boss played a seemingly ridiculous song like Gloves of Metal, there was no sign that this was anything other than the most serious and inspiring song that had ever been written. I think there's a reason why people completely lost their shit watching Ross the Boss in ways they didn't even consider doing when Dream Evil played, and it has nothing to do with musical ability or catchy tunes. It's attitude.

Now people keep asking if we're going to change
I look'em in the eye
Tell'em no way
Stripes on a tiger don't wash away
Manowar's made of steel not clay

Third thing. Angel Witch. Their debut album is thirty years old and is the only important contribution that Kevin Heybourne really made to heavy metal. But he's kept it going, putting out demos and singles (and endless live albums) and really milking That One Thing. And when they played last night, the crowd was with them, even though there was no interaction from the stage beyond tersely calling out the song titles. But when The Song was played, the crowd went nuts. And even when the music had stopped and the lights had come up, the crowd was still singing the song. On and on and on. At first it was funny, then somehow a little inspiring. People wouldn't stop. And when they put music over the PA to stop it, stepping outside people were still singing it.

One little thing can last forever if it's good enough. And we're talking decades in the music industry in a form of music usually directed at teenagers. And it wasn't just the crusty old farts participating in the things I describe here. Doesn't matter that they weren't headlining on the big stage. People recognized.

I dragged my wife along, and she doesn't give fuck-all about metal or music really. She had never been to a concert before she met me (and so her first concert was Cynic - she'll owe me bigtime forever for that!), so she goes to these things and observes people.

She said she noted several distinct types of people at these shows. One group is really into the bands. Really into the bands. They'll ignore the current band playing on the other stage just so they can be in front for the bands they like, basically camping out there 30 minutes, 60, 120, or even sitting there for a few bands just so they can be up front for the ones they really like. These guys then go nuts, fists in the air, headbanging, singing along, having the time of their lives.

And then there are the people who are there because it's loud, and this is their time to run around and yell and be wild. It really doesn't matter who the band is. They hang back and wait to see if the band creates the excitement down front. If it does, only then they swarm in to take part in the good times.

We are the first type of people, speaking about our gaming. And one of the reasons to publish and network and publicize is to get the second type of person over here with us. They're not diehards and it's all the same to them, but when they're not there the floor is kind of sadly empty.

I have a lot of administrative stuff to do and lots of real emails to respond to, but I tell you this: Fun stuff is coming tomorrow. TUNE IN TO THIS BLOG TO SEE IT!


  1. I saw Manowar a couple of times in the 80's. I think it was the Fighting the World tour and then the one after that. Awesome stuff, completely over the top but great.

  2. I think the last metal band I saw was Anthrax... Christ but I feel old now ;)

  3. Holy hell. Ross the Boss from Manowar? That had to be something.

  4. Manowar is teh awesome, of course, but damn, I want to see Apocalyptica!

  5. Sweet yeti of the Serengeti!

    They're playing in NYC a week from Tuesday!

    I am SOOOO there!

  6. I first heard Manowar while playing AD&D. My friend tried to convince us to go to a concert. It was Thor. Half of a track was enough to decide... :-)

  7. Role-players and sucky power metal. I don't get. Really, I don't

  8. "We are the first type of people, speaking about our gaming. And one of the reasons to publish and network and publicize is to get the second type of person over here with us. They're not diehards and it's all the same to them, but when they're not there the floor is kind of sadly empty."

    Brilliant observation.